Your home or office have a local network, and each network has any number of connected devices. That means Macs, iPads, iPhones, Windows PCs, printers, routers, and increasingly HomeKit-like devices including the Nest thermostat, cameras, and more. How do you know what or who is connected to your local network?
Enter IP Scanner, a handy and free Mac utility which scans your local network for devices and display each one in a window on your Mac. It looks like this.
You’ll be able to view both users and devices on the local network, their respective IP addresses, the actual MAC address (which has nothing to do with the Mac), plus details for each device.
The display itself is configurable; handy if you have a network with dozens of devices. You can also setup customized icons, and use a whitelist to highlight both known and new unknown devices.
For the Mac geek there is a built-in option to scan ports and Ping a device. Custom IP address ranges can be added but that’s a manual effort. IP Scanner is free but there is an option for an extended license which includes the IP Scanner for iPhone and iPad, which can be especially useful to scan Wi-Fi networks while you’re on the go.
Got Apple TV v4? Now you can scan your local network from the comfort of the living room sofa.
I like the IP Scanner’s ability to detect activity on the network from a specific device. It’s a good way to make sure that whatever devices are using your home or office network are actually devices you control. And if Big Brother is watching, at least you’ll have a chance to see what they are if not what they’re doing on your network.