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 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 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.



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:
  • Size: 13 MB
  • Downloaded: 40548 times
Download “AirPort Utility 5.6.1 Launcher (*.dmg)”

  • Filename:
  • Size: 11 MB
  • Downloaded: 69845 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.


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 and AirPort Utility 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.


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


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.


  1. One more thing, the Airport Express is Version 6.3. Thanks!

  2. Corey, you’ve done great work on this project :)

    I was hoping that being able to see the transmit power and multicast settings would allow me to change them, and it appears that I am allowed to do so, however, once my airport restarts, the settings are reverted back to factory defaults :(

    • I would highly recommend performing a factory default reset, reconnecting to the AirPort unit via an Ethernet cable, and then reconfiguring it. If the issue persists after following those steps, let me know and we can try to find another solution or workaround.

  3. Wow, this is really great, thanks so much for sharing!

  4. Thank you so much for this. genuinely made my day – getting so annoyed with apple – been using their products for over 15 years and have always loved how their hardware never stops working but now the geniuses at apple are destroying years of trust by making every new update of software remove features and remove backwards compatibility which clearly unnecessary as people like yourself always manage to unlock the features again…please keep up the fantastic work. Much Appreciated. :)

  5. Thanks very much for working to sort this out. I have reset my APE, connected it by ethernet, plugged it in and found it using your fix and configured it, but when it tries to restart it fails. At wits end. It is sad that Apple chooses to eliminate compatibility with older perfectly good devices.

    • Have you tried performing a factory default reset before reconfiguring the device? You may have a corrupted configuration profile.

      • I believe I did. I held the reset button while the APE was plugged to power. The lights flashed and then I reconfigured. I did this twice, but the daisy just spun for a couple of minutes before telling me the device couldn’t be found.

        • Sounds like you probably did perform a factory default reset (for reference: Unfortunately, there’s not much troubleshooting to be done beyond a factory default reset and reconfiguring the device. I would probably try a couple more times (it could be that the configuration profile became corrupted again while trying to save) and maybe try with another Mac, but there isn’t much else that can be done (without expensive equipment and specialized knowledge to test the hardware itself).

          • I’ll try a couple more times. I don’t really need it because I can play music wirelessly other ways, but it’s fun just trying. Thanks for your help.

      • Hi Corey, and thanks for your work! After doing the steps you suggested, can I update the utility to the last version?

        • Unfortunately, you’ll continue to need v5.6.1 to manage your older AirPort units unless Apple decides to reenable support for older units (which is highly unlikely).

          • OK Corey, and thanks :)

  6. It took me a while to realize that I had to put the airport utility 5.6.1 and the airport launcher into the utilities folder. Once I did everything works like a dream. Thanks so much.

  7. Thank you for making this DEAD simple to manage my old Aiport Express. Bad on Apple for abandoning their users! Good on you for making it easy! Thanks again!

  8. With your Tool , you saved my Radius Config for my two Airport Extreme/Express Environment ! THX from Germany… Tobias

  9. Dude, you have made my day. I’ve searched the web for hours trying to find a way to setup my old Airport Express as a network printer port but couldn’t configure the AE via Mavericks and the latest Airport Utility. Thanks for sharing.

  10. For some reason, I cannot seem to force APU 5.6.1 to find my (completely reset) “Airport Express” (2005 & 2006) units because APU 6.3.5 keeps prompting itself open and attempting the connection for me. Is there a work around or something I am missing for this? I do not have a ethernet port on my rMBP for a direct connection available. I could of course buy an adaptor but I would prefer an alternative if possible.

    • Unfortunately, the only workaround of which I am currently aware is connecting the Mac running AirPort Utility v5.6.1 to the AirPort unit you want to configure via an Ethernet cable. I believe this discoverability was introduced in Yosemite 10.3.3, and I haven’t yet had the time (and may not have the expertise) to find the underlying cause and develop a fix.

  11. I know this is an older post, but I just wanted to say thank you! After upgrading to Mavericks, and now faced with another upgrade to Yosemite, I wasn’t sure how I was going to manage my two old Airport Express units. I used your method with Mavericks, and it worked great. I understand you have this working under Yosemite, so I will most likely upgrade in the near future and continue to use by old AE devices which are working flawlessly as music streaming devices. Thank You!!!

  12. Once again … THANKS A LOT !

  13. Thank you for a really helpful tool that keeps older and still-working airport express units from the landfill!

  14. Amazing. My Apple Hi-Fi & Express have been in storage (considered garbage) since they stopped working – actually they work fine but Apple “disabled” them. I am happy they work, but I am furious about the years I have been robbed.

  15. Thanks for the Yosemite update. You are the best!!!!

  16. Thanks for setting this up. I’m still having no luck with my older airport express. I’ve tried unplugging for 5 minutes, factory resetting, plugging into computer via ethernet. Any other suggestions? I’m running Lion on my computer.

    • What error (if any) are you receiving? If the unit is simple not showing up in AirPort Utility: Have you turned off WiFi on the Mac while the AirPort unit is connected via Ethernet? What is the light on the AirPort Express doing?

      • It just doesn’t show up (no error message). No luck with wifi turned off. The light is solid orange. Thanks for trying to help me out! Much appreciated!

