Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Your Mac is about to get a killer security feature

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Apple

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This story is part of our complete Apple WWDC coverage

Everyone is talking about the potential security problems with Apple’s recent AI push, but Apple has also announced a new security feature in macOS Sequoia that sounds incredibly handy. The feature is called “Rotate Wi-Fi Address,” which increases user privacy by randomly modifying your Apple device’s MAC addresses when connected to a network.

In addition to being available in Sequoia, the feature is also coming to iOS 18 and iPadOS 18.

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Apple states that this new feature will offer users increased protection from tracking since it can happen when your address always appears the same to other nearby devices and users who are on the same network. Apple asserts this will also help make it more difficult for entities to create a detailed profile based on the user’s Wi-Fi usage. The new feature will replace the existing “Private Wi-Fi” options, which also assigned a distinctive MAC address but did not rotate it. As previously mentioned, the release is set for the fall, but we’ll keep you posted if the launch date changes.

The Rotate Wi-Fi Address feature differs from the Limit IP Address Tracking option (which you can turn on for Safari and Mail). The Rotate Wi-Fi Address feature changes the MAC addresses, while Limit IP Address Tracking disguises IP addresses. Apple’s Private Wi-Fi Address feature should not be confused with a VPN’s purpose because while the Apple feature masks your device’s MAC address, the VPN masks your IP address and encrypts your internet traffic.

Time will tell if the new privacy feature will cause any issues when trying to connect or stay connected to a network. Any feature that helps keep your MAC address safe is always welcome, especially with older routers and specific network configurations. In the meantime, the more security measures you can take, the better.

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