A specific address assigned to a device’s network interface is the MAC address, or the Computer Access Control address. Network cards like those for WiFi, Bluetooth, etc. should have specific MAC addresses assigned to them on your Android smartphone or laptop.
Such addresses are used to identify devices on a network in a specific way. Although network interfaces such as routers allocate the IP address, MAC addresses are set for devices and assigned by the vendor, hard-coded to the device’s network hardware.
Table of Contents
- Why does one want to change the MAC address?
- How to Find a MAC Address on Android Device
- Change MAC Address without Root Access
- Change MAC Address with Root Access
- How to check Root Access
- Change MAC Address Using Terminal (Root Required)
Why does one want to change the MAC address?
- The most significant factor for this would be privacy. With simple devices, everyone on your local Ethernet network will see your MAC address with ease. This gives a hacker to keep track of your devices (and so, you) potentially. This is a hazard when you’re on a public wireless network (these days, hotels, airports, and even some coffee shops offer free Wi-Fi).
- If your original MAC address is public and exposed, a hacker can use it to impersonate you. Access is limited on many networks based on IP address, so the hacker can use your MAC address to access the network when you go offline
- You can change the MAC address on the computer you want to use (with a MAC address that actually has used) and use the network if you want to access a network that restricts access based on MAC address.
- Internet service providers also use your MAC address to recognize and authenticate a link to your internet. When your network stops working and you need to get a new one, it will not work because the new network card has a different MAC address. Instead of contacting your ISP here, you can update the MAC address of the new network card to the MAC address of your old network card and start using it immediately
- Access restrictions on most networks are focused on a device’s IP address, so when someone has your MAC address he or she can easily work around these security restrictions on IP addresses.
How to Find a MAC Address on Android Device
MAC Address of the Device
One can find their MAC address by navigating to Settings> About phone.
On Samsung Galaxy devices: Open device Settings> About phone or About device> Status> Wi-Fi MAC Address.
On Oneplus devices: Settings> System> About phone> Status> W-iFi MAC Address.
Change MAC Address without Root Access
Step One: Goto Settings > Internet & Wi-Fi. Tap the Wi-Fi option (and not the toggle next door) to see a list of Wi-Fi networks available here. Choose the network to which your phone is currently attached. You will see the MAC address of your phone on the next tab, under Network Info. Based on your device’s display size you can need to select Advanced options for displaying it. You may want to write down the address somewhere free, just in case you later want to go back to it.
Step Two: Download the‘ Android Terminal Emulator‘from Google Play Store.
Step Three: Open Android Terminal Emulator and type ‘ip link show’.
Step Four: Find your interface name from the list. For this example, consider your interface name is ‘wlan0’. Now, type this command in the terminal emulator to change the MAC address: ‘ip link set wlan0 XX:XX:XX:YY:YY:YY’ where you have to replace ‘wlan0’ with your own interface name and ‘XX:XX:XX:YY:YY:YY’ with the new MAC address you want to change to.
Step Five: Verify if your MAC address has changed properly by following Step One.
The approach has two drawbacks. First of all, it works almost always only on devices running MediaTek processors. The second is, the switch is temporary. If you restart your phone your MAC address will go back to the original address.
Change MAC Address with Root Access
How to check Root Access
Even if you’re sure you’ve got your phone rooted as a good precautionary measure, we’ll go ahead and test it out once. To check the root availability, please download the Google Play Store root checker app. The app is free and very simple. Tap on ‘Verify Root’ when you open and you’ll see your root status immediately.
Step One: Install the BusyBox application from Google Playstore.
Step Two: Open BusyBox, tap on ‘Install’.
Step Three: Download the ChameleMAC Application.
Step Four: Install the ChameleMAC application and open the application.
Step Five: Grant root permissions when asked for.
Step Six: Immediately you see a text field with two buttons underneath it. One of the buttons is generating random MAC while the other is saying applying a new MAC.
Step Seven: If you want a random MAC address, enter the new MAC address in the text field and tap Apply new MAC or tap the Create random MAC button.
Step Eight: Tap Change to change the MAC address on the confirmation box which pops up.
ChameleMAC is an app that works with root access and is not available on the Google Play Store as it evidently breaches some rules. Google cannot actively host apps that allow users to change their MAC addresses. Now you just need to mount an APK. Click the button below to access the APK. This app too will only work if you have a MediaTek chip powered device.
Change MAC Address Using Terminal (Root Required)
This method also requires the use of Terminal, Busybox, and the device being rooted.
Step One: Open a terminal window and type these commands: ‘su‘ and hit Enter.
Step Two: If you have not already granted access to the app, it will prompt you for root access. Tap ‘Allow’.
Step Three: To know your current network interface name type ‘ip link show‘ and hit enter. Make note of your network interface name. For the purpose of this tutorial, we will consider ‘eth0‘ to be the interface name.
Step Five: Now, enter this command: ‘busybox ip link show eth0‘ and press enter. Your current MAC address will be displayed. This is just for your information.
Step Six: To change the MAC address, type the following command and hit enter: ‘busybox ifconfig eth0 hw ether XX:XX:XX:YY:YY:YY‘. Change ‘XX:XX:XX:YY:YY:YY’ with any MAC address you desire.
To test the same using the command: ‘busybox iplink display eth0’ you have successfully changed your MAC address. You will see where you entered the new MAC address.
Note that the change in the MAC address through this method is permanent and does not change after restarting the system.
Some Android phones don’t really allow you to alter your MAC address without rooting it, but if you’re fortunate enough you’ll get through that. With every update Android system is updating with new security features; it becomes difficult to change the Android Permanent MAC address. You can try to change the MAC address whatever method you want, this doesn’t really matter.