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What is my MAC address?

What is my MAC address
MAC attack: find out your devices' unique codes

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Mac address? I don’t even own a Mac, you might be thinking to yourself. But a MAC address (note the caps) is not directly related to Apple computers. Instead, it’s a unique identifier for any device that connects to your home network, either via Wi-Fi or cable to the router. Read on to find out more about them and how to find the MAC address for your devices.

What is a MAC address?

MAC in this instance stands for Media Access Control, not a shorthand for Macintosh.

As we explained above, any device that connects to your router – be it a computer, smartphone, smart speaker or Sky TV box – will have its own, unique Mac address. This is set at the factory where the device is manufactured and can’t be changed by the user.

What use is a MAC address?

It can be useful for identifying hardware on your network. If you go into your router’s settings and find a list of devices connected to your network, most will have a fairly obvious identifier, such as “Galaxy S9” for your Samsung smartphone.

However, some devices may only list an IP address and a MAC address. The IP address is normally assigned by the router every time the device connects, which means it’s constantly changing. However, the MAC address will always remain the same. So, if you’re trying to work out what a device connected to your router is, knowing its MAC address can help.

Some routers also allow you to block devices other than those with an approved MAC address. So if someone were to obtain your Wi-Fi password, for instance, they still wouldn’t be given access to your network.

How do I find my MAC address in Windows?

To find a MAC address in Windows, type “cmd” into the Windows search box and open the Command Prompt ‘app’ that appears in the search results.

In the window that appears, type the following, then press Enter:

ipconfig /all

(Note the space between the g and the /)

Under Ethernet Adapter/Wireless Network Connection, a physical address will be listed, such as: 00-1F-52-S0-01-3A. This is your Windows computer’s MAC address.

How do I find my Mac’s MAC address?

That’s quite a mouthful, isn’t it?

To get your Mac’s MAC address, click on the Apple icon in the top left-hand corner, and open System Preferences. Then click on Network.

In the window that appears, click on Advanced in the bottom left. You should now see something called Wi-Fi or Airport MAC Address, which is of course the magic string of numbers and letters you’re looking for.

How do I find my Android phone’s MAC address?

This varies from handet to handset, but it will generally be tucked away in the settings somewhere.

On the Samsung Galaxy S9, for example, you find it by opening the Settings app, scrolling down to About Phone and then clicking Status. Your model may vary.

How do I find my iPhone’s MAC address?

Once again, open up the Settings app. Scroll down the left-hand side and look for General and then click About. Your MAC address will be listed as Wi-Fi Address.

How do I identify a mystery MAC address?

Spotted a MAC address on your network and don’t know which device it belongs to? Each manufacturer has their own set of MAC addresses, so it’s normally possible to identify the equipment maker from the MAC.

If you enter the full address into the MAC Address look-up service here, it should tell you which company makes the product, even if it doesn’t reveal the product itself.

NOW READ THIS: How do I access the BT Smart Hub Manager?

About the author

Barry Collins

Barry has scribbled about tech for almost 20 years for The Sunday Times, PC Pro, WebUser, Which? and many others. He was once Deputy Editor of Mail Online and remains in therapy to this day. Email Barry at barry@bigtechquestion.com.

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