Maddening OS X Yosemite Wi-Fi issues could be caused by AirDrop

“In this article we look at some of the issues with Yosemite, including problems with WiFi in Yosemite, difficulties getting Apple’s new Continuity features (AirDrop, HandOff and phone calls made on the Mac) to work. We also look at updates to Yosemite including 10.10.1,” Karen Haslam writes for Macworld UK.

“S developer has theorised that the WiFi problems being experienced by Yosemite users are due to the technology behind AirDrop,” Haslam writes. “Developer Mario Ciabarra wrote on Medium: ‘I’ve narrowed down the issue to the use of Apple’s Wireless Direct Link (AWDL) that is used for AirDrop, AirPlay, and Gaming connections.’ He added: ‘I’ll go out on a limb and say the WiFi issues are because of Apple’s choice of using Bonjour over AWDL and that, given the constraints of the WiFi hardware, this will be difficult to get right.'”

“Ciabarra explains that AWDL is a low latency/high speed WiFi peer-to peer-connection Apple uses for AirDrop, AirPlay, GameKit and some other services. Normally services would advertise their services over Bluetooth SDP, an indeed some Apple services do so, but Apple is advertising AirDrop over WiFi instead – and this, thinks Ciabarra, is ‘inadvertently destroying WiFi performance,'” Haslam writes. “Ciabarra’s suggestion is that to fix the WiFi issues users can turn off AWDL and AirDrop in Yosemite.

Read more in the full article here.

17 Comments

  1. My problem since downloading Yosemite has been with emails. Though I now receive them – which I didn’t sometimes, since the download – and everything seems normal otherwise, I still get umpteen repetitions of the same email, sometimes going into 22 copies of one.

    1. If you’re using a POP3, then consider switching to IMAP, if your mail server supports that. When using IMAP, make sure that the mailbox mappings are correct (Inbox, Sent, Drafts, etc.) so that your computer and the server are matching.

  2. I found the same issue through the fact that airdrop couldn’t find users or my iPhone or my iPad. It was also affecting iTunes and home sharing, but I got that working.

    1. I like AirDrop, but I have had a lot of trouble making it work reliably. First I tried relaunching the Finder. That helped a lot. However since the last update to Yosemite I don’t need to do anything on the MacBook Pro anymore. On my iPad I find I have to restart Bluetooth to get the data to transfer. My icon will show up in Yosemite but when I try to transfer from the MacBook to the iPad it just waits forever without sending the data. If I cycle the iPad Bluetooth off then on then it sometimes works. If that doesn’t work then I restart the iPad.

  3. I’m not noticing any significant wifi issues, but it could be that I’ve adjusted and being patient with problems. However, I have noticed that Airport Utility on Yosemite refuses to see my Airport devices, where on Mavericks they show up instantly.

  4. I can replicate the wifi bug at will be ensuing that there is a bluetooth device in the vicinity. I have bluetooth on my MBP switched off and can download at the normal 60mbps over wireless until I turn on bluetooth on my phone or turn on my PS4 at which time my MBP times out or at best hits DL speeds of <0.5mbps

    After this it needs a reboot to get back to a normal wifi connection.

  5. I can replicate this bug at will on my MBP by turning on a device nearby (ps4 or mobile phone) that has bluetooth activated – despite bluetooth being switched off on my phone. My wifi will go from around 60mbps to almost nil or just drop connections completely. Even after I turn off the device the MBP needs a reboot to get the connection back.

  6. A long time ago (like in the days of Leopard), I had an issue with Wi-Fi. The fix at that time was to remove Bluetooth as a networking choice, in System Preferences Network pane. I could still use Bluetooth to connect input devices, but not for data transfer (as a “network” connection), which is not used by most people. Since then, my standard practice is remove “everything else” (such as Bluetooth, FireWire, and Thunderbolt) in the Network pane’s sidebar, except for Wi-Fi and Ethernet.

    Curiously, I’ve been having Wi-Fi issues recently with my old Power Mac G5 running Leopard; FYI, I use it as a “data dump” and as a very LARGE “Apple TV” (hidden behind an HDTV). Recently, I noticed that it was very slow when downloading videos in iTunes and at YouTube with the TenFourFox browser. I just thought it’s curious that my old Mac is having “Wi-Fi” problems at the same as recent Macs running the newest OS X.

    I did get the new standard “cable modem” from Comcast (looks like a “tower”) at around the same time. It has a Wi-Fi router built-in. This let me set my old AirPort Extreme base station to “802.11n only (5GHz)” and connect it to the cable modem with an Ethernet cable. I got much higher Internet speed that way (with my primary Mac mini), compared to connecting to the modem’s built-in Wi-Fi router. So, I set the modem’s Wi-Fi router is set to “802.11n (802.11b/g compatible),” which is now how my older Macs and iPhone 3GS connect.

    Comcast has been rolling out this new equipment at about the same time as Yosemite’s release. Maybe (at least) some of these “Yosemite” issues are related to customers upgrading their ISP networking gear at about the same time as Yosemite.

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