fixed : 10.7.3 refusing to see the Atheros AR9280

UPDATE [2] :

Easiest fix so far (thanks to delifruit on :

(Re)installing the “Edited Atheros Kext for Lion*3″ you can download here :

Note : after downloading the file “edited-atheros-kext-for-lion3-zip.doc” you need to rename the file to “” and double-click it to unzip, after that download the Kext Utility using the “kext-installer for Lion (Kext Utility by cVad)”-link included inside the unzipped folder ; to install follow the instructions as lined out in the “CAUTION ! (Read Me).txt”-file

the latest Kext Utility can be downloaded here :

KextUtility for OSX 10.8

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UPDATE [1] :

Apple seems to have acknowledged this problem, and has withdrawn the basic 10.7.3 update ; everyone will get the 10.7.3 combo update now :

And there’s a special fix for iMacs that have WiFi-problems since the OSX 10.7.3 update (but… it’s a iMac-only fix…) :

I hope this fixes thing for all of us 😉

——————- ORIGINAL POST BELOW —————————-

The Atheros AR9280 was seen as a genuine AirPort-card by OSX…

…in 10.6 Snow Leopard

…and in 10.7 Lion it could even do AirDrop…

…until 10.7.3 that is…

10.7.3 for some mysterious reason lost it’s ability to detect the AR9280 at all…

…the AirPort-icon in the menubar is blank, and it lists “WiFi: no hardware installed”…

Oddly, when restarting the Mac mini in ‘Rescue mode’ (pressing Apple(CMD)+R during startup), AirPort instantly connects using that same AR9280 card… ???!!

…but that doesn’t last if you start up 10.7.3 the normal way.

So… after a lot of fiddling around I found the solution is quite easy :

Start by downloading the special .kext-installer here :

1- then… reinstall the IO8211Family.kext from 10.6 Snow Leopard and reboot (you can get that .kext-file from the Snow Leopard installer DVDrom)

if you only need WiFi-connection, that will do, but…

…if you also want to use AirDrop, you need to do step 2 also :

2- only after doing step 1, you will be able to successfully reinstall the IO8211Family.kext from 10.7.2 (the previous version of Lion ; the .kext-file you can get from your TimeMachine backup)

It is mind boggling why this works because :

– directly reinstalling the IO8211Family.kext from 10.7.2 onto the version in 10.7.3 doesn’t work – for some reason you need to downgrade to the Snow Leopard version first…

– the IO8211.kext from 10.7.3 appears to be exactly the same as the one from 10.7.2 ; they have the same version number (4.1.2) and have been created and modified at the exact same date…

…only thing is : this doesn’t seem to be an as stable solution as sticking with 10.7.2


39 thoughts on “fixed : 10.7.3 refusing to see the Atheros AR9280

  1. one thing I just noticed :
    the firmware is now “Atheros 9280:” under OSX 10.7.3
    but it used to be “Atehros 9280:” iunder OSX 10.7.2

    that could be the source of this problem…

    could it be that the 10.7.3-installer updated the Atheros 9280’s firmware, but that 10.7.3 itself isn’t compatible with the new firmware ???

    • FYI – I’ve just checked all version numbers :

      What I have installed now (ported from 10.7.2) using the above procedure :
      IO80211Family.kext (v4.1.2)
      – including these Plugins :
      AirPortAtheros21.kext (v4.3)
      AirPortAtheros40.kext (v5.0.2)
      AirPortBrcm4331.kext (v5.1.3)
      AppleAirPortBrcm43224.kext (v5.0)
      IO80211NetBooter.kext (v4.1.2)

      What the regular 10.7.3 installer installs, but doesn’t work on my Mac with Atheros AR9280 (I checked these version numbers om my MacBook Pro with OSX 10.7.3 running smoothly) :
      IO80211Family.kext (v4.1.2)
      – including these Plugins :
      AirPortAtheros21.kext (v4.3)
      AirPortAtheros40.kext (v5.0.2)
      AirPortBrcm4331.kext (v5.1.3)
      AppleAirPortBrcm43224.kext (v5.0)
      IO80211NetBooter.kext (v4.1.2)

      …that’s right, that’s exactly the same as what’s installed now…
      same plugins, same version numbers…
      and still the 10.7.3 install doesn’t work, and the 10.7.2 install has no problem whatsoever !!!???

