Issues with random MAC addresses (Android 10 & iOS 14 or later)

The Issue

Due to security updates in iOS 14 and Android 10 (or later), devices may show up with a "private" or randomized MAC (media access control) address to networks. This can affect how family profiles (parental controls), port forwarding or device naming work.

These security updates are put in place to prevent people from being tracked as they move through different public networks and it is safe for your home network to turn off.

When will this be an issue?

Devices will show up as a "new" device in the Nokia WiFi network (because it will have a different MAC address) when:

  • The network name changes
  • The network name is "forgotten" in the phone settings and then reconnected to
  • The operating system is upgraded and the device connects to the network for the first time after the upgrade

Why is this happening?

Android 10 devices and iOS 14 devices (or later) include a feature to use randomized MAC addresses when a device connects to a network. For both operating systems this feature is enabled by default. 

What can I do about it?

First double check that your device is running iOS 14, Android 10 (or later). This isn't an issue with earlier operating systems.

How to check iOS version.
How to check Android version.

Android - disabling randomized MAC address

  1. Open the Android Settings app
  2. Tap 'Network & Internet"
  3. Tap "Wi-Fi"
  4. Tap the gear icon associated with the wireless connection to be configured
  5. Tap "Advanced"
  6. Tap "Privacy"
  7. Tap "Use Device MAC "  

iOS - disabling private addresses 

  1. Open the iOS Settings app
  2. Tap on "Wi-Fi"
  3. Tap the "i" next to the Wi-Fi network you would like to mange the connection for
  4. Tap the "Private Address" toggle to disable it in the off position

What can I do if I don't want to turn off randomized / private MAC addresses?

  • If you have set up Family Profiles, devices will be seen by the app as being different and will need to be added again to the profile (you will only need to do this once after upgrading unless you change your network name).
  • If you have set up port forwarding for any of these devices, they will be seen as "new" and the port forwarding rules will need to be set up again.
  • If you have edited the name of these devices, that will need to be done again.