AirPort Utility 5.6.1 on Mavericks

01 January 2014

I just found a a nice way to re-enable the older, more robust, AirPort Utility for use with Apple's AirPort Extreme Base Stations and Expresses.

If I remember correctly, Apple dumbed down the software interface around the time of OS X Lion (10.7) to make it look more like iOS. With that, they removed a lot of advanced and even simple features that every user should have access to regarding their Apple routers. You could still use the utility (5.6.1) in OS X Mountain Lion (10.8) and previous operating systems, but once Mavericks came out Apple made it so that it couldn't be used.

However, this guy, Corey J. Mahler, put together a small package which allows the utility to run under Mavericks (10.9). I just downloaded it and it works great. Visit his page and download the utility here.

I just think it's wholly unfortunate that Apple has removed all the abilities of the software for users of their routers. I really do not understand why they did this. I know they like a minimalist look and feel to their products, but to sacrifice necessary functionality for it is foolish.

One of the important features of the older software is its logging. I had an issue with the Xbox downloading updates once and without the logging feature I don't know if I would have ever figured it out.

What was happening was when Microsoft would push a system update out to the Xbox, my unit would start to download it and then fail. The only way I could get it to work was to disconnect it from the router and plug it directly into my cable modem. However, when playing games on Xbox Live, it would connect to the Internet just fine. After a few go around's like that, I became tired of disconnecting my Xbox and network for an update and really set about to figure it out. I found that I was able to get the older AirPort Utility to work and combed the logs regarding my Xbox.

What happened was that I had set up the Xbox with a WiFi password at one time. Then at some point I switched it to a wired Ethernet connection and forgot about the WiFi password. Then at another point I changed my network WiFi password - not worrying about the Xbox because it was on Ethernet. For some oddball reason when the Xbox went to download system updates from Microsoft, it would revert to WiFi and not use the Ethernet connection. Since the WiFi was still set up in the Xbox and with an old password, it couldn't connect to the Internet which is why it kept failing. By using the logging feature of the AirPort Utility I was able to quickly find that it was getting denied WiFi access due to an incorrect password. Once I removed the WiFi settings on the Xbox, the system updates worked as expected.

Download the pdf version with pictures here.