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. my airport extreme started to lose wireless strength even after downgrading and rebooting. so i just bite the “apple” and upgraded to 7.4.1, now i see there is 7.4.2, wish me luck

  2. After i had updated all of my windows laptops (IBM) are disconnected frequently from the wireless network, I think this update needs to be fixed from apple. I have to downgrade all of my base stations and all works fine again. Any comments are welcome.

  3. Steve

    Thanks jason, this one is for you renato…

    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.

  4. Niels

    Everything was fine until I my updated Time Capsule to 7.4.1 and immediately lost all wireless. I reverted back to 7.3.2 and it worked unreliably for a while. Currently, I have to use ethernet cables because the wireless network cannot be found by any computer (Apple or Windows).

  5. I updated the firmware today, too. I got burned! My airport was not recognized. After a hard reset, it still was not recognized. It looks like my AirPort Extreme got corrupted. Apple is going to send me a new one. Boohoo. i just spent an hour trying to work with their firmware issues with tech support. What a waste of time. Definitely avoid the update guys! Not worth it.


    To #47 above, dog not happy, either. Dad now in doghouse; dog in bed with my wife. Apple will be called as a witness in my divorce defense. Extraordinarily poor form, Apple. Withdraw the update and make amends!

  7. Nicholas

    The 7.4.1 firmware update should be avoided at all costs. It simply bricks the airport extreme in relation to wifi connections. Very disappointing and unusual for Apple. I understand the problem is being worked on for the next update.

  8. duncan

    Tried this update again along with a full network rebuild and it’s still a nasty downgrade from 7.3.2.

    Performance about 40% of what it was under 7.3.2.

    To have this rubbish out there and still being offered unpatched is utterly acceptable.

    This is rubbish Apple and pushing rubbish out to your customers is a stupid and callous move that will get you rightly punished.

    Fix it or withdraw it! Now!!

  9. Dave W

    I upgraded my Apple Express to 7.4.1 and it could no longer connect to my Netgear router (wireless) so I lost my wireless printing.
    I tried resetting to factory defaults and rebuilding it and it did connect (green light came on) but after switching it off and back on it could not connect to the wireless network
    The only solution for me was to downgrade back to 7.3.2, set up the network connection details once more, and it all worked.

  10. William G. Cerniuk

    Firmware 7.4.1 is one of the most (among several) bug infested updates ever released for the Airport. If you “downgrade” to this version from 7.3.2 you will like experience the following as I did:
    • randomly refused connections (Macs and iPhones, no Windows in the house)
    • randomly dropped connections in under 30 minute intervals
    • connection drops are followed by performance degradation in speed and service blocking
    (mail works, browser doesn’t)
    • VPN connections get chopped randomly
    • Wife and Kids blame Dad for lousy internet access
    (wife not happy, dad not happy!)

    Solution is to “Upgrade back” to firmware 7.3.2 and life is good (wife is happy, kids can do homework, dad is happy)

    Just in case, a link to Apple’s download for 7.3.2

    7.4.1, Just Say NO

    last note, the Apple online help system recognized my serial number (6F7103EZVZC) at the but did not recognize it when attempting to go the “Speak to an Apple Expert” from the support page. Your mileage may vary.

  11. I too had to roll back to the earlier version, I’m an Apple Newbie, long time PC user so that recommendation with instructions was appreciated!

    Not only did it keep disconnecting me, at one point every thirty seconds or so for about five minutes (the last straw), it told me my Time Capsule was almost full and was going to start purging earlier backups. When I checked, the Capsule had only about 250G used out of a Terabyte! I’ve not seen any further warnings since I rolled back.

    An unbelievably inept update.

  12. Don’t touch the upgrade to 7.4.1!!!!

    It left my network performing like someone had poured treacle and sand into the works of a Swiss watch.

    The only good thing I can say is that the downgrade back to 7.3.2 was flawless and repaired everything immediately.

    I won’t be getting back the five hours of lost sleep trying to fix it though and whoever the semi-clever person was who let this pile of manure be released will be looking for a new job in June when Steve comes back to work so my advice is just resign now to save the pain of waiting.

    Truly awful release Apple!

    Contrasted with “It just works” that applies to most of your products (including the downgrade path to 7.3.2) 7.4.1 should be branded with “It just stinks!”

  13. Specter

    7.4.1 tanked my configuration too. Sometimes if I left it alone for 2-4 hours it would figure things out for itself and connect to my 11n (5ghz) WPA2 network. Most of the time it wouldn’t not matter how many times I factory reset and manually reconfigured. Any time I had a power outage after it did start working I’d be back in the same boat again.

    Downgraded to 7.3.2 and I’m back in business.

