With the introduction of iOS 14, Apple added a new toggle in the WiFI settings called ‘Private Address’.
Basically what this setting does is, for the sake of the privacy of their users, randomizes the MAC address of the iPhone every 24 hours rendering your iPhone no longer traceable by the MAC address. This setting is even turned on by default on all devices running iOS 14 and newer unless you actively disable it in settings.
In a statement to WiFi-Now, Johan Terve, a veteran WiFi expert says this could have a severe impact on the industry.
The first thing is that any Wi-Fi network that uses a MAC address for authentication of users will now need to present the user with a new log-in screen because the network won’t recognize the user’s MAC address after 24 hours. Basically, the network won’t know if that user has been there before.
While this setting is in place to help with Apple’s stance on privacy for its users, it could pose a problem for companies that rely on MAC address tracing for identification purposes.
This new setting comes on the heels of another privacy setting that Apple introduced with iOS 14, iPadOS 14, and macOS Big Sur; the pop up that asks you whether you want a website to track you (giving you the option to opt-out). Facebook and other advertising companies have been very vocal about this new feature citing that it could have adverse effects on their business.