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Private Address-MAC Randomisation (iOS14) Apple devices

Hi Everyone,

We wanted to let you all know about a change that Apple have introduced in their newest mobile operating system iOS 14 which may affect your BT Whole Home systems.


What is MAC? 

To communicate with a Wi-Fi network, a device must identify itself to the network using a unique network address called a media access control (MAC) address


What is being introduced in Apple’s IOS14?

As part of the new IOS14 launch, which commenced 16th September 2020, Apple released the new iOS14 firmware on new Apple devices and this will also be available to existing devices as a software update.

Within this iOS release, there will be new functionality within the ‘wireless settings’ that customers will be automatically opted into called ‘Private Address’.

The Private Address is a feature that Apple is introducing to ensure that a new MAC address (Media Access Control) is assigned to the device in order to make it more difficult for tracking and tagging of devices to specific locations, making it more secure for customers.  This feature generates a random MAC address for each network, which includes joining a wifi network for the first time, or re-naming an existing one.


How will this affect my BT Whole Home Wifi?


Customers purchasing a new Apple device which has iOS14 will be opted in to the ‘Private Address’ feature but will not need to worry about any issue with their BT Whole Home Wifi, this will work as expected with the newly allocated MAC address.

Customers who upgrade their existing device to iOS14 will have ‘private address’ enabled by default, which is configurable under the settings.  This private address will then assign a new MAC address to your device so you will need to forget the iOS device entry for the old MAC address within the WHW app, where it will be showing as Offline.  The iOS device should automatically connect to Whole Home Wifi with its new MAC address also.

This may impact your use of Whole Home Wifi functionality that uses MAC addresses including:-

  • Scheduling, Pausing or Blocking of devices if this is something that you have previously set up
  • Multiple entries in your device list after changing your main SSID and reconnecting
  • Multiple entries in your device list after swapping between your main and your Guest Wifi network

If you are setting up your Whole Home Wifi network for the first time, or Factory Resetting your network, it is advisable to leave any access control settings until after you decide to change the SSID from the default

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