Not a request for support, rather an observation I made. I had not seen any mention of this situation so I’m posting my experience here in hopes it just might help someone.
I just upgraded my wife’s iPhone to 11 Pro. Had a problem connecting it to my home WIFI.
I use a white list on my router so that if the MAC address of a device is not in the list, you are not able to make a connection. Apple has added a piece of information to that available on the phone. They call it a WiFi Address rather than a MAC address. As it is in the same format as a MAC address, I just thought it was the MAC address and was typical of Apple to use their idea of what should be named what.
So, I shut down my white list and allowed the new phone to connect, looked at the network map and determined what the actual MAC address was, (it was not what the phone said it was) added it to my white list and that was that. I thought. I called Apple support and told them about the “Problem” and was told they were aware of it and that reports were closed.
When an update of IOS became available, it was installed on my iPhone 10s. The same problem occurred on my iPhone. So, I repeated the process I used on my wife’s phone and was able to connect again. I could not understand why the number shown on the phone and the number actually used were different but figured, as support seemed to be aware of the problem, they would fix it eventually.
Then, I added the MAC address of my phone to the access point in my garage and was confused when it was not allowed to make a connection. Shutting down the white list on that router showed that my phone was using a different MAC address on that router. It was then that I figured out something was going on that didn’t know about.
Turns out that Apple has added an anti-tracking addition to their phones that spoof the MAC address to show a unique address for each network. I applaud them for that addition even though it makes a little more work to dig out the needed information to access my network. That’s also why they call it a WiFi Address I suppose.
There is a switch in the settings that allow you to turn it off, and I guess that would force the phone to use the address shown for all networks, but I didn’t try it as I really like the idea of one more little step in defeating web site tracking.
So that’s my little story and I’m glad I figured out what’s going on as I just ordered an iPhone 12 Pro and will have to go over all this again when it gets here.