What is a MAC address & how do I find it?

Learn how you can protect your broadband network with the help of a MAC address – the unique serial code found in all internet-ready devices.

Learn how you can protect your broadband network with the help of a MAC address – the unique serial code found in all internet-ready devices.

Holly Niblett
From the Digital team
4
minute read
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Posted 29 APRIL 2021

What is a MAC address?

A MAC address, or Media Access Control address, is a unique serial number assigned to all devices that connect to the internet. They’re displayed in six groups of two digits, usually separated by hyphens or colons. For example, 00-15-E9-2B-99-3C. 

How do I find a MAC address?

The way to find a MAC address will vary depending on the device you’re using. Typically, they’re found by connecting your laptop, tablet or phone to a network and accessing its ethernet or WiFi settings.

How do I find a MAC address when using Windows?

If you’re using a laptop or PC with Windows, the process for finding the MAC address will depend on which version of the operating system you’re using.

If your device is running on Windows 10 – the latest version – you’ll need to follow these steps:

  • Open ‘Settings’ > ‘Network & Internet’
  • Select ‘Ethernet’ or ‘WiFi’, depending on your connection
  • Click on ‘Properties’ to find the unique serial number

How do I find a MAC address when using macOS?

If you’re looking for the MAC address on a device running the latest Apple operating system, macOS Catalina, you’ll need to:

  • Open ‘System Preferences’ > ‘Network’
  • Select your network connection and then click ‘Advanced’
  • Head to the ‘Hardware’ tab and the MAC address will be visible near the top of the window

Older versions of the operating system should follow a similar set of instructions.

How do I find the MAC address for my iPhone?

Finding your iPhone’s MAC address is simple:

  • Open ‘Settings’ > ‘General’ > ‘About’
  • Scroll down to ‘WiFi Address’ to find the 12-digit MAC address

How do I find the MAC address for my Android?

Your Android’s MAC address can be found in the Settings app:

  • Open ‘Settings’ and under ‘Wireless & Networks’ tap the ‘Advanced’ section
  • The MAC address will be visible at the bottom of the page

What is MAC filtering?

MAC filtering limits the number of devices that can join a network. You can either deny (blacklist) or grant (whitelist) network access to a certain device, using its MAC address.

This security feature can be used alongside a password or network security key, for extra protection. It’s useful if you suspect there are unwanted/unfamiliar devices using your broadband connection.

How do I set up MAC filtering on my Sky Broadband network?

Unfortunately, currently there’s little or no official advice on how to set up MAC filtering on a Sky Broadband network.

However, the Sky Broadband Buddy app may be useful for blacklisting devices, so they can’t access your connection.

How do I set up MAC filtering on my Virgin Media network?

You can set up MAC filtering on your Virgin Media Hub 3 by following these steps: 

  • Visit the web page shown on the back of the unit to access the Hub 3’s settings page 
  • Choose ‘Advanced Settings’ > ‘Security’ > ‘Mac Filtering’ 
  • Click ‘Add filter rule’ 
  • Enter a description in the ‘Device Name’ field 
  • Enter the MAC address in pairs, in the empty fields 
  • Select ‘Add filter rule’ to complete

The Virgin Media website gives more information on setting up MAC filtering on different hubs

How can I turn MAC filtering off?

Not all internet service providers offer specific advice on MAC filtering, but simply resetting your router and hub may do the trick.

You can do this by using a pin or the tip of a pen to press and hold the reset button for a few seconds.

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