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Globe-trotter Level 1 (20 points)

Could someone explain the differences between the 2 different versions of the Airport Utility updates for Lion posted today on Apple's support website? Version 5.6 can be found here and version 6.0 can be found here. The descriptions are quite different and my Software Update app shows only v.6.0. When I first manually installed the dmg for v.5.6 (to keep the versions in incremental order), it installed it besides my previous AirPort Utility (v.5.5.3) and named it 'AirPort Utility 5.6', quite an unusual behaviour for a Mac OS X component.  Then, when I updated via Software Update, as expected, the 6.0 updated the 5.5.3 but the 5.6 remains next to it.


Does the 6.0 includes all the bug fixes of the 5.6 and can I put 5.6 in the trash without any problem?  I did not update my AirPort Extreme and Express firmwares to v.7.6.1 yet as I am confused with the Airport Utility separate updates.

  • Bob Timmons Level 10 (95,475 points)

    5.6 is for Macs running Lion to administer older 'b/g" AirPort devices. If you don't have any older "b/g" AirPorts, no need to install this software.


    6.0 is for Macs running Lion to administer newer "n" devices.


    7.6.1 is for "n" devices.


    If you have both "b/g" and "n" Apple routers, you will have to keep both versions on your Mac and choose the one that you need at the time.

  • Globe-trotter Level 1 (20 points)

    Thanks for your answer, Bob!


    I have an AirPort Extreme 802.11n (4th Gen.) and an AirPort Express 802.11n, both purchased in March 2011.  So, following your explanation, I guess I can trash the AirPort Utility 5.6 without any problems. However, do you think there are other files (incl. system, plists and invisible ones) I should also trash to avoid any problems with AirPort Utility 6.0?

  • Bob Timmons Level 10 (95,475 points)

    So, following your explanation, I guess I can trash the AirPort Utility 5.6 without any problems.

    Just trash 5.6 if you do not have any "b/g" devices to administer.


    5.6 should not have downloaded when you "updated". I take it that you downloaded it manually?

  • feju Level 1 (10 points)

    As of now, it looks like Apple has dropped a lot of features from the 6.0 release. Version 5.6 will still be able to handle any current Airport Express or Airport Extreme base stations. The only thing you seem to gain in 6.0 is a new user interface, reduced functionality and an update for Back-to-my-Mac support.


    I'd recommend to keep both versions at the same time.

  • Mason828 Level 1 (0 points)

    I took the update.  Version 6 won't work for me.  It looks for the internet and never finds it .. scanning endlessly.  Only because I read this forum did I learn about version 5.6.  I downloaded 5.6 and thank the Lord I have my utility back to manage my network.  I updated the firmware for my 'n' devices.  Version 6 still won't work.  Shame on you Apple for not having both updates in the same download.  Shame on you Apple for version 6 not properly tested - it doesn't work for me (running Lion).  I miss Steve.  We miss you Steve. 

  • Globe-trotter Level 1 (20 points)

    Yes, Bob. I downloaded and installed 5.6 manually and 6.0 via Software Update.


    However, reading other users' complaints about v.6.0, I will follow feju's advice (below) and keep both versions installed for a few days until everything seems OK. So far, no problems for me yet.

  • proximus Level 1 (55 points)

    Mason828 wrote:


    Shame on you Apple for not having both updates in the same download.  Shame on you Apple for version 6 not properly tested - it doesn't work for me (running Lion).  I miss Steve.  We miss you Steve. 


    AU 6.0 is the most incredibly stupid piece of software Apple has ever release.  Yes, Apple should be ashamed.


    How dumbed down can an application be before it no longer has a reason to exist?!


    It needs to be pulled before more users are prompted to download it .... then have to spend time looking for a solution (5.6) to all the features and functions that have disappeared.  

  • MaxGuru Level 1 (35 points)

    I also have a nonfunctioning 6.0. Installed 5.6 along with 6.0. I see little need for 6.0 if you know how to use the more sophisticated interface. I can see how 6.0 is much friendlier to the general public, plus its graphic display of a network makes more sense if you add Time Machines and Expresses to the home network.

  • Derek Currie Level 1 (100 points)



    @feju is correct: You can install BOTH Airport Utility 6.0 AND 5.6 and use either one with both g and n Airport devices. I just finished verifying this to be the case.

    PLEASE NOTE: According to Apple you must FIRST install Airport Utility v6.0 in order to access and install Firmware upgrade 7.6.1. Do that first. THEN install Airport Utility v5.6 and use it instead if you prefer.


  • Derek Currie Level 1 (100 points)

    My catch-all list of Airport 6.0 & Firmware 7.6.1 problems:



    I've compiled a catch-all list of problems and changes with Airport Utility version 6.0 and FW 7.6.1. Some of the items may be relevant to this thread.




    Introduction: If you find AirPort Utility v6.0 too limiting or strange, you can ALSO install AirPort Utility v5.6, released alongside v6.0, to maintain all your previous capabilities. It works fine with both Airport g and n devices.


    PLEASE NOTE: According to Apple you must FIRST install Airport Utility v6.0 in order to access and install Firmware upgrade 7.6.1. Do that first. THEN install Airport Utility v5.6 and use it instead if you prefer.


