If you are reading this, you’ve probably heard the term “MAC address”. The MAC, or Media Access Control, address is also referred to as the physical or hardware address because it indicates the address on the network interface card. It is unique for a type of network supported by a device.
The MAC address for a PC refers to the address of the Ethernet or wireless hardware. Laptops will have two MAC addresses — one for Ethernet and the other for a wireless connection. A MAC address has six pairs of characters separated by a colon (:) or hyphen (-). An example of a MAC address is “12:ab:34:cd:5e:6f”.
MAC address is how your software communicates with the hardware. MAC address distinguishes systems (computers) connected in a local network (like school or office), allowing seamless communication within the local network. Although, the internet predominantly depends on an IP address for communication, assigning an IP address to a unique MAC address helps in establishing one end of the communication link.
Use any of the following methods to find MAC address of your system that has a network connection.
- Method 1: Find MAC Address in Windows 7+
- Method 2: Find MAC Address in Windows XP/ 98
- Method 3: Universal Method for Windows
- Method 4: Find MAC Address in Mac OS X
Method 1: Find MAC Address in Windows 7+
This method works when you are connected to the Internet with the interface for which you require the physical address. For a wireless card's MAC address, you must be connected via a wireless connection. For a network interface card's MAC address, you must be connected via an Ethernet connection.
Step 1. Open the Network and Sharing Center
Click on the network connection icon in the bottom-right corner of your screen. If you’re connected via Ethernet, it will look like a computer monitor with a LAN cable. If you’re connected via wireless, it will appear in the form of ascending bars. Click on it and select "Open Network and Sharing Center".
Windows 8 users should right-click the network connection icon to select "Open Network and Sharing Center".
Step 2. Open the connection status window
In the top portion of your screen, next to the word “Connections”, you will find your network name. Click on it and the network connection “Status” window will popup. The network connection can be either Wireless or Ethernet.
Step 3. Locate your MAC Address
Click on "Details" to display the info about your system's network connection configuration.
Search the list of details for the "Physical Address", which is the MAC address.
Method 2: Find MAC Address in Windows XP/ 98
Again, you need to be connected to the Internet via either Ethernet or wireless, depending upon which MAC address you need.
Step 1. Open the Network Connections window
In the bottom-right corner of your screen, look for the network connections icon. It looks like two computer monitors diagonally set apart from each other. If you cannot find the network connection icon in your system tray, click here for alternate method.
Right click on the network connections icon and select the “Open Network Connections” option from the menu.
If the “Network Connection” icon is not present in the system tray, here is an alternate method.
Click on the “Start” menu and select “My Computer”.
In the left portion of the screen, under the “Other Places” section, select “My Network Places”.
In the left portion of the screen, under the “Network Tasks” section, select “View Network Connections”.
Step 2. Open the Local Area Connection status window
In the “Network Connections” window, double click on the “Local Area Connection” icon to display the “Local Area Connection Status” window.
Tip: A mere click on the “Network Connection” icon (if present) in the system tray will display the “Local Area Connection Status” window.
Step 3. Locate the MAC Address
In the “Local Area Connection Status” window, click on the "Support" tab adjacent to the “General” tab.
Click the "Details" button to display the "Network Connection Details" window.
The first item in the window is the "Physical Address", which is the MAC address that you need.
Method 3: Universal Method for Windows
Step 1. Open the Command Prompt
On your keyboard, press the “Windows logo key + R” to open the “Run” dialog box.
Type “cmd.exe” and click “OK” to open the “Command Prompt” window.
In Windows 8+, you can also use the “Windows logo key + X” and select “Command Prompt” from the menu.
Step 2. Type the command to obtain the MAC address
In the “Command Prompt” window, type “getmac /v /fo list” and press "Enter". Remember, there are blank spaces between "getmac" and “/”, "v" and “/”, and "fo" and "list".
Step 3. Mac address displayed
The MAC address of your network hardware will be displayed by the name of "Physical Address" in Command Prompt.
Method 4: Find MAC Address in Mac OS X
Step 1. Open System Preferences
Find the Apple icon in the top-left corner of the screen and click on it. Select “System Preferences” from the drop-down menu. Keep in mind that you must be connected to the network via the wireless or Ethernet interface for which you need the MAC address.
Step 2. Open the Network window
To open the “Network” window, select the "Network" icon in the “System Preferences” window.
Step 3. Find MAC Address
In the “Network” window, you will see the list of your network connections along the left side.
Ethernet and AirPort (Wi-Fi)
Select the network interface, AirPort (Wi-Fi) or Built-in Ethernet, for which you need the MAC address and click on "Advanced" button for that connection to open the network connection window.
In the network connection window for either of the networks, click on the “Hardware” tab.
In the hardware tab you will find your MAC address, which is simply the Ethernet or wireless ID.