Esem / Eesn

tiger airport audio dropouts fix

May 12th, 2008, around noon

Maybe you've been there. Installed something through Software Update and suddenly audio (or something else) is bust. Yeah?
As the title says this is how I fixed my case of audio dropping out on Tiger (OS X 10.4.11) after installing Airport Extreme Update 2008-001.

To any potential lawyer looking at this: I am sure you do great in the legal department, but that doesn't fix my computer (which Apple messed up).

Below are the steps by which to force Airport Extreme Update 2007-004 to install itself onto a Tiger system with 2008-001.
Note: simply copying an older .kext won't do it. I tried it, and broke my wi-fi altogether.

Only do this if you are 100% sure it is the wireless update that causes the audio to drop out.



  • This fix is for Tiger only. Tiger only. Repeat 10.4.10, and 10.4.11 only.
  • This fix only works for Atheros Airport cards. These are the *most probably* (according to the installer) supported computers:
    • MacBookPro 1,2
    • MacBookPro 2,1
    • MacBookPro 2,2
    • MacBookPro 3.1
    • MacBook 1,1
    • MacBook 2,1
    • Macmini 1,1
    • Macmini 2,1

    Did you get it? If your computer is not listed above, stop right now and do not go any further.
  • My take is Broadcom wireless Macs wouldn't have this problem at all. I might be wrong.
  • You are doing this at your own risk. It worked for me. I can't provide you with support.

The process

  1. Navigate to /System/Library/Extensions. Copy "IO80211Family.kext" to some place safe, preferably in its own folder called "1.6.3".
  2. Download the 2007-004 update from Apple's website (the link is above in the text). Open the .DMG file and copy the .pkg installer to a folder of your choice.
  3. Optional: Also download the 2008-001 installer, just in case you have to restore your extension. See below all steps.
  4. Copy this post to a text file and save that to your desktop.
  5. Now right-click (ctrl+click) AirPortExtremeUpdate2007004.pkg and select "Show package contents"
  6. From the folder "Contents" open AirPortExtremeUpdate2007004.dist in TextEdit. You can do this by dragging the file to TextEdit in your dock. This is the installer script. It checks whether your installed kernel extension is a newer version and then if the Atheros code it contains is the same (or newer) version. You will break it intentionally at two places.
  7. Find the text "// kext" (without the quotes) in this file, open a new line before that and type the following
    return true;
    Your file should look like
    return true;
    // kext must exist ...

  8. Then find the text "// 235.x" (without the quotes), open a new line before that and type the following
    return false;

    Your file should look like

    return false;
    // 235.x means installed

  9. Save the .dist file you just edited
  10. The last step involved is the most frightening. Go to /System/Library/Extensions and delete "IO8211Family.kext" (remember you backed it up).
  11. Now go back to that PKG (not the DMG!!) and double-click it. Remember you just edited the installer script to force it to install this old update.
  12. After the installer is done, restart your Mac
If anything goes wrong

If the OS gets screwed, it makes sense to get things back to 2008-001 state. However, it could be that the 2008-001 updater refuses to install itself if it sees your files are messed up. You can force it using a similar procedure:

  1. Open the 2008-001 updater DMG and extract the PKG from there
  2. Show package contents on the PKG, then edit AirPortExtremeUpdate2008001.dist in TextEdit.
  3. This time do a search for "VolumeCheck()". Modify it so it says:
    function VolumeCheck()
       return true;
    // must have an OS

  4. Save the file. Double-click the PKG file. Restart your computer.

Did it work?

I always hold off updating after my DVD drive got fubar'd by Firmware 2.1. I left this particular update for months before installing it. One day I decided "If they haven't pulled it, then it must be safe". Again, too early! Luckily this fixed it for me. I guess from now on if it works, I'm not updating it. Apple, pull yourself together?

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Bobby says:

Thank you for posting this info -- Rawk!

FYI: one can use `kextstat` to establish which airport driver is loaded. From a shell, try:

kextstat | grep -i airport

posted: May 13th, 2008, at dawn
Alex says:

Finally, this was a major headbreacker for the last month or so. Works perfectly on a MBP 2.2 10.4.11, thanks a bunch

posted: May 13th, 2008, in the afternoon
Tom says:

Thanks for this!


the firmware 2.1 is the one that f*kd the mbpro DVD drive?

posted: May 14th, 2008, late at night
george says:

Hi Tom.

yeah Superdrive Firmware Update 2.1 ruined my Superdrive to the point where it can't read DL DVDs I burned on this very same drive..

Nice site btw ;)

posted: May 14th, 2008, in the afternoon
David Turner says:


Also.. funny little side note... some people can hear the audio test tones, and turning off your wi-fi card will solve that too.
Who wants to bet it's the atheros card?

posted: May 18th, 2008, late at night
David Kaplowitz says:

thanks for this - was racking my brain trying to figure out why Ableton Live was dropping audio all of a sudden and saw a post about someone else's problems somewhere on the Apple discussions with the simple line "i bet this guy's problem is his Airport card"

switched off Airport and dropouts disappeared.

will try your rollback tips - thanks again

posted: May 20th, 2008, in the afternoon
Aaron says:

Thank you so much! I'm running a Macbook Pro 2.2 w/ 10.4.11. I called Apple about a month ago when the issue started happening. I asked told them it was happening every time I ran my audio applications and brought up Logic. The guy asked me who the maker of the program was!? I figured I wasnt going to get much help beyond that. Cheers.

posted: May 20th, 2008, in the evening
Lou says:

I've tried following your direction, but I'm unable to save the edited .dist files. It will not overwrite the file in text edit. Can you please help me out?

posted: July 7th, 2008, late at night
Ian says:

Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

I have been battling for months with dropped audio on my MacBook Pro when running any DAW...Live, Reason, Logic, Plogue Bidule...everything was giving the same dropout.

I am a very happy chappie; having followed your instructions I was able to roll back the firmware without any problems and all my DAWs work perfectly.


posted: July 7th, 2008, in the evening
Sam says:

I have OSX 10.4.11 running on my MacBook Pro, and this fix is exactly what I need to solve my audio problem, but somehow I can't find the IO80211Family.kext file, or any folder called Extensions or Systems, for that matter, anywhere on the hard drive. Is something terribly wrong with my OS, or what? Any ideas?

posted: August 2nd, 2008, in the small hours


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