How to change IP address on your Mac


See the “Another device is using your IP address” message on your Mac? Or you want a new online identity from an IP standpoint to protect your privacy when surfing the Internet? Or you just need to access a online service that is currently unvailable in your country or region? Whatever the reason may be, you want to know how to change IP address on your Mac. If it’s the case, this article is for you!

In this article, you’ll learn:

What is an IP address

An Internet Protocol (IP) address is the unique number assigned to a network device (e.g. a computer or a smartphone, etc.) connected to a computer network that uses the Internet Protocol for communication. It’s like an identity on the Internet. The IP address identifies each device across the Internet or a network.

Most IP addresses are IPv4 addresses, which looks like a series of numbers separated by three periods. If you see an IP address that contains a longer series of numbers and letter, and it’s divided by seven columns, it’s a different type of IP address called IPv6.

Here are some examples of IPv4 and IPv6 address:

IPv4 address examples:
IPv6 address examples:

Private IP address & public address

IP addresses are divided into public IP addresses and private IP addresses.

The private IP address is used to communitcate within the same (local) network. In constrast, the public IP address is used to communicate outside the local network. In other words, the public IP address is global.

If all of your devices are connected to the same wireless router in your home, they will share the same public IP address when they go online. However, their private IP addresses are slightly different, and are usually automatically assigned by your wireless router when they connect to your Home’s Wi-Fi.

Briefly speaking, The public IP address is basically provided by your ISP (Internet Serivce Provider), while the private IP address for each device in the same network is often assigned by a router. And the range of the private IP addresses sharing the same public IP address is divided by the subnet mask.

Private IP address range

According to standards set forth in Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) document RFC-1918, the Internet Assigned Numbers Autority (IANA) has reserved the following IPv4 address ranges for private internets, so they are not publicly routable on the global Internet: – – –

How to find the current IP address on your Mac

To view the current IP address of your Mac, you can either go to System Preferences or open the Terminal app. And both methods are quite simple.

To find the current IP address of your Mac via System Preferences:

The IP address you see in System Preferences is the private IP address, which is used only on your local network. Most home networks use the same range of addresses (starting from 192.168.x.x). In contrast, your public IP is what the reset of the Internet sees when any device on your home network connects to the Internet.
To find your current public IP address of your Mac, simply Google “what’s my IP”.
  1. On your Mac, click Apple menu and select Syetem Preferences….
  2. Click Network.
  3. Select the network connection you want to view (such as Ethernet or Wi-Fi), then you can view the IP address of that network connection on the right.

To find the current IP address of your Mac through the Terminal app:

If you prefer to use the Ternimal app, follow the steps below to find the current IP address of your Mac:

The IP addresses you see in the terminal app pertain to private IP addresses. If you need to know your current public IP address, just Google “what’s my IP”.
  1. On your keyboard, press the Command key and Space to invoke Spotlight Search (if you’re connecting a PC keyboard to your Mac, use the keyboard combination the Windows logo keySpace instead), then type terminal and press Enter to open the Terminal app.
  2. To show the current IP address on a Ethernet connection, use the command ipconfig getifaddr en0.
  3. If you want to show the IP address on a Wi-Fi connection, use the command ipconfig getifaddr en1.

How to change the IP address of your Mac

Depending on the goal you want to achieve, you can change either the private address or the public IP address of your Mac.

In short, changing the private IP address of your Mac only changes the its IP address on your home network. However, after changing the public IP address of your Mac, you let others on the Internet see a different IP address on your Mac, which means you hide the original public IP address from others.

So, there are generally two Methods for you to try:

Method 1: Using DHCP

If you just need to change the privata IP address of your Mac on your home / local network only, for example, you need to give your Mac a new local IP address in order to fix the IP conflict issue on your home network, you can use DHCP in System Preferences.

With DHCP on your home network, normally you don’t have to manually configure the IP address of your devices on your home network, because DHCP has automated the process of configuring devices on IP network, so you can avoid the “Another device is using your IP address” message (IP conflict).

Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) is a network management protocol used on Internet Protocol networks where a DHCP server automatically (dynamically) assigns the IP addresses and other network configuration parameters to the devices on IP networks. Using DHCP, the network devices can communicate with other IP networks.

To use DHCP on your Mac, follow the steps below:

  1. On your Mac, go to System Preferences > Nework.
  2. Select the network connection you want to use DPCH.
  3. For Ethernet connection, click the Configure IPv4 pop-up menu, choose Using DHCP and click Apply.
  4. For Wi-Fi connection, click Wi-Fi on the left, then click Advanced….
  5. Navigate to the TCP/IP tab, click the Configure IPv4 pop-up menu, choose Using DHCP and click OK and Apply.

Now, you’ve changed the private IP address of your Mac on your local network!

Mehtod 2: Using a proxy server or a VPN

Some websites and online services such as games, music services or video services will block devices that have IP addresses from certain regions. If you want to access those region-blocked services, you have to change your public IP address to the one that appears to be from another region. After changing your IP address, you’re wearing a disguise when visiting those region-blocked services, and the system would grant you access.

You may also want to protect your online privacy when surfing the Internet. If so, changing your public IP address is a good choice because it can help protect your identity.

To change your public IP address, a simple solution is to use a proxy server or a VPN. If you don’t have any proxy server, then we recommend that you use a VPN.

A VPN, or a virtual private network, extends a private network across a public network, which enables you to send and receive data across shared or public networks as if your devices were directly connected to the private netwrok. VPN services are widely used to establish encrypted and secure netowork connections. With VPN, you can

  • Encrypt your online data
  • Secure your persional infoamtion when using public Wi-Fi
  • Avoid ISP tracking
  • Unblock geo-restricted websites and online services
We don’t recommend using those “free” VPNs, as free things always come with a price. If you don’t know which VPN to use, here we recommend NordVPN.
NordVPN client on macOS
Tips:  If you have tried NordVPN and decided to subscribe to the service, you can always find and grab the latest NordVPN coupons and deals on DE coupon site first before you place an order.

Hopefully, after reading this article, you’ve learned how to change the IP address on your Mac! If you have any questions or suggestions on this topic, feel free to leave us a comment below. Thanks for reading!

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By Justin Zeng

Justin is a technical writer. As a Microsoft 365 Certified: Modern Desktop Administrator Associate, he loves exploring new technologies and writing technical how-to tips to help people fix their computer / phone issues. When he's not writing, there's a 99 percent chance he's reading, playing video games or listening to music.

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