      And to complete the picture…
      What was installed on my Mac with Atheros AR9280 by the 10.6 installer and did work then :
      IO80211Family.kext (v3.2)
      – including these Plugins :
      AirPortAtheros21.kext (v4.2.5)
      AirPortAtheros9388.kext (v4.2.6)
      AirPortBrcm4331.kext (v4.3.3)
      AppleAirPortBrcm4331.kext (v4.2.3)
      AppleAirPortBrcm43224.kext (v4.2.8)
      IO80211NetBooter.kext (v1.0.3)

      (Yes… I also noticed that for some reason there is both AirPortBrcm4331.kext (v4.3.3) and AppleAirPortBrcm4331.kext (v4.2.3) ; despite the slight variation in the name, they appear to be the same .kext in 2 versions…)

  2. Some people suggest this procedure (even claiming it was given by an official Mac Genius from Apple’s own Helpdesk) for a similar problem on an Intel-iMac ; I didn’t test it myself (yet), but you might want to try it :
    [ WARNING : this does involve using the Terminal… so this is for really advanced users ONLY !! ]

    On a “Good – Unaltered” Lion system. Go to a terminal and copy and paste these lines (exactly):

    cd /System/Library/Extensions/IO80211Family.kext/Contents/PlugIns/
    sudo tar -cvzf AirPortAtheros21.kext.tar AirPortAtheros21.kext
    sudo mv AirPortAtheros21.kext.tar ~/Desktop

    You should now have a copy of the drivers for your “Good – Unaltered” Lion system. You are going to need to place the AirPortAtheros21.kext.tar on a USB key (or whatever) and move this file to the iMac (which will not load 10.7.3 correctly).

    Place the AirPortAtheros21.kext.tar file on the iMac’s Desktop and open a terminal. Again, copy and past each of these terminal commands into a terminal:

    sudo cp AirPortAtheros21.kext.tar /System/Library/Extensions/IO80211Family.kext/Contents/PlugIns/
    sudo mv AirPortAtheros21.kext AirPortAtheros21.kext.orig
    sudo tar -xvf AirPortAtheros21.kext.tar
    sudo touch /System/Library/extensions/

    Reboot your iMac.

    Download the combo update on the iMac: and install it.

  3. Someone suggested this extremely simple solution (I would suggest this as your first option, before you do anything else) :

    – shut down your Mac, but be sure to un-check “Re-open windows when logging back in” (so make sure your Mac will do a full reboot next time, not a saved-state recommence)
    – then restart your Mac

    …that seems to simple to be true, but if it works…

    view the original post here :

  4. I had this issue with the AR9280 (It’s a PCI-E card from HP WEAP-113N). I did a clean install of Lion downloaded from the App Store – so it installed 10.7.3 right off the bat and the card wasn’t recognized when it booted – and sometimes I would get a Kernel Panic on boot while it tried to load AirPortDriverAtheros9380 (even though I have a AR9280). Without using any older kexts or anything, a solution posted by delifruit at InsanelyMac fixed this issue for me:

    “To solve this problem, Open an info.plist file which is located in the AirportAtheros40.kext > Contents
    and delete 2 line


    AirportAtheros40.kext is located in the IO80211Family.kext > Contents > Plugins.”

    • Thanks for you suggestion josh.

      Although I haven’t tried delifruit’s solution myself (yet), I’ve a made an ‘easy installer’

      (be sure to delete the .doc-fileextension after downloading, so you will get the original .zip-file, else you’ll get something unusable…)

      As mentioned before : this is provided “as is”, since I didn’t test it myself.
      So try at your own risk !
      Please report back if this solution has worked for you (or not).

      Thanks !

      • Just had the “wifi: no hardware installed”-error back after a restart.
        What a great opportunity to try the ‘simple fixes’ suggested by others that I hadn’t been able to test myself yet :

        1- Restarting while making sure the bluetooth peripherals were shut down until full reboot : didn’t work

        2- Restarting while making sure “Reopen windows when logging back in” is not checked : didn’t work

        3- Restarting while pressing the SHIFT key (“Safe Boot” mode) : didn’t work

        4- (Re)installing the “Edited Atheros Kext for Lion*3” mentioned in this thread : success !

