Use private Wi-Fi addresses in iOS 14, iPadOS 14, and watchOS 7

To further protect your privacy, your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or Apple Watch can periodically change the MAC address it uses with each Wi-Fi network.

To communicate with a Wi-Fi network, a device must identify itself to the network using a unique network address called a media access control (MAC) address. If the device always uses the same Wi-Fi MAC address, network operators and other network observers can more easily relate that address to the device's network activity and location over time. This allows a kind of user tracking or profiling, and it applies to all devices on all Wi-Fi networks.

To reduce this privacy risk, iOS 14, iPadOS 14, and watchOS 7 include a feature that periodically changes the MAC address your device uses with each Wi-Fi network. This randomized MAC address is your device's private Wi-Fi address for that network—until the next time it joins with a different address.


Get prerelease versions of iOS 14, iPad OS 14, and watchOS 7 through the Apple Beta Software Program.

Join Wi-Fi networks with a private address

Connect to Wi-Fi as you normally do from your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch or Apple Watch. Using a private Wi-Fi address doesn't affect how you join or use most Wi-Fi networks, or how the network assigns your device an IP address.

Some networks or network features work best with MAC addresses that do not change:

  • If your Wi-Fi router notifies you whenever a new device joins the network, you will be notified whenever you join with a new private address. You can turn off these notifications in the settings for your router. 
  • Rarely, a network might allow you to join with a private address, but won't allow Internet access. If that happens, you can choose to stop using private addresses with that network.
  • If a network needs an unchanging MAC address to provide parental controls or identify your device as authorized to join, you can choose to stop using private addresses with that network.

Turn private addresses off or on for a network

You can stop or resume using private addresses with any network. For better privacy, leave the setting on for all networks that support it.

iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch

  1. Open the Settings app, then tap Wi-Fi.
  2. Tap the information button  next to a network.
  3. Tap Use Private Address. If your device joined the network without using a private address, a privacy warning explains why.
    Wi-Fi information screen in Settings
  4. The new setting is used the next time your device joins the network. If you want to use it immediately, turn Wi-Fi off and back on in Control Center or Settings, then join the network.

Apple Watch

  1. Open the Settings app, then tap Wi-Fi.
  2. Tap the name of the network you joined. If you haven't joined the network yet, swipe left on its name and tap more .
    The more button in Wi-Fi settings
  3. Tap Private MAC.
    The Private MAC switch in Wi-Fi settings
  4. The new setting is used the next time your Apple Watch joins the network. If you want to use it immediately, turn Wi-Fi off and back on in Control Center or Settings, then join the network.

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