Fix New MacBook Pro AirPort problem

Apr 02 2008

I’ve got my Shinning super cool new MacBook Pro two weeks ago. Everything works fine until recently after some automatic updates.

The MacBook Pro I have is 2.4GHz 15′ version. I am so loving it! But the AirPort problem is really annonying!

For some reason, at the end of the day, pretty much every day, MacBook Pro wireless connection just suddenly stop working with my AirPort Extreme. But at the same time my old MacBook works just fine. Turn MacBook Pro AirPort off and on, and try to connect to my wireless network again and again. Nothing helps. Rebooting AirPort Extreme again and again just helps a little. Some logs on console:

airportd Error: Apple80211Associated() failed -6

_emUIServer Error: airport MIG failed = -6 ((null) port = 45523

Did a google search and found a lot of people do have the same problem and so far there is no good solution yet. Some of them said go back to 10.5.1 actually fix the problem, and this is a suggestion from Apple Genius. Which I think is a solution but it is for away from good. I don’t really want to downgrade as I already installed too much into my Leopard and spent amount of time to make it works smothly as what my MacBook does.

This is really pain!

Spend some more time these two days and did some more tests. Finally have good progress. But couple of the tests is really risky, such as, Leopard told me no AirPort Card installed after rebooting. :D

Anyway, here is the simplest but working solution:

  1. Find your original “MacBook Pro Mac OS X Install Disc 1″, please make sure it is yours, not somebody else’s!
  2. copy /System/Library/Extensions/IO80211Family.kext from “Mac OS X Install Disc 1” overwrite to your Macintosh\ HD/System/Library/Extensions/IO80211Family.kext
  3. After couple of seconds, Leopard will pick up your changes and your MacBook Pro will link back to wireless network again without any problem!

Yes, you don’t even need a reboot! :)

If you couldn’t find your original install disc 1, you still can use someone’s if them have the same model as your MacBook Pro. But make sure do a backup for IO80211Family.kext.


Maxwell Rocatanski suggested Pacifist for whom aren’t as comfortable using the terminal. Thanks MaxWell!

41 responses so far

  1. [...] Youngjin Yoo wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptFor some reason, at the end of the day, pretty much every day, MacBook Pro wireless connection just suddenly stop working with my AirPort Extreme. But at the same time my old MacBook works just fine. Turn MacBook Pro AirPort off and on, … [...]

  2. I cannot seem to find my IO80211family.kext in my OS Install disk 1. Please Help.

  3. Mark Walterfang

    Erik – if you try and find it through the finder, you won’t have any luck. You will have to do it through a terminal; open a terminal window and type this (with the OSX Leopard Install Disc 1 in the drive):

    cd “/mnt/Mac OS X Install Disc 1″
    cd System/Library/Extensions
    sudo cp -r IO80211Family.kext /System/Library/Extensions/

    …it will ask for your password, as you are using the sudo command. I have just tried this, and it has helped fix some (but not all) of my chronic Airport problems. Great work here Libin,


  4. Mark Walterfang

    Whoops, sorry, instead of:

    cd “/mnt/Mac OS X Install Disc 1″


    cd “/Volumes/Mac OS X Install Disc 1″

    ..thought I was still in Linux there for a moment.

  5. Thanks Mark!

    I didn’t notice there was a question in my comments in such a long time. I am so sorry erik. Hope Mark’s answer could solve your problem.

  6. Maxwell Rocatanski

    Thanks for the help. I would add that, for those of us who aren’t as comfortable using the terminal, CharlesSoft Pacifist (shareware, does a very nice job of locating and installing individual package components from Apple System Installer volumes.

    I was able to use Pacifist to locate and install the IO80211Family.kext file from the AirPort Extreme 802.11n Enabler for Mac application, replacing the existing resource on my MacBook (13″ core 2 duo) and enabling 802.11n capabilities.

    Be sure to use Pacifist’s “install” feature so the file(s) get decompressed and moved to the correct default location(s). This also works to restore the default IO80211Family.kext resource (if it gets corrupted/overwritten) from your Apple System Installer DVD (I used the retail 10.5 installer that works for just about everything).

  7. Thanks Maxwell!

    Pacifist is really a great tool!

  8. Cheers for the insight, There are some posts I found quite interesting, in this blog.

  9. Thank you!!!!! The system did not pick up right away. A reboot did the job – I can find and connect to my wi-fi router again. Even with the hordes of people with airport problems with their MacBooks I guess it would still be too much to expect Apple to seriously look into this. But their focus has never been so much on functionality as with looks.