        Note : after downloading the file “edited-atheros-kext-for-lion3-zip.doc” you need to rename the file to “” and double-click it to unzip, after that download the Kext Utility using the “kext-installer for Lion (Kext Utility by cVad)”-link included inside the unzipped folder ; to install follow the instructions as lined out in the “CAUTION ! (Read Me).txt”-file

  5. Thanks for the article. It saved my ass. haha. After I updated on my Hackintosh (Alienware M11x r1) it went to 10.7.4 without any issue but I found out that my network card and wifi card has been not detected. I managed to install my network card but couldn’t install Atheros AR9280. Then I found your article and problem solved… Thank you so much 🙂

  6. Not working for me under Mountain Lion on an early 2008 17inch MacBook Pro. I guess we need an updated Kext for this as I tried it multiple times using the already “Mountain Lion Ready” Kext Utility. Any help finding or building such a Kext would be greatly apreciated 😀

    • @Wilfried Kaiser :

      Thanks for your feedback.
      Sad to hear that you cannot get the .kext-file to work (or install ?) under OSX 10.8 Mountain Lion…

      Did you already check which version of the .kext-file (and the files inside) is installed by the official OSX 10.8 Mountain Lion installer ?
      And which version of the .kext-file (and the files inside) do you have installed now ?
      (now = after your unsuccessful attempts to install the old .kext-file)

      FYI :
      at this moment, I cannot replicate you problem, since the Mac that I have with the AR9280 is a Mid-2007 Mac mini…
      …and that’s a Mac that can’t be upgraded to OSX 10.8 Mountain Lion (yet), since it has no NVIDIA graphics card…

      • The installation went without any Problems but Im not imediatly able to chack the kext in the installer right now becasue its already deleted and without Internet Access I can of course not download it again. Another thing of not is that Wifi was working in the first few hours of Mountain Lion. This tells me its not a Hardware Issue.

      • I am running at the moment mountain lion on a macmini2,1 (mid 2007). You can modify the installer and efi to work with your machine. But I have the same issue, with the airport card. After installation, when it asks me to set up my connection, wifi is greyed out and can’t be selected. In the beginning I thought that the cable was loose during installation, so I created another partition and installed snow leopard on it, which could recognize the card though. No I redid the whole process, and the wifi is still not possible to be selected. I look into it a little further and maybe deleting the sleepimage will work. In the beginning I hoped a software update will take care of that, but there are non available yet.

      • @Thomas :

        great work !
        I’m very interested in the way you got Mountain Lion running on the Mid-2007 Mac mini !
        can you be more specific please ?

        I will dedicate a separate post to it if you provide me the details.
        Thanks !

  7. Deleting the sleepimage did nothing. There was not even one created yet. Booting in rescue mode might work, but that makes no sense. I just downloaded the new mountain lion kext installer with the hope to get the latest working version installed again.

    I tried the kext from this link here, renamed the file to unzip and dragged the kext file into the kext installer window.

    Sadly it does not resolve the issue, and the only way to go online is via cable at the moment or via booting in rescue mode < did not bother to check rescue mode though.

    Server installed fine, which is now an add on app. You just drag into the application folder and start configuring it.

    Next is installing the GMA950 kext, so my graphics get recognized properly. But works not too bad without it either. Good enough for a server!

    • @Thomas :

      I would not have thought that deleting the sleepimage would be a solution that works in most cases, for the exact same reason you are mentioning : the original problem is not in the sleepimage… it is in the fact that the new .kext-file is not supporting the AR9280…

      Too bad to hear that the .kext-file from OSX 10.7.2 are no longer compatible with the OSX 10.8 core…
      …I was afraid they wouldn’t, but it was worth a try…

      Thanks for the great feedback !

  8. Got it! To get WIFI working on mountain lion, you gotta follow the instructions from Josh! Here they are again a little more clarified.

    Go to System/Library/Extensions

    open IO80211Family.kext.bak/contents/info.plist

    remove the last to string entries


    and save the file on the desktop (duplicate) as info.plist and replace the original file.

    The original file can’t be changed, only the duplicate (unless you go into terminal and change the allowance). But replacing the duplicate with the original works just fine.

    If this by itself does not work you have to install the kext as well then, but I doubt that should be necessary, like I did before.

