Friday 12 December 2014

FIX: Airport Utility does not find any devices - Mac OS X Yosemite (10.10.1)

Apple appears to have changed the way the Airport Utility admin application finds Airport and Time Capsule devices.  This may also apply to the Time Machine tools for backing up and restoring Mac files.  There is a simple fix...

Symptom: Under OS X Yosemite, the Apple Airport Utility (v6.3.4) fails to find any compatible Apple devices.  But "File / Configure Other" can be used successfully if you happen to know the IP address of the box you wish to administer.

So... The auto discovery mechanism must have got broken when Mac OS X 10.10 was released.

Fix: Switch off your Mac OS X firewall.  Reboot your Mac.  Try again!

Comment: This used to "just work" on earlier Mac OS X releases, but the new software smacks of poor design.  Surely the auto discovery protocol should play nicely with the stateful firewall on the local host.  If that's not possible for some reason, then the application needs to warn the user if their firewall settings must be changed for the application to work properly.

I find it particularly irksome that dropping the firewall isn't enough - you also have to reboot the Mac. Reminiscent of older Microsoft operating systems.

UPDATE: Another related bug in Yosemite (10.10.1).  In the Finder, can't connect to my Time Capsule share without dropping the firewall and rebooting.    That is, when I click on a short cut in Finder, the Finder hangs, then eventually announces that the Time Capsule can't be found.  But it just works if I switch off the Mac firewall and reboot the Mac.  This is crazy!  The Mac is acting as a client, not a server, so the firewall setting shouldn't matter.  Poor design or poor implementation?  I would be grateful for any insight into this mess.


  1. Thanks for the tip about the Firewall. Airport Utility was hanging trying to read my Time Capsule configuration so it never showed up on the overview. After reading your tip here, I tried it and it solved my issue. However, I was able to turn the Firewall back on and set Firewall Options to "Allow Incoming Connections" and adding Airport Utility to the list. I still had to reboot after adding it to the allowable incoming connections, but not I have my Firewall on AND Airport Utility works again.

  2. This worked for me using the

    $ sudo ifconfig en0 down
    $ sudo ifconfig en0 up
    $ sudo route add default

  3. I am running 10.10.3 and tried the solution about - NO LUCK. Airport Utility can't find the time capsule. Also, my Mac can't find the network printer connected to the time capsule either. This was working fine until 10 days ago.

    Any help resolving is greatly appreciated. Thanks.

    1. All I can suggest is switching off the firewall then rebooting the Mac. And check you can ping the devices by IP Address.

      Only other time this has happened to me was on a weird WiFi access point that blocked the multicast broadcast packets that are needed for auto discovery. "Client isolation mode" on Cisco access points (designed to hide wireless devices from each other) would have the same effect.


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