How Private Wi-Fi Can Cause Problems

Most of the time, you won’t notice a problem with private WI-Fi addresses. This option is enabled by default and will “just work.” In some cases, it will cause problems with certain networks.

For example, someone might have set up a Wi-Fi network to use MAC address filtering, only allowing certain devices to connect. Your organization might ask you to disable private Wi-Fi addresses in this situation. At home, you might have set up parental controls for each device on your Wi-Fi network—a feature that uses MAC addresses to identify and apply restrictions to devices.

If you’re ever having trouble connecting to or accessing the internet on a Wi-Fi network, disabling this option is a fine troubleshooting step that will resolve your problem in some situations.

How to Disable Private Addresses for a Wi-Fi Network

The “Private Address” option is controlled separately for each Wi-Fi network. We don’t recommend disabling it for a network unless you need to do so (or are troubleshooting a problem.)

To find this option, head to Settings > Wi-Fi on your iPhone or iPad. Locate the Wi-Fi network you want to change this option for—it’ll be at the top of the screen if you’re currently connected to it. Tap the “i” icon at the right side of the Wi-Fi network name.

Tap the "i" button to the right of the Wi-Fi network.

Disable the “Private Address” option by tapping the switch to its right.

The “Wi-Fi Address” option here shows you the private MAC address being used on that specific network, just in case you need it—to configure something on a router, for example.

Tap the "Private Address" switch

You’ll be prompted to rejoin the network if you’re already connected. Tap “Rejoin” and your iPhone or iPad will rejoin with its normal MAC address.

Tap "Rejoin" to rejoin the network

On an Apple Watch, the process is the same—head to Settings > Wi-Fi, tap the name of the network you’ve joined (or swipe left on a network and tap the “…” button if you’re not already connected to it), and disable the “Private Address” slider.

For added measure please reboot your iPhone or iPad device.