AirPort Utility 5.6.1 on OS X 10.9 Mavericks

To download AirPort Utility v5.6.1 for OS X 10.9 Mavericks, scroll to the bottom of this post.

A New, Simple Solution

A few days ago, I posted a workaround to get AirPort Utility v5.6.1 working under OS X 10.9 Mavericks (old post, infra, under “Old Post”). That workaround involved renaming or replacing a system file and then launching AirPort Utility via Terminal. Now, that solution still works (and is included in the collapsed “Old Post” section, infra) but it was far from ideal. Most users would prefer not to have to alter or replace system files (even if the replacement is simply an older version of the same file from Apple), so I continued looking at the problem. Today, I am posting a better solution.

AirPort Utility v5.6.1 on OS X 10.9 Mavericks

As I stated in the previous version of this post, the issue with AirPort Utility v5.6.1 under OS X 10.9 Mavericks is that a system file upon which AirPort Utility relies was updated in 10.9 and that update broke backwards compatibility with AirPort Utility v5.6.1. The file in question is Apple80211 in /System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/Apple80211.framework/Versions/A. Replacing this file with the older version allows AirPort Utility v5.6.1 to be run under 10.9, but only via Terminal (i.e., double-clicking it will not launch it, it will throw an error).

However, there is a way to get around this issue by importing the older library into AirPort Utility v5.6.1 before running it. That is what the new solution, downloadable, infra, does.

Usage Notes

Note: you can bypass having to go into System Preferences, detailed infra, by simply right-clicking (or control-clicking) on the Launcher and then clicking “Open” from the pop-up menu instead of double-clicking to open it.

I have not signed this application (i.e., AirPort Utility v5.6.1 Launcher.app) as an “identified developer”. Consequently, you will almost certainly receive the following prompt when running the application (at least the first time):
AirPort 5.6.1 Launcher Warning

As long as the warning looks like the one I’ve given here as an example, everything is fine. Of course, once you click Open, Gatekeeper (OS X’s relatively new security feature) will identify the application as being from an “unidentified developer” and, unless you’ve changed the default settings, it will prevent the application from running.

In order to allow the application to run (and thereby to launch AirPort Utility v5.6.1), you will need to navigate to the Security & Privacy pane in System Preferences. Once there, you will see this notification under the General tab:

Security & Privacy Pane: AirPort 5.6.1 Launcher

Click the “Open Anyway” button. AirPort Utility 5.6.1 Launcher should run and launch AirPort Utility v5.6.1 without anymore work on your part. Additionally, future uses of the launcher should not require any of the foregoing steps (except running the launcher itself). n.b., any time you want to use AirPort Utility 5.6.1, you must launch it via the launcher application (i.e., AirPort 5.6.1 Launcher.app) instead of by double-clicking on AirPort Utility 5.6.1; this is due to the fact that the launcher must inject the older version of the Apple80211 library or else AirPort Utility 5.6.1 cannot run under OS X 10.9 Mavericks.

Downloads

 


Download AirPort Utility 5.6.1 for OS X 10.9 Mavericks

Please select either the *.zip version or the *.dmg version (they contain the exact same files):

Download “AirPort Utility 5.6.1 Launcher”

  • Filename: airport-utility-5.6.1.zip
  • Size: 13 MB
  • Downloaded: 44613 times
Download “AirPort Utility 5.6.1 Launcher (*.dmg)”

  • Filename: airport-utility-5.6.1.dmg_.zip
  • Size: 11 MB
  • Downloaded: 82491 times

Every so often, the caching on my site decides to make these download links not work. I am working with my hosting provider and the plugin author to get this issue resolved; however, in the meantime, I have made available an alternative download source here. If you have trouble using both of these methods, please contact me directly.


Updates

10 May 2015: AirPort Units Not Showing in AirPort Utility 5.6.1 under OS X 10.10 Yosemite (Likely Limited to 10.10.3 and Later)
16 Oct 2014: OS X Yosemite
17 Dec 2013: New Download-Management Plugin
09 Dec 2013
23 Nov 2013
01 Nov 2013
04 Nov 2013
12 Nov 2013: Linking to This Solution, Apple Support Communities, Downloading Software from Third Parties

Once downloaded, the zip should automatically expand (if it doesn’t, just double-click it to expand it manually) and create a folder entitled “AirPort Utility 5.6.1”, keep this folder. AirPort 5.6.1 Launcher.appAirPort Utility 5.6.1 Launcher.app and AirPort Utility 5.6.1.app are both included inside this folder. Whenever you want to use AirPort Utility v5.6.1, just run the launcher either by double-clicking it or via Spotlight. And that’s it, you now have a working version of AirPort Utility v5.6.1 under OS X 10.9 Mavericks.

