The ‘MAC Handle’ is a singular identifier current on most gadgets linked to the community. For the reason that deal with is assigned through the creation course of, and infrequently can’t be modified, it’s generally used as a means of monitoring folks connecting to totally different networks. To fight this, many working methods (iOS 8+, Home windows 10, and so on.) give randomly generated MAC addresses to the community.
Android added MAC deal with randomization again in Android 5.0 Lollipop, however not solely is that this characteristic disabled on most gadgets, it has a number of main flaws. A analysis examine from final 12 months reported that it was nonetheless attainable to disclose the precise MAC deal with considerably simply, even when Wi-Fi is disabled fully (due to network-based location settings).
The characteristic may be enabled from the developer choices of Android P.
Android P improves this performance by producing a distinct MAC deal with for every Wi-Fi community you connect with. That means, you possibly can nonetheless be recognized on the community (thus not breaking something), however nonetheless not be tracked between totally different folks. It is unclear right now whether or not Android P addresses all the safety points that earlier implementations had, however Google continues to be calling it an experimental characteristic.
UPDATED: 03/10/2018 at 8:42am PST
Google has clarified to us that the older implementation solely makes random ‘probe’ requests to a community (so established connections nonetheless reveal the true MAC), whereas Android P makes use of random addresses for actual connections.
Supply: Android Builders Weblog
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