Need to know your Mac's IP address? You've come to the right place. We show how to find this information, as well as explaining what an IP address is and the difference between internal and external IP addresses.

What is an IP address?

Your IP address is your computer or device's location online. It's where the internet can find you, and how it can identify you, essentially.The IP address is assigned to you by your ISP (Internet Service Provider).

Networking hardware needs to know this address in order to connect you to the internet, but it does this automatically, and it's quite rare that you'll need to know your IP address yourself.

Your IP address can also be used to identify you and track your online activities. Google uses your IP address to localise your search results, for example. If that bothers you, it would be wise to use a VPN - we recommend NordVPN, but there are other options in our Best Mac VPNs roundup.

External and internal IP addresses

There are two kinds of IP address.

  • External (or public) IP address. This is how the internet at large locates and contacts you; it is assigned to you by your ISP when you first go online, and can apply to a device or to an entire network that connects to the internet via a single point. This can appear in either IPv4 (four numbers separated by dots, for a total of around 8-12 digits) or IPv6 (eight numbers separated by digits, for around 30 digits) form.
  • Internal (or private, or local). This address is not disclosed to the internet - it's only used within your home network, and applies to a single device. A group of offline computers linked on a private network would use internal IP addresses to talk to each other, and your Wi-Fi router will use internal IP addresses to speak to the various devices that connect to it. This will always be in IPv4 form (four numbers separated by dots) and will nearly always be 192.168.X.X, with the Xs varying from device to device.

If someone refers to your IP address they probably mean the external one, but we'll show how to find out both in this article.

Why would anyone need to know your IP address

You might need to know your IP address when setting up certain types of software,

It's an unlikely scenario, but if someone had your IP address it is possible that they could hack you, so be wary about telling it to anyone. In fact, it could even lead them to you thanks to geolocation data, although to pinpoint your actual location it would probably be necessary to demand the information from your ISP - with a search warrant.

How to find your external (public) IP address

The method you use here depends on whether you're connected to a router, or directly to a modem.

If you are directly connected to modem

It's more than likely that your ISP has provided you with a combined modem router, and that you connect to this wirelessly, in which case the below steps won't work for you. But just in case you are connected directly to a modem, via an Ethernet cable, here's what to do:

  1. Open System Preferences. (Either click the cogs icon in your dock, or hit the Apple logo drop-down menu at the top left of your screen, and then select System Preferences.)
  2. Click Network (under the Internet & Wireless section).
  3. Highlight the option in the left-hand bar that has a green dot, then check the information that appears in the pane on the right. It should say Connected at the top; in the smaller text underneath it will tell you what your IP address is.

If you are connected to a router wirelessly, this will show you the internal IP address, not the external address. We'll look in more detail at how to find out your internal IP address below.

If you are connected to router

Assuming you are connected to a router rather than a modem - which is the most likely scenario - there are a couple of ways to find out your IP address.

We recommend using a service like What is my IP Address? but Google will also tell you if you simply type in What is my IP address into the search bar.

How to find your Mac's IP address: What is my IP address?

How to find your local internal (private/local) IP address

The IP address we discovered using the above method is the external IP address, and that will nearly always be what you need to find out. But very occasionally you'll need to know your internal IP address instead.

As we explained above, it is possible to find this out by looking in the Network section of system preferences.

As before:

  1. Open System Preferences. (Either click the cogs icon in your dock, or hit the Apple logo drop-down menu at the top left of your screen, and then select System Preferences.)
  2. Click Network (under the Internet & Wireless section).
  3. Highlight the option in the left-hand bar that has a green dot, then check the information that appears in the pane on the right. It should say Connected at the top; in the smaller text underneath it will tell you what your internal IP address is.

IP address mac

Your IP address will appear in the format XXX.XXX.X.X, almost certainly beginning 192.168.X.X.

How to find your IP address using Terminal

If you want to be really geeky you could use Terminal to find out your (local) IP address.

If you are connected via a wireless network:

  1. Open Terminal (Press Command + Space and start to type Terminal)
  2. Type in: ipconfig getifaddr en0

Every device on your network, including the router, will be assigned an internal IP address, but the entire network will be assigned a single external IP address at the point it meets the internet.

That's it! You now know what your IP address is. Perhaps you would now like to find out your Mac's specs.