FAQ

Why not use a single application? / Why use a companion application?
How do I link to the Launcher on the Apple Support Communities? / Why did Apple remove my link from the Apple Support Communities?

Last Updated 11 Nov 2013

Miscellanea

Download OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion Version of Apple80211
Launcher Code

Old Information

Disclaimer for Older Version
No such file or directory error
Old Post

Now you can go back to managing your various AirPort products (e.g., AirPort Extreme, AirPort Express, and Time Capsule) without having to mourn the features missing from v6.3.

552 Comments

  1. Thank you for this. Seems to continue to work in El Capitan, although I had to re-download the 5.6 app again. (Got a little fright when I used the launcher and it gave an error message saying 5.6 was missing!)

    Reply
  2. Thanks, Corey. Even works under El Cap (10.11) so my original AX can still be used.

    Reply
  3. Thanks so much for this! You saved my “old” Airport Express from the trash!

    Reply
  4. Corey, last week, I installed your Utility v5.6.1 on my MacBook Air running Yosemite. I retrieved an Airport Express A1084 from my junk box, plugged it in, it went “green” quite quickly, but didn’t connect to my MBA until I plugged it into my Internet router. I then attached it to a powered speaker via an RCA cord and it worked perfectly, streaming music from my MBA. I left it for a week, came back, the AE was still showing green, but for some reason didn’t receive a music stream from my MBA. So, back to the router with an Internet cord, the Airport Utility saw the AE and connected, and I went through the usual steps but this time chose to restore factory defaults via the software. Still didn’t work. Bottom line, whatever I did, the AE now only flashes yellow. It will not go green. I’ve tried soft and hard resets, factory resets, nothing. When I launch v5.6.1, I get a message that “Airport Utility was unable to find any AirPort wireless devices. . .” I have no idea what I did wrong-can you please suggest something I haven’t tried yet?

    Reply
    • You may have to connect the AirPort Express to your Mac via an Ethernet connection while you configure it. Newer versions of OS X seem to be finicky when it comes to connecting to older AirPort units, and I’m not certain what they changed to cause the issues.

      Reply
  5. Hi Corey,
    I have an airport express (Model A1084) from 2005. I also have Yosemite 10.10.5 and I can’t administrate my airport express. Can users administrate the device anymore using Yosemite? Is this express unsupported now?

    Reply
    • AirPort Utility v5.6.1 works under any modern version of OS X (at least up to El Capitan). n.b., you’ll probably have to redownload it with each major OS upgrade (the installer appears to delete older versions of AirPort Utility, at least if they are unmodified).

      Reply
  6. This worked great! It did exactly what I needed it to. I wish everything downloaded worked as well!!! Thanks again!

    Reply
  7. Oh man, thank you! I didn’t think I’d be able to integrate an old Airport Express into our home network to extend it, but thanks to you I’ve been able to work with the old unit. Appreciate your work here!

    Reply
  8. I’m the only person this isn’t working for. I was able to locate the AX using this great workaround, but I am totally confused on how to set it up. I just want to stream wirelessly from my iTunes to powered remote speakers, but I am unable to figure out how to set it up. Join a network, make a new network, manually, ????? Totally confused…..sorry.
    I had it show up in my wireless network choices, but I couldn’t connect, and it shows up in my AirPlay choices but is grayed out.
    Anyone have a walk through they could post?

    Reply
    • If you are using the AirPort Express as a secondary router, then you’ll want to connect to your existing network (assuming the AirPort Express won’t be connected to the primary router via an Ethernet cable, anyway). If the AirPort Express is going to be your primary router, then you’ll want to create a network.

      Reply
  9. I know I can get this working! It’s driving me nuts though. I DL fresh 5.6.1, reset AX to factory default, plugged AX into my iMac with ethernet cable, found the AX and started to set it up. I am able to change it’s name and I want to join my network, but no network shows up in the drop down. I typed in the name of my network exactly and chose no security. When I connect my speakers the light flashes yellow and I can’t see the AX on my Airplay dropdown on any devices. I must be doing something wrong in the setup because I know this AX is working. Thanks for your help.

