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How to change your IP address
You can think of an IP address like a postal address, just for the internet and your home network — it’s how you’re identified, which lets devices know where to route data packets. Your internet IP is also known as a “public” address, whereas devices on your home network have “local” IPs so they can talk to each other.
Let’s be clear — there’s usually no need to change an IP address, whether public or local. But if the need arises, here’s how you can change addresses on Android, iPhone, Mac, and Windows devices.
Read more: How to secure your home Wi-Fi network
Public IPs can be changed in several ways, such as a VPN, the Tor network, or (in some cases) rebooting your modem. You can also change the local IPs of devices on your network, the exact methods depending on the device in question.
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How to change your public IP address on Windows or Mac
There are a few ways to change your public IP, some more reliable than others.
- Reboot your modem by unplugging it, waiting a few minutes, then plugging it back in. Ideally this should release your IP and secure you a new one when you reconnect. There’s no guarantee however — not every ISP (internet service provider) uses dynamic IP assignment, and you may just get your old IP back regardless. If you’re determined to use this method, you may want to wait a few hours before reconnecting.
- Request a new IP from your ISP. You’ll have to research how your ISP handles such requests, and if it uses dynamic IPs, a new IP might not stick forever. Some ISPs offer the option of a static (permanent) IP, but you may have to pay for the privilege.
- Connect to a VPN (virtual private network). VPNs offer middleman servers that not only disguise your real IP, but improve security and let you navigate around geoblocking by services and governments. Most VPNs require a subscription fee however, and in a sense, your personal IP never really changes — it’s just that outside parties can’t see it unless they bypass the VPN’s security.
- Connect to an HTTP/S, SOCKS, or SSH proxy. Much like a VPN, a proxy forwards traffic through a separate server, and it’s that server that the internet sees as your public IP. This is a potentially very technical option which we won’t detail here, and if you use HTTP/S, only your web browser will gain the benefits.
- Connect to the Tor network, which is free and run by volunteers. This option is limited to web traffic, and funnels your data through multiple servers, each of which adds a layer of security. You can think of it as a bulletproof VPN, and for that reason it’s a favorite of both political dissidents and criminals. It’s best avoided by casual users since it’s focused on web traffic and can slow speeds considerably.
How to change your IP address on Android
For your public IP you’ll need to use options like a VPN, but it’s possible to change your phone or tablet’s local IP address directly. Note that instructions may vary since there are different forks of Android, but here’s a sample flow:
- Open Settings and navigate to Network and Internet.
- Find your currently connected Wi-Fi network, then tap and hold on its name.
- Choose Modify Network.
- Tap Advanced Options and select a static IP.
- You should be prompted to enter a main IP address, a gateway address, and one or more DNS servers.
Note that you can’t enter just any numbers in these fields and expect them to work. For your main address you’ll need to ping IPs on your local network to discover an open one, and you really shouldn’t change gateway or DNS addresses. You’ll want to poll your Wi-Fi network to discover what your existing gateway and DNS addresses are, say by using the ipconfig/all command in the Windows Command Prompt. The ping command can also be used there, starting from one digit higher than your gateway. Macs have an equivalent to the Command Prompt called Terminal.
How to change your IP address on an iPhone
As with Android, you have change an iPhone or iPad’s public IP through tools like VPNs, but there are built-in options for changing local IP.
- Open the Settings app and select Wi-Fi.
- Hit the info (i) button next to your currently active network.
- Scroll down to the IPv4 Address section and tap Configure IP.
- Select Manual, and enter the new address data. You’ll need to use the network discovery instructions in the Android section above to figure out which addresses to use.
How to change your local IP address on Windows
There are actually a few ways to do this, but the easiest is through the Settings app. In Windows 11:
- Open Settings, then click on Network and internet.
- Click Wi-Fi.
- Select your active Wi-Fi network.
- Next to IP assignment, click Edit.
- Choose Manual and toggle on IPv4.
- As needed, specify your main IP address, subnet mask, gateway, and preferred DNS. As explained in our Android instructions, you’ll want to use network discovery tools to learn which IPs to use.
How to change your local IP address on a Mac
Using macOS Ventura:
- Click the Apple menu, then System Settings.
- Click Network in the sidebar.
- Select the Wi-Fi connection you’re using, then Details.
- Click TCP/IP.
- Click Configure IPv4 and choose Manually.
- Enter IP address data as needed. You’ll need to use Terminal commands to learn which IP addresses are open on your network.
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It’s a string of four numbers separated by periods, each ranging in value from 0 to 255. Your router, for instance, will typically have an address like 192.168.x.1, where the X will be a single-digit value.
Internet Protocol. It’s fundamental to how the internet works, to the point that that the IPv4 system has been around since the early 1980s, long before the public had access. The internet is slowly migrating towards IPv6.