Macbook Air Removed Airport Card Problems

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by myibookg4, Apr 8, 2014.

  1. myibookg4 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2010
    #1
    Hi,

    I recently removed my airport card from my late-2013 macbook Air. I did it because I didn't want wifi access to the internet. (Please, I don't need advice on pros/cons of not having wifi access. I just don't want it on this device, even the capability to turn on and off the wifi. Period. thanks!)

    However, now all these unforeseen and seemingly unrelated problems are occurring. For example, I get "errors" all the time. Every time I open iTunes I get "Error (-50)" and my iPod will no longer sync with iTunes when I plug it directly into USB. What the hell does that have to do with the "iTunes Store"?

    Strangely, other things happened, too, such as my time/date resetting when I powered it back on after removing the card. This is hard to understand since I always had wifi turned "off" before this and the date/time/location was set. Makes me think the Air was connecting to the internet in the background without my permission for all this stuff.

    My main question is this: How do I get it through to the Air that it will not be connecting to the internet over wifi anymore, and to stop trying?

    For updates, I can connect using an ethernet connection. I just don't want to be bothered all the time by this thing trying to connect wirelessly when I don't want it to.

    Note: I have already removed the wireless connection from the Network settings.

    Thanks for any advice!
     
  2. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

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    #2
    You had to reset the time because your unplugged the Air's battery. With that out, the Air didn't know what time it was. iTunes is having problems because the iPod will not authenticate with it properly. This is caused by how Mac OS X is designed to always have a network interface installed, whether wireless or wired. You currently don't have one installed and thus the authentication is failing. You'll start to develop more problems as items that use this authentication mechanism try to renew their authentication or as things try to identify your machine based on its network MAC address. In summation, it is a really, really bad idea to remove the wireless card from a modern Mac that doesn't have a built in Ethernet port.
     
  3. smurfy2013 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2013
    #3
    As mentioned above, the issues you have are directly related to removing the Airport card.
    If i were you' i'd reseat the card, and then simply disable the option under Network.
    That will lead to far less problems going forward.
     
  4. swordfish5736 macrumors 68000

    swordfish5736

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    #4
    re-install the card and leave the interface removed from the networks pane.
     
  5. myibookg4 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Nov 14, 2010
    #5
    Thanks all for confirming my suspicions, but, am I the only one to whom this seems absolutely ludicrous? Why in hell would the most advanced personal computers in the world be built to self-destruct without constant internet access? Isn't it possible that some Mac users wouldn't HAVE internet access at all?? Now it's a requirement?

    If what you say is true about authentication of the iPod then these problems should have happened when I removed wifi from the networks panel (weeks ago). But it never happened until I removed the card. It also never happened when I did not have any internet service at all.

    The problem with leaving the card installed and simply removing the wifi network is that it comes back on its own when I don't want it to. If there were actually a way of permanently disabling the card I would leave it in. But I thoroughly researched it, and could find no way of doing that. It's like the little red light in 2001: A Space Odyssey. It determines I "need" wifi access.

    Is it simply the lack of existence of the card that makes the computer unable to "authenticate"? Is there a way to "authenticate" manually? So far it's only iTunes that's affected (thank you Intell for pointing out the battery thing - it's true I unplugged it for safety while removing the card), which makes me think it's a proprietary thing for Apple about who owns and can copy/sync my music.

    Lastly, I do plan on having an ethernet adapter for the Air to do OS X updates, etc. If all else fails will it "authenticate" that way?

    Tangential Rant:
    Starting to miss my iBook G4. When I bought the Air I didn't have any internet access at home and couldn't even plug-and-play my circa 2011 printer. The Air needed internet access WHILE PLUGGED IN TO THE PRINTER just to get the drivers. So I had to drive in my car with the printer attached to the Air in the passenger seat and sit outside a library for wifi to install. MORE dependency on unnecessarily-related utilities is not progress.
     
