Your VPN Might Not Be Enough: How to Disable IPv6 on MacOS

In recent years, Virtual Private Networks have quickly become a cornerstone of the privacy tool in the fight against ubiquitous data tracking – regardless of whether you use a device with macOS or Windows. While there are a growing number of VPNs to choose from, even the best still struggle to secure a key weakness in your privacy: your IPv6 address.

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IPv6 is the successor to traditional IPv4 – which is what you would normally consider your IP address. But IPv6 can also reveal potentially personally identifiable information about your location. That’s why our top VPN recommendations all include some form of IPv6 leak protection. However, sometimes when your other software or your own device’s configurations conflict with your VPN, you may not be able to take full advantage of this IPv6 protection.

Since disabling IPv6 on Windows only takes a few clicks, finding tutorials for the process is just a quick internet search away. While it takes less than 5 minutes to disable an IPv6 on a macOS device, the process requires a few more steps. And the method you use depends on the configuration of your device.

Here are the two most common methods for disabling IPv6 on macOS, along with steps you can take to re-enable it if you change your mind.

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How to disable IPv6 in MacOS in System Preferences

1. Open in your Apple menu system settings.

2. press the network Icon shaped like a globe. A new window is going to be opened. On the left side of the window, you’ll see a list of networks you’ve previously connected to, including the network you’re currently connected to, which has a green dot on the left. Click on it to highlight the network.

3. press the Progressive button at the bottom of the window. A new window will open with several tabs at the top. Choose from these TCP/IP.

4. On the TCP/IP tab you will see two drop down menus. Click on the drop down menu next to it Configure IPv6and choose Out of.

5. Click in the lower right corner of the window OK. Once the TCP/IP window closes and you are back in the network window, click Apply in the lower right corner and then close the window.

If your version of macOS doesn’t have an option labeled “Off” in the drop-down menu next to “Configure IPv6,” you can manually disable IPv6 from your macOS terminal.

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These steps will walk you through disabling IPv6, but you will also find steps to re-enable it.

1. Open a Finder window and click applications.

2. Scroll down to a folder labeled Utilities. Click on it to open it and then select it terminal.

3. Once you open Terminal, a small black window will open. Type the following command into the window and Terminal will show you a list of all your current network types:

sudo networksetup – listallnetworkservices

The terminal may or may not prompt you for a password. This is what you need to type every time you wake up your Mac. Once you type it in, your list of network types will appear.

4. Locate the type of network you are currently using. It is likely that you are currently using either WiFi or Ethernet to read this. We will instruct the computer to disable IPv6 on that particular network type, whatever that network is labeled in your list.

If you are connected via WiFi, enter the following: sudo networksetup -setv6off WiFi

5. You won’t see confirmation that you’ve disabled IPv6, but Terminal may ask you for your password again. Once you enter your password correctly, IPv6 will be disabled. You can close the terminal and you’re done.

If for some reason you change your mind and need to re-enable IPv6 on your macOS, you can go through the same process with a small modification of the command. Just open the terminal and enter the following command: sudo networksetup -setv6automatic wifi.

For more tools to improve your privacy when working with Apple devices, check out our list of Best Mac VPNs for 2022.

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