iOS8 MAC Randomization - Analyzed!
SEPTEMBER 23, 2014
by Bhupinder Misra
In June of this year, at WWDC#14, Apple announced that the Wi-Fi scanning behavior of their devices would change starting with iOS8. They would start using randomized and locally administrated Wi-Fi MAC addresses in the probing state. The touted rationale was that such an approach would hide the real MAC addresses of the devices and make MAC address based analytics difficult.
I didn't find any instances of randomized MAC addresses in iOS8 beta releases. Apple made iOS8 generally available as part of their September 2014 launch. Accordingly, it was time for me to take out the packet sniffing gear and clock some hours to dig into the workings of randomized MAC addresses. Read on and familiarize yourself with how they work in iOS8 on iPhone 5, iPhone 5s and iPad mini (iOS8 is supported on iPhone 4s and onwards). I'll do a follow up post if anything different is found in iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus