Installing the Old AirPort Utility (Version 5.6) on Mountain Lion/Mavericks

Update 6/26/2016:

Seriously, please read the note below. This method no longer works. This post is here just for information on how to get to the method described below.

Update 11/7/2013: AirPort Utility 5.6 is not compatible with OS X (10.9) Mavericks, and my extractor tool won’t solve that issue. What will solve that issue is a solution detailed by Corey Mahler here. Thanks, Corey!

The Problem

I have an older (802.11g) AirPort express in my kitchen that I use to stream Pandora via AirFoil. I set it up almost a year ago, and since getting a new computer, I’d forgotten its AirPlay password. Yesterday, when I attempted to do my usual streaming, it threw an error at me.

No big deal. I’ll just change the password.

When I tried to log in to do that, I found that the version of AirPort Utility that comes with Mountain Lion is incompatible with my AirPort.

No big deal. I’ll just download the old version of AirPort Utility and manage it using that.

After downloading it from Apple’s website, I ran the installer only to find that it isn’t compatible with Mountain Lion either.

No big deal. I’ll just, umm…. I’ll just, erm…. Hmph.

The Solution

As it turns out, the AirPort Utility application is totally compatible with Mountain Lion even though its installer isn’t. Using it is a not-so-simple process of extracting it from the package.

After going through it manually myself, I thought I’d make it easier for others to accomplish, so I built an Automator Workflow that does it automatically. It’s a little clunky, but it should do the job just fine.

How it Works

First, you’ll need to download AirPort Utility 5.6.1. Next, download the Automator Workflow.

Once you have both downloaded, extract the automator workflow. Drag and drop AirPortUtility5.6.1.dmg onto the workflow icon. Note that you may have to hold it there for a second before the application will accept the .dmg as input. Let the application do its thing for a few seconds. (Again, it’s a little clunky, so it may not work the first time. If it doesn’t, give it some time and try again.)

If all goes well, you’ll see an application called Old AirPort Utility on your Desktop. Simply move it to your Applications/Utilities folder, and you’re all set!

Any questions or comments, contact me on twitter @franktisellano.

Update: I’m aware of an issue in which the workflow throws a Shell Script error. I’m not sure of the cause, but I have a sort-of workaround for you. Shoot me an email for details. What I’ve found is that folks who are getting this error are simply running the workflow (which isn’t a standalone application), while they should be dragging the AirPortUtility5.6.1.dmg file onto the workflow icon.

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Update: I was hesitant to do this, but after over 10,000 30,000 65,000 downloads of my little script, I’ve been encouraged by a bunch of folks to put this little button here for those who saved some money and time. If you’re feeling generous and you’d like to help me pay for the CloudApp account I use to serve this file, consider donating by clicking the button below. Thanks!