    1) According to Apple's documentation, Airport Utility version 6.0 is ONLY for Mac OS X 10.7 Lion. It is NOT for 10.6 Snow Leopard. If you accidentally installed v6, you'll have to dig around in Apple - Support - Downloads for the previous relevant version for your devices and OS version. Here is the relevant page:



    2) The HELP for Airport Utility has been updated. When you first access it you may well be looking at the old Help. It is supposed to update itself spontaneously over the Internet. It took a couple minutes in my case. Be sure you are looking at the NEW Help before you start using it. One way to tell is that the list of help topics essentially doubles from what there used to be. Also, the very first topic in the NEW Help should read:


    "Set up an AirPort device > Set up a new AirPort Base Station or Time Capsule"


    3) The HELP has some WRONG information. Here we go:


    3a) There is NO "Enable Guest Network" setting. You CANNOT create a guest network or name it or give it any settings. Why this is still listed in Help, I have no idea. Why the setting is gone: This is most likely because the technology behind guest networks, WPS, has been thoroughly CRACKED in the wild. Google "WPS cracked" for lots of documentation of the situation. It won't be resolved soon.


    3b) I can't find any 'Setup Assistant". Everything is now manual. This is not to say that there isn't a setup assistant that appears when you FIRST set up your Airport device. I don't know.


    4) After installing Airport Utility v6.0, there is no indication of the accompanying firmware update until you decide to run the new version. Even then, you have to click on the big icon of your Airport device and notice an 'Update' button about halfway down the popup window. You then have to assume that this button is telling you to update your firmware.


    5) After you update your Airport device's firmware, you may well discover an ERROR subwindow popping up inside Airport Utility that says:


    "An error occurred while updating the firmware. -6721"


    Don't panic! All you need to do is go into your Wi-Fi settings, either in your menubar or the Network preferences, and turn OFF Wi-Fi, then turn ON Wi-Fi again. This is part of a long standing bug in Lion's Wi-Fi with which I bet you are already familiar, certainly up through Lion version 10.7.2.


    6) Miscellaneous changes in Airport Utility 6:


    6a) The keyboard command to manually change your Airport devices settings is GONE. You have to click the little 'Edit' button after clicking on the big icon for your device.


    6b) There is no longer any summary window for your Airport device. You have to instead click on the big "Internet" icon for related data, then click on the big icon for your Airport device for local settings data.


    6c) There is no longer any HELP advising users to EXPORT their settings. (The Help only talks about Import of settings). BE SURE TO EXPORT YOUR NEW SETTINGS! I did this immediately after both updates.


    6d) MAC address filtering for Airport devices is GONE.


    6e) All references to IPV6 anywhere are GONE. I have to assume the IPV6 settings are now entirely working and entirely automatic. Let's hope so.


    6f) Signal and Noise data and graphs are GONE. Use Apple's Wi-Fi Diagnostics app instead. Apple have hidden it here in Lion:


    /System/Library/CoreServices/W-Fi Diagnostics


    6g) In order to access the menu items in Airport Utility, you have to first click on the big icon for your Airport device.


    --> No doubt there are other changes, oddities or bugs related to these changes. But this is what I came up with during a cursory strafing of the software.

  • Bambootelegraph Level 1 (0 points)

    Other than the nice eye candy, 6.0 is an absolutely HORRIBLE update. One more missing thing not mentioned above is the DHCP client table!


    Way too much missing functionality which is important for more sophisticated users to troubleshoot problems that may arise. Some people fix things themselves, and need tools to do that!!


    Sadly, it seems as if you need to have both programs resident. You need 6.0 to deal with Back to my Mac under iCloud, and 5.6 for everything else.


    This is just too weird.


    Apple, please add advanced functionality to Version 6 and stop this dumbing down of applications!! Just make an "advanced" button that hides the advanced features for those who need them.

  • hubbert Level 1 (0 points)

    I had issues with my dual band timecapsule 2TB (3rd Gen). The 5ghz radio stopped working after a while. I could fix it with a reboot but it would eventually stop again. No log info showing a problem, nothing. I downgraded from firmware 7.6 to 7.5.2 and it appeared to fix it. My question, then is if it is still an issue with 7.6.1?


    Also, I hate when they make the software more "user friendly" but eliminate features. I, for one, will not upgrade the airport utility based on Derek's post but glad to see "Guest network" back even if there is a WPS exploit.

  • jaysmurph Level 1 (0 points)

    I updated my Airport Utility to 6.0 and also updated my firmware on my Time Capsule to 7.6.1 today.  I am running Lion and everything works fine with my macbook pro EXCEPT my iPhone 4S.  It will not connect to the internet anymore!  It keeps saying "Incorrect passord" even though I know it is right.  I have tried everything I can find on these boards.  I figure the best thing to do is to downgrade my firmware on my TC, right (unless anyone has any other ideas)?


    How do you downgrade from 7.6.1 to 7.5.2?

  • Carlo TD Level 3 (550 points)

    you know bob... version 7.6.1 refers to the Airport Wifi software on the actual airport extreme / time capsusle devices. Airport Utility 5.6 and 6.0 refers to the application Airport Utility found on Macs.

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