  14. Edgar Brown

    The problem seems to be random corruption of the upgraded Airport Express settings that ends up hanging-up the device.

    Just reset the unit to default settings, re-configure your settings by hand, and you will have a functional upgraded unit (takes less than five minutes overall).

    I had the same problems listed here but, after reseting, 7.4.1 has not failed since.

  15. I originally upgraded to 7.4.1, had the same issues, then downgraded back to 7.3.2. Everything had worked again as pre-upgrade but I’m not sure if the latest OS Update brought the wireless range to be very short as IF I did do the Airport firmware upgrade.

    I’m not truly stuck…

  16. I upgraded to 7.4.1 but ended up downgrading to 7.3.2 as well. After losing wifi connectiving with apple tv and lapto. All is running smooth again. I expect smoother things from Apple. Something has definately gone wrong with this update. dont do it!!

  17. Well, for what’s worth, I managed to downgrade without any difficulties. But it shouldn’t have been necessary if Apple’s QA were actually QA these days!

  18. Mats Engstroem

    My Apple TV lost contact after I upgrdaded to 7.4.1.
    I have since upgraded the Aplle TV, but it did not work.
    I had to go back to 7.3.2 and also go back to the factory set up on the Apple TV.

    Also I have done this two times, but to no good

    A true disappointment…..


  19. pudovkin

    … A correction: when I say “Airport Express”, I meant Airport Extreme. My Airport Express was disconnecting from my iTunes.

    An update: after downgrading, sometimes I still can’t connect to my Airport Extreme through Utility 5.4.1. I thought it was strictly related to AirDisk, but had some of those errors without the USB flash drive attached. And I keep losing connection with AirTunes (yes, I’ve downgraded both firmwares to 7.3.2, from my Airport Extreme and Express).

    I don’t know what happened, but even after the downgrade, both my Extreme and Express are failing on having a good connection (experienced problem with Skype; tried my neighbour’s wireless, which is from the same Internet provider I have and had no problem, so it’s not my Internet access the problematic one), on AirTunes [Express] (due to the dropouts), on AirDisk [Extreme] (which has lousy speed, disappears sometimes and can’t be connected) and on printer sharing [Extreme].

    Don’t know what else to do.

  20. fractaluniverse

    After upgrading to 7.4.1, I couldn’t connect my WinXP PC to the Airport Express. The base station took longer than usual to start up, and although the network would show up on my PC it wouldn’t connect. My MacBook connected fine, but I need to use my PC on the internet as well.

    I downgraded to 7.3.2 and it’s working again.

  21. pudovkin

    After updating, I was trying to believe that it would be a good thing, even having problems with poor connection (low speed and long latency on Skype), lags and disconnects from my USB 8GB Kingston Data Traveler, iTunes losing connection with my stereo and, of course, dropping wireless connection. Yes, I’m very patient, haha.

    I read in a forum that the problem was on USB power management and I realized my mistake was due to my Logitech USB hub non-AC-powered.

    So, I’ve downgraded the firmware to 7.3.2 and lost all my settings. :(
    And Airport Express still returns errors after a long time I’ve tried to reach manual settings for it.

    I don’t regret of downgrading, even I don’t know if will solve the problem, but this tell me something I use to think very often:

    Apple sucks as any computer company.
    They are worse than others because they state all the time they don’t have problems.

  22. guillaume g

    well – I just had to revert to the previous firmware as well. The bug for me was the lock-up of the time capsule for time machine. TM couldn’t not access the TC drive to execute its backup. Messsage saying the user did not have the approrpaite rights ! And I tried many thinks – not to prevail. Just did the revert, and guess what, the back up went smoothly.

  23. Edgar Brown

    I had the same problems with the update. Lost wireless connection (a couple of days after updating) and had to connect through a cable. And I kept receiving the ‘Error -5’ message trying to access the station from the Airport utility.

    After wasting a couple of hours attempting the multiple suggestions that I saw in this thread, I decided to just byte the bullet and reset the unit to its factory defaults (from the Airport utility ctrl-click on the base station to see the option). As I owned other routers before, I expected this to be painful. I guess I had forgotten this is an Apple product.

    It took barely two minutes to set up my configuration from scratch (using the automated configuration mode). A few extra minutes in manual mode trying to remember my MobileMe account and password, and I am back in business using the latest firmware. So bypass all the pain and just reset the Airport Express to its default configuration after upgrading.

  24. Derek Valder

    I Upgraded and I thought everything was fine until i noticed that Time Machine had not completed a backup since i did the upgrade. In trying to fix that problem i lost connectivity to the air port. Only after finding an artical on the internet on a hardwired pc about reverting the firmware have i restored connectivity.. Still cant do a backup to TC but i have internet and e-mail back and can sit in my lounge