  6. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

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    #6
    You don't need internet access to be able to use Mac OS X. But you need need a network card, either wired or wireless, to always be installed. Removing the network panel would not cause the iTunes problem. That's because the system was still able to get the MAC address of the wireless card. Now that the card is gone and there's nothing to get a MAC address from, it fails. Mac OS X does not turn the wireless back on without user input. That is how it is designed and it will not do so otherwise. The only way for you to get it to authenticate is to write a kernel extension that would allow it to be able to use the Bluetooth MAC address instead of a NIC MAC address. The Ethernet will not work for authentication purposes, as it is not a built in NIC.

    A NIC (network interface card) is needed for authentication purposes to make sure the computer is what it claims to be. By nature of MAC addresses, they are all unique. If someone was to clone your Air to another identical Air, your iPod would refuse to sync because the MAC address is different than the one in its escrow keybag. In that case, it would prompt you to unlock the iPod or enter in your Apple ID. In this case, the MAC returns a null value or no value at all. This causes the comparative check to fail and error out. This is because Apple has written Mac OS X in such a way that is always has a onboard NIC's MAC address to access. Every Mac and iOS device since the late 1990's has had a built in NIC whose MAC address was accessible.

    You had to connect your Macbook Air to the internet to download the drivers because Mac OS X 10.7 and higher are built to be a very slim OS that is to be downloaded over an end users' DSL internet connection. If Apple was to put the latest drivers for every printer manufacturer in the OS' installation, it would add 2GB to the already large download. Those 2GB could add up to be another few hours for someone with a slow or capped internet connection.
     
  7. myibookg4 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #7
    I don't understand MAC addresses and all that, and will take your word for it, though it seems strange to say the least that those two things should be irreversibly connected.

    Ok, well is there a way to permanently disable the wifi network while the card is installed? I do not want anyone (myself included) to be able to simply push a button and create a wifi connection on this computer. I want it to be totally cut off from internet access, unless I physically connect it to an ethernet port with an adapter.

    (And I still think it's ridiculous and Big Brother-like about the printer drivers. I could not simply bring my computer to the library and download the correct drivers. Tried that. The printer had to be connected to the Air, essentially mandating at-home internet access. Unless of course you do what I did and drive to get wifi with the printer physically connected to the computer, which it is asinine to make people do.)
     
  8. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

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    #8
    Turn it off via the WiFi icon in the menu bar. Anything beyond that risks creating authentication problems. You can download printer drivers without the printer being connected. Just go to Apple's download section and download the drivers for the printer's manufacture. Install them then connect and setup the printer. It hasn't changed much in the past 6 years.
     
  9. myibookg4 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #9
    Apple can take their authentication and shove it. Do I sound like a "live free or die" extremist? Really, I am not, but I feel like one and that's sad.
    I like my MbA, but business used to stand behind their products and provide support for them without you providing constant access to prove you're the one who bought them. I don't feel that Apple or anyone else has any business "authenticating" my stuff. Every Single Time I want to Sync it. It doesn't protect me. It only keeps someone else from having it, too. It only protects Apple. So I need to change the way I work and use my devices so Apple can keep tabs on my possessions?

    I will seriously think about this next time I buy (or don't buy) an Apple product. I'll have to dig out the old Walkman and give iTunes the iBoot.

    What else does it need to "authenticate"? Will OS X updates work over ethernet without a NIC installed?

    What you say about the printer drivers may work some or even most of the time, but it didn't work this time.
     
  10. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

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    #10
    You're not correctly reading what I'm posting. Your Macbook Air DOES NOT need to constantly be connected to the internet. It DOES NOT need to have an internet connection to sync your iPod.

    Think of the MAC address as a unique password. Your iPod asks for the password, the computer doesn't know it and the iPod refuses to connect. Mac OS X and iOS are designed to always have this unique password available to them, regardless of an internet connection. You've completely broken the system by removing the password. It isn't Apple's fault you've done an unauthorized modification to your hardware to a part that isn't user serviceable. It does indeed protect you.

    If this MAC address authentication scheme wasn't in place, I could clone your Air's hard drive and then view all of your keychain items (with a tiny bit of effort) as well as download the contents of your iPod. Instead it is in place and as a result I cannot read your iPod's contents via a cloned Air. Other things that use this MAC address scheme are preference settings, keychain items, and some security certificates.

    My statements about the printer drivers are correct. If you were unable to download the drivers without the printer connected it is due to user error.
     
