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When I built my Mac Pro 3,1 machine (Early 2008) back in the day, I chose not to get an Airport Extreme card since I only intended to connect it via an Ethernet cable. However, I've noticed that the new Yosemite Handoff feature apparently requires not only Bluetooth 4.0 but also 802.11ac. There is some debate on the web as to whether just getting USB dongles will work, but I figure it is worth seeing if any official products exist seeing how the mini-PCI port used for the Airport Extreme seems to have been used across several models of Macs.

Is there an 802.11ac Airport Extreme adapter on the market that would work in an old Mac Pro like the macpro3,1? The purpose is to enable Handoff, nothing more.

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The Apple Broadcom BCM94331CD adapter will add 802.11 a/b/g/n with Bluetooth 4.0 to an older Mac Pro, while the Apple Broadcom BCM94360CD adapter will enable 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac support (the primary difference between the two adapters being 802.11 ac).

You can easily DIY by finding suitable parts on eBay or Amazon and following instructions on forum sites such as MacRumors and elsewhere.

If you're running Yosemite and want to take advantage of Continuity, you'd then just need to buy a third-party Bluetooth 4.0 USB dongle that utilizes the Broadcom BCM20702 chipset (e.g. Asus BT400, IOGEAR GBU521, GMYLE 3340).

A far easier — albeit more expensive option — is to install an aftermarket Wi-Fi + Bluetooth "upgrade kit" from either OS X WiFi or MacVidCards, which will add 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac and enable Bluetooth 4.0 LE.

With the necessary hardware requirements met for Continuity, you could then use the Continuity Activation Tool to enable support for your particular Mac model.

Continuity Activation Tool Compatibility Chart

You'll then get full native support for all of the new features in OS X 10.10 Yosemite that are part of Continuity, including Handoff, Instant Hotspot and the new AirDrop.

  • Great answer! Just ordered mine from OS X Wifi. Didn't upgrade to Priority International so hopefully it arrives soonish. Didn't know about them until reading your post, which is great because macvidcards.com were all sold out of these Wifi kits. thumbs up – Joshua Pinter Sep 27 '18 at 4:46
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My go to for all things Mac accessories is Other World Computing.

I can't speak to compatibility, Handoff, or anything of the sort, but their site lists one USB 802.11ac adapter, ... and an AirPort Extreme / Time Capsule Mount. Neat.

I don't see anything about a USB Bluetooth 4 adapter. There's only this Bluetooth 2+EDR IOGear adapter.

You may want to contact OWC about Handoff compatibility, I don't know enough about the inner workings to be able to answer that.

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