- A MAC address is a 12-digit unique identifier used for identifying devices on a network.
- It plays a crucial role in ensuring that the packets get delivered to the correct device—they are intended for—on the network.
- Apple stores iPhone’s MAC address in two places, and the following guide lists down the instructions to locate it on your iPhone.
When communicating over Wi-Fi, your iPhone needs to verify itself on the network before it can receive data—intended for it—on that network. It does this using a MAC address or Wi-Fi address.
While you wouldn’t generally need to know your iPhone’s MAC address, there are times when you might need it: perhaps to allow your iPhone on a network that uses MAC filtering or identify the device causing a problem on your network.
Here’s what you need to know about the MAC address and the steps to find the MAC address on the iPhone.
What Is MAC Address on iPhone?
A MAC (Media Access Control) address is a 12-digit unique identifier assigned to different hardware interfaces on a device by the device manufacturer. It’s used for identifying devices on a network and plays a crucial role in ensuring that the packets get delivered to the correct device—they are intended for—on the network.
On iPhones, you have MAC addresses for Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. However, when you read about the MAC address in relation to the iPhone, it’s generally the Wi-Fi MAC address that’s being talked about. Hence, the colloquial term Wi-Fi address.
A MAC address isn’t to be confused with an IP address, which works on a different OSI layer and is responsible for communication outside the local network. And, of course, it has nothing to do with the other popular Apple lineup, the MacBooks.
How to Find Your iPhone’s MAC Address
Apple offers two ways to find your iPhone’s MAC address. You can either find it from the Wi-Fi settings or under the About section of your iPhone.
Choosing a method between the two depends entirely on whether or not you’ve enabled private Wi-Fi addresses on your iPhone. Private Address or Private Wi-Fi Address, for the uninitiated, is a privacy feature on iPhones (and iPads) that assigns a unique MAC address to each Wi-Fi network your device connects to in order to prevent it from tracking or profiling you on the internet.
With iOS 15 and iPadOS 15, the private Wi-Fi address option is already enabled on your iPhone and iPad. So when you connect your device to a Wi-Fi network, it sends a private Wi-Fi address to the network for identification. In this case, you can find your original MAC address—assigned by the manufacturer—from your device’s About section. Alternatively, disable the private address feature on a Wi-Fi network and find the MAC address from its settings.
On the other hand, if you don’t use private Wi-Fi addresses on your iPhone/iPad, you can find its MAC address using either method.
Method 1: Find Your iPhone’s MAC Address From Wi-Fi Settings
Follow the steps below to find your iPhone’s MAC address from the Wi-Fi settings:
- Open Settings on your iPhone.
- Tap Wi-Fi, and make sure it’s turned on.
- Click on the i button next to a Wi-Fi connection.
- Scroll down until you see the Wi-Fi Address field.
Here, if you see the Private Wi-Fi Address option turned off, the address listed below it as Wi-Fi Address is your iPhone’s real MAC address. If you wish to use/enter this address somewhere, long-press on it and select Copy.
However, if the Private Wi-Fi address option is enabled, you can disable it and perform the above steps again to find your original MAC address or use the second method.
Method 2: Find Your iPhone’s MAC Address From the About Section
Apple also mentions your iPhone’s MAC address in the About section. Follow these steps to locate it on your iPhone:
- Open the Settings app.
- Go to General > About.
- Scroll down until you see the Wi-Fi Address field.
Here, you’ll see the real MAC address of your iPhone listed right next to Wi-Fi Address. You can copy this address by long pressing on it and selecting Copy.
Easily Locate Your iPhone’s MAC Address
Apple makes it extremely easy to locate the MAC address on an iPhone and iPad. Using the instructions listed in the guide above, you should be able to identify your iPhone’s MAC address stored in two different locations on the device. These steps can also be used to locate your iPad’s MAC address. Once determined, you can use your device’s MAC address for network troubleshooting or configuring MAC filtering on your router.
FAQs about finding MAC address on iPhone
A MAC address and an IP address serve entirely different purposes. Device manufacturers assign MAC addresses to device interfaces arbitrarily from a limited possible range. Addresses are used to uniquely identify devices on Local Area Networks (LANs) on Layer 2 of the network. IP addresses signal both an identity and a location. The network portion of the address indicates the location. No matter if IP addresses are dynamic or static, they need to be measured according to where the device will be installed rather than based on an arbitrary MAC address.
You can't really change the MAC address of your iPhone, however, you can spoof the MAC address. Starting with iOS 14, Apple lets users have a private WiFi address for each network. Go to Settings > Wi-Fi. Then tap the i button from the right side of the Wi-Fi network for which you want to use your real MAC address. Find the Private Wi-Fi Access switch and turn it ON.
It should be reasonably safe to share your iPhone or iPad MAC address with anyone. MAC addresses are unique 12 character strings assigned by manufacturers. As long as your device has not been granted access to some secure network based solely on its MAC address, you shouldn't have a problem sharing it.
The way Apple has designed the Private WiFi Address is to have a unique MAC address for each network. But if you want to force the Private WiFi Address to change for whatever reason (like free hotspots with 'x' MB per device), you can do it by going to Settings > General > Transfer or Reset > Reset > Reset Network Settings.
Mind you, it resets all your previously stored network settings.