    Reply
    • Does the AirPort Express show up as a speaker option when connect to the Mac via an Ethernet cable?

      Reply
      • I’m guessing I’m not connecting to the internet properly. Like i said, I can configure the name offline, but when asked to join a network, nothing shows in the drop down. I tried typing the network name and password in, but that didn’t work. When exactly do you turn the wifi back on after offline setup? Maybe that’s what I’m doing wrong. I’m following the Apple instructions for joining a network to play music wirelessly. Sorry I’m such a pain, but his is driving me nuts.😡😖

        Reply
        • You shouldn’t have to turn WiFi back on after configuring the AirPort Express via an Ethernet connection, as you aren’t actually turning off WiFi (you’re just making it ‘easier’ for AirPort Utility to find the AirPort Express). What happens when you type in the network name and WEP/WPA key?

          Reply
  10. Was amazed to find the Airport Utility 6.3.6 in El Capitan recognised AND configured my old Airport Express from 2005. 5.6.1 didn’t even locate it!

    Reply
    • It would appear that Apple has restored some functionality in AirPort Utility 6.3.6. However, in my (admittedly brief) testing, I found that WEP keys are artificially limited to thirteen characters (may proven annoying for those with older devices with longer WEP keys). My guess would be that Apple finally got tired of fielding questions relating to older AirPort units on their forums (and deleting links to this site).

      Reply
  11. I upgraded to OS 10.11.2, but AU 6.3.6 still doesn’t see my APX. This has become an obsession with me. Once I get it working I’ll probably sacrifice it with a goat and bury it in some sacred spot. 😉

    Reply
  12. My old AirportExtreme is no longer listed by 5.6.1 under 10.11.1 (I too had the surprise that the 5.6.1 was removed and I reinstalled it). It’s working… but not visible (nor of course visible under 6.3.1, which I why I got 5.6.1 to begin with). This is new with 10.11. Anyone else have this issue?

    Reply
    • Newer versions of OS X have something changed in the networking stack which makes it more difficult for older versions of AirPort Utility to detect wirelessly connected AirPort units. If you connect the AirPort unit to your Mac via an Ethernet cable, AirPort Utility 5.6.1 should be able to find it (you should be able to use the unit as you normally would [i.e., without the Ethernet connection] after you’ve configured it).

      Reply
  13. Great work! Thanks a lot. Works like magic for me on El Capitan

    Reply
    • This is the result when the Mac is connected directly to the AirPort unit via an Ethernet cable?

      Reply
  14. In El Capitan – A factory-reseted Express might not show up in Airport Utility 5.6.1, yet it does in 6.3.6 (but can’t be set up). A solution I’ve found is that when choosing the Express in the Wi-Fi menubar dropdown, choose ‘join other network’ and type in the factory name of the Express instead of choosing ‘Airport Express’ in this menu. You can find the factory name by going to Apple->About this mac->System Report->Network. When you do this, the express shows up in 5.6.1.

    Reply
    • Sounds precisely like the strange sort of workaround that works once Apple decides something is “obsolete”. I’ll have to try this with one or two of my older units.

      Reply
  15. Thank you worked for me in El Capitan and with a couple of new AEs alongside the old one.

    Reply
  16. Thanks for making the Airport Utility work again. I have been able to connect to the Airport Express (while connecting it with a LAN cable to my Mac one time and to the router another time). While doing the setup no wireless network is shown. I filled it in manually precisely, added the security type (WPA Personal) and entered the password. It then updates and tries to reconnect. Unfortunately it never connects again and just gives this message: “AirPort Utility was unable to find your AirPort wireless device after restarting.” It will become visible again after resetting.

    Reply
    • Have you performed a factory default reset? It may be that you have a corrupted configuration file that needs to be cleared before doing anything else. The failure to reconnect happens regardless of whether you’re connected wirelessly or via a cable?

      Reply
  17. Thank you for this, worked great on 10.9.5.

    Reply
  18. Thanks – I confirm it is easily working under El Capitan!

    Reply
  19. Just to add to the thanks expressed for providing this invaluable app letting us continue to use perfect older generation Apple airport devices. Apple excluding them from Airport Utility is a clear attempt to force people to buy new devices and increase their profits and is not exactly a very ‘green’ policy.

    Reply

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