In the name of privacy, the Google developers made it possible to use a randomized MAC address, starting with Android 8. However, it wasn’t until Android 11 that the default status of MAC randomization was such that users could enable the feature. To make it even more appealing, the randomization of MAC addresses on Android 11 is network based (per SSID).
In other words, every time your device connects to a new network, it can use a randomized MAC address.
Why is this important?
To put it simply: Privacy. If your device uses the same MAC address for everything, it makes it possible for ne’er-do-wells to create a history of your activity, which could lead to far worse things. By making use of randomized MAC addresses, it becomes harder for would-be attackers to use such history against you.
It’s not the end all be all of privacy, but it’s a great start.
How to enable the new enhanced randomized MAC addresses
The feature is actually hiding from you. In order to enable randomized MAC addresses, you must first enable Developer Options. To do that, open Settings and search for Build Number (which should be found in About Phone).
Once you’ve located Build Number, tap it seven times. After the seventh tap, Developer Options will be enabled.
Go back to Settings and then tap System | Advanced and you should see Developer options listed (Figure A).
Tap Developer Options and then scroll down to the Networking section. You should see Wi-Fi-Enhanced MAC Randomization listed (Figure B).
Tap the On/Off slider until it’s on the On position (Figure C).
And that’s it. At this point, every time your Android 11 device is connected to a wireless network, it’ll use a randomized MAC address. Congratulations on your new-found layer of privacy.
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