How to Find MAC Address on MacBook

In the world of modern-day technology, there are many different addresses. And I’m not talking about where you send letters to your Grandmother for Valentine’s day here. Or the family farm or where you sleep at night, either… On your computer and within the realm of the internet there are multiple addresses that exist to identify different sorts of things.

Some of these you may have heard of before like a web address or even an IP address. But what about a MAC address? Sounds like the address of where you Mac lives? It’s not. We’ll get into exactly what this address is and how to find it in this article. If you don’t know what a MAC address is or how to find it, you will after reading this article.

What is a MAC Address?

You may be thinking that this address has something to do with your computer being an Apple device. MAC address sounds like it is related to Mac products, right? Well in the case of this tech term, it doesn’t actually have anything to do with Apple products or your MacBook specifically.

MAC is an acronym for Media Access Control. This shortened abbreviation of MAC comes into play when trying to connect your computer to a network and applies to all computers not just your MacBook Pro. All laptops, desktops, PCs, and Macs have MAC addresses associated with them. This address comes in the form of a 12-digit code and your MacBook Pro actually has two of them. One is related to the Ethernet connection and the other for the Wi-Fi adapter.

To break it down even further, this MAC address is not specifically associated with your computer at all, but rather the network cards that are built into the machine. And these MAC numbers can be on different devices such as phones, tablets, or any other device with the capability of connecting to a network.

Why is MAC Address Important?

The most common use of a MAC address is based on network access filtering. This basically means that the MAC address number allows an Internet provider to have control over your access. This keeps internet access to one source in a house from a device like a modem.

MAC addresses can also be used to assign static IP addresses and filter these addresses to limit the number of device connections. In addition to this, MAC addresses are used to identify your device at a location such as an Internet Cafe that might have a time limit on use or to track your device for reasons good and bad, depending on your opinion of having your information tracked.

How to Find Your MAC Address on a MacBook Pro

There are several different ways to access your different MAC addresses on your computer. One of these methods is pretty easy and the other involves going into your terminal which is the location of source code on your computer. This second method may seem intimidating, but it can actually be fun to work with a little bit of code. Try it out if you’re curious and follow the steps below to gain access!

MAC Address Using System Preferences

  1. Open Apple menu in top-left of the screen.
  2. Click on System Preferences.
  3. Select Wi-Fi connection from the menu on the left.
  4. Click on Advanced.
  5. Click on Hardware from the Advanced menu.
  6. You will see your MAC address listed near the top of this window.

The above steps will allow you to know your WiFi MAC address. To find the other MAC address on your MacBook, the one associated with your Ethernet, follow these steps:

  1. Open Apple menu.
  2. Click on System Preferences.
  3. Select Ethernet from the menu on the left.
  4. Click Advanced.
  5. Click on Hardware.
  6. Your Ethernet MAC address will be listed here.

MAC Address Using Terminal

This method involves using a little bit of code, as I mentioned above. Don’t be intimidated if you’ve never done something like this before. It’s good practice to know how to access your terminal and can be fun to explore this aspect of your computer.

  1. Open your Finder.
  2. Click on Applications.
  3. Click on the Utilities folder to open it.
  4. Click on the Terminal icon.
  5. Type ifconfig into the text box here and press Return.
  6. This will bring up a bunch of information in the terminal.
  7. Scroll through this information to find your two MAC addresses.
  8. The line labeled en0 will be in reference to your ethernet MAC address.
  9. The line labeled en1 will be in reference to your WiFi MAC address.
Image courtesy of iClarified

Final Thoughts

You might never need to access your MAC address and you might have not even known what this was before reading this article. If you were searching for this address, you now have the tools to find it either through the System Preferences on your computer or through the Terminal. Regardless of why you need to know your MAC address, it’s good to have the skills to be able to do so. Remember to try to access the terminal if you never have before!

Have you ever had to access your MAC address before? Why did you need it?

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