        • Just to be certain, you’ve followed the procedures on this page:, to perform a factory default reset? After performing the factory default reset, does the unit broadcast an SSID (i.e., when WiFi is turned on on your Mac, do you see a network with a name along the lines of “AirPort Network …” or something similar)? A solid amber light probably isn’t a good sign; a solid amber light tends to indicate that the unit is still initializing/completing the startup sequence. I would expect a flashing amber light if the startup sequence were complete and the unit were waiting for connectivity or reconfiguration. Hopefully another reset will clear whatever in the current (likely corrupted) configuration is causing the hang during startup.

          • Thanks. I have – several times. I suspect it is just broken. :( Thanks for your help and for this great page!

      • Oh, and I’m running Yosemite. No idea why I said Lion! Must have been late night fatigue!

  17. I seem to be having the same problem Edwina has. I’ve tried soft reset, hard reset and (multiple) factory resets on my APE. The 5.6.1 utility doesn’t see the APE, so I’ve connected it by ethernet wire. (via USB, no ethernet port on my macbook). Tried turning off WiFi and rescanning. Still it doesn’t show up. The orange light is flashing, so it should be working.
    Btw I’m running Yosemite 10.10.3. I guess I’ll just have to keep my fingers crossed there will be a fix for this.. or go and buy a new APE. Too bad some hardware just gets dropped by Apple.
    In any case, thanks a lot for setting this up!

    • Unfortunately, an amber light of any kind and a failure to show up in AirPort Utility v5.6.1 even after a hard reset often means that the unit is unsalvageable. The fact that the light is flashing instead of solid is supposed to mean that the unit has some issue that could be resolved through AirPort Utility (of course, that doesn’t help if the unit refuses to show up in AirPort Utility). Would you happen to have access to a Mac with an Ethernet port? Alternatively, you could try one of the older versions of AirPort Utility under Windows if you have access to a Windows machine with an Ethernet port. If the unit still refuses to show up, then it may just be time to get another one.

    • I don’t think the USB port is functional on Airport Expresses.

      • The USB port on the AirPort Expresses is functional, but only as a printer port. I’m sure you meant that it wouldn’t work as a diagnostic port, which is correct. I believe what Peter was saying was that he used a USB-to-Ethernet adapter on his Mac, not the USB port on the AirPort Express (which, as you say, definitely wouldn’t work).

        • Indeed, I have used a USB to ethernet converter from my MB to the APE. The orange flashing light means it’s waiting to be set up. (I believe). By the way, the APE does show up in my list of WiFi networks. When I click on it, it tries setting it up through the Mavericks Airport Utility. So the APE does seem to be functioning properly.
          I’ll try getting a Windows laptop to set it up and maybe I’ll be able to connect to it after that. Thanks for the tips.

        • Of course I meant Yosemite instead of Mavericks..

        • Yes Corey that is what I meant to say.

        • I just ordered a Thunderbolt to Ethernet adapter from Amazon to allow me to set up my AE’s from my MacBook Pro. Never thought of doing that before now. Good idea, I think, I’ll let you know if it works.

    • You’re connected directly from the Mac to the AirPort unit with WiFi on the Mac turned off, correct?

  18. Please forgive the slightly premature question, but I wondered if you were planning a version that supports 10.11? This used to run perfectly on Mavericks but since I upgraded I now get:

    sh: line 2: cd: /Applications/AirPort Utility No such file or directory
    sh: line 3: ./AirPort Utility: No such file or directory (127)

    • If the Launcher is not compatible with OS X 10.11 El Capitan, I intend to look into updating it. I recently had someone else who was experiencing the same issue send me a message. The solution for him was to re-download the Launcher package (which includes AirPort Utility v5.6.1). Apparently, during the upgrade process, AirPort Utility v5.6.1 was removed. I don’t know if this is intended behaviour, but, if it is, it’s a little on the irritating side and I don’t know why Apple would go to the trouble.

      • Hi Corey
        Thanks for your response. I also fixed it with a fresh download – not sure if something had been removed, but it worked.

  19. Just Wonderful… Thanks for your work…

  20. Thank you very much for your script!!

  21. Thank you. I have zero programming skills and followed this. As a longtime Mac user who wants to stream my giant iTunes library from my iPhone and my desktop through AirPlay out my stereo, I was unable to after using OS 10.9.x This worked! I had tried another website method that involved downloading Pacifist, but Apple kept blocking the old Airport Utility 5.6.1 install. I did not have the problem here and now I am playing my music from both my iPhone and desktop through AirPlay on the “ancient” 2006 Airport express….

  22. I’m baaaaack Corey. I have a fresh DL of the launcher/app and am going to try again. I have reset the APE, turned off wifi and connected to the mac with an ethernet cable. I can see the APE in the 5.6.1 window and am starting the configuration. When do I turn the wifi back on? It asks which network to join, but I can’t pick one because it is off.

    • You’ll want to configure the AirPort Express manually and then reenable WiFi on your Mac after you’re done configuring the AirPort Express.

  23. Being able to download and use the historical version of Airport Utility is so helpful! Thank you, Corey! My brother-in-law’s old 1143 works great now!

  24. Awesome! Thank You. I have a brand new iMac running Yosemite 10.10.5 and was able to connect it to my 1st generation airport express (10years old??). I love the launcher. Any chance of there being launchers out there able to run old system 9 stuff like Claris works / apple works??



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