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If you don’t know anything about an IP address, let alone your IP, you don’t need to worry about it because you are not alone here. Many other people don’t know this.
But that doesn’t necessarily mean finding your IP address is an irksome task. It’s basic, and in this article, we’ll discuss how to do it on Mac.
What’s an IP Address?
For those who don’t know what IPs are, it’s a unique identifier in a numerical form. With the IP address, devices communicate with one another and exchange their information. Using an IP address, your location, online activity, and identity can be traced by any entity with your IP address.
Now, there are a couple of types of IPs. One is a public IP address, and the other is a private IP address. Your ISP or service provider assigns you a public IP address.
This IP address is used to find out about your device (to be more precise) on the internet. On the other hand, a private IP address is for any local network. This local network isn’t accessible to any other device connected to the internet.
5 Methods to Find IP Address on Mac OS
Find your IP address using the “ifconfig” command
One of the best and easiest techniques to get your IP address on a Mac is by using the “ifconfig” command.
You must open the terminal and type in the “ifconfig” command.
Thanks to this command, you can find a range of info regarding your network. Under the “inet” sections, you will have the IP address too.
If you are looking for your IP address on a particular interface, you get to add an interface name following the “ifconfig” command.
Find IP address using “ipconfig getifaddr”
Another command you can use for this purpose is the “ipconfig getifaddr” command. You will have to begin by opening the terminal and typing in “ipconfig getifaddr interface.”
As soon as you press enter, your screen will display the IPs of a specific interface. For instance, when you type in ipconfig getifaddr en0, you will get “188.8.131.52” as a result. You can find the interface with this command, as you can see.
Find IP address using the System Preferences network tool
Another very common way to find IP addresses on your Mac OS is by using the network tool available in System Preferences.
To access the application, you must click on your Apple menu and locate “System Preferences” on the left side of your screen on the top.
When the window pops up, click “Network” and select the network interface that is active from the sidebar. You will get the IP address right under the title saying “Status.”
Find IP address using an inbuilt tool named “Network Utility”
To find an IP address and have an older version of Mac OS, you can use an inbuilt tool that goes by the name “Network Utility”. You will be able to access this tool in “Utilities”, present within “Applications”. After opening the “Utilities” folder, click on “Network Utility.”
As soon as the window appears, you will get the IP address which will be available under the tab named “Info”. This particular tool is no longer available in newer versions of Mac OS.
Find the IP address using the Remote Login feature
There is another way that you can use to find your IP address, and that is by accessing the Remote Login feature. This feature is available on Mac OS under “System Preferences” and click “Sharing.”
You can check the Remote Login option in the next window and see your IP address in the right-hand pane. You can locate it in the statement, “To log in to this computer …. “
Your IP address is only visible to the devices connected to your WiFi network. It is not visible to those devices outside your home network.
How Can I Check My Public IP Address & Is There a Way to Hide It?
You only have to use Google to find your public IP. Yes, that’s right! Type in “what’s my IP” in the search bar on Google, and it will display your public IP.
But if you don’t want that and hide your IP on macOS, you can always use a quality VPN service. This virtual network is private, and it encrypts all internet traffic and reroutes it using a server elsewhere.
Doing so will make it extremely difficult for any third party to track the user’s location online along with all the online activity and the device.
Difference Between IP Address & MAC Address
An IP address is an internet protocol, and it’s in numerical form. Your internet service provider assigns you this address, which is different from all other devices. This internet protocol is to connect and communicate between different devices.
There are two primary purposes that it can serve. One is to identify the network or host interface, and the other is to find the location of the device.
An IP address can be assigned manually if you configure a device for saving the Static IP address, which will automatically give a Dynamic IP address by the DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol) server.
IP addresses can be in two formats. The IPv4 format is, for example, 184.108.40.206. While the IPv6 format is abcd:efgh:abcd:efgh:abcd:efgh:abcd:efgh.
You need to keep in mind that this address will always be unique, and each device has a different IP address. If they have a similar IP address, it will cause an IP Address Conflict, and we will discuss that briefly.
Now, there are two different types of IP addresses:
Private IP address
This type of IP address is assigned when connected to a LAN. Therefore, you can communicate with other devices on the same network. In other words, these IP addresses are not globally accessible.
