Blog Post

Airport Firmware 7.4.1 Update Available

airportutilityWhile we were expecting new firmware for previous generation Airport Extreme and Time Capsule devices to drop this week, some will be disappointed that this update does not magically update the hardware as well.

Airport Firmware 7.4.1 enables the Back to my Mac disk sharing feature announced this week for previous generation Airport Extreme and Time Capsule devices. This release also updates the brand new Airport Extreme and Time Capsule devices with dual-band networking to fix a few bugs that were not caught in the initial release. It does not, however, enable dual-band networking or guest networking on older devices as that feature relies on the new hardware found in the Early 2009 versions of the Airport Extreme and Time Capsule. Airport Express users get no love (beyond bug fixes) as Air Disk sharing is not supported on those devices.

Here is the list of updates

For AirPort Extreme (Early 2009) and Time Capsule (Early 2009) that ship with firmware 7.4, the firmware 7.4.1 update:
  • Resolves an issue in which a client computer may be disconnected when waking from sleep
  • Addresses an issue in which redirecting SMTP port services may disable IP-layer networking
  • Improves the reliability of Back to My Mac-based disk sharing
  • Includes recent AirPort security updates

For AirPort Extreme with 802.11n (Fast Ethernet), AirPort Extreme with 802.11n (Gigabit Ethernet), AirPort Express with 802.11n, and original Time Capsule models, the firmware 7.4.1 update:

  • Enables remote administration and remote access to compatible USB connected drives via Back to My Mac (except on AirPort Express)
  • Improves reliability when backing up to a Time Capsule via Time Machine
  • Includes recent AirPort security updates


The Mobile Me features allow you to access files that are stored on a USB drive attached to your base station. I tested this earlier this morning with a spare USB drive. It could not be simpler to turn on the Back to my Mac feature in Airport Utility — you literally just type in your username and password. I then tried to hop on my neighbor’s Wi-Fi to see if I could see my drive. Unfortunately, my neighbor’s router does not support UPnP or NAT-PMP so I could not see my shared drive through Back to my Mac. I assume that if you are on two networks that support Back to my Mac, you would be able to see your shared drive just fine. Maybe I’ll wrap up my Airport instead of See’s Candies for them next Christmas.

You can still enable drive sharing over the WAN port as well, but this is a little different than the Back to my Mac sharing. Sharing over the WAN port just means filesharing via AFP or SMB, only enabled on the WAN ethernet port in addition to the LAN ports. The only disadvantage that this method has is that you have to know the IP address of your Airport base station to connect to it from a remote network. Back to my Mac gets around this by having the computer or Airport Extreme register their current IP address with the Mobile Me service. Your computer just checks in with Mobile Me to get the address of your Airport Extreme and then opens a connection to it.


The other advantage of Back to my Mac is that ISP’s often lease out IP addresses for a limited period of time, after which they may change. Back to my Mac will update the IP address automatically on any change. If you do not have the Mobile Me service, you can accomplish the same result by registering your Airport’s public IP address with DynDNS or a similar service. If the Airport is providing NAT services to your local network, you could even set up a computer behind your Airport to automatically update this entry if the public IP address were to change.

Beyond the cool new features, I am glad to see that Time Machine reliability has been addressed for the Time Capsule. I have one client that was never able to get Time Machine to backup reliably to their Time Capsule. I am looking forward to trying this new firmware release, and I will let you all know if this firmware update fixes their situation in the comments below. If you have your own stories with Firmware 2.4.1, be sure to share them here.

64 Responses to “Airport Firmware 7.4.1 Update Available”

  1. Baderous

    I’m having the same problem. Since 7.4.1, I can only connect standing next to the router. Downgraded to 7.3.2, all seems fine, leaving the room now.. will it work?

  2. I just updated to this same firmware and now my iMac (PowerPC G5) won’t “see” or “find” the Airport Express device during the initial scan! So now I can’t even downgrade to the previous firmware. My iMac won’t find it even though the light is a solid green on my Express. Any thoughts?


    To the “converts” here, to be fair, I can count three auto-upgrades that Apple has clearly done an inadequate QC job on prior to distribution. That’s out of maybe 100? Not bad, but Apple’s bigger problem (like other major vendors) is they have a culture of refusing to acknowledge mistakes. Very retrograde and unwelcome.

  4. Wow, I’m really concerned for the people having problems. My update went off without a hitch. No real benefit to me because I’m on gigabit Airport Extreme and don’t use MobileMe. I’m going to try an upgrade to a Time Capsule on Monday afternoon to see if it resolves my client’s Time Machine problems. I’ll report back here on those results.

  5. Same problem – When I try to set up through the AirPort Utility, I just get Error 5 — “error occurred while reading the configuration. Check connections etc. Fortunately I have a backup airport which connected normally. I will not be updating its firmware!

  6. I wanted to add my $0.02. After updating to 7.4.1, I couldn’t not connect wirelessly unless I was within 20′ away from the time capsule. Downgraded to 7.3.2 and now I can again go outside and connect. Thumbs down to 7.4.1. But I still love Apple.

  7. Agree that this 7.4.1 is a major screwup on Apple’s part. I am a recent convert from PC expecting alot from Apple products. This basically tells me Apple and Windows are about the same in terms of quality control. If thats the case I will not bother re-learning Apple just to be faced with similar problems as PC.

