How to Find IP Address on Mac Through Terminal

Nicholas Russell
By Nicholas Russell 13 Min Read
13 Min Read

Hey there! Today, I’m here to share the nifty world of IP addresses with you. Don’t worry; it’s not as complicated as it sounds. Let’s dive in!

Okay, imagine your computer is like a big city, and every device connected to it has its own special address, kind of like a house number. That’s what we call an IP address – a unique set of numbers that tells the computer where to send and receive information.

Two Types of IP Addresses

Now, here’s the cool part. There are two types of IP addresses: external (public) and internal (local). Think of the external one as the city’s zip code, telling others where your network is located. On the flip side, the internal address is like the specific house number of your device inside that network.

Well, sometimes we need to know these addresses, especially when we’re setting up or fixing things on our computer. It’s like getting directions to a friend’s house – you need to know where to go!

Let’s Get Down to Business

So, you want to find your Mac’s IP addresses. No worries! We’re going to use something called the Terminal. It’s like a secret agent tool for your computer.

  • Step 1: Open the Terminal

Think of the Terminal as your computer’s personal assistant. To open it, click on the magnifying glass in the top right corner of your screen, type “Terminal,” and hit Enter. Voila!

  • Step 2: Type a Simple Command

Now, let’s make the magic happen. In the Terminal, type either “curl” or “ifconfig” (without the quotes) and hit Enter. These are like secret codes that tell your computer to spill the beans on its IP addresses.

Two Types of IP Addresses

Now that we’ve dipped our toes into the IP address pool, let’s dive a bit deeper. There are two key players in this game: internal (or local) and external (or public) IP addresses. Buckle up, because we’re about to unravel the mystery!

Internal or Local IP Addresses

Imagine your home network as a bustling city, and each device inside it – your laptop, desktop, phone, or even the printer – has its own special address. We call these addresses “internal” or “local” IPs. They’re like home addresses within the city limits.

Now, here’s the cool part – these addresses are like secret agents that work undercover. They’re only visible and relevant within your home network. So, when your laptop chats with your printer, it’s like they’re passing notes within the city limits that no one else can read.

And hey, we can break it down even further! There are two kinds of internal IPs: one for devices connected through Wi-Fi, and the other for those plugged in with a good ol’ cable. It’s like dividing the city into neighborhoods.

External or Public IP Addresses

Now, let’s talk about the VIPs of the internet world – external or public IPs. Think of your home network as a gatekeeper to the vast internet kingdom. The external IP is like the address of your network’s front gate that connects it to the outside world.

Unlike internal IPs, this one’s a social butterfly. It’s not shy at all. Every time you visit a website, send an email, or chat with pals online, your external IP is strutting its stuff for everyone to see. It’s like your home city announcing its presence to the world.

But beware, this VIP status comes with a cost. Your external IP spills the beans on where you are and who your internet service provider is. It’s like telling the world, “Hey, I’m here, and this is where I’m from!” Advertisers might use this info to tailor ads just for you, and your internet service provider might use it to control what content you can access.

So, there you have it – the tale of internal and external IP addresses. One plays it cool within your home, while the other is the extrovert showing off to the whole internet. It’s like having a secret identity and a public persona, both in the vast world of cyberspace.

Keep on exploring, and remember, the more you know, the more powerful you become in the digital realm!

How to Find Your IP Address on Mac

Ready to unravel the mystery of your IP address? I’m here to guide you through it, step by step. Whether your Mac is chit-chatting through Wi-Fi or rocking a wired connection, we’ve got you covered.

#1 Internal or Local IP Address

First things first, let’s find out where your Mac hangs out within your home network.

If you’re team Wi-Fi, open the Terminal and type:

ipconfig getifaddr en0

Hit Enter, and voila! Your internal or local IP address will pop up, like a digital nametag.

Now, if your Mac prefers the wired life, try this command instead:

ipconfig getifaddr en1

And there you have it – a different IP address because it’s a different connection. It’s like having two secret identities, one for Wi-Fi and one for the cable crew.

#2 External or Public IP Address

Time to unveil the VIP address that connects your home network to the vast internet realm.

For this grand reveal, type in the Terminal:


Press Enter, and boom! Your external or public IP address shows up, strutting its stuff for the world to see. This is the address your router uses to shout, “I’m here, Internet!”

