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Public Safety Advisory: How to Downgrade from Time Capsule 7.4.1

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I always upgrade all of my Apple (s aapl) firmware as soon as the updates become available. I’ve never had a problem with any of the new firmwares, and most of the time they improve whatever product I am upgrading. I’ve never had a problem, that is, until I upgraded my Time Capsule to the 7.4.1 firmware.

I use my Time Capsule as a NAS, not a router, so it stores all of my music, movies, documents and photos…all the important stuff. Since my Time Capsule is being used as an external hard drive for all the computers on the network, it is essential to have a fast connection. If you try to stream a movie or even music from a drive that you do not have a good connection to, the media will be choppy and could eventually stop streaming all together.

Quick tip: To ensure the fastest streaming speeds, if you are using your Time Capsule as a NAS, I would recommend connecting it via Ethernet to your router instead of using the wireless. I have found that the wireless connection is not the best method when using it as NAS.

A few weeks ago I upgraded my Time Capsule to the 7.4.1 software and did not really think much of it. A few days later, my roommate told me they were having trouble streaming music. I thought that was weird, but told them to restart the Time Capsule and the router and then try it again. They restarted both items and told me they were still having trouble.

At this point, I didn’t remember that I had recently upgraded the firmware and was thinking, “This is weird, we haven’t changed anything but my roommate is claiming the network is messed up.” Later that day when I got home I investigated, and sure enough, something wasn’t right. After about an hour of poking around on the network, it finally dawned on me that the only change I’d made was upgrading the firmware, so I decided to downgrade to the previous version, and voila, my problems were gone!

To Downgrade Your Time Capsule Firmware:

  1. Open Airport Utility: Applications ? Utilities ? Airport Utility
  2. Find your device in the left-hand column and select the “Manual Setup” button
  3. In the “Summary” window that pops up click on the word “Version”timecapsuleversion
  4. In the pop up box that comes up next to the “Upload Version” select “7.3.2”timecapsuleversionpopup
  5. Click “OK”
  6. Your Time Capsule will restart and be as good as new!

Frankly, I’m shocked that Apple would release a firmware update that would cripple the hardware and am looking forward to the next revision, which will hopefully address this issue.

15 Responses to “Public Safety Advisory: How to Downgrade from Time Capsule 7.4.1”

  1. paulruns

    I had the same problem with Time Capsule and several PCs networked to it…AFTER upgrading to 7.4.1. I called Apple TWICE and declined to buy their “support” service. Credit to Apple for their tech support trying to help me anyway, BUT they expressly denied that my problems (all PCs dropping the network connection to Time Capsule, even after they worked fine for a year) were related to their software. Coincidence that it all started after I upgraded to 7.4.1? I found this post and downgraded it to 7.3.2, and VOILA! Everything works fine.

  2. MWinslow

    I tried all of the ‘fixes’ posted on the Apple website to no avail. This one worked! Clearly the firmware for the Time Machine is the culprit. Thanks for the help!

  3. Avadia

    I tried twice to update to 7.4.1. Both times it bricked my Time Casule! I had to downgrade and stay with the previous version to get it working again. From reading the forums, it appears this happened to many, many users. Shame on Apple for releasing such a buggy firmware upgrade.

  4. I had just the opposite experience. Under 7.3.2 wireless NAS performance with my Time Capsule was so bad I would plug my MacBook Air into the ethernet for Time Machine backups. After upgrading the 7.4.1 the problem went away and backups are speedy now.

  5. Until I bumped into this post I didn’t realize I was supposed to be having problems.

    I use my Time Capsule as both router and NAS. No problems. No complaints with the firmware update.

  6. I had a similar problem. My internet connection drops when I use more than 1 computer at a time for a long (?) period (2-3 hours). All started after that upgrade. I restarted my Time Capsule and it’s a little better now but it still drops at least once every 2 days using. Won’t Apple fix it? I’m too lazy to procede this downgrade ;)

  7. Mikael Hultgren

    @Gazoobee: Actually, i would say his last paragraph is spot on, you only have to make a search on the apple support forums to see how much problems the 7.4.1 update has caused. I had the exackt same problem on my ape after updating to 7.4.1, thankfully its easy to downgrade it.

  8. Mats Engstroem

    Oohh, so good to hear!!
    I figured I was the only one on earth that despite several tries, did not appreciate the 7.4.1.
    My hope now is that your article is read or presented to Apple so that the next version eliminates this..Lacking a new version soon, I wonder what sort of message that sends to the apple community concerning trust and appreciation of end-user reactions…

    Mats/Stockholm, Sweden
    (Apple fan since 1987)

  9. Michael

    I’m here to testify to the problem with 7.4.1 as well. I usually keep all my hardware updated with the latest versions as well but had to downgrade back to 7.3.1 on my Airport Extreme after having problems with iTunes as well.

  10. Servius

    I can testify that the problem does exist. Upgrading (and then forgetting that I had upgraded) caused exactly the same symptoms – slow data transfer across wireless, random loss of PPPoE connections, freezing and rebooting for no apparent reason. Much happier downgrading.

  11. Joe L.

    I had almost the exact same problem with my Airport Extreme. Several weeks ago, none of the computers (windows included) would not stay online. Or more specifically, the connection would drop, if only for a second or two, at least every 5 minutes and sometimes every minute. It made streaming radio and watching TV on impossible, and regular browsing very frustrating.

    I started troubleshooting, and found the same thing happened when I was plugged into the router via ethernet too. Multiple restarts and resets of the APE did not help.

    Next, I unplugged the router and plugged into the modem directly for several hours, and had no problems.
    Then I plugged in an old Linksys WRT54G router I have laying around, and used it for several days with no problems on any of my computers. We were back to watching hulu regularly with zero issues.

    Then I went back to troubleshooting the APE. After plugging it back in, the same issues started immediately. After looking around the configuration, on a whim, I decided to downgrade the firmware from 7.4.1 to 7.3.2. After that, everything started working perfectly, and has been fine for almost a month. I get reminded about once a week to upgrade to 7.4.1 and have to remind myself to ignore that notification.

    I, too, hope they will come out with a new upgrade soon that fixes these problems.

  12. Gazoobee

    An interesting article except for the last paragraph.

    You just don’t have any proof or even good evidence that would justify the statement you’re making there (shocked … crippled… etc.)

    Troubleshooting something like that is complex and while I’m not saying you’re wrong, you don’t actually have any proof that you’re right and the problem could easily be caused by something else entirely or return at a later date etc.

    A little more cautious language would be in order given that you didn’t actually go through a proper troubleshooting procedure but merely stopped after the first thing you tried seemed to work.