Location Services and WiFi Explorer

WiFi Explorer uses the system Wi-Fi framework, CoreWLAN, to find nearby Wi-Fi networks. Starting in macOS Mojave 10.14, CoreWLAN prevents applications from accessing certain information about the networks found during a Wi-Fi scan when Location Services is disabled. In addition, in macOS Catalina 10.15, applications must also be allowed access to Location Services for CoreWLAN to provide such information.

This information includes, for example, the BSSID or MAC address of the networks, which is unique for each network and may be used for tracking a user’s physical location. Hence the need to make sure that only trusted applications have access to it. WiFi Explorer needs to know the BSSID so it can uniquely identify and monitor each of the networks found during a Wi-Fi scan, especially when those networks have the same name (also known as SSID).

Upon starting a Wi-Fi scan, WiFi Explorer will check if Location Services is enabled and ask macOS authorization to access Location Services if necessary. If this is the first time the application requires access to Location Services, macOS will prompt you to allow WiFi Explorer to determine your location. However, please note that  WiFi Explorer will never try to determine, save or share your physical location and it only must be allowed access to Location Services so that the CoreWLAN framework can provide the necessary information to uniquely identify each of the networks found during a Wi-Fi scan.

If you manually need to authorize WiFi Explorer to access Location Services, open System Preferences > Security & Privacy, and make sure Location Services is enabled.

In addition, if you’re running macOS Catalina 10.15, select the WiFi Explorer (or the appropriate name for the version you’re running: WiFi Explorer Lite or WiFi Explorer Pro) checkbox in Location Services. Note that the application will only be listed in Location Services if it has been launched at least once as the application needs to request access to Location Services in order to appear in this list.

After access to Location Services has been enabled, WiFi Explorer will work as usual.

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