Recent Apple updates leading to WiFi issues & an interim solution

Published on 
December 5, 2022
Last updated on 
December 20, 2022
Hamza Malik

Apple has released an update to macOS Ventura (13.1). We’ve heard occasional reports of persisting issues, but the recent issues (outlined below) appear to be fixed with the 13.1 update.

We’ve tested macOS Ventura 13.1 and recommend an immediate upgrade to your devices experiencing acute issues, then rolling out to the rest of your device fleet once you’ve confirmed things are working well for you. While we have not tested these, Apple has also released Monterey 12.6.2 and Big Sur 11.7.2, both upgrades that include fixes for the same issue.

See below for our recommended next steps:

1

.

Upgrade your macOS to Ventura 13.1 (instructions)

2

.

Option 1 (via the UI): Turn back on Bluetooth (instructions) and AirDrop (instructions) via your system Settings.
Option 2 (via script): Restore the defaults by running our new script:

Remove the scripts and renable awdl0 interface
curl -s https://raw.githubusercontent.com/meterup/awdl_wifi_scripts/main/cleanup-and-renenable-awdl.sh | bash &> /dev/null

You can easily see and verify the source code at the referenced URL.

Meter is currently tracking an issue that is affecting devices on macOS Monterey and macOS Ventura with M1/M2 Macbooks acutely affected — leading to slow internet connection, drops in Zoom calls, and entirely losing a WiFi connection.

Macbooks use a WiFi interface called AWDL (Apple Wireless Direct Link) for features like AirDrop and AirPlay. Having AWDL on may cause your WiFi connection to periodically reset. Although these issues can manifest in various ways, the underlying issue is the same: throughput and speeds drop, devices get disconnected randomly, and fail to rejoin the network.

This is a known issue on Apple’s end. Other wireless vendors have reported issues too (e.g., see this report by UCLA).

We don’t have an exact timeline on when Apple will release a fix for this bug. Meter and other vendors have reported this issue to Apple engineers. They have identified the issue in the firmware of their devices and are working on a fix in an upcoming macOS Ventura beta release.

As an interim solution to improve the WiFi connection, Apple recommends that you turn off AWDL interface (this will disable AirDrop/AirPlay). There are a few ways you can do this — either by using the Terminal application and running a script or through the UI (provided below). We’ve run this intervention with a few customers now that have seen improved WiFi performance as a result. 

Note: if you opt to not use the script and want to use the UI, you have to disable both Bluetooth and AirDrop.

How to disable AWDL using the Terminal application

You can first test this pretty quickly and see how much better WiFi gets with:

sudo ifconfig awdl0 down

Note: your Macbook will periodically ask you to turn AWDL back on. To mute the notification, you can run a background script:

1

.

Open the Mac Terminal.

2

.

Copy-paste 

+ c
+ v

 the following in the Terminal window and hit 

enter

:

bash <(curl -sL https://www.meter.com/awdl.sh)

3

.

Permission prompt will come up.

Type 

y

 for yes and hit 

enter

4

.

Next prompt will be asking for your login password for your laptop.

Type your password and hit 

enter

5

.

Your process is now running in the background.

How to disable AWDL using a Launch Daemon

The terminal application above will stop running if your MacBook reboots or goes to sleep.  Using the Launch Daemon — the terminal application will run automatically after a reboot or sleep.

1

.

Open the Mac Terminal.

2

.

Copy-paste 

+ c
+ v

 the following in the Terminal window and hit 

enter

:

curl -sL https://www.meter.com/awdl-daemon.sh | bash

3

.

Next prompt will be asking for your login password for your laptop.

Type your password and hit 

enter

4

.

Your process is now running in the background.

Full code

This is all available on Github and we are open to pull requests: https://github.com/meterup/awdl_wifi_scripts

awdl.sh
#!/usr/bin/env bash

read -p "See https://www.meter.com/mac-osx-awdl-psa for more details. You will be prompted for your admin password. Do you want to continue? y/n" choice

case $choice in
[yY]* ) sudo echo "Installing disable_awdl.sh in your tmp directory. This will run in the background." ;;
[nN]* ) exit ;;
*) exit ;;
esac

curl -s https://raw.githubusercontent.com/meterup/awdl_wifi_scripts/main/disable_awdl.sh > /tmp/disable_awdl.sh
chmod u+x /tmp/disable_awdl.sh

sudo bash /tmp/disable_awdl.sh > /dev/null &
disable_awdl.sh
#!/usr/bin/env bash

set -euo pipefail

while true; do
   if ifconfig awdl0 |grep -q "<UP"; then
       (set -x; ifconfig awdl0 down)
   fi
   sleep 1
done

How to disable AirDrop and Bluetooth using UI

For macOS Ventura

1

.

