How To Change Location on a Mac

Whether you want to change your network location or IP address location, we’ve got you covered.

By
&
Aliza Vigderman
Gabe TurnerChief Editor
Last Updated on Aug 4, 2021
By Aliza Vigderman & Gabe Turner on Aug 4, 2021

You’re on your MacBook Pro and out of things to watch on Netflix — how do you access another country’s library? Or maybe you’re at home and need to access your work network without going into the office. Whatever your reason, we’re telling you how to change your location on a Mac, step by step.

How To Change Location on Mac

First, figure out exactly what you mean when you say “location” — the network location or the IP address. Let’s differentiate the two.

What Is a Network Location?

A network location is a group of settings for a network port, which could be a modem, a wireless network, or an Ethernet network. All Macs come with network locations automatically, but Apple lets users join multiple locations at once, switching between them as needed.

How To Change Your Network Location

If you want to change your network location, follow these steps on your Mac:

How To Change Your Network Location on a Mac

  1. Choose Apple Menu from your screen.
  2. Open System Preferences, your Mac’s network preferences app that has the location menu item.
  3. Click “Network.”
  4. Open the dropdown menu to switch locations. To the right of “Location,” choose “Edit Locations.”
  5. Click “Add.”
  6. Type in the name of the new location.
  7. Click “Done.”
  8. Click “Apply” for the location feature to change.

What Is an IP Address?

In contrast, an IP address is your Mac’s identifying number that’s associated with the computer and its automatic network. We like to think of IP addresses like the numbers on houses, along with their street names, towns, and ZIP codes. Each device comes with its own unique IP address, which lets computers send information to each other and track users’ locations.

Streaming services often use devices’ IP addresses to determine their locations, which then determines what library the user can access. That’s why we use VPNs to hide our IP addresses.

How To Change Your IP Address

To change your IP address with a VPN:

  1. Sign up for a VPN on your Mac, your router, or even your browser if you prefer. If you’re not sure which one you want, first check out our lists of the best Mac VPNs and the best Chrome VPNs.
  2. Download the VPN app.
  3. Sign in.
  4. Select the location of your choosing and connect to a nearby server.
  5. Verify that your IP address has changed.

For more information on how to set up a VPN, look at our specific pages on how to set up a router VPN or how to set up a Mac VPN.

Note: Firefox has its own VPN, which we tested in our Mozilla VPN review. However, you don’t have to use this VPN on Firefox if you don’t want to, as other VPNs work on the browser. Learn more about Mozilla VPN and its costs.

How Do Websites Track Your Geolocation?

We’ve all heard about how we’re followed around on the internet, but how exactly do websites know where we are? These are a few of the different methods:

  • IP addresses: While IP addresses aren’t exact, unmoving locations, they can show what geographic area the user is in. This is the least accurate method of geolocation.
  • GPS: GPS, or the Global Positioning System, is made possible with satellites that orbit Earth.
  • Wi-Fi positioning system: Websites can gain location data from your Wi-Fi network.
  • Cell tower trilateration: Websites can also get your geolocation data from the cellular towers you connect to on your smartphone.

FYI: Cellular towers are legally required in order for the police to report approximate locations for 911 calls. So, if a smartphone doesn’t have GPS information, emergency services can use cellular networks instead.1

Network Service 101

Now let’s go back to those network locations we mentioned earlier. You can do a lot with them: change them, prevent services from being used, remove locations completely, rename them, or copy them. Think of it like a Bop It for your computer’s network.

How To Change the Network Service Order

  1. Open the Apple menu.
  2. Open System Preferences.
  3. Click “Network.”
  4. In the dropdown menu to the right of “Location,” click on the location you want to change.
  5. Click the “More Options” button, which has three dots.
  6. Click “Set Service Order.”
  7. Drag the services into the order you like.
  8. Click “OK.”
  9. Click “Apply.”

How To Prevent a Network Service From Being Used

  1. Open the Apple menu.
  2. Open System Preferences.
  3. Click “Network.”
  4. In the dropdown menu to the right of “Location,” choose the location you want to change.
  5. Click “More Options.”
  6. Click “Make Service Inactive.”
  7. Click “Apply.”2

How To Remove a Network Location

  1. Open the Apple menu.
  2. Open System Preferences.
  3. Click “Network.”
  4. In the dropdown menu to the right of “Location,” click “Edit Locations.”
  5. Choose the location you want to remove.
  6. Click “Remove.”
  7. Click “Done.”
  8. Click “Apply.”

How To Rename a Network Location

  1. Open the Apple menu.
  2. Open System Preferences.
  3. Click “Network.”
  4. In the dropdown menu to the right of “Location,” click “Edit Locations.”
  5. Choose the location you want to rename.
  6. Enter a new name.
  7. Click “Done.”
  8. Click “Apply.”

How To Copy a Network Location

  1. Open the Apple menu.
  2. Open System Preferences.
  3. Click “Network.”
  4. In the dropdown menu to the right of “Location,” click “Edit Locations.”
  5. Choose the location you want to copy.
  6. Click the Action pop-up menu.
  7. Click “Duplicate Location.”
  8. Enter a new name for the location.
  9. Click “Done.”
  10. Click “Apply.”3

How To Turn On Location Services

Many apps, from dating apps to e-commerce, make users turn on their location services. If you’re not sure how to do that, keep reading:

  1. Open System Preferences.
  2. Click “Security & Privacy.”
  3. Click “Privacy.”
  4. Click on the lock to unlock the preference pane.
  5. Click “Location Services.”
  6. Click “Enable Location Services.” Now, your Mac will start sharing your location.

Recap

That’s it for how to change your Mac location, but your MacBook probably isn’t the only device you have. So, we’ve compiled guides on how to change your PC location, and how to change your iPhone/iPad location. You’ll be changing your Netflix region in no time.

Frequently Asked Questions

For more information on how to change your Mac location, we’ve answered the questions we get the most often.

  • How do I set my location on my Mac?

    To set your location on a Mac:

    1. Open the System Preferences app.
    2. Choose “Security & Privacy.”
    3. Click “Privacy.”
    4. If it’s locked, click the lock to unlock it.
    5. Choose “Location Services.”
    6. Choose “Enable Location Services.”
  • How do I change my GPS location on a Mac?

    You can’t change your GPS location on a Mac because Macs don’t have GPS trackers. Rather, Macs determine users’ locations via their IP addresses or Wi-Fi networks, so to change your IP address, use a VPN.

  • How do I change my location on Safari on a Mac?

    To change your location on Safari on a Mac:

    1. Open System Preferences.
    2. Click “Security & Privacy.”
    3. Click “Privacy.”
    4. Click “Location Services.”
    5. Unlock the lock by clicking on it if necessary.
    6. Scroll to Safari.
    7. Check off the app to enable Location Services.
  • Why is the location on my Mac wrong?

    Your Mac location may be wrong because you’re using a VPN or because you’re connecting to a different network location. You may have also disabled Location Services.