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Get back online at restaurants that boot you off the Wi-Fi after 30 minutes Web Browsers

You’re at a fine establishment which offers delicious, free Wi-Fi in addition to delicious, for-pay food. Perhaps served in bread bowls. But like your soup, the Wi-Fi eventually dries up: Restaurants and coffee shops that want to get customers out so that new ones can come in might boot you off the Wi-Fi automatically after thirty minutes.

But you’re not like other customers! You’re going back up to the line to buy another beverage and perhaps a scone. You deserve to get back on that Wi-Fi, dagnabbit. And there’s a way.

We’ve covered changing your MAC address via Terminal before. But now you know that you can use this trick to get back online at Panera Bread and other establishments with time-limited Wi-Fi.

First, get your current MAC address. You can find it in many places; one such place is System Preferences -> Network -> Wi-Fi -> Hardware tab. But since you’re about to get down and dirty Terminal, you can instead launch it, and type:

sudo ifconfig en0

Note: en0 might not be right for your Mac. You might need en1 instead; if your Mac has an ethernet port (i.e., isn’t a MacBook Air), that port owns en0, and your Wi-Fi card is en1. If you’re not sure which to use, try typing just

sudo ifconfig
and pressing Return: The device listed with “status: active” is probably the one you want to work with. So if you need to use en1 and not en0, tweak the instructions below as needed.

After you press Return and provide an administrator password, look for the line labeled “ether,” and note the colon-separated string of letters and numbers. It will look something like: q3:2x:17:08:43:8f. Copy it to your clipboard. Paste it somewhere special. Don’t lose your real MAC address.

Change one thing in the address. Perhaps tweak the last letter to the next one in the alphabet, or increase the final number by one. In my example, I might make my new, fake MAC address q3:2x:17:08:43:8g.

To save that new address, perform these commands in Terminal:

sudo ifconfig en0 ether PUT YOUR NEW MAC ADDRESS HERE
sudo ifconfig en0 down
sudo ifconfig en0 up

Presto-change-o! Your Mac’s now using a new MAC address, and you should be able to reconnect to the restaurant’s Wi-Fi. But if you do so and you don’t buy more food at the same time, you’re earning all kinds of bad karma.

Just remember to change your MAC address back again when you’re finished, using the same steps in Terminal.

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Get back online at restaurants that boot you off the Wi-Fi after 30 minutes | 10 comments | Create New Account
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Get back online at restaurants that boot you off the Wi-Fi after 30 minutes
Authored by: NameAnon on Jul 30, '13 10:11:58AM
You MAC address will revert if you restart OS X, so if you lost where you wrote it down, no big deal. Caveats for changing your MAC address:
  • If 2 people are using the same MAC address, neither computer will work very well.
  • The valid letters/numbers in the MAC address are "0123456789abcdef". It's actually hexadecimal numbers.
  • Edited on Jul 30, '13 10:13:28AM by NameAnon


    [ Reply to This | # ]
    Get back online at restaurants that boot you off the Wi-Fi after 30 minutes
    Authored by: keirthomas on Jul 31, '13 03:38:54AM

    > If 2 people are using the same MAC address, neither computer will work very well.

    You may as well add a warning that people might get hit by an asteroid while winning the lottery. I haven't worked out the odds but it may be the chances of that happening are still higher than a person changing their MAC address to one that's already in use on that particular Wi-Fi network.

    Pointing out caveats are cool but they have to be realistic, or preceded with a comment pointing out that they're moot.

    TL;DR -- don't worry about changing your MAC address to something random. It'll work fine. You will not clash with an address already on the network.

    ---
    Author of Mac Kung Fu
    Over 400 tips, tricks, hints and hacks for OS X
    My tips blog: http://mackungfu.org



    [ Reply to This | # ]
    Get back online at restaurants that boot you off the Wi-Fi after 30 minutes
    Authored by: unfed on Jul 30, '13 10:24:27AM

    The fake MAC address you enter wouldn't work. MAC addresses are hex, that's the numbers 0 thru 9 and letters A thru F. The letter G isn't valid in a MAC address and would generate an error.

