Antivirus Guide

How to Find Your Mac’s IP Address

A step-by-step guide to find your unique internet protocol address

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Aliza Vigderman
Gabe TurnerChief Editor
Last Updated Mar 11, 2024
By Aliza Vigderman & Gabe Turner on Mar 11, 2024

Your Mac’s IP address is a lot more than just a random string of numbers. It holds your computer’s location, which is most likely where you are. But, how do you find your Mac’s IP? We break it down step-by-step to make it as easy for you as we can.

How to Find Your Mac’s IP Address

The quick way to find your Mac’s IP is to use our IP address lookup tool. But, you can also find it on your own with our step-by-step guide.

To find your Mac’s internal IP address:

  1. Open System Settings.
  2. Select Network.
  3. Under Network Name, make sure it’s the right name. It should say the name of your network or router.
  4. Click Advanced.
  5. Click TCP/IP.
  6. You’ll see your IP address under IPv4 Address.
Internal IP address location on a Mac
Internal IP address location on a Mac

Using Terminal

  1. In the Spotlight search, type in Terminal.
  2. Click Enter.
  3. Enter ‘ipconfig getifaddr en0’, and your local IP address will show up.
  4. To see your public IP address, type curl
Using Terminal on Mac
Finding your local IP address on Terminal

To Change your location on your Mac, you need a Mac VPN most of the time. You can set up a VPN on your Mac so no one can find where you use your PC. Or, learn more about how to find your computer’s IP address to see where your PC’s location is stored.

What Is an IP Address?

An internet protocol address is also known as an IP address. This is a Mac’s (or any device’s) identifying number. It comes from either the internet service provider (ISP) or the router. And it lets the Mac communicate inside and out of the network. IP addresses are needed for your Mac to get data from your network. But, they also have your Mac’s location through the region and postal code in the string of numbers.

» Further Reading: Dynamic vs Static IP Address

Do We Need IP Addresses?

Devices like Macs need an IP address to connect to other devices. This is needed if they’re in-network (on the same router) or out-of-network (on a different router). Every website also has its own IP address. It’s attached to the domain name of a site and tells your computer where to find the site from the name you type in your browser’s URL bar. So yes, we need an IP address if we want to use the internet.

Public vs. Private IP Addresses

Your Mac has two different IP addresses. These include your public IP address, also known as an external IP, and a private IP address, or internal. Both addresses show the location of your network. But that’s one of the only things they have in common.

Features Public Private
Reveals the network location Yes Yes
Where it comes from ISP Router
Who can see it? Other devices outside of the network Only you
Otherwise known as External Internal
Where it’s used Outside of network Within network

When we talk about hiding your IP address, we mean your public IP. By changing your public IP address, you change the place your PC thinks it is. This lets you change your Netflix region, change your Hulu location, or even change your Tinder location. Whether you want to watch a film from a far away country or chat with someone in a different location, it all starts with finding your IP address.

FYI: Private and public IP addresses are terms used in the same way as internal and external IP addresses.

Which Is More Secure?

Private IP addresses are more secure in the sense that they don’t get shared on the Internet. You’re the only one who can see your private IP. (Well, your ISP can see your private IP, too.) Your public IP, on the other hand, gets shared with the sites you visit.

How to Prevent Others From Seeing Your IP Address

If you don’t want your device to share where you are, you need to hide your IP. If you use a public Wi-Fi network, anyone on the network can get your IP. Then, they can use your IP to track where you go. That’s not the only way for somebody to get your IP though. But, it shows why you need to hide it to stay private online. We like to hide our IP by connecting to a VPN. But, we’ll explain some more ways to hide your IP as well.

