I have an Airport Extreme 3rd gen (A1301). I just bought a Time Capsule 5th gen (A1470). I put the TC where the AE used to be, in a cupboard in the hall. Now I am thinking to repurpose the AE as a printer server on my desk.

Can I configure it so it connects to the wifi of the Time Capsule in client mode? I don't want to extend the network of the TC since then I would risk connecting to the Airport Express instead of the TC with my other devices, which would be undesirable.


On a Windows version of Airport Utility ctrl-click on the "wireless mode" menu will give you an additional option "join a wireless network". Without ctrl the option is hidden.

  • This is the correct answer for the Airport Extreme (not Express). Thank you! – Niall Douglas Feb 5 at 10:14

You can do the setup to extend the network and then change it to 'join a wireless network' afterwards under the Wireless tab in airport utility. That's how I setup mine


The question was whether one could configure an Airport EXTREME in client mode. The first "answer" answered whether an Airport EXPRESS could be configured in client mode.

I am using Airport Utility 6.3.5 to configure both an Airport Express and an Airport Extreme. When configuring the Express, "join a network" is an option; but not with an Extreme. However, when I configure the Express to "create network", and then configure the Extreme to extend that network, the Extreme does in fact forward packets received on its LAN ports wirelessly to the Express, and onward towards the internet. So the defacto result is that the Extreme is acting as a "gaming adapter", or "client bridge".

Note: after I configured the Extreme to extend a network, I went back to see if the "join" option became available; it had not.


Yes, you can configure an Airport Express to connect to an existing WiFi network in client mode.

From Apple's support site, AirPort Express: How to join an existing Wi-Fi network in client mode:

  1. Connect an appropriate cable between the AirPort Express and the device it will serve.
  2. Plug the AirPort Express into a power outlet.
  3. After the AirPort Express starts up, select it in the AirPort Utility screen.
  4. If you are now repurposing the AirPort Express, first reset it from Base Station in the menu bar and select Restore Default Settings.
  5. After the AirPort Express completes the restore process, choose it from the Wi-Fi menu in the upper-left corner.
  6. Click the Other Options button.
  7. Select "Add to an existing network".
  8. Choose the Wi-Fi network name from the Wireless Network Name menu that you wish to join and click next.
  9. Enter the password to this network if required.
  • The first step of the wizard says "Set up this AirPort Extreme to join or extend an existing WI_FI network", but the second says "This AirPort Extreme wil be set up to extend "<some network>" and that is what happens. FWIW I have the latest firmwares and AirPort Utility 6.3.1. – simon Aug 31 '13 at 19:56
  • Did you follow all of the steps including resetting it? Can you post screenshots of the first and second steps in the wizard? (I don't have an Airport Express/Extreme to test with.) – tubedogg Aug 31 '13 at 19:58
  • I did, yes. The wizard is not available unless you do Base Station > Restore Default Settings... I'd love to post screenshots, but I don't know how to attach images to a post (as opposed to linking to images somewhere else), – simon Aug 31 '13 at 21:30
  • Edit your question and there is an Image button on the black toolbar. Choosing an image there will automatically upload it to imgur and insert it in you post. – tubedogg Aug 31 '13 at 22:25

I tried doing the same, and I managed to see the option to join a network by pressing and holding the option key on my Mac while selecting the field where the option should be.


I have 2 airport extremes. I set one up as a passthrough wired from a Uverse modem. Then set another on up wirelessly for a USB printer in my living room. I used Airport Utility on my mac to set up and couldn't find an option to not extend the network. However if my devices connected to the wireless one, the speed was lost a bunch so I wanted to just connect all my devices to the passthrough one. Just found out that if I go on Airport Utility on my windows laptop, there is an box says "allow wireless clients". Just unchecked it and it worked. It's weird that AU windows version has more options to mess with than the mac version.


:EDIT: I have just tried this again and although I can "join a wireless network" with the Airport EXTREME, I cannot get it into client mode which would give out internet or LAN to the ports on the back. bummer. So I'm thinking this tool is only really good for the old Airport Expresses that no longer work with the new Airport Utility 6:

With just a bit of help from a script that opens the old Airport Utility 5.6 on your Mac using OS Mavericks or above.

Download from here:


Then ... First rename your current Airport Utility to something like Airport Utility 6 Then (in this order) drag the utility launcher to your Utilities folder.. authenticate Then Drag Airport Utility 5.6 to your Utilities folder .. authenticate Then double click on the launcher (the one you previously dragged to your Utilities folder) It will open Airport Utility. In the wireless section hold down the "option" key and "join a network" will be there.

How the Launcher Does What It Does

With the release of OS X 10.9 “Mavericks” Apple updated file Apple80211 (contained in /System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/Apple80211.framework/Versions/A). Whatever the other effects of this update, it broke backwards compatibility with older versions of AirPort Utility. Thankfully, the fix is simple: Inject an older version of the file when launching older versions of AirPort Utility. This is precisely what the Launcher does.

When you run the Launcher, it simply injects the OS X 10.8 “Mountain Lion” version of file Apple80211 (which the Launcher contains) and then runs AirPort Utility 5.6.1 (which is included in the download of the Launcher). That’s it. One file is the difference between AirPort Utility 5.6.1 running and throwing an error under more recent versions of OS X.

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