Sometimes It Doesn’t Just Work

I don’t consider myself a fanboi, but I’ve always found that Apple’s products just work and do so well. Over the years, I’ve owned Macbooks, an iMac, an original iPhone and an original iPad.

My latest purchase, a 15-inch Macbook Pro, might be the first exception to the “it just works” mantra.

I’ve already invested many hours into configuring this machine. After Migration Assistant stalled during my first attempt at a data transfer, I had to erase the disk and start from scratch.

Then after finally completing a data migration, I realized the hardware I had was last year’s model.


Because I want the horsepower, I wiped that disk and exchanged last year’s old and busted for this year’s new hotness. Of course, I had to walk through the data migration again, but finally, after about 12 hours invested, I had a working machine.

None of this time was Apple’s fault, incidentally. I suppose I could complain about the initial failure of Migration Assistant, but that was over a network cable. I should have seen that coming.

What I had on my new MPB was essentially my old OS X image, upgraded twice from Tiger to Leopard to Snow Leopard. I could have done a totally clean d0 over, but I was a bit freaked out to lose something.

Still, like a true geek, I like a clean install.  So, I used CleanMyMac to do some housecleaning, a couple GB of seemingly harmless files.

Shortly after that, my wifi signal started dropping.

By sheer coincidence, I remembered a post from TNW last week called Why is Apple ignoring a WiFi issue that plagues thousands of MacBook Pro owners? which caught my eye because it kinda sucked and I hoped it wouldn’t affect me.


Dropping wifi is a pretty vague issue, but there are pages upon pages in at least two threads on Apple’s support forums, dating back to January 2008 and active as recently as days ago.

So this issue has been out there for three and a half years. While some people report various fixes over the years, nothing works for everyone, and it seems to be unresolved, or at least Apple hasn’t offered an official set of how-tos for MBP owners.

Faced with this brand new issue today after rocking my new MBP for several days without incident, I surmised that CleanMyMac had removed some old config file that was lingering from earlier versions of OS X.

Preferring to avoid prospect of starting Migration Assistant all over with my old Macbook, I thought I’d bump to Lion. After all, 10.7.1 included fixes that “Improve the reliability of Wi-Fi connections”. Plus, some people have reported that 10.7.1 fixed their long-standing MBP connection issues.

Upgrade completed successfully, I tried logging into my wifi, fingers crossed.

Connection failed.

So, a new issue had emerged. I couldn’t even connect to my wifi, so I had no way to test whether it dropped or not.

After more digging, I found some possible solutions, but nothing worked.


So, now I’m wiping the drive again, and then, it’ll be back to Migration Assistant again. I’m hoping something in my old Macbook’s config will return me to normalcy. If it doesn’t, I’ll be stuck with a fancy paperweight.

And it’ll be going back to the store. I don’t have a Plan B, so I hope that works.

Long story short, sometimes it doesn’t just work. I’m bummed, and it looks like a lot (hundreds, thousands, who knows) of people are bumming too and have been for possibly years.

Intermittent dropping of a wifi connection is a BFD. I can’t imagine suffering with that for days, albeit years. Even though this is a difficult issue to diagnose, given the myriad of wifi routers, combined with the various broadcast spectrums, I wonder why Apple has no official response after many years.

Stay tuned for updates.

Anyone out there have advice or experience? Want to vent?

Find the comments.




  1. Hey Jake. With trepidation, after reading your posts, I used the Migration Assistant to migrate from my 4 year old MB Pro to my shiny new MB Pro last weekend.  The whole shooting match took 3 hours over Ethernet and worked perfectly! FYI I used the Assistant when I first started up the new machine rather than any other routine.

    John Aylward

  2. Nice, I also went w Assistant on startup. Went to the Genius Bar today to diagnose the wifi dropping, no real suggestions other than reset the network configuration. Trying that now, fingers crossed.

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