Here’s how to unblock your phone from a Wi-Fi network:
If your phone is being deliberately blocked from a Wi-Fi network, there are three primary ways around it:
- You can change your phone’s MAC address.
- You can spoof your phone’s MAC address.
- You can unblock your phone on the Wi-Fi router or ask the Wi-Fi router responsible to unblock you.
So if you want to learn all about how to unblock your phone from a Wi-Fi network, then you’re in the right place.
Let’s get started!
How Does Wi-Fi Blocking Work?
There are multiple ways to block access to a Wi-Fi network.
Security filters can require a password.
Other security settings can limit access to specific sites and do a number of other things.
When it comes to blocking a specific device from accessing the network, it is usually done through a blacklist.
With a blacklist, individual devices are cataloged, and their network requests are denied. The primary way to do this is with MAC filtering.
Before we get into the mechanisms, it’s important to understand what MAC filtering is.
MAC stands for Media Access Control, and it is not a reference to Apple computers in any way.
Every device that can connect to a network has a MAC address. This is like a hardware serial number that the network uses to identify the device and route traffic accordingly.
In order to blacklist a device, the router takes note of the device’s MAC address.
It is literally added to a list of devices that are actively denied access to the network. This is commonly known as MAC filtering (mentioned above).
Here’s the trick with MAC addresses. They are not actually hardware serial numbers.
Instead, they are generated by the software for a device’s network connection components.
Here’s an example. If you have a laptop with Wi-Fi and an Ethernet port, it has two MAC addresses. Each mode of connection gets its own address.
MAC addresses are generated by hardware controllers. This is the very basic level software that works behind the scenes so that your phone can connect to things.
What all of this is getting to is that you can change a MAC address on the phone without having to file serial numbers off of circuit boards, and this is one of the key ways to get around a Wi-Fi blacklist. That said, changing a MAC address is not exactly simple.
How Do You Change Your MAC Address to Unblock Your Phone From a Wi-Fi Network?
MAC addresses are controlled at the software level.
So, each type of device and operating system will have different steps involved.
Since this is about phones, we can go over Android and iPhone systems.
If you ever need to do this with a different device, you can look up how to change your MAC address for the device in question.
The entry point for changing the MAC address on an Android phone is already tricky.
Android software does not have a mechanism for changing the MAC address out of the box.
That might sound like a dead end, but it isn’t.
You can go through the process of rooting the device. Once you do, you can manually change the MAC address or use software to do it for you.
Let’s talk about rooting. This Is where you break down a bunch of safety features that are in place to keep you from accidentally harming the operating system.
If you have ever been denied access to something on your own device, it’s because you don’t have root control. Gaining root control allows you to do absolutely anything with the software.
The issue with rooting an Android phone is that it comes with risk. You can damage the software along the way.
Also, misuse of root control can break just about anything on the phone, so proceed with caution.
Because rooting can potentially brick a phone, you’re not going to learn about how to do it here. If you’re determined, you can look up how to root your phone and continue from that point.
If your phone is rooted, you can start by writing down your current MAC address.
You can find this under Settings > Network & Internet > Connections > Advanced.
You might need to go back to this address later, so make sure you have an accessible hard copy ready when you need it.
Once you have the address saved somewhere, you will need a terminal emulator. There is one called “Terminal Emulator” on the Play Store. It works, but other emulators are fine too.
Once you are using a terminal emulator, you will need to become a superuser. Superuser is a name that denotes that you have acquired full unrestricted access to the device via the terminal.
It only requires a few keystrokes, but it’s an important step. You will also need tools that can interface with the MAC address.
Busybox is the most common source of these tools, but it’s not the only way to go.
When you have all of these tools ready and active, you can follow a series of command prompts that will allow you to change the MAC address.
Once you have a MAC address that isn’t actively blocked, you should be able to get on the Wi-Fi again.
Changing the MAC address on an iPhone is a comparable challenge to that of an Android.
Once again, the native software does not allow you to go through this process.
So, you have to jailbreak the phone. This is the iPhone equivalent to rooting the phone (although it is technically a different process). It’s worth noting that jailbreaking an iPhone does void warranty support guarantees.
And, like rooting an Android, jailbreaking can brick a phone. You’re on your own to look that up and try it if you are determined.
Once the phone is jailbroken, you can look for a third-party app that will allow you to change the MAC address.
You should always write down the original MAC address before attempting this so you can restore it if needed.
The trickiest part here is that Apple doesn’t allow third-party access to the wireless adapter.
That means that MAC address changers won’t make it onto the App Store.
Instead, you’ll have to find a third-party app on the wider web and use it.
The good news is that your jailbroken phone can install apps that aren’t on the store.
The bad news is that nobody is formally vetting these apps for you. You will have to proceed at your own risk.
When you do find an app, it will walk you through the steps that allow you to permanently change the MAC address.
How Do You Spoof a MAC Address For Your Phone?
All of those steps above represent a considerable effort. There’s good news.
There is a much easier way to solve this problem regardless of what kind of phone you use.
Instead of changing a MAC address, you can spoof one for your phone. This allows your phone to trick the router into thinking it’s a different device that isn’t currently blocked.
The easiest way to spoof a MAC address is to use a computer.
It will sound more complicated than it really is. You can use an app like Connectify.
This allows your computer to create a virtual network that your phone can then connect to (it kind of turns your laptop into a Wi-Fi hotspot).
This virtual network has its own MAC address.
When you connect your phone to the Wi-Fi with this extra mediator, the router thinks it is giving access to the virtual machine.
Your phone slips past the filter and everything is fine.
No rooting or jailbreaking is necessary at any point.
How Do You Unblock a Phone on a Router?
Now, we can get into what is actually the easiest way around this problem.
You can remove the block on the router.
MAC filtering has to be enabled via the router settings.
You can go into the router settings and disable MAC filtering. Or, you can remove your device from the blacklist.
In order to do this, you will need a device that isn’t blocked.
When you have access to one, you can type your router’s IP address in a web browser (you can look this up on the device or via the manufacturer’s website).
That will take you to a login screen. Usually, you can log in with the default username and password. These are again available on the manufacturer’s website.
When you log into the router, each brand will have a different control panel, but they all have something that controls network security.
That is where you will find an option for MAC filtering. From there, you can either disable the filtering or remove your device from the blacklist.
If you don’t have access to the router, you can ask someone who does. If it’s a home router, simply ask whoever takes care of it.
If it’s a work or professional router, you might have to contact IT to do this for you.
Regardless, asking to be unblocked requires a lot less effort than working around the security protocols.
If you can’t get them to give you access, you can always try the more complicated methods above.
Here is a final point.
Some networks enable things like MAC filtering because they are legally obligated to secure the network. This is true for government-run networks and networks that host protected personal information.
If you go around the filters for any of these networks, you could potentially be violating the law. Always know what network you are trying to access.