How to Change the IP Address on a Mac

Fix local network conflicts or get around regional content locks

Your Internet Protocol (IP) address is like a street address but for the internet. On your home network, each device has its own IP address that is used to route data within the network. There are a few different ways to change the IP address on a Mac, so you need to know why you're changing it to make sure you use the right method.

Ways to Change an IP Address on a Mac

There are a few different ways to change the IP address on your Mac, and each one has its own unique purpose. Here are your main options and the primary reason to use that method:

  • Changing your local IP: This is fast and easy, but it only changes your Mac's local IP on your home network. Your external IP address, which allows your computer to be located on the internet, remains unchanged.
  • Using a proxy: This method requires you to obtain access to a proxy server. When you change your IP using this method, it changes your public IP to that of the proxy server, effectively hiding your real IP from the world.
  • Using a VPN: This method requires you to sign up for a virtual private network (VPN). It's more secure than the proxy method, and it also replaces your public IP with a new IP.
  • Get a new IP from your ISP: Your internet service provider (ISP) typically changes your IP from time to time, and you may be able to request a new IP on a faster timetable.

How to Change the Local IP on a Mac

If you want to change the local IP on a Mac, you can do so in the network settings.

  1. Click the Apple icon in the upper left corner of the screen, and select System Preferences.

    A screenshot of the Apple menu on a Mac.
  2. Click Network.

    A screenshot of System Preferences on a Mac.
  3. Click your current network on the left, then click Advanced in the bottom right corner of the window.

    A screenshot of Network settings on a Mac.

    Make note of the IP address displayed in this window. Your new IP address will need to be identical, with only the third number changed. For example, you can change 192.168.7.10 to 192.168.7.100.

  4. Click the TCP/IP tab.

    A screenshot of Network settings on a Mac.
  5. Click the drop down box next to Configure IPv4, and select Manually.

    A screenshot of TCP/IP settings on a Mac.
  6. Enter the IP address you want to use, and click OK.

    A screenshot of setting a custom IP on a Mac.
  7. Verify that your new local IP address is displayed, and click Apply.

    A screenshot of Network settings on a Mac.
  8. Verify that you are able to connect to the internet. If you chose a new IP that's already in use, that may create a conflict. Try restarting your router to clear the conflict.

How to Change the IP on a Mac Using a Proxy

A proxy server is a server that you place between yourself and the internet. You connect to the proxy server, it passes on requests for data, and then it forwards data back to you. One consequence of using a proxy is that doing so causes traffic that comes from your computer to appear as if it has come from the public IP address of the proxy server.

If you want to use a proxy server, you need to either find a free proxy server or pay for a proxy server. You can also set one up yourself, although that is a lot more complicated. To make things easier, we maintain a list of the best free proxy servers and also useful information on how to find free proxy servers.

Here's how to chance your IP using a proxy server on a Mac:

  1. Click the Apple icon in the upper left corner of the screen, and select System Preferences.

    A screenshot of the Apple menu on a Mac.
  2. Click Network.

    A screenshot of System Preferences on a Mac.
  3. Click your current network on the left, then click Advanced in the bottom right corner of the window.

    A screenshot of Network settings on a Mac.
  4. Click the Proxies tab.

    A screenshot of Network settings on a Mac.
  5. Select SOCKS Proxy, unless your proxy provider specified a different option.

    A screenshot of Proxy settings on a Mac.
  6. Enter the information provided by your proxy provider, and click OK.

    A screenshot of a proxy on a Mac.
  7. Click Apply.

    A screenshot of Network settings on a Mac.
  8. Verify that your internet works, and check your public IP to make sure it has changed. If there is a problem, repeat these steps with a different proxy.

How to Change Your IP Address on a Mac With a VPN

When you use a VPN, all of your internet traffic is routed through their servers. Most VPNs provide a choice of servers from around the world, so you can appear to have an IP address from a variety of different countries. The best VPN providers also provide data security guarantees, making it relatively safe to transmit sensitive data without worrying about anyone intercepting it.

You can set up a VPN on your Mac using network settings, or just download an app from the App Store.

Here are the basic steps to get up and running with a VPN on your Mac:

  1. Download a reputable VPN from the App Store and install it.

    A screenshot of a VPN on the App Store.

    While there are free VPNs out there, the best ones require you to sign up for an account and pay a subscription fee.

  2. Launch the VPN, connect to a server, and click Allow if prompted.

    A screenshot of allowing a VPN to work on a Mac.
  3. As long as the VPN is running, your public IP will be the IP of the server that you are connected to. If you want to return to your original IP, disconnect from the VPN server.

    A screenshot of a VPN on a Mac.

How to Get a New IP From Your Internet Service Provider

Some internet service providers stick you with the same public IP for years at a time, while others change your IP on a fairly regular basis. Others provide a new IP each time your router is restarted. If your ISP works like that, then all you have to do is restart your network hardware, and you'll have a new public IP after your router reconnects.

If your ISP doesn't work like that, and you really need a new IP due to denial of service (DoS) attacks, hacking, harassment, or any other reasons, you can always contact your provider and ask for a new IP. This process may be time consuming, as you will probably have to go through several layers of customer service and explain your problem several times, but it's worth a shot if you have no other options.

Not Sure Which Mac IP Changing Method to Use?

Now that you know the different methods, you can think about why you want to change your IP and then choose the method that fits the best.

Here are some examples of why you might want to change the IP on your Mac and which method to use:

  Change your local IP Use a Proxy Use a VPN
Local network conflict X    
Need your Mac to have a static local IP X    
Your router has assigned a bad address X    
Need a new external IP quickly   X  
Hide your identity   X X
Access a website that banned your IP   X X
Need a new external IP with data security     X
Want to bypass regional IP locks     X
Change identity after an attack     X