And that’s it! You’ve just cracked the code to finding your Mac’s IP addresses. It’s like being a digital detective, revealing hidden identities in the world of technology. Keep exploring, and soon you’ll be the Sherlock Holmes of your Mac universe. Happy sleuthing!

Other Methods for Finding IP Addresses

If the Terminal isn’t your cup of tea, fear not! There are other ways to uncover your Mac’s secret identity. Let’s explore some desktop-friendly methods that don’t involve any secret agent commands.

Finding Internal or Local IP Addresses on your Desktop

So, you’re not into Terminal commands? No problem! Let’s take a stroll through your System Preferences for a more visual approach.

Step 1: Click on the System Preferences Icon. It’s like the control center for your Mac.

Step 2: In the System Preferences window, click on Network. It’s like peeking into your Mac’s connection settings.

Step 3: Look at that! Right there, you’ll spot the local or internal IP address your Mac is cozying up to. It’s like finding a hidden treasure on a map.

And there you have it! No need for secret codes or commands – just a few clicks, and you’re in the know.

Finding the External or Public IP address using Google

Now, let’s say you want to show off your network’s VIP address without diving into Terminal adventures. Easy peasy!

Step 1: Open your web browser and head to It’s like opening the gates to the internet kingdom.

Step 2: In the search field, type: “What is my IP address?” It’s like asking Google to spill the beans.

Step 3: Ta-da! Your external or public IP address will be right at the top of the search results. It’s like your network waving to the world.

And just like that, you’ve discovered two more ways to find your Mac’s IP addresses. Choose the method that suits your tech style and keep exploring the digital universe.


Alright, fellow Mac explorers, you’ve navigated the digital landscape, peeling back the layers of your Mac’s mysterious IP addresses. Whether you’ve embraced the Terminal’s secret commands or opted for a more visual journey through System Preferences, you’re now equipped with the knowledge to unveil these digital identities.

We’ve learned about the dynamic duo of IP addresses: the internal, shrouded in the secrecy of your home network, and the external, strutting its stuff on the world stage of the internet. Each has its own role, like a hidden superhero and a bold celebrity.

For those who love the thrill of commands, we delved into the Terminal, typing away to reveal the internal IP addresses dancing within our networks. Wi-Fi or cable, your Mac wears different hats, and each connection boasts its unique address.

Not a fan of secret codes? No worries! We strolled through System Preferences, where a few clicks unveiled the local IP address, akin to finding treasure on a map. Simple, straightforward, and no coding required.

And for those who prefer the grandeur of the internet stage, we explored the Google route. A quick search, and voila! Your external IP address, the VIP of your network, proudly displayed for the world to see.

Whether you’re a Terminal maestro, a System Preferences savant, or a Google guru, you now hold the keys to Mac IP address mastery. So, go ahead, explore, experiment, and revel in the digital wonders your Mac has to offer. Happy navigating, tech trailblazers!


Why do I need to know my Mac’s IP address?

Understanding your Mac’s IP address is crucial for tasks like setting up networks and configuring applications. It’s like knowing the address of your digital home, helping devices communicate and share information.

What’s the difference between internal and external IP addresses?

Internal or local IP addresses are like secret codes within your home network, while external or public IP addresses are the ones your network flaunts to the outside world, revealing your location and internet service provider.

Can I find my IP address without using the Terminal?

Absolutely! If the Terminal isn’t your style, you can discover your Mac’s IP addresses through System Preferences or even use a web browser and Google. No coding required!

Are there different internal IP addresses for Wi-Fi and wired connections?

Yes, indeed! Your Mac wears different digital hats for Wi-Fi and wired connections, so each has its unique internal IP address. It’s like having distinct addresses for different neighborhoods in your digital city.

Does my external IP address pose any privacy concerns?

Certainly! Your external IP address can reveal your location and internet service provider. Advertisers might use this info to tailor ads, and your internet service provider could control your access to specific content.

Can I use applications from the AppStore to find my IP address?

Absolutely! If you’re not comfortable with the Terminal, you can explore desktop tools or even find applications in the AppStore designed to retrieve your Mac’s IP address information. It’s all about choosing the method that suits your tech comfort zone.

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