domenica 31 gennaio 2016

Apple AirPort Utility 5.6.1 on El Capitan

I have an "ancient" :-) but still working AirPort Extreme (mod. A1034).
The latest AirPort Utility included with El Capitan, can see my AirPort Extreme base station but cannot manage it.
The latest version of AirPort Utility be able to configure the A1034 model is 5.6.1 still available on Apple Support site at this link but, is not working on El Capitan (or is it?).

Well, it turned out that AirPort Utility 5.6.1 can also run on El Capitan despite its icon's prohibition sign

Follow along this guide to know how.

First of all, you need to download the Apple AirPort Utility from the link above, plus this little Apple Script utility, AirPort Utility 5.6.1 Launcher, by Corey J. Mahler from his site here.

  • Create a new folder on the desktop. For this example I'll name it Foo.
  • Double click AirPortUtility.dmg downloaded from Apple support site
  • Open Terminal and issue the following commands

cd ~/Desktop/Foo
xar -xf /Volumes/AirPortUtility/AirPortUtility.pkg
cat AirPortUtility.pkg/Payload | gunzip -dc | cpio -i

Open the Foo folder and rename Utility AirPort as AirPort Utility 5.6.1

The last step is very important, otherwise Mahler's Script does not work.

  • Create another folder on the desktop, in my example AirPortUtil561
  • Move AirPort Utility 5.6.1 and inside AirPortUtil561
  • Open folder AirPortUtil561
  • Double click
  • Trash
  • Trash the desktop Foo folder

The final result in AirPortUtil561 folder is

Double click AirPort Utility 5.6.1 Launcher to start the old AirPort Utility 5.6.1

*** Enjoy

You can put AirPortUtil561 wherever you want as long as you include the two items above.
I tested this on El Capitan but should also work on Yosemite and Mavericks.

*** Dismiss the warning about a new AirPort Utility version when the program launches.

27 commenti:

Cucho Olivares ha detto...

Hello, first of all thank you very much for sharing these instructions.

I have 3 (Yes three!) "old" Airport Express lying around my house,I have been looking for a way to make them work again with this El Capitan OS.

I followed your instructions, everything seems to work as expected, but sadly, the Airport Utility (5.6.1) doesn't find any of these little bricks...

As soon as I select the AirPort Express (in the wifi network menu), the newer Airport Utility launches, showing the AE Network but (as we all know) it's unable to set it up.

Of course I close it and go back into the 5.6.1 again, pressing Rescan button takes me nowhere, it doesn't find my AE.

Any ideas in how to make the 5.6.1 recognise the AE?
I just want to use as a music receiver and nothing else...

I can't throw them into trash, that should be unfair for all of us, loyal Apple customers.

So, thanks again and I hope you have an idea of what's going on with my AE setup.

Best regards from Chile, South America.

Ricardo Castillo Sandoval ha detto...

quizás restar las unidades (factory reset)

Dan ha detto...

Thank you SOOOO Much! I've been wishing this would work for months!!!!

ehran ha detto...


The link to the utility seems to lead to a page where the utility cannot be found, I searched for it from there but have been unable to find it, would you have a version that can be used on El Capitan ?


William Wallace ha detto...


Hi ehran. You are right the original link is broken. I updated my post that now points to the correct one.

2ways ha detto...

Hi There. Thanks for the instructions. I've been trying to use an old Airport Express as a print server and struggling. I'm on El Capitan on one machine and on Lion on another.

Apple still has an Airport Utility 5.6.1 download for Lion, but it can't configure the Express. I say 'configure' because, even though it doesn't appear in Airport Utility, it does appear in the WiFi drop down under 'Other base stations'. It can read the network name, "Apple Network 23ab1d", but chokes on trying to configure the device.

Same thing happens on El Capitan, even with the Launcher, etc.

The Airport Express model is A1088 (2007).

Any ideas?


William Wallace ha detto...

Hi Lewis.
All I can do is giving you a couple of suggestions.

- Resetting the Airport Express
This is the manual just in case you need it

- Connecting the Airport Express with an Ethernet cable, to the computer where you are running the Airport Utility.

Giacomo Draghi ha detto...

Hey there,
tried following the instructions in order to have the old airport express work on el capitan but towards the end of the setup process when it asks to select the wireless network the dropdown menu is empty and i can't find my wireless network as i usually did in previous set ups. have tried to go through process several times but the same problem arrises each time. have you encountered the same glitch before?

many thanks

M Disseny ha detto...