Public IP address
This address is for devices that are connected to the internet. Therefore, the address can be searched globally. The addresses are globally unique and can help determine a device’s location across the globe.
The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority assigns these numbers along with their regional subsidiary across the globe. Therefore, finding out the address for a particular device becomes much easier.
MAC address or media access control address is another one that is uniquely assigned. Like the IP address, the MAC address is another identifier for each device connected to the internet.
However, this address is assigned to the hardware of your device. It means your laptop or desktop is the hardware, and its address is the MAC address.
This address is written in the format 11:11:11:22:22:22. The first three numbers, “11:11:11,” identify the device’s manufacturer, also called the OUI (Organizational Unique Identifier). And these numbers are followed by a unique identifier, and there is no other device with a similar address.
What’s an IP Conflict & Some Other Common Networking Issues on Mac?
IP conflict happens when two systems or devices are assigned to the same network with a similar IP address. It can cause a range of different connectivity issues, which will result in various errors or error messages. And you will have to alter the IP of one system or devices for resolving this conflict.
Common networking issues on Mac include slow speeds, DNS errors, and connection drops. But you can resolve these issues by simply restarting your router or the modem if you are using that. Flushing out your DNS cache can also work, or you can reset the network settings.
Why Are IP & MAC Addresses Both Essential?
These addresses establish communication between devices across the globe. And since TCP/IP only uses the IP protocol, IP addresses remain more popular for communication.
But that doesn’t mean it is the only communication protocol that devices can use. IPX/SPX protocol uses MAC addresses, making the second option more of an alternative system for communication between different devices.
Does macOS Have a Firewall?
macOS does feature an inbuilt firewall, no matter the version. A firewall is built into the system to protect the device from any kind of online threats.
If you want to get to the settings of your Mac’s firewall, you will have to go to “System Preferences” and then find “Security & Privacy.” There you will find “Firewall.” so click on that.
It allows you to enable/disable your Mac’s firewall. Moreover, you can add or remove any applications from the list displaying all allowed apps.
Best Ways to Mask Your IP on Mac
Here are some of the best ways to mask your IP address on your macOS.
By using a VPN service
You can conveniently hide your IP address on Mac by using a quality VPN service. A virtual private network service can help you mask your IP address with another one from one of its servers across the globe.
It enables you to access data that is geo-restricted in your country. The best part is that it is a suitable option for all devices besides macOS.
By using a proxy
If you are not concerned about your security and are quite content with some basic-level IP protections, then consider using proxies. VPNs are proxies technically, but in this scenario, we are talking about SSH and SSL proxies.
These proxies can help you protect your IP address. But they don’t provide any additional security beyond that. They can’t protect you from any high-security DNS servers as well.
By changing your network
This one’s pretty simple, but you can alter our network by changing your router, and it can also help you mask your IP address. For instance, you can run your hotspot for some time. But you can’t go like this for some heavy internet usage.
By using the Tor browser
Tor is by far the most secure browser on the market, and it was originally for US intelligence and military services but has since been passed on to the public.
However, you will have to be careful of the dark web accessed via .onion sites because that is an entirely different and dangerous world. So, be careful while using Tor.
Ask your ISP to alter it for you
You can ask your ISP to change the IP address that they have already assigned to you. They will do it if you have a friendly ISP. You can do this using your Mac and your TCP/IP settings.
Ask them to lease a new DHCP, which will give you a new private IP address. But remember that your IP address will be obvious to your ISP.
Why would anyone want to know your IP address?
You must know your IP address to set up various software applications. It is not that easy, but it’s not impossible either to hack your system using your IP address.
Therefore, you need to be careful with your IP address and prevent it from any malicious attack using a quality VPN. But they can only access your exact location by extracting your information from your internet service provider with a search warrant.
How do I know if someone is tracking my IP address?
No, you can’t just find out whether someone is tracking your IP address or not. Maybe your bank is looking at you, your real estate agent, or someone else. Even a stalker or an investigator can be tracking it. So, your safe bet is to use a quality firewall with a quality VPN service.
There are various ways to check your IP address on your Mac. You can check both your public and private IP addresses. If privacy is your concern, make sure to use a quality VPN service because nothing beats the service quality it ensures by masking your IP address online.