Before heading into the ‘How’ part of the article, let us see a brief intro about ‘What’ we are dealing with here. Here’s a step by step guide on how to spoof or change MAC or Media Access Control address on Android devices. Two different methods to change Mac address without root and rooted phones.
What is MAC Address or WiFi MAC Address?
A Media Access Control address (MAC address) is a 12-character unique identifier assigned to a specific piece of hardware such as the network adapter of your WiFi device. In simple words, a MAC address can be used to uniquely identify your Android phone on the Internet or the local network.
Why would you want to change it?
- The most important reason would be privacy. Anyone in your local Ethernet network can easily see your MAC address with simple tools. This gives a hacker to potentially keep track of your devices (and thus, you). This is a threat when you are on a public wireless network (hotels, airports and even some coffee shops provide free wifi these days).
- If your original MAC address is public and revealed, a hacker can use it to impersonate you! On many networks, access is restricted based on IP address, so when you go offline, the hacker can use your MAC address and access the network as ‘you’.
- If you want to access a network which limits access based on MAC address, you can change the MAC address on the device you want access to (with a MAC address which actually has access) and access the network.
- Internet Service Providers often your MAC address to identify and authenticate your internet connection. In case your network stops working and you have to get a new one, the network might not work as the new network card has a new MAC address. Here, instead of contacting your ISP, you can change the new network card’s MAC address to your old network card’s MAC address and start using right away!
How to Find MAC Address on Android Devices
Well, we assume that a person who landed this page via Google search must be aware of MAC address location on his device. However, if you don’t know where to find the MAC address of your device, you’ll find it under Settings> About phone.
- On Samsung Galaxy devices: Open device Settings> About phone or About device> Status> WiFi MAC Address.
- On Onplus devices: Settings> System> About phone> Status> WiFi MAC Address.
Now that we are done with the ‘What’, ‘How’ and ‘Why’ part, let us get down to business.
Change MAC Address or WiFi MAC Address on Android
There are two ways to change MAC address on your Android device:
- Without Root Access.
- With Root Access
Both the methods are fairly simple. We will see both the methods in detail, one-by-one below.
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Checking Root Availability
If you haven’t heard of this term ‘Root’ before, I highly doubt root availability on your phone. Even if you are sure that you have rooted your phone, as a good precautionary measure, we will go ahead and verify it once. To check the root availability, download the below app from the Google Play Store:
The app is free and pretty basic. Upon opening, tap on ‘Verify Root’ and you will see your root status right away. For example, my OnePlus 3 is not rooted and below is the result that I got:
Now that we are sure about the root status, we will continue with the process.
One of the things to take care of while assigning a new MAC address is that you should not change the manufacturer name. This is represented by XX:XX:XX, i.e, the first 6 places or digits. If you change these, you may face Wi-Fi authentication problems. So if your original mac address was a2:63:f4:h5:67:vt (it’s obviously made up), change it to something like a2:63:f4:YY:YY:YY. Where YY:YY:YY can be anything you want but also not just anything you want. You’ll need a valid MAC address. Now, of course, nobody keeps a list of valid MAC addresses in their pockets and it can be hard to guess. You can try this MAC address generator for new MAC addresses.
Method 1 – Change MAC Address without Root Access
Worry not, even if you don’t have root access. It is still possible to change your MAC address. Below is a step by step instructions to temporarily change android MAC address without root access:
- Get to know the MAC Address of your phone. To know this, Goto Settings > Wi-Fi & Internet. Here, tap on the Wi-Fi option (and not on the toggle next to it) to see a list of available WiFi networks. Select the network your device is currently connected to. On the next page, you should see your device’s MAC address under Network Details. Depending on the display size of your device, you may have to tap on Advanced options to see it. You might want to note down the address somewhere safe, just in case you want to revert back to it later.
- Download an app called ‘Android Terminal Emulator‘ from Google Play Store by using the link below:
- Open the App. Type ‘ip link show’.
- Find your interface name from the list. For the purpose of this example, let us 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.
- Now go and verify if your MAC address has changed properly.
There are two limitations to this method. The first being, it almost always works only on devices with MediaTek processors. The second being, the change is temporary. Your MAC address will go back to the original one if you restart your phone.
Method 2 – Change MAC Address with Root Access
Note that this method only works on rooted Android devices. The second thing you need for this method to work, apart from root, is Busybox. You can easily install Busybox on your rooted android phone with the following app:
Just open the app, tap on ‘Install’ and you are good to go. If you already have Busybox installed on your device, just ignore these steps.
Change MAC Address Using ChameleMAC
ChameleMAC is an app that works with root access and isn’t available on the Google Play Store because it obviously violates some guidelines. Google can’t actively host apps that let users change MAC addresses. So you’ll just have to install it an APK. You can download the APK from the link below. This app too only works if you have a device powered by a MediaTek chip.
- If you do, download and install the APK from above and launch the app.
- Grant root permissions when asked for.
- There’s nothing much to the app. Right away you see a text input field with two buttons below it. One of the buttons says Generate random MAC while the other says Apply new MAC.
- Input the new MAC address in the text field and tap on Apply new MAC or tap on the Generate random MAC button if you want a random MAC address.
- On the confirmation box that pops up, tap Change to change the MAC address.
This method changes your MAC address permanently unless you manually change it back to what it was.
Change MAC Address Using Terminal
This method also requires the use of Terminal, so go ahead and download it from the link above if you haven’t already. Assuming you have both Terminal Window, ROOT and Busybox on your device, follow the below steps:
- Open terminal window app and type these commands: ‘su‘ and hit Enter.
- If you have not already granted access to the app, it will prompt you for root access. Tap ‘Allow’.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- You have successfully changed your MAC address! To check the same use the command: ‘busybox iplink show eth0‘. You should see the new MAC address you entered.
Note that the MAC address change through this method is permanent and does not change upon device restart.
Did this method work for you? Have you an easier method than this to change the MAC address? Let us know in the comments below!