Thanks for the step by step guide but unfortunately this is completely useless, at least running El Capitan. As Cucho previously said, the Airport Utility 5.6.1 won't find any stations to configure using the wi-fi connection. Not sure with the ethernet connection, I wonder if it would work, I'd love to try if my macbook pro had any.

Don't waste your time, find a machine with Snow Leopard and set it up.

I hate apple for their planned obsolescence.


William Wallace ha detto...

@Giacomo Draghi

My only experience using the guide above is with the AirPort Extreme (mod. A1034), El Capitan and Airport Utility 5.6.1.

It worked like a charm.

Giacomo Draghi ha detto...

I actually managed to fnally set it up.

First of all i did it connecting the airport via ethernet. Then i launched 5.6.1 with the launcher script by corey j. Mahler which you can find on the web. When prompted for network i manually set my home network up typing in the name and password. And it worked.

Thanks all!

Oliver Koerber ha detto...

Thank you ver much it is working on Sierra 10.12 also---

William Wallace ha detto...

@Oliver Koerber

Thanks for your feedback Oliver. Good to know

JLeib ha detto...

Actually, it doesn't work the public release of MaOs Sierra, as Corey J. Mahler himself says here (and I have the same error as him):

Hopefully he will find a workaround, I certainly am not able to help with that :/

William Wallace ha detto...

Actually, it does work on the public release of macOS Sierra. Or at least it starts without a problem. I don't have anymore the AirPort Extreme.
I did a clean install of macOS Sierra.

Nerd Style Games ha detto...

Hello all. For those of you having a problem connecting to the AirPort or AirPort Express with the 5.6.1 Utility, I have found a solution.

If you use the new Airport utility to configure the airport to create it's own network you can label it whatever you wish (I suggest something like "Test"). Once you connect to the wireless "Test" network, you can open the 5.6.1 utility.

This should solve your problem...worked for me and my AirPort Express A1264. Good luck everybody.

Bogdan Ciobanu ha detto...

I was able to configure the device using an MS Laptop (Windows 10, 64 bits).

After you were able to configure it ... it works great with new versions of macOS or iOS.

Julz Rios ha detto...

It worked easily and perfect for me with a 2007 Airport Express and OS 10.11.6 El Capitan.

Thanks for help me bring my old gear back to life, I'm very happy!!!

ChrisR ha detto...

Work Perfectly, MacBook Pro 2011, running Sierra 10.12.1


Unknown ha detto...

hi there, the APPLICATIONS, LIBRARY & SYSTEMS folders don't show in the FOO folder for me after following your steps to a tee! any ideas?

William Wallace ha detto...


You'll see Applications, Library and System folders after issuing the second command line

cat AirPortUtility.pkg/Payload | gunzip -dc | cpio -i

murrdogg ha detto...

Thanks for this tutorial...i have completed all the steps and can run the old airport recognizes my airport but the problem is that upon trying to configure the airport it doesn't show any wireless networks available. if i try to manually input it or create it as a new network the configuration says successful but then the airport is nowhere to be found on my networks or in the airport utility. i have to reset the airport to have it show up again. any advice?

murrdogg ha detto...

this is the error message i get upon configuration AirPort Utility was unable to find your AirPort wireless device after restarting.

William Wallace ha detto...


Have a look at

Unable to find airport device after set up and restarted

roni zapplerepair ha detto...

how Mac goes to Internet Recovery
Here an answer

Pierre Belance ha detto...

This is what I get in terminal:

Last login: Thu Feb 15 15:44:56 on ttys000
Pierres-Mac-mini:~ pierrebelance$ cd ~/Desktop/Foo
Pierres-Mac-mini:Foo pierrebelance$ xar -xf /Volumes/AirPortUtility/AirPortUtility.pkg
Error opening xar archive: /Volumes/AirPortUtility/AirPortUtility.pkg
Pierres-Mac-mini:Foo pierrebelance$ cat AirPortUtility.pkg/Payload | gunzip -dc | cpio -i
cat: AirPortUtility.pkg/Payload: No such file or directory
gunzip: (stdin): unexpected end of file
0 blocks
Pierres-Mac-mini:Foo pierrebelance$

And there is nothing showing in the Foo folder created on my desktop. Any suggestions appreciated. Kind regards,


William Wallace ha detto...

@Pierre Belance

You forgot to double click AirPortUtility561.dmg