  10. Ha I know the Problem. Thank you that you found a solution.

  11. Thank you for finding out about this.

    I have another common problem for Macbook Pros: the bad performance wifi connection, with continuous packet loss without any apparent reason.

    Unfortunately I did what the original post described but could not fix the problem. Could it be that my install DVD is too recent, and includes the broken IO80211Family.kext?

    I can see the version from the key CFBundleGetInfoString in the file Contents/Info.plist file within IO80211Family.kext . The DVD one is version 2.0, the one my up-to-date MacOS was running was version 2.1.2 .

    Could I ask any of you who successfully managed to apply the patch, possibly with versions prior to 2.0, to zip it and send it to me? I don’t see a software copyright issue here, since we are all MacOS licensees.

    Thank you in advance,
    giacecco at

  12. Just wanted to let everyone know that my 2.4GhZ Powerbook 15″ was having similar issues and my airport card had to be replaced. NOTHING online/ software related would fix it. It would connect, then immediately disconnect.

    Just wanted to let everyone know! Thank the lord it was under warranty!

  13. Hi
    Thanks for the possible solution – it looked like this could be the answer!

    …but, alas, no. :(

    I’ve only recently started to have the problem of the MacBook dropping the connection but now I get it to connect and it immediately disconnects.

    (To get it to connect requires me turning off the airport and turning it back on which eventually works. Selecting the router in the airport menu always fails)

    I have a MacBook 2.4Ghz (Feb 2008 model) so my install disc was Leopard and the IO80211Family.kext version is 2.1. The version that was in the Extensions folder is 2.1.4.

    I’ve copied back the 2.1.4 version now as the 2.1 version didn’t work either. :(

    It’s odd that this problem has crept up and got a whole lot worse and become unusable in the past week.

  14. You may try to zap the PRAM

    command+option+P+R upon reboot

  15. I’d advise against replacing IO80211Family.kext. I get an error saying that the file has been “improperly installed.”

  16. I have the same exact problem as Chris Ryan. Also…when I saw that it said there was no airport card installed…I freaked out just a little. Is there a different way to install the file without having this dilemma? (New to Macs)

  17. [...] See the rest here: Fix New MacBook Pro AirPort problem | Libin Pan [...]

  18. Hi all,

    I have the new macbook pro version (bought april 09) and have a similar problem with the airport.

    The big difference is that my connection doesn’t drop, it’s just weak….

    In the same room, side by side, i have my old macbook (white version, year 2006) and my new pro. The macbook connects without problems and has full signal, the new pro has frequent problems and signal is 1 or less… sometimes it can’t even find the wifi connection.

    the funny things is that my iphone and the old macbook don’t have any problems!

    I have to move to the adjacent room to have a full signal. As soon as i get nearer to the router, the signal is up again and i can work with out problems…..

    Why is this happening? Does anybody know what i should do?

  19. @Steve
    can someone help steve I am having the same issue

  20. Having the exact problem as Steve just above. My Titanium Powerbook G4 from 2000 rocks next to my new Macbook Pro on wifi reception (plus that little pop out antenna boosted its reception to another bar . . . as I didn’t see this little thing on the side of the new MBPs, I assumed the internal workings made up for that – what’s UP?).

    Also, I looked at the diagram of the computer and there was no marking/number/arrow pointing to the little slot on the left telling what it is/does. Pushing the door in, the slot looks empty and waiting for something. Can anyone elighten?

  21. I have the same issue as Steve, Lawrence, and Andrea.

  22. @Andrea

    The little slot is an expresscard 32 slot. You don’t need to put anything there but you can put many things from an sd card reader to a mini ssd.

    I too have the airport problem, but this fix didn’t work and I’ve zapped my pram, verified disk permissions, and restored to a backup from a month ago when this problem didn’t occur. None of those worked so I assume its a hardware issue =(. Oh well I have to call apple anyways since my battery health is appaling

  23. Have had major issues with airport connectivity ever since I updated 10.5.7. SOLUTION: Re-install operating system disk and archive. Airport works fine!

  24. I’m having the exact same problem – very disappointing, and can’t find a solution anywhere.

  25. Is this supposed to work with a MacBook Pro 13″?
    I’ve got the same issue.

  26. I have the same issue as many people stated above…. no way to fix it externally… and this MacBook Pro is OUT OF WARRANTY! I’m going to attempt to replace the AirPort card myself. I’m sure there is some video on line by some techie person that has done this or similar…. anyone else *still* having this problem? (notes the date this was written!)

