Fixing Macbook Air “No Wireless Device Detected”

Recently i upgraded my Macbook Air OS 10.4 to a newer version. Everything worked perfectly until a few days down the line, the wireless radio went offline; intermittently. I contacted Apple and was told that i had to replace the board. These boards aren’t cheap and cost as much as a new macbook. I tried several suggestions on the Apple and non-Apple forums to no avail.

The ultimate solution was to acquire a new USB wireless receiver. I got a Sitecom WLA-5100 usb device, which snapped on and worked like a charm. For a couple of days, I was working fine until I attempted to update the software. No matter what I tried, the connection to Apple was denied due to login/password errors. Apple support could not help either. After searching online for solutions, I discovered that connections via a non-Apple device/port would not be allowed directly to the mac software update service nor to iTunes. Further search on other forums yielded no results until a freelance Apple technician suggested some teething problems with the wireless when upgrading.

In addition, a simple downgrade will not help. Somehow, some drivers/settings are overwritten with new ones and remain after a downgrade to the original OS version. Here is the work around (please do this at your own risk and first check for Apple’s warranty).

1. Back up your current settings onto an external disk

2. Use disk utility (go>utilities>disk utility) to remove partition

3. Setup a new partition and format using mac journal

4. Close disk utility and reinstall the ORIGINAL mac os version that came with the macbook. Mine came with Mac OSX Leopard. See wikihow

5. The wireless drivers will load the original version and fix the error.

PS: If these steps fail to fix your wireless, then go get yourself a new board. 🙁

My two cents. Stay Professional!


About the author: Sal Souza is an International Designer (Graphic, Visual, Multimedia, Broadcast Media, Industrial, User Interaction, User Experience) and IT Consultant with expertise in New Media, Web 3.0, IPTV, DTV, Media Production, Product Prototyping, Desktop Software, Interactivity, Mobile Applications, Traditional Knowledge, Geographical Indications and Cultural Goods. He lives and works in Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

Published by Sal Souza

Sal Souza is an International Designer (Graphic, Visual, Multimedia, Broadcast Media, Industrial, User Interaction, User Experience) and IT Consultant with expertise in New Media, Web 3.0, IPTV, DTV, Media Production, Product Prototyping, Desktop Software, Interactivity, Mobile Applications, Traditional Knowledge, Geographical Indications and Cultural Goods. He lives and works in Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

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