Background: Many laptop-based Mac OS X users are experiencing significant audio issues on Mac OS X Tiger and Leopard. On Tiger, the culprit appears to be the AirPort Extreme Update 2008-001 released earlier this spring. One workaround on Tiger is to simply turn off AirPort. On Leopard, the problem appears to be slightly more complex, but generally linked to 10.5.2; several software vendors are recommending music users avoid that update for now. (10.5 / 10.5.1 appear unaffected.) The issue is not universal on Leopard (some laptop Mac users report no problems), but if you are experiencing issues, the only current solution appears to be downgrading your entire system to an earlier release (via Time Machine or reinstalling).

Fortunately, on Tiger there’s a more specific temporary fix.

Tiger Fix: Musician Georgi Marinov has posted step-by-step instructions for reverting the AirPort Extreme Update to the previous release (2007-004). This fix will work only for Tiger users, apparently on specific MacBook Pro and Mac mini models.

tiger airport audio dropouts fix

I’d personally like to see Apple add some facility for uninstalling updates on all releases, as some other operating systems do. (Yes, you can use Time Machine, but that’s more of an argument for building this feature into Software Update.) But regardless, with any OS and any update (and certainly with this unsupported procedure), be sure to backup before applying any update to a critical machine.

If you do apply this, let us know if it works for you.


Mac OS X 10.5.2: Music and Audio Problems on Apple Laptops? (Or Blame AirPort?)

Mac Audio Glitches: Serato Reports; Avoid 10.5.2, AirPort For Now

Photo: Telstar Logistics. (Hey, it was either that shot of SFO airport or another apple or tiger or something silly.)

Update: via Kris on comments, it appears the newest ("Penryn") Apple laptops are unaffected, presumably a side effect of using Broadcom chips. (That’s not to say the chip is to blame, but the software support for the different chips might be.)

  • Kris

    Time Machine under OS X Leopard will allow you to roll back to 5.1, but only if you had it running at the time of upgrade.

    On another note, brand new macbook pros (with penryn chips) are not affected by this bug. I just replaced my year-old macbook pro yesterday (both running 10.5.2) and the performance issues disappeared.

    Tech support at Rane / Serato confirmed this.

  • yeah, this reallllly hurt me at a gig in SF

  • george

    fyi, the supported models come from the update itself, and include most macbook, macbook pro, and mac mini models. i guess the newer ones come with a wireless module by a different manufacturer (broadcom).

  • Owen Vallis

    I ran the downgrade to the 2007 airport card about a month or so ago. Ever since then, I've been having difficulty syncing two laptops running ableton over the Audio/Midi network in OSX (even using ether net cable). I'm not sure if the downgrade is directly responsible yet, but I wanted to give a heads up. It's no fun having so many bugs with the apple updates thats for sure.

    MacBook Pro

    Tiger 10.4.11

  • spinner

    I've downgraded a few times over the years and I've always ended up having problems. I have no clue as to why – as long as you're not updating firmware is shouldn't matter no?

    However turning off airport has seems to help alot with freezes and crashes, you only need it when your updating or authorizing anyway. Check porn of your office pc instead 😉

    Don't update is the safe bet but yea I know it's pretty pointless advice if you've already done it.

  • george

    Tiger's 2008-001 firmware update is a standalone thing, not a part of a 10.4.x version. It does make sense *not* to rollback extensions from older OS version revisions as generally all of them are meant to work together. But this firmware came alone and caused wreckage.

    Agreed otherwise, the best thing to do is to not update extensions relating to hardware if said hardware works just fine.

  • Thomas Cermak

    10.5.3 will be out shortly. Hopefully it will address part of this issue and cover other bug fixes related to macbook(pro)s.

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  • jack

    I'd like to try this but i dont want to fuck anything up further….

    Any word from apple about a fix for tiger people?

  • Wes

    weird cus i've had my airport turned off cus i use liev frequently + im on an ethernet connection so dont need it, but i still have amaad issues with ableton Live 7 spiking cpu, and hitting like 98% with about 4 or 5 midi tracks (2 sidehcained) which sucks, i can barely create track far less finish it now a days , it sucks listening to choppy music lol… dont think its the airport. i've got tiger, macbook 13" 2 ghz & 2 gigs of ram.

  • now if only pro tools would get on the trolley!

  • D in NO

    I did it. It worked. It's been an extreme annoyance. Thanks to all involved in getting the fix to the people. I am the people.

  • Blank

    I'm so in love with my pc right now.

  • @Blank … I think you know what happens to your tech karma when you laugh at other people dealing with bugs. 😉 But, likewise, any Mac user saying the OS never has problems is asking for trouble — just as with any OS. They have bugs. We use them every day, so it's worth criticizing them.

  • VCO

    Interestingly enough, I just heard that Apple is waiting on Digidesign to finish testing to release 10.5.3

  • maz

    I'm having audio drop outs every few minutes on my iMac. It came with 10.5.2. Down grading it is a slight pain in the ass, meaning having to format everything and use a developer release of 10.5.1 from ADC.

    I really really don't have time to deal with that. If my mbp has the same issue I'm gonna slap my friends that work at apple.

  • Russ


    I was wondering if anyone out there is having their computer crashing at all. I using 10.5.2 with the latest version of Logic on year old MacBook. I'm in a bind because i'm trying to get to grips with the iPhone SDK which needs 10.5.2 but i am getting very peeved that i can't write any choons. It is all very reminiscent of an upgrade to Tiger (10.4.10 i think) that left me with an 'unrecognizable' audio interface for 8 months. I hope the solution from Apple doesn't take that long.



  • JPV

    Macs are better for music.


  • MonksDream

    Glad you agree JPV. Your support is appreciated! 🙂

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