  9. Now I got an unsupported mac (macmini2,1) fully working with mountain lion. Maybe I am even the first, because I have not read anywhere achieving it on the macmini yet, although a macbook2,1 should not be different. I wish Apple would make it a little easier. Audio and graphics kext have to be installed as well for the macmini 2,1 to get sound and for graphics to display nicely.

    • @Thomas :

      That is superb news !
      I was looking for a solution to the fact that my own Mid-2007 is officially unsupported for Mountain Lion…
      …your solution sounds great !

      please let me know what & how you accomplished that – from what you are telling I expect you had to do this :
      – replace/edit the EFI
      – modify/edit the installer
      and then install, and afterwards :
      – edit the WiFi .kext-file (for the unsupported AR9280)
      – replace/edit the audio .kext-file
      – replace/edit the graphics .kext-file (for the unsupported GMA950)

      but… how did you do that ?
      what exactly did you edit ?
      …or where did you get the edited versions of the files needed ?

      (too bad I do not have the opportunity to implement this straight away, since I do not have the Mid-2007 Mac mini at hand at this moment)

      I’m looking forward to making a dedicated post on this, with all credits to you !

  10. Pingback: fixed : 10.8 refusing to see the Atheros AR9280 «

  11. At first I couldn’t believe merely deleting two lines of code would solve this issue but I did without success. I then restarted, installed the kext from this thread again and deleted the code lines again. Even another restart later my hardware is still “not installed”.

    • In the Rescue mode the Wifi Hardware remains invisible to the System as well after deleting the code in the (modified) kext.

  12. My issue may be that I’m based on the kext from this thread that seems to be incompatible from the one shipping originally with Mountain Lion. The problem is that I can’t restore the backup the kext installer created either because this is now also from the modified kext.

  13. Ok, I have to figure out a way to open and read this file or even better to get it to my Mac now… I keep you posted.

  14. No Success, no matter what I try Manus. There is an Apple Store not far from here, I wonder if they might be able to recognize if the hardware isn’t indeed broken because I guess a repair wouldn’t be very expensive since its a separate chip that costs little and is quick to exchange.

    • @Wilfried Kaiser :

      of course a hardware problem may be causing the error in your case
      if you are ‘brave’ enough, you might want to open up your Mac and check if the antenna connection(s) to your AirPort card and the connection of your AirPort card to your motherboard are okay… in some case that is the cause of the “WiFi: no hardware installed”-error

      and you can not completely rule out hardware failure of the AirPort card itself either…
      …but hardware failure would be very odd if your problem only occurred after upgrading to OSX 10.8 “Mountain Lion”

      but first… you might want to try the 3 suggestions by, that are said to work for some :

      – option 1 –
      trash & delete the SystemConfiguration-folder (found at Library –> Preferences –> SystemConfiguration) and restart your Mac

      – option 2 –
      add 2 new DNS-servers & [works if the WiFi-error only occurs if a VPN is running]

      – option 3 –
      just reinstall OSX 10.8 “Mountain Lion” again (over your current version of OSX 10.8)

      more info on these options can be found here :

      • There is an unexpected developement. Yesterday I did open my Mac and checked carefully the wifi chip and the connectors and they made a good optical impression while I was putting the machine back together I suddenly remembered how stupid I was to not boot into my native Windows 7 BootCamp installation to check “a second opinion” about the wifi. Well, it turned out Windows 7 can’t see the hardware too anymore which is almost a guarantee it is actually broken. This means I have to go to an Apple repair station and have to let them repair it I guess.

      • @Wilfried Kaiser :

        That’s an interesting find.

        Did you already try to do the Apple Hardware Test yourself ?
        And did that tell you that your AirPort-card is functioning properly or not ?

        FYI :
        Apple Hardware Test can be accessed by pressing the D-key during startup (when restarting your Mac) ; some Intel-Macs also need an Ethernet-connection to internet or the original (second) installer-DVD to run Apple Hardware Test, but you can always try without that first 😉
        For official info on this :

  15. Interesting Tip but I dont have access to my DVD right now with the hardware test. Interestingly after restarting Windows now tells me there is a driver issue with my Broadcom wifi and asks me to reinstall the drivers…. I keep you posted.

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