How to find the MAC address on MacBook?

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MAC addresses are something that is used by our computers on a daily basis and is a concept familiar to most of us in the tech world. Chances are, you aren’t familiar with what a MAC address is, so here’s a brief explanation of what they are. When computers are in a network, they need identification (usually called addresses) to distinguish one computer from another. There are two types of identification – one for the software called the IP address; another for hardware called the MAC address. These addresses help in data transfer in a network. When you send or receive files or messages or anything for that matter, from one computer to another, you need to send them to the right computer. This is done with the help of IP and MAC addresses.

What is a MAC address?

A Media Access Control address, abbreviated as the MAC address, is a 17-character string that contains numbers, alphabets, and colons. This address is unique to every computer and is embedded into a chip called the NIC or Network Interface Card which is a hardware network adapter, during the time of manufacturing. Thus, a MAC address is also known as networking hardware address, or the burned-in address (BIA), or the physical address. It typically looks like this – 00:0a:95:9d:68:16.

Why is MAC address important?

  • Data Transfer – To send the files and messages to the right computer.
  • Intruder Filtering – To block users who shouldn’t be part of the network.
  • MAC Address Lookup – To find the geographical location of a device.
  • Data Recovery – To connect to a wireless device.

How to find it on your Macbook?

There are two different ways to identify your MAC address in your MacBook – one using system preferences, and the other (my personal favorite), through the terminal. Both of these methods are equally easy and don't make a difference in the end, so it ultimately boils down to which method you personally prefer. Now, let’s get straight into how you can find the MAC address on your device. Much like finding the MAC address of an IphoneLinks to an external site., the procedure has been detailed in Lucid manner here.

Method I: Through System Preferences

The “straightforward” way to find out your MacBook’s MAC address is through system preferences. In case you’re working on something important parellely on your MAC, you can learn how to split screen on a MAC machineLinks to an external site. before beginning to work on this.

Step 1: Locate and click on the Apple icon, which by default is situated on the top left corner of your screen.

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Step 2: Select the system preferences option from the drop-down menu.

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Step 3: Locate and select “network” (denoted by a globe icon) from the menu that appears.

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Step 4: This should open a menu that contains all your current network details, wired or otherwise. In this menu, click the “Advanced” button, which should be located at the bottom right corner.

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Step 5: You should see the MAC address on your screen now. However, if you don’t see it, make sure that the “Hardware” option is selected in the top menu (it’ll turn from grey to blue if selected).

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Step 6: If you want to identify the MAC address of a different network’s hardware (say, a wired ethernet), go back to Step 4, and from the menu which appears on your left, choose the appropriate network, for which you need to identify your MAC address. The rest of the steps are the same.

Method II: Through Terminal

This is the alternate way to find your MAC address (as I mentioned before, my personal favorite). 

Step 1: Launch the terminal from applications - utilities.

Step 2: Type in “ifconfig” (without the “) on the terminal window (this is equivalent to “ipconfig” on the command prompt in Windows)

Step 3: You will be shown data pertaining to all your network connections. For systems with both wireless and ethernet connections, the MAC address under en0 is the address of the ethernet cable, while en1 will be that of the wireless connections. If you’re confused as to which exactly is the MAC address, look for the label “ether” in the terminal window. That label will correspond to the MAC address, which is a 12 digit address, separated by 5 colons (:).

This is my favorite because I love to code, and going to the terminal and directly typing in the commands gives me hacker vibes.

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We rarely use MAC addresses, unlike computers which use them on a day-to-day basis, if we are casual users. However, you may run into several situations, where you might need to identify your MAC address, and in such cases, knowing both these methods might come in handy. As you can see, both these methods are fairly easy and will enable you to identify MAC addresses in a matter of seconds. 

If this article helped you in any way, or if you know someone who might be in need of this information, do share this article with them. Make sure to subscribe to our platform for more such informative tech articles and reviews!


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