  8. Nasty update. Broke all my network settings, and won’t let me reconfigure it. When I try to set up through the AirPort Utility, I just get Error 5 — “error occurred while reading the configuration.”


    Thanks, guys; fixed the problem! “Upgraded” newer Extreme to 7.4 and devices couldn’t connect. Wife just about killed me when the Roku wouldn’t connect and play Netflix. Rolled back to 7.3.2, hard booted and voila! Thanks!

  10. airport extreme base station with gigabit ethernet no longer allows wireless access since this update. I am using an ethernet cable and connection seems slow but working.

    what I did:
    1. came back from vacation, wireless working fine, got a pop up to update the firmware
    2. updated firmware, but the basestation took a very long time to restart, and then even though it eventually re-appeared in the airport utility, it never was really accessible
    3. re-launching airport utility and clicking the “continue” to start the setup process gives me the error (-5) to make sure it is plugged in, and then the utility software tells me there was an error and i need to close the utility application.
    4. then i followed the instructions above about going back to the old firmware, and i can see the old firmware options (in check for updates with option key held down) but they never download, i get an error and then a prompt to close the airport utility and try again.

    Thanks a lot Apple. For the price we pay and the loyalty we exhibit in buying your new products, it would be nice if you could test your updates a bit more to save your customers wasted time, stress, etc.

  11. A lot of trouble. Everyone including me seems to “loose” their Time Capsule on Windows XP run computers; I can’t believe that those r….. Apple(s) responsible have released this update without testing this important feature in advance! I think we need a re-udate promply!

  12. Ben Vandevenne

    I also had nothing but troubles with this update. In the office everything works fine but when I go to the living, I loose my connection. Before the upgrade, the whole house was covered. I will have to downgrade again. Lucky for me I still have acces to my network for digital TV which runs on Expresses.

  13. This is a bad update. After applying it I had to do a full reset of my Airport Extreme and do the initial setup before any of my wireless devices could connect. They could see router but not connect, yet giving no error messages that anything was wrong. The signal from the Airport Extreme is now about half what it was before the update as well.

  14. I also had to revert back to 7.3.2 (w/hard reset) to get the SMB shares back, as well as getting the wireless to work more than a room away from the base. Not a good firmware upgrade at all!

  15. To downgrade to 7.3.2, open the Airport Utility (under Utilities folder.) Highlight the Airport you need to downgrade. In the menu bar select Base Station -> Upload Firmware… A popup appears, from the drop down list select 7.3.2 for the Upload Version and click OK. That’s it. Well, you may have to hard reboot and create a new wireless network.

    If 7.3.2 is not there, then press cancel. From the menu bar, while holding the Option key down, select Airport Utility -> Check for Updates… You’ll see a list of all the old and new firmwares which are available. Select the version you want for your Airport (note different Airports have different firmwares.) After downloading 7.3.2 for your Airport, try the upgrade above again.

    Hope this helps. It got me working again.

  16. I recently updated my firmware to 7.4.1 and now my Vista machine will not find the airport express if off of the default settings. Everything was working before with WEP2A but now nothing. Does anyone know where to find the previous firmware?

    Thanks Apple, great update – you just bricked my airport express.

  17. I just purchased the new dual radio N airport extreme and am using a single radio N AE to extend my N network. When I upgraded both routers to firmware 7.4.1 i got decreased network performance. It actually looked like G speeds. I verified the network name was correct.

    I rolled back the firmware to 7.3.2 on the single radio N AE and when I tried to save the changes would get a channel error. It gave me a menu only for channels 1-11. I had to rest the router to get things back to normal and my speeds are now back to good and N network is now on channel 149.

    That channel error and the reduced speed makes me suspect that the firmware on the single radio AE makes it operate at 2.4 Ghz or compatible mode.

  18. I upgraded to 7.4.1 form 7.3.2 and now My 802.11n network won’t reach past 15 feet. I used to be able to connect my laptop anywhere in the house and my AppleTV is about 50 feet away from the Airport. Now My laptop can’t leave the room with the Airport and my AppleTV can’t see the network at all. When I’m withing 15 feet of the Airport my laptop connects fine. Anyone else having these issues?

  19. Alex UK

    After updating to firmware 7.4.1 I cannot connect AirPort Express from a Vista machine. I have removed the password, “reverted to factory settings” and tried rolling back to v7.3 … all to no avail. Any one else having similar issues? [“Error -6753” often occurs, but that’s not the only one]

  20. AustinTexas

    After updating to firmware 7.4.1, I cannot connect to time capsule from a windows XP machine. Initially, I set up file sharing with a disk password.
    I also tried to connect to time capsule by turning off the firewall on the window XP machine, but still got no connection. Does any one experience a similar problem?

  21. @ Zanne: Hi! Please go to PCworld or an online store and look for these Router that support these feature…

    1.] DHCP enabled
    2.] NAT 2 / NAT 3
    3.] if your notebook wireless is a “G wireless”, please buy a router that has “G” or G+ compatible. If you’re thinking of getting an N router, please get the ones which has backwards compatibility.

    If you have any other enquiries, please ask…

  22. >Unfortunately, my neighbor’s router does not support UPnP or NAT-PMP so I could not see my shared drive through Back to my Mac.<

    Please, tell me what router to buy that DOES support this functionality!! I need one for office (DSL) and for home (cable) – and have tried to buy the only one I could find that said this, but it was “not available“ for purchase. TIA