  11. 53kyle macrumors 65816

    53kyle

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    #11
    EDIT: The post above this one is correct.
     
  12. swordfish5736 macrumors 68000

    swordfish5736

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    #12
    They aren't referring to your computer authenticating with anything over the internet.

    Your iPod and computer must verify that the other is not something malicious attempting to fake a connection. The MAC address is one way the iPod verifies this is who it should be connecting with.

    As stated before, reinstall the airport card and leave the wifi interface removed from the networks pane. You don't even need to do this though, simply turning off wifi will prevent it from connecting to anything.

    This is not an old iBook with an optional airport card, the card is not meant to be removed.
     
  13. myibookg4 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #13
    No, I do understand what you're saying. I don't care about the existence of the MAC address etc. as I understand it. What I'm P.O.ed about is the fact that it is inseparable from the wifi internet capability, physically, in that it is the same card. Correct? That makes my situation impossible since I do not want any possible wifi connection - not with a button, not with an icon in a menu bar, not with a didgeridoo up your dog's bum. But I can't have one without the other, and that's supremely annoying. That's issue #1.

    Issue #2 is there is no way around it. My tangential beef with Apple is removing choice on the part of the consumer ostensibly for my protection but really for their own proprietary reasons. Listen to your vocabulary: "you've done an unauthorized modification to your hardware to a part that isn't user serviceable." Well, it IS user serviceable, 'cause I just serviced that s.o.b.!

    In all seriousness I know what you mean by authorized and it is "trained". Right? I know well enough not to do any permanent damage and I knew I could take this little thing out and put it back in if needed. It's not rocket science. Likewise I would never try to realign the proxy data polls in the quantum receiver, because I don't know what the hell that means if anything. I can take a part out of a machine.

    The real question is why am I not allowed to handle my own iPod and Keychain and whatever-else contents if I so choose to take that risk? (Now I really sound like Live Free or Die.) Should Apple have a chip in my ass that keeps me from giving out my SS number? If you got my iPod contents, I'd be happy for you. If you got my Keychain contents, congratulations, you just got unrestricted access to post on Macrumors under the name "MyibookG4" and other random, unimportant things, as I don't save important passwords in the Keychain.

    ----------

    When you say "something malicious trying to fake a connection" do you mean something physical like...someone else's iPod? Or something over a network which, in my preferred situation, wouldn't exist?
     
  14. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

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    #14
    The two parts, MAC address and internet access, are completely separate. Just turn off the wireless, remove the menu bar icon and the Network pref pane. That's it. That'll turn it off and keep it off.

    You're not allowed to handle your own keychain and iPod authorization credentials because you'd break it, as shown by your love of just removing things, and you lack an understanding of how to make it work securely. There's more to a user's keychain than internet passwords. It keeps Apple push certificates, system root certificates, SSL certificates, App Store certificates, wireless keys, Bluetooth pair keys, network share usernames and passwords, disk image password, application passwords, VPN certificates, user private/public keys, and so much more.

    I don't care if you've serviced the part. Apple would care if you broke it or something else within your machine and then tried to get it fixed under warranty. They'd flat out refuse to repair it without you footing a large bill. At which point you'd probably make a thread about it here on MacRumors and complain that Apple is treating you unfairly.

    Your issue is goes much beyond a simple unhappy thing about your machine. My suggestion, return the Air and buy the non-retina Macbook Pro with a build in Ethernet port. You can remove its wireless card without any problems. Or you can install a Linux based operating system (but you'll run into some similar problems) or install Windows. There's little more we can do to help. We've offered explanations and suggestions.
     
  15. myibookg4 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #15
    Intell, I appreciate you trying to help. You're a standup guy/girl.

    Like I said before simply turning it off is not what I need. I need it to be completely disabled. I even had an urge to smash the card when I took it out, like the chip in Terminator 2. I didn't though. I think instead I will disable my wireless router and use only an ethernet connection on my other machines. The Pro, IMO, is way overkill for my computing needs. (The Air is even overkill. I only use it for the pretty desktop pictures it comes with. Well a couple of other reasons.)

