How to update an old Apple Airport base station.

If you have one of these Snow Apple Airport Base stations you may have noticed that newer versions of the Apple Airport Utility do not support the older base stations. And older versions of the Base Station Utility won’t launch on newer macs. Here’s how to fix this problem and still use your old base station with a newer Macintosh computer.

The problem.


  1. More recent versions of the Apple Airport utility don’t support older AirPort base stations. An error message appears that says ‘This version of AirPort Utility doesn’t support this base station.’
New versions of Apple Airport Utility do not work with older base stations.

2. You might think ‘That’s fine, I’ll just use the old Apple Airport Utility’. But Apple have broken the older AirPort Utility 5.6.1. The Utility shows up as having a white line over it and won’t launch.  If you try to launch it on any OS X newer than ‘Mavericks’ you just get an error saying ‘You can’t use this version of the application Airport utility 5.6.1 with this version of Mac OS.’


Older versions of Apple AirPort Utility are ‘broken’.


The Fix

Now it turns out that  the old version of AirPort Utility works perfectly. It’s just been ‘disabled’ by Apple so it won’t launch.

Thanks to these guys, there’s an Applet that will launch the older version of AirPort Utility in newer versions of OS X. It simply tricks the  computer into thinking you have an older version of OS X  when it launches the AirPort Utility.

This launcher tricks the AirPort Utility into thinking you have an older version of OS X and allows it run.

You can download the launcher from here.

The result is as follows – you can now change the settings on your older Apple AirPort Extreme using Airport utility 5.6.1.

This still works as of OS X High Sierra. (OS X 10.13.5)


19 responses to “How to update an old Apple Airport base station.”

  1. mark0

    hi, unfortunately it does not work in mojave, do you know how I can fix it?
    thank you.

    1. william eggemeyer

      It fails in Mojave with the following error:

      sh: line 2: cd: /private/var/folders/n4/51z76b7n4jl9rdfdbmymhq4m0000gn/T/AppTranslocation/7D641538-86BA-490A-8D26-D0B190E20FDA/dAirPort Utility No such file or directory
      sh: line 3: ./AirPort Utility: No such file or directory

  2. dana2048

    note where the error message says: …0FDA/dAirPort Utility…
    particularly the part “…a/dAirPort Utility…” see that d at the beginning of the Airport app name
    there is a “/” missing in the script. So copy the script and the app to your computer, open the script in Script Editor and fix it. Then run that modified script from Script Editor.
    Specifically, change line 10 from:
    …currentDir & “AirPort\\ Utility\\…
    currentDir & “/AirPort\\ Utility\\
    — just add that “/” in front of AirPort. This works for me on High Sierra 10.13.6 and I can configure my 2005 Airport Express by plugging to the computer using Ethernet cable.

    1. brianzo

      Thanks dana2048. That change helped, but then in Catalina 10.15.4, I encountered a problem where the Airport Utility wouldn’t launch, because it was from an unknown developer. The usual trick of Control-clicking the app and then selecting “Open” wouldn’t work, because it would throw up the error that Airport Utility 5.6.1 would not run on this system.

      To get around this, I removed the extended attribute from the file with this command (and then dragging in the Airport Utility 5.6.1 app to insert the path):

      xattr -d

      All working now, in Catalina. Thanks to all!

      1. Ed

        I dont understand your work around?

      2. timr

        Ed – I had the same question, guessed it was either for addition to the AppleScript, or in Terminal. It was the latter.

        1. Open terminal
        2. Copy the line above (xattr -d and paste into terminal, put a space after it.
        3. Drag the Airport Utility 5.6.1 app in to the Terminal window – this inserts the app location and name in at the end of the line.
        4. Hit return.
        5. Terminal will run the command, you won’t see any response.
        6. Run the script again – this time it should fire up the Utility (did for me, first time)

  3. Ty Morton

    I’m trying to get my Airport Extreme to connect to my non-Apple wifi network so that I can continue to use the hard drives and printer connected to it.

    Firmware updates to my AirPort Extreme now prevent the 5.6.1 version of the app from accessing the hardware’s configuration. It either gives me an error or simply crashes.

    It’s maddening because the only reason I need it is because the current version of the AirPort utility doesn’t have “Join an existing network” as an option. It only allows you to either create or extend a network. If Apple would just restore that option, I wouldn’t need the 5.6.1 version.

  4. Dennis

    Hey guys. So I got it to run 5.6.1 in Mojave but it won’t recognize the airport… any way you guys could help? Thanks!

  5. Nick

    I’m trying to get this to work in high sierra and it cannot find it. High sierra can and will not set it up. How do I fix this? In old macs you had to be on that wifi network to set it up.

  6. Daniele

    Worked for me on Big Sur with M1 Mac Mini and a Airport Express A1088 (M9470LL/A) with the xattr command line trick.

  7. yandex

    bigsur don’t want to run the utility:
    sh: line 2: cd: /private/var/folders/3m/ps02x7n12g9fk181ygkw6d640000gn/T/AppTranslocation/21EEC460-9878-4CA7-B71C-D8CE9B5AEA67/dAirPort Utility No such file or directory
    sh: line 3: ./AirPort Utility: No such file or directory (127)

    1. Jake

      Having the same issue, I do not have the skills to figure it out lol

  8. Kenn

    Can anyone help please I have a MacBook pro High Sierra 10.13.6 today my airport express stopped working so can’t connect to my iTunes and various speakers round the home. when i try it states “this version of Airport Utility doesn’t support this base station”

    any ideas would be gratefully received. thanks


  9. Rob

    After having problems as well, I simply put both the files in the Utilities folder directly (not under a subfolder that the download came with). It then all worked without modifying the scripts. Be sure ‘not’ to select the update option when prompted on startup.

  10. Tony Brown

    Upgraded to Monterey. AIRPORT UTILITY no longer works. Any ideas?

  11. Excabonfire

    MacOS Monterey following output:

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

    also after editing a few thing it doesn’t work. Any ideas to fix this problem?

  12. I’m having a problem where every time I try to select the basestation from the wireless options (from the top menu bar), the NEWER AirPort Utility (6.x) pops up. Anyone know how I might be able to disable that so I can use this older version?

  13. Andrew

    Hello. I also need help with this to work on my M1 Mac. So sad the Airport Utility won’t support this A1264 model.

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