Open system Settings and click on the Bluetooth icon.

2

.

Click the button to turn Bluetooth off.

Changing AirDrop settings

1

.

Open Finder. Click Go > AirDrop from the drop down menu.

macOS header navigation for AirDropmacOS header navigation for AirDrop

2

.

At the bottom of the window, click where it says, "Allow me to be discovered by:" and select "No One" from the drop-down menu.

macOS AirDrop discovery settingsmacOS AirDrop discovery settings

How to disable AirDrop and Bluetooth using UI

For macOS Monterey

1

.

Open system Settings and click on the Bluetooth icon.

2

.

Toggle the button off to turn Bluetooth off.

Changing AirDrop settings

1

.

Open Finder. Click Go > AirDrop from the drop down menu.

macOS header navigation for AirDropmacOS header navigation for AirDrop

2

.

At the bottom of the window, click where it says, "Allow me to be discovered by:" and select "No One" from the drop-down menu.

macOS AirDrop discovery settingsmacOS AirDrop discovery settings

How to disable AirDrop and Bluetooth on iOS and iPadOS

Turn "Receiving Off" for AirDrop

1

.

Open Settings and scroll down to General

2

.

Tap on AirDrop

3

.

Select "Receiving Off"

Toggling Off Bluetooth

1

.

Open Settings

2

.

Tap on Bluetooth

3

.

Toggle the slider to turn off Bluetooth

Note: Toggling Bluetooth off via Notification Center will not turn off Bluetooth on iOS/iPadOS devices, it will only disconnect any connected devices. Please make sure that you are toggling it off via the Settings app as noted above.

At Meter, we take every customer issue seriously. We try to work closely with our customers to gather issue data, replicate issues in our lab, update our operating systems as quickly as possible, and release a fix as soon as the fixes pass our QA process. We appreciate the time our customers have taken to send us the reports. We see every report as an opportunity to make our product better and deliver an outstanding experience to our customers.

For more details or assistance with updating your device settings, please contact support@meter.com.

We’ll continue to provide updates in this post.

FAQ

What is Apple’s AWDL Interface?

AWDL (Apple Wireless Direct Link) is a low latency/high speed WiFi for peer-to-peer connection. macOS Yosemite and above utilizes AWDL to handle data transfers to other AWDL-enabled devices (Macs, Macbooks, iPhones, etc.) over the WiFi Radio, without the need for a common underlying Access Point.

However, whenever AWDL is active (Bonjour discovery and any Airdrop, Airplay, and GameKit links and transfers), it will lock the WiFi radio for small intervals. For Bonjour discovery specifically, this comes to an effective packet spooling time of about 50-100ms, once per second (active transfers will be higher). This will create latency spikes and for some applications, this latency is unacceptable.

This functionality is causing severe WiFi issues on M1/M2 Macbook Pros.

Why is this happening now? 

The timing of these emergent issues seem to correlate closely with recent MacOS and iOS security updates on October 24th and November 9th. We strongly recommend you move ahead to turn off AWDL on your devices. Folks we’ve advised to turn off awdl0 interface have seen immediate and dramatic improvements in performance. This is an interim solution recommended by Apple until they release a fix. We are currently testing performance with Apple's Ventura beta launch and will report back as soon as we have any information about a more permanent fix.

Why isn't this happening at my home? 

Unlike at home, in a commercial (office, warehouse, lab) environment there are many more demands placed on a Mac device’s WiFi radio as it is getting many more passive connection requests from other devices using the AWDL protocol. The more Apple devices you have on a network, the worse this issue gets.

When this is over how do I turn AWDL back on?

Currently, we do not have an ETA from Apple on when this issue will be resolved on their end. However, once we have word the issue is resolved we would recommend running the command below in your Terminal application. This will stop our initial work-around from running and allow the awdl0 interface to turn back on.

Remