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MAC Randomisation and how to disable it

As part of iOS 14 and Android 11, mobile phones have had introduced the ability to have what they call a "Private Wi-FI address".

The Wi-FI address - more commonly known as the MAC address - is a twelve-digit code of numbers and letters, unique to your device's network hardware. It can also be called the Physical address, and it's used by networks to keep track of all the individual devices connected.

Most of the time, this is totally unchanging, but manufacturers have introduced this feature as an additional option to keep your device safe if you connect to a lot of different Wi-Fi networks regularly, such as coffee shops, pubs, supermarkets etc. There's very little that can actually be exploited by having your MAC address alone, but without having it change, a Wi-Fi operator might be able to roughly track your different connection instances on their Wi-Fi network.

As Glide is a residential service, our network is expecting your devices to keep the same MAC address, as such we use it to make sure that you're always being given the right speeds and you don't have to log into your account all the time to renew the connection. If you don't have MAC Randomisation disabled, you will find that you're disconnected from the GLide network every time it changes, since to us, you now look like a brand new device. You can read a little more about security on the Glide network here.

 

If you're having issues connecting at all, you can make sure you're logged into your account, or troubleshooting the problem.

 

Disabling Private Wi-Fi Addresses

Handily, manufacturers have taken networks like Glide's into account, and provide instructions on how to disable the feature for certain networks. This means you can keep it enabled for other networks, but disabled when connected to Glide. Click the links below to expand the instructions:

Apple devices

iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch

  1. Open the Settings app, then tap Wi-Fi.
  2. Tap the information button next to the Glide network.
  3. Tap Use Private Address so the slider is to the left. If your device joined the network without using a private address, a privacy warning explains why.
  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 Centre or Settings, then join the network.

Wi-Fi information screen in Settings

 

Apple Watch

  1. Open the Settings app, then tap Wi-Fi.
  2. Tap the name of the Glide network. If you haven't joined the network yet, swipe left on its name and tap more .
  3. Tap Private MAC so the slider is to the left.
  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.

 The more button in Wi-Fi settings

The Private MAC switch in Wi-Fi settings

Source: Apple Support

 

Android devices

    1. Go to the Settings app on your Android device. Tap on Network & Internet or Connections > Wi-Fi.
    2. Tap the gear  width= icon next to the Glide Network.
    3. Tap on MAC address type. Select Use phone MAC.
    4. Turn off Wi-Fi and then turn it on again.
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