  • VPNs: Not only do they hide your IP address, but VPNs hide your browsing activity as well, giving you even more anonymity online. Learn how to set up a VPN in just a few minutes, or dive into how much VPNs cost.
  • Tor: Most people use Chrome as their web browser,2 but you can use Tor instead. This is an open-source browser that hides your IP and browsing history by default. And it clears your cookies when you leave a website. This blocks those weird ads that stick to you like glue. Tor is free for macOS on the Tor Project site.3
Logging onto our Proton Mail account using the TorWeb App
Logging onto our Proton Mail account using the TorWeb App
  • Proxy: At the end of our list of ways to hide your IP we have a proxy server. It’s a device that hides your IP and most of the time you can get one for free. But, note that it won’t hide your web use on a Mac:
    1. Open Safari.
    2. Click Settings.
    3. Click Advanced.
    4. Next to Proxies, click on Change Settings…
    5. Click on Proxies.
    6. Enter the information from your network administrator.
    7. Click OK.
    Proxy settings on Mac
    Proxy settings on Mac

    Not sure if you should use a VPN or a proxy? Learn about the differences and similarities between VPNs and proxy servers.

NOTE: Using Tor as your web browser only hides your IP in your web activity and only within that browser. It doesn’t help with any of your other web apps. You need a VPN if you want to encrypt all of your web use for your whole device.

IP Addresses vs. MAC Addresses

While you do your research, you might find something called a MAC address. It might be the same three letters as your Mac PC, but it’s not the same thing. They don’t have any connection aside from them both being computer terms. They have a lot more in common with your IP address. So, what makes an IP and a MAC address different?

Features MAC Address IP Address
What it stands for Media access control address Internet protocol address
Can a third party find it? No Yes
Does it change? Identifies devices Identifies connection of devices on the network
How many bytes? 6 4 or 8
What kind of protocol it can retrieve ARP RARP
What it’s used for Physical addresses Logical address
Where it operates Datalink layer Network layer
Who provides it NIC card’s manufacturer Internet service provider4

To sum it up, you don’t need to hide your MAC address, as third parties can’t find it.

What Information a MAC Address Shows

A MAC address shows your physical address as opposed to your logical address that stays in your network layer. While a logical address is virtual, a physical address is a real place. In this case, the real place is the device that has the MAC address. To put it in simple terms, your MAC address is how your network knows what is connected to it.

Do We Need Both?

Yes, you need both a MAC and IP address to use your Mac. But don’t sweat it; there’s nothing you need to do to get a MAC or IP address. So, you don’t need to think about them when you use your PC. That is, unless you want to hide your IP with a VPN or proxy.

How to Find Your MAC Address

In any case, if you want to find your MAC address on your Mac PC, take these steps:

  1. Open System Settings…
  2. Click Network.
  3. In the Wi-Fi section, Click ‘Details…’.
  4. On the left hand side, click on Hardware.
  5. Your MAC address will show.
MAC address location
MAC address location


That’s most likely more than you ever thought you would know about finding your Mac’s IP address. But, once you find that IP, you can give your Mac protect your Mac more with one of the best macOS antivirus software. And yes, Macs need antivirus, even with their built-in safeguards. VPNs are only the start!

Frequently Asked Questions

We’re the Mac IP address experts and aim to find the answer to all of your questions. Read on for our answers to what we get asked the most.

  • How do I find my IP address on a Mac?

    To find your IP address on a Mac:

    1. Open System Settings.
    2. Select Network.
    3. Choose your Wi-Fi Network from the drop-down menu.
    4. Click Advanced.
    5. Click TCP/IP.
    6. See your IP address under IPv4 Address.
  • Do Macs have IP addresses?

    Yes, Macs have an IP address, much like any device that connects to the internet. Macs have both internal and external IPs. Your router chooses your internal IP and your ISP chooses your external IP.

  • Can I change my Mac’s IP address?

    Yes, you can change your Mac’s IP address on your own or with the use of a proxy server, VPN, or the Tor browser.

  • Is there a Mac IP address lookup tool?

    Yes, there is a tool you can use to look up your Mac IP address from at this address:

  1. AVG. (2021). Find Your IP Address on Windows or Mac.

  2. Statista. (2021). Global market share held by the leading web browser versions as of June 2021.

  3. Tor Project. (2021). Download.

  4. GeeksforGeeks. (2020). Difference between MAC Address and IP Address.