    BTW, when posting commands it's always a good idea to try them first. If you don't understand the details about the subject you're posting about it's easy to make mistakes, just like you did here.



    [ Reply to This | # ]
    Get back online at restaurants that boot you off the Wi-Fi after 30 minutes
    Authored by: xhinter on Jul 30, '13 12:31:27PM
    I concur with unfed. Alternatives:

    1. Put these aliases in your profile to randomize and restore your MAC
    alias chrandmac='sudo ifconfig en0 ether $(openssl rand -hex 6 | sed '\''s/\(..\)/\1:/g; s/.$//'\'')'
    alias bia='sudo ifconfig en0 ether 00:11:22:33:44:55'
    where 00:11:22:33:44:55 is the burn-in-address of your interface

    2. Use an applescript
    do shell script "ifconfig en0 ether 00:11:22:33:44:55" with administrator privileges
    NB You could go further and include the commands in 1. in an applescript if you figure out the escaping — all with a nice dialog box to randomize your MAC or reset it to the BIA.

    3. Check https://github.com/feross/SpoofMAC

    [ Reply to This | # ]
    Get back online at restaurants that boot you off the Wi-Fi after 30 minutes
    Authored by: rhowell on Aug 01, '13 12:31:46PM

    awesome.



    [ Reply to This | # ]
    Get back online at restaurants that boot you off the Wi-Fi after 30 minutes
    Authored by: Auricchio on Jul 30, '13 01:53:33PM

    I can understand the OP's desire to have a longer wi-fi session, but I can also understand the restaurant's motivation to turn the table.

    That extra scone isn't nearly as important to the restaurant's livelihood as the next meal-buying customer. A restaurant doesn't survive by letting people camp out for long periods of time. They are in the restaurant business, not the entertainment business.

    You got thirty minutes of free wi-fi time, which many restaurants don't offer. Be thankful, not greedy. Widespread abuse of the service will eventually result it it being withdrawn.

    To quote Ray Wylie Hubbard: "The days when I can keep my gratitude higher than my expectations, well, I have good days."

    ---
    EMOJO: mojo no longer workin'



    [ Reply to This | # ]
    Get back online at restaurants that boot you off the Wi-Fi after 30 minutes
    Authored by: ethernet on Jul 30, '13 02:28:53PM

    Do not make the first byte of your new address an "odd" number (i.e., ending in 1,3,5,7,9,B,D or F) otherwise you will have created a multicast address -- multicast addresses can be seen and received by anyone on the network you are connected to.

    This wikipedia page shows that there is structure to Ethernet (MAC Addresses)

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MAC_address



    [ Reply to This | # ]
    Get back online at restaurants that boot you off the Wi-Fi after 30 minutes
    Authored by: mcroft on Jul 31, '13 05:22:12PM

    How is it OK to post a hint about how to violate the Terms and Conditions of a site that's giving you some free Wi-Fi?

    This hint needs to be deleted. It might be possible to re-format it, but as it stands, it's about screwing the people who are giving you Wi-Fi. That's not right.



    [ Reply to This | # ]
    Get back online at restaurants that boot you off the Wi-Fi after 30 minutes
    Authored by: Interactive on Aug 01, '13 03:28:33AM

    Unless I am missing something for the purpose of changing the MAC address on the fly, could all this be accomplished by the following FREE utility?

    https://www.macupdate.com/app/mac/44340/wifispoof



    [ Reply to This | # ]
    Get back online at restaurants that boot you off the Wi-Fi after 30 minutes
    Authored by: keirthomas on Aug 04, '13 09:27:01AM

    What you might be missing is that this site is supposed to be about doing things using OS X's built in tools.

    Otherwise the site would just be a list of add-in apps.

    That said, I can't find where this is mentioned on this site nowadays so -- who knows? -- the rule might have been changed.

    ---
    Author of Mac Kung Fu
    Over 400 tips, tricks, hints and hacks for OS X
    My tips blog: http://mackungfu.org



    [ Reply to This | # ]