How to Change MAC Address on Windows, Mac & Linux?

If you want to know about the method to change MAC Address of your network interface, this post is specially written for you. Here, I will guide you on how to change MAC Address on Windows, macOS, and Linux in the most simple way.

Also, you will learn certain key pieces of information about the Mac address of an OS.

What is MAC Address?

MAC (Media Access Control) Address, also known as Physical Address or Hardware Address is a unique identity of each network interface connected to your computer. Your router, network card, wireless device or any other network interface, everyone will have a unique MAC address that you can easily change on purpose.

Remember that each network interface has a unique MAC address. For example, if you are using a laptop having a wired and a wireless network connection, then each network interface will have a unique MAC address. These addresses are used to communicate with one another at the lowest networking level.

What is the Purpose of Mac Address?

There are several purposes or uses the Mac Address. We’ll take a quick look at the most common ones to understand it better. When a browser on a computer tries to reach a web page from any server on the Internet, the request passes through multiple layers of the TCP/IP protocol. Then, the web address you typed is translated to the IP address of the server. And, your computer sends the request to the router which sends it back to the internet. During this process, your network card only checks the MAC address of the interface at the hardware level.

Other common functions of the MAC address include device authentication, core networking, MAC address filtering, MAC authentication, Static IP assignment and smooth networking between devices.

How to Change MAC Address?

There could be varying situations when you’ll need to change the MAC address. Generally, the network cards allow you to change the MAC Address to a custom one. This is done through the configuration window. The process to change the MAC address is a bit different on various operating systems. We’ll present to you the step-wise guides for Windows, Mac, and Linux.

1. Steps to Change MAC Address on Windows

On Windows, you have to go through the Device Manager to change the MAC address. Follow the instructions mentioned below in order to know what you need to do.

  • Press the Windows + R key to trigger the Run dialog box. Type devmgmt.msc in it and hit Enter. This will launch the Device Manager.
  • In the Device Manager, scroll down and expand the Network Adapters.
  • Now right-click on the network interface for which you want to change the physical address and choose Properties.
  • Next, switch to the Advanced tab on the Properties window. Then, select Network Address from the Property list. Check the Value option and enter the custom MAC address without any dashes or colons.
  • Finally, click on OK to save the changes.

Note: If you can’t find the Network Address in the Property list, then your network driver is not compatible with this feature.

That’s it. You have now set a custom MAC Address for the particular network interface on your Windows PC.

2. Steps to Change MAC Address on Mac OS X

The System Preferences pane of Mac OS X shows the MAC address of each network interface.

However, it doesn’t allow you to customize it. So, you will have to use the Terminal app for that. Follow the instructions mentioned below in order to know what you need to do.

  • Press the Command + Space key, type Terminal and then hit Enter. This will launch the Terminal window on your Mac.
  • Now run the following command in it. Remember to replace “en0” with the name of your network interface without the colons and your MAC address.
  • Command: sudo ifconfig en0 xx:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx

Note: The network interface is usually either en0 or en1 depending upon if you are configuring Mac’s WiFi or Ethernet interface. Run the ifconfig command to see a list of interfaces if you don’t know a particular network interface’s name.

That’s it. This is how you change the MAC address on Mac.

3. Steps to Change MAC Address on Linux

There are two ways to change the MAC Address on Linux. The first method is very similar to that of Mac in which you have to run particular commands. And, the other is to use Network  Manager on modern Linux distributions like Ubuntu. Let’s take a look at both methods.

Method-1: Running Commands

Follow the instructions mentioned below in order to know what you need to do.

  • Firstly, you have to take down the network interface. Run the following command for that: sudo ifconfig eth0 down.
  • Now run the following command: sudo ifconfig eth0 hw ether xx:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx. Remember to replace “eth0” with the name of the network interface and custom MAC address of your choice.
  • Next, bring the network interface back up with this command: sudo ifconfig eth0 up.
  • Modify the appropriate configuration file under /etc/network/interfaces.d/ or the /etc/network/interfaces file if you want this change to always be effective at every boot. If you don’t do this, then the MAC Address will reset the next time you restart.

That’s it.

Method-2: Use Network Manager

The Network Manager on Ubuntu provides a graphical way to customize the MAC address. Follow the instructions mentioned below in order to know how to use that.

  • On Ubuntu, click on the Network icon from the top panel.
  • Click on Edit Connections and then choose the Network Connection you want to customize. Once selected, click on Edit.
  • Now switch to the Ethernet tab and enter a MAC Address of your choice in the Cloned MAC address field.
  • Finally, save the changes.

That’s it. This change is temporary on Linux and will be reset when you reboot the next time. So, if you want to make it permanent, you have to use a script that automatically runs this command on every boot.

Final Words

That’s how you change the MAC Address of any Network Interface on different platforms. You have now learned to change it on Windows, Mac, and Linux. If you want me to explain the process for any other OS as well, let me know using the comment box. I’ll be glad to help you more.

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