Disable AirPort Base Station Agent

Oct 13, 2010 - 12 Comments

airport base station agent

AirPort Base Station Agent runs in the background of Mac OS X whether or not you use an AirPort Base Station. It’s a part of Mac OS X, and as the name implies it handles Airport Base Station connections as well as connections to Time Capsule. If you use either of these Apple products you’ll want to keep the agent running in the background.

Let’s assume you want to stop the agent running. You probably noticed the agent using something like LittleSnitch or lsof when it tries to access an outside server (typically Akamai) when it checks for software updates. With this in mind, you can disable the Airport Base Station Agent by stopping it from looking for updates, and also disabling the agents ability to monitor AirPort. Here’s how to do this:

  • Open Airport Utility, located at /Applications/Utilities/
  • Let it scan for Airport stations, which it won’t find if you don’t use the products
  • Open the apps Preferences
  • Uncheck all of the boxes in the Airport Utility Preferences

disable airport base station agent

  • Click OK and Quit Airport Utility

Now Airport Base Station Agent should not load on system boot, and the agent should no longer be running. It’s that simple. Again, it does no harm to let it run and keep it enabled, it generally only takes up a few MB of RAM and rarely uses any CPU or bandwidth.


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Posted by: Manish Patel in Mac OS, Troubleshooting


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  1. Anonymous says:

    I noticed with my Little Snitch monitoring program about 4-5 days ago, that about one hour before I even woke up, the AirPort Base Station Agent on my MacBook Pro sent some data to the site http://b.scorecardresearch.com

    When you visit this site, it is an internet data “research” and collection mob, with no phone number and some dodgy “contract acceptance” section which is completely ridiculous because I have not agreed to ever contract with this firm, nor ever heard of them.

    It would seem that Apple themselves have written code into their BaseStationAgent to send data externally to this, and perhaps other 3rd parties. I have scanned with Sophos latest AV/Malware scanner for Macs and it has not detected any malware.

    Looking at scorecardresearch.com’s privacy policy they state that they only collect “non individual non personally identifiable data using only cookies and web beacons hidden within websites”.

    I was asleep and NOT browsing anything when Little Snitch detected the send of the personally identifiable data to scorecardresearch, directly from my machine to their website. No website interaction was involved at all, so cookies and beacons can not be anything to do with the transmission at all like they claim, and Little Snitch showed that the connection originated from Apple’s Airport Base Agent service.

    I searched google and found only 1 other person who has detected the exact same breach of privacy and saw they logged this on apple’s official support forum – https://discussions.apple.com/thread/3210809

    Not surprisingly they did not get an answer from Apple.

    Seems Apples willingness to spy on its users and help 3rd parties to collect personal data is never ending.

    I recommend everyone install a program like Little Snitch (I think there are 1 or 2 alternatives if you don’t like this one), that can detect when these services try to send out personal data and warn you.

    Shame on you Apple. Stop spying on your loyal customers.

  2. […] have an airport?  The Airport utility runs on start up, but if you don’t have one, you can turn off the AirPort Base Station Agent by going to Applications/Utilities/Airport Utility.  Go […]

  3. JRWhite says:

    Followed instructions for disabling AirPort…, it comes back anyway, and comes back immediately after forcing a quit.
    The UNDEAD,

  4. Scott says:

    Simple as that! Thanks guys.

  5. chris says:

    Thanks for the post. it is very helpful

  6. […] a product that I don’t use. Following a quick Google search, I found this helpful how-to: Disable AirPort Base Station Agent. According to OSXDaily, you can permanently disable this background program by going into […]

  7. Brian Jojade says:

    A good reason to disable this is that if you have people plug in new airport hardware on your network, airport utility will pop up and annoy you, even if it’s not your airport hardware. The larger your network, the more likely this problem.

  8. Philippe says:

    Thanks! I’ve got a swiss military son, arrested development at age 15, entering my macbook by this crap. better turned off.

  9. Alberto says:

    And what is the sense to disable it?? Any good or useful reason?

  10. Pedantic Soul says:

    um there is no OK button ? otherwise, thanks :) brilliant little tip (as usual)

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