It’s easy to forget about the little gadgets that were once really impressive little pieces of innovation for the home, yet over time end up stored away or recycled. However, there’s something magical about digging out an old relic from the attic and finding that it still works perfectly. That’s exactly what happened to me when I went searching for my old Airport Express base station from 2007 in the hopes it might yet make a return perfromance.
Back in the day, the Airport Express was a game-changer for me. It allowed me to wirelessly cast music to a speaker system in my house, years before Airplay or Chromecasts were even a thing. Just plug it in the wall, plug in an audio cable and get wireless iTunes on the stereo. It was like magic. Fast forward to today, and I found myself in need of a WiFi extender to boost the signal strength to my garage so the car could more reliably get over-the-air updates from the house.
I know that Apple products tend to hold up well over time, but I wasn’t sure if the Airport Express would still be compatible with modern WiFi standards. I found the box hidden away with some other old gear, unwrapped it, and plugged it in – and to my surprise, it was still alive! Amber flashing light baby!
I remembered seeing the Airport Utility in the Finder on my MacBook the other day and hoped it would be useful for my experiment. Sure enough, I opened it, and Airport Utility was waiting patiently for a signal. I reset the AirPort Express with a pin and it immediately showed up in the device list. Already impressed.
Next, I entered the password and added the device to my existing network as a WiFi extender. And just like that, a green light appeared, and the AirPort Express was back in business! I couldn’t believe it worked!
But, what really blew my mind was that the AirPort Express showed up as an Airplay device and even appeared in Spotify alongside my other Airplay and Chromecast receives. 🤯 The fact that this device, which I bought with my first Mac 15 years ago (!!), was not only still compatible but also functioning as a Airplay device is just amazing. Airplay didn’t even exist when this came out!
I was expecting it to turn on and maybe just sit there, incompatible with the latest hardware and Mac OS version, but no. This thing is still going strong and I’m super chuffed to give it a new lease of life. Nice one Apple.
Now that the AirPort Express is back up and running, it’s time to fit some speakers in the garage 😆 It just goes to show that sometimes, the oldies really are the goodies!