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A MAC address is a unique identifier that is assigned to each physical network interface on a computer. Unlike a computer’s IP address, MAC addresses are often used for network access control and to monitor network connectivity, and can be spoofed for virtualization needs or to circumvent certain network restrictions. If you need yours, here it is how to find one in the friendly GUI and command line.
How to Find a MAC address in Mac OS X
To quickly find a MAC address on a Mac with OS X, do the following:
- Open System Preferences from the Apple menu
- Click on “Network”
- Select your currently active network connection from the left menu (Wi-Fi, Ethernet, etc.) and then click “Advanced” in the lower right corner
- Look at the bottom of the window for “Wi-Fi Address”, the hexadecimal characters on the right are the MAC address of the machine
The address is always in the form aa: bb: cc: dd: ee: ff, and looks something like “ce: 9e: 8d: 02: 1d: e9” or some variation of.
Note that the wireless MAC address is referred to as ‘Wi-Fi Address’ in new versions of OS X such as Yosemite, Mavericks, Mountain Lion, everything from Lion and later, as well as iPhone and iOS, while it is in Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard and earlier.
List all network hardware MAC addresses in Mac OS X
To quickly list all network hardware MAC addresses on a Mac, even if they are currently inactive, launch the Terminal and type the following command:
This could return something like this, look for the string following “Ethernet Address” to find the MAC address per interface:
Hardware Port: Bluetooth DUND Device: Bluetooth modem Ethernet address: db: 26: cd: 41: c3: 79
Hardware Port: Ethernet Device: en0 Ethernet Address: 21: d3: 91: bb: 11: bd
Hardware Port: FireWire Device: fw0 Ethernet Address: c6: 18: ed: fa: ff: 15: db: 51
Hardware Port: Wi-Fi Device: en1 Ethernet address: f2: 8b: fc: ae: bb: f5
Note that even the MAC address of a Wi-Fi card is referred to as “Ethernet Address” using the networksetup command. You can also get individual IP addresses and MAC addresses along with the ifconfig command, although the output isn’t nearly as user-friendly.
Generating a random MAC address is usually the best way to avoid network conflicts if you want to spoof an address.
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