I've recently bought a usb-ethernet adapter (not apple) and I get internet connection. In my university we have to put a specific mac address but I can not change it.

I have tried with

sudo ifconfig en4 ether xx:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx

and with

sudo ifconfig en4 lladdr xx:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx

and with both I got the same result. The command doesn't return any error but when I run ifconfig again the mac address is still the same.

I've also tried with Ubuntu and it worked. Do you know how can I do the same in OS X?

In Ubuntu the name of the adapter is eth0 but in OS X it's en4 instead of en0.

The output of sudo ifconfig en4:

en4: flags=8863 mtu 1500 
    ether 00:e0:4c:36:21:92 
    inet6 fe80::2e0:4cff:fe36:2192%en4 prefixlen 64 scopeid 0x9 
    nd6 options=1 
    media: autoselect (100baseTX ) 
    status: active

sudo ifconfig en4 ether 10:0B:AD:C0:FF:EE doesn't have any output.

The output of sudo ifconfig en4 again:

en4: flags=8863 mtu 1500 
    ether 00:e0:4c:36:21:92 
    inet6 fe80::2e0:4cff:fe36:2192%en4 prefixlen 64 scopeid 0x9 
    inet netmask 0xffffff00 broadcast 
    nd6 options=1 
    media: autoselect (100baseTX ) 
    status: active 

Answering some questions, yes I have tried with sudo en4 down/up and I thing it's not a limitation because I can change it in Ubuntu. If I try to change the mac address of my Wi-Fi I can do it.

I'm using OS x Mavericks and my USB-Ethernet adapter is a Chinese one, the model is AX88772A

  • I've successfully used ifconfig to change my MAC address in OS X before. Can you include output of this command in your question? Maybe it will give some clues. ifconfig en4; sudo ifconfig en4 ether 10:0B:AD:C0:FF:EE; ifconfig en4 Also, anything in Console.app under all messages?
    – miken32
    Nov 20 '14 at 0:01
  • I have exactly the same problem with OS X 10.9.2. I would be very interested in a fix for this problem.
    – carlito
    Nov 26 '14 at 13:48
  • 1
    Have you tried shutting down the adapter first? sudo ifconfig en4 down; sudo ifconfig en4 ether 10:0B:AD:C0:FF:EE; sudo ifconfig en4 up If that doesn't work, I suspect it may just be a hardware limitation of the USB adapter.
    – miken32
    Nov 27 '14 at 21:04
  • I managed to turn off the adapter with ifconfig, but then when trying to change the mac addres ifconfig complains about the adapter being turned off:ifconfig: ioctl (SIOCAIFADDR): Network is down
    – carlito
    Nov 28 '14 at 11:15
  • What version of OS X are your running? Whats the make/model of the usb adapter? I routinely change the MAC on my Alfa usb wireless adapter using that same command on OS X ver. 10.7.5.
    – Brian Duke
    Nov 28 '14 at 12:11

I fixed this issue by installing my adapter's chipset driver on Mac Os X. After rebooting, the usual command (e.g. sudo ifconfig en6 ether xx:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx) works as expected. Below the details.

I had the same problem with a Tecknet UL688G USB 3.0 to 10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet adaptor.

On both Mac Os X 10.10.5 (Yosemite) and 10.11.4 (El Capitan) the command to change the MAC address was ignored, while it worked flawlessly on Ubuntu 15.10.

So no, not an hardware problem, at least in my case. After a few failed attempts with third party software and useless drivers, I found out that my adapter had the Realtek 8153 chipset, as confirmed by the system report of Mac Os X:


I found the chipset driver on another manufacturer's website, relative to a different product that uses the same RTL8153 chipset, installed it, rebooted, and voilà.. after that it was possible to change the MAC address from command line.

enter image description here

PS. the Realtek's website has the driver as well; it is probably the most updated version, although it gave me some errors during the installation. However, it also works as expected.

  • This still works on macOS 10.14.1. Tho you will have to change it again every time your reconnect the USB ethernet device.
    – Cai
    Nov 5 '18 at 6:18
  • 2
    Thank you so much for saving my life. And the driver for RTL8153 is works well for me. Mar 6 '20 at 12:39

Spoofing a MAC address in OSX isn't as simple as it is in Linux so you may want to try using a python script such as SpoofMAC.

Another way to configure/get info about network services in OSX is with the networksetup command.

  • 2
    It's exactly as simple as in Linux; I do it all the time with a single command.
    – miken32
    Nov 27 '14 at 20:57
  • Thank you for pointing out SpoofMAC. However, for this particular problem it behaves exactly as a direct call to ifconfig: no error message, but the MAC address doesn't change.
    – carlito
    Nov 28 '14 at 12:20
  • Actually, it just calls ifconfig. If something like this is done in python, there is reason to wrap python around.
    – bot47
    Nov 2 '15 at 19:38

Stumbled upon changing mac addresses before~

Several answers to try:

  1. Try changing en4 to en0
  2. http://www.macspoofer.com/
  3. http://sweetpproductions.com/wifispoof/ (this is for wifi - but it might help?)
  • en<x> is the identifier of the network device. Changing en4 to en0 will not have the desired effect.
    – Volsk
    Nov 16 '16 at 22:18

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