Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard: The AirPort status menu (AirPort Menu Extra) FAQ

You can display the status of your AirPort connection in the menu bar. You can use the AirPort status menu to switch between AirPort networks, turn your AirPort Card on or off, open Network preferences, or create a computer-to-computer network.

How do I enable the AirPort status in the menu bar?


  1. Choose Apple menu > System Preferences, and then click Network in the list.
    Note: If AirPort isn’t in the list, click Add (+) at the bottom of the list, choose AirPort from the Interface pop-up menu, give the AirPort service a name, and then click Create.
  2. Select the "Show AirPort status in menu bar" checkbox.


What do the different AirPort status icons in the menu bar mean?

AirPort Off

When this is displayed, the AirPort card within the computer is disabled. It may be useful to turn your AirPort off when you are directed to turn off wireless cards on an airplane, in a hospital, in other places where the wireless signal may interfere with sensitive monitoring devices, or because of local regulations.


While searching for wireless access points, the AirPort icon bars will individually alternate from grey to black. A complete cycle can run until the computer has been assigned an IP address.

Connection Warning

If the AirPort has a self-assigned IP address, a connection warning will appear. This icon will only show a warning if the interface is configured for DHCP but it doesn't get a lease, and no other interface is correctly configured.


AirPort is on and working correctly but is not connected to any wireless network. Pick a network from the list to connect.

Computer-to-Computer Network

This icon will appear if you create a wireless network between two or more AirPort-enabled computers without using an AirPort Base Station. Other AirPort-enabled computers within range can join the network you created by choosing it from their AirPort status icon, or by choosing it from the Network Name pop-up menu in the AirPort pane of Network preferences.

Computer-to-computer networks are not compatible with WPA or WPA2 protected networks.

Internet Sharing

Indicates that Internet sharing has been enabled for AirPort in the Sharing preferences pane. If your computer is connected to the Internet, you can share its connection with other computers on your local network. For example, if your computer is connected to the Internet using a DSL modem and has an AirPort Card installed, you can share the DSL connection with other AirPort-equipped computers.

If your Internet connection and your local network use the same port (Ethernet, for example), investigate possible side effects before you turn on Internet sharing. In some cases (if you use a cable modem, for example) you might unintentionally affect the network settings of other ISP customers, and your ISP might terminate your service to prevent you from disrupting their network.


AirPort has detected a problem with the driver or a necessary sub-system component, apply the latest manual AirPort software update or reinstall Mac OS X. If reinstalling Mac OS X does not correct the problem, take your computer to an authorized Apple service center.

Warning in Menu

If the AirPort has a self-assigned IP address, a warning will appear in the pull-down menu. This icon will only show a warning if the interface is configured for DHCP but it doesn't get a lease, and no other interface is correctly configured.


How can I determine a network signal's signal strength?

The AirPort item in the menu bar now includes signal strength for all available wireless networks, so you can see which access point has the best signal before selecting it. Four signal bars appear in the AirPort status icon in the menu bar. The more bars that are black, the higher the signal quality.  The bars do not indicate the connection rate, as this will vary according to your environment.


Last Modified: Sep 3, 2014
  • Last Modified: Sep 3, 2014
  • Article: HT3821
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