  27. I have this problem in a time. But i fix …dont ask
    Me how.
    And now some friend modify my router and back the problem… But in my itouch i can navegate in internet, no problem there.

  28. I had the same problem since two days. First thought that it might be the router. But that worked fine since the beginning
    Now lately updated to OS X 10.5.8 and suddenly the problem appeared. I have read somewhere on the net , one should deinstall airport from network settings and reinstall as airport (2). This actually worked for me (!) Connection is again at 81.

    I hope this will do the trick. But c’mon Apple: this is for sure a software bug. Develop a fix.

  29. Ive got this issue for a few days, I’ve tried…
    The IO80211Family.kext change
    deinstalling and installing the airport (2)
    zapping the RAM
    and resetting the system configs


    nothing seems to work so far… any ideas?

    Im working with a Mac book pro on OSX 5.8

  30. I got my Macbook Pro 5 hours ago and I already suffer from this AirPort problem. What a bloody disappointment this laptop!!! Back to the store with it early in the morning.

  31. I’m having the same problems as Steve, Lawrence, Andrea, etc. My old MacBook and iPhone fine but my new MacBook Pro either doesn’t find the network or is really slow and weak signal when it does. Any help or suggestion greatly appreciated…

  32. @Miguel Correia Ribeiro Letria
    Let me know what happened I just got mine yesterday and it is happening to me too.

  33. I have a Feb 2008 Macbook Pro on Leopard. I have been having this issue once every two months or so. It’s driving me mad!

  34. @Nick
    Bought a 13″ MacBookPro as a present in December 09. Really dreadful Airport connection in a room where other mixed gear works excellently. I have to get right up to the router in another room before it will lock onto the network, which rather negates the concept of a portable laptop. I have been a Mac user since 1985 and this the worst example of style over substance I have ever met. Beautifully designed and made but ineffective in an area that is not cutting edge. I would gladly accept a little larger case more conventionally made in order to have a working and reliable computer, which is the whole point really. I too have wasted five days of my life trying every fix suggestion, even to buying an airport extreme and that was a complete waste of money, time and effort. This airport problem seems to have been happening for years, I belatedly discover, nice to see how much Apple really cares for its customers. It goes back tomorrow.

  35. macbook pro will download some web pages great others not at all or in some strange format. this happened after i booted up and some weird update took over. any thoughts out there. HELP

  36. You tech heads always think in terms of code and fkn around with things that Apple are way ahead of as far as engineering is concerned.

    You don’t buy a machine worth a couple of grand that has a code issue pertaining to hardware…

    It’s actually a hardware issue – period.

    I have drop outs all the time but it’s related to where I move the laptop and it ceases if you open and NEARLY close the tablet window to restart coverage once more…

    It’s a hardware issue. Every other laptop in the house works fine wireless except for the macbook pro, you have to be close and positioned correctly to the wireless router to get the coverage you need.

    It is a hardware issue.

  37. @Gofrey The post you are replying to is years old, and the last comment was like 7 months before yours. Why bother? Everyone knows it’s hardware. Maybe if you wanted a computer that you can actually use and not just look at, you should have bought a PC and saved the extra $1000 (or more).

  38. I’ve tryed all kinds of solutions that did not work for me (and the one included here). My MacBook Pro would connect to my D-Link router over AirPort but disconnect soon thereafter. It seemed like what most people have experienced off and on. After hours of trials and errors, here’s the simple solution that has solved all my connection problems:
    I went to the wireless setup of my router and changed the WPA mode from “Auto (WPA or WPA2)” to “WPA only” and now my internet is blazing fast and works all the time!

    Hope that helps some folks!

  39. Great!!!! I was desperate and almost resigned for this problem… I read tons of posts which didn’t solve it at all but just convinced me it wasn’t a hardware problem. Now, after first reboot, I’m getting my Airport card back and hope it’s going to stay there forever, but for the time being

    thank you so much for your post!!!


  40. Just put my router settings to WPA (not the auto setting WPA2) as well. Works so far, lets hope this solves it. Have been problems for a long time, with several routers it works perfectly fine, and with some it doesn’t. So don’t think it’s the MacBook only, but in combination with the router.
    Thanks iFun.

  41. nearly 5 years later and the advice from
    Cyber Buddhah……..

    on 15 Nov 2008 at 10:56 pm
    You may try to zap the PRAM
    command+option+P+R upon reboot

    ——– WORKED!!!!!!

    on my 2011 MacBook Pro – OSX 10.6.8 – 2.3 GHz i7

    I dreaded going in to the Mac-Store

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