How to Spoof a Mac Address

They're set by the manufacturer, but you can change them

Every network-enabled device comes with a Media Access Control (MAC) address that's permanently assigned by the manufacturer. If you ever need to hide the identity of a device, or fool a network into thinking one device is another device, you can spoof your MAC address. This can be done in Windows, macOS, and Linux, but the process for mac spoofing is different for each.

What Are MAC Addresses For?

MAC addresses are designed to provide a unique identifier for each piece of hardware that's connected to a network. They're sometimes referred to as physical addresses or hardware addresses as they refer to specific pieces of physical hardware, and they're permanently assigned by the hardware manufacturer.

Why You Might Need to Spoof Your MAC Address

When your computer, phone, or any other hardware connects to an Ethernet, Wi-Fi, or Bluetooth network, the MAC address is used to identify it on the network. If you change the MAC address, the network will see your device as a completely different piece of hardware. If you change the MAC address to be identical to a different device that has been connected to the network in the past, the network will think it's seeing the original device.

There are a lot of reasons you might need to do this, like using the MAC address of an old network card that was previously registered on a network. By using the old MAC address with your new card, you would be able to continue using the network while the administrator gets around to adding your new hardware.

You may also want to change your MAC address for privacy reasons. This is mostly applicable if you're using a public network and you're afraid of someone seeing and copying your MAC address.

How to Spoof a MAC Address in Windows

Windows network drivers typically allow you to set a custom MAC address from within the Device Manager, although there are some exceptions. If your network driver does have this ability, spoofing your MAC address is pretty easy.

  1. A screenshot of the Windows Device Manager.
  2. Select Network adapters to expand it.

    A screenshot of the network adapters in Device Manager.
  3. Right-click your network adapter, then select properties.

    A screenshot of the network adapter dropdown menu in Device Manager.
  4. Select the Advanced tab.

    A screenshot of network properties in Windows.
  5. Select Network Address or Locally Administered Address in the list of properties.

    A screenshot of network properties in Windows.

    If your network adapter doesn't have an option to spoof your MAC address, and you really need to change it, you may need to purchase a new network adapter card.

  6. Enter your desired MAC address in the Value box, then select OK.

    A screenshot of the locally administered address setting in Windows.
  7. Type ipconfig /all and press Enter to verify that your new MAC address has been set.

How to Spoof a MAC Address in macOS

To spoof a MAC address in macOS, you need to use the Terminal. This is a fairly easy process, but it isn't permanent. Every time you restart your computer, your MAC address will reset, and you'll have to perform these steps again if you still want a spoofed address.

If you want your spoofed MAC address to remain between sessions, you can use Automator to run a shell script based on the following commands. Just set it to run every time you boot your computer.

  1. A screenshot of Mac Terminal.
  2. Type sudo ifconfig en0 xx:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx and press Enter.

    A screenshot of a macOS terminal.

    Replace en0 with the name of your network interface, and xx:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx with your desired MAC address.

  3. Type ifconfig and press Enter to verify that your new MAC address has been set.

    A screenshot of a macOS terminal.

How to Spoof a MAC Address in Linux

The specific instructions for spoofing a MAC address in Linux differ depending on the Linux distribution you're using, but most allow you to accomplish this task using some type of network manager.

Since there are so many different Linux distributions, we'll show you how to change your MAC address using the terminal. You can use the network manager if that's easier for you, but the terminal method is universal and works with every Linux distribution.

If prompted, you will have to enter your admin credentials.

  1. Open the terminal.

    A screenshot of a Linux terminal.

    Common keyboard shortcuts include CTRL+ALT+T in Ubuntu, and ALT+F2 in Gnome.

  2. Type sudo ifconfig eth0 down, then press Enter to take your network interface down.

    A screenshot of the terminal in Ubuntu.

    Replace eth0 with the name of your network interface if you're using a different name.

  3. Type sudo ifconfig eth0 hw ether xx:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx and press Enter to change your MAC address.

    A screenshot of changing a MAC address in Linux.

    Replace xx:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx with your desired MAC address.

  4. Type sudo ifconfig eth0 up and press Enter to bring your network back up.

    A screenshot of the terminal in Ubuntu.
  5. Type ifconfig and press Enter to verify that your new MAC address has been set.

    A screenshot of the terminal in Ubuntu.

Your MAC address will remain changed as long as your computer remains on. If you shut down or reboot, your MAC address will reset.