    You "misunderestimate" my character. I'm not complaining about anything I'm not entitled to, and don't, such as repairs under warranty when and if I've "broken" something - dick move. I AM entitled to mess around inside my own machine, which I own, and I'm capable of facing the consequences because I'm a responsible adult who doesn't need to have my hand slapped, nor do I need Apple to "protect" me in the ways that you mention, especially if I'm not using the internet. At least, not at the cost of my ability to choose.

    If I'm such a dunce as that, why do you keep responding? ;)

    Anyway it's been informative.
     
  16. swordfish5736 macrumors 68000

    swordfish5736

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    #16
    your computer isn't going to connect to a wifi network when you aren't looking. Are you scared of wifi or something?

    Putting the card back in and deleting the interface will still allow the computer to see the card and its mac address. You can go into the security & privacy pane, then go to advanced in the bottom of the general page, if you check require an administrator password to access system wide-preferences. It will require a password to do any type of modification to the networks page.
     
  17. myibookg4 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Nov 14, 2010
    #17
    Let's just say, for the purposes of discussion, that yes, I have a phobia of the internet and go into spasms when I know it can be turned on. (Since apparently "I do not want anyone (myself included) to be able to simply push a button and create a wifi connection on this computer" doesn't seem to compute with you guys.) Is that a legitimate enough reason?

    The "why" is not relevant. The fact that it is impossible, without causing all these insurmountable problems, is what gets my goat. To me it's a basic lack of functionality, similar to manufacturing a car in which the removal of a fuse causes the tires to deflate.
     
  18. Jesla macrumors 6502

    Jesla

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    #18
    You bought the wrong computer for your needs sell it and get what you need.
    Your trying to turn an airplane into a bicycle.....good luck with that.
     
  19. myibookg4 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #19
    I don't think that analogy is very accurate. But thanks.
     
  20. Jesla macrumors 6502

    Jesla

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    #20
    You may not agree......but it's pretty close.
     
  21. blueroom macrumors 603

    blueroom

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  22. swordfish5736 macrumors 68000

    swordfish5736

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    #22

    It'd be much easier to gain internet access by connecting a thunderbolt->ethernet adapter than to know the admin password and steps to add the wifi interface back. If you follow the steps outlined earlier its not a simple button press to join a wifi network.

    Did you research it at all before you bought the computer? Did you know that card also holds your bluetooth connectivity? Maybe if that car had a system that kept the tires filled and the fuse you removed controlled it. It'd be more like buying a car with a spare tire, taking the tire out, then complaining when you got a flat. Like it was recommended before, maybe a classic macbook pro with ethernet port would better suit your needs. Since that card is the only permanent network interface available to the computer it has to be there, on a macbook pro the ethernet interface remains. Though who knows it might still throw a fit about not having the card installed.


    And yes the printer was user error. Without it connected you can browse to the companies website, input your model number and download any model specific software to that printer. In some cases a locally stored generic post script driver will work just fine with your printer.

    Another thing you can do when putting the card back is to not reconnect the antenna cables. That way even if somebody entered your password and added the interface back, it could only pick up a signal right by the router if at all.
     
  23. Kissaragi macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2006
    #23
    I would seriously suggest seeing a therapist about your issues surrounding the internet, its only going to get worse for you as time moves on.

    I am not being flippant or dismissive of your problem, it is a serious suggestion.
     
  24. myibookg4 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Nov 14, 2010
    #24
    That's the best advice I've heard all day. If it works, you may have solved my problem. Thanks blueroom.

    Swordfish: I must defend my own analogy. My point was that it would be ludicrous to have a "system" that kept the tires in car filled using a fuse that controlled something else, which therefore couldn't be removed. In other words, wifi should not be treated as an essential part of the computer's functionality, even if the MAC address etc. must be.

    And I don't have any blue dental prostheses.

    Kissaragi: Thank you for your concern over my mental health.

    ----------

    You have too many Apple products to be impartial on this topic.
     
  25. Jesla macrumors 6502

    Jesla

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    #25
    You haven't enough technical knowledge of Mac computers to be taking
    them apart.....yet, here you are ripping the guts out of one and wondering
    why it doesn't work any more.......

    I'll have just as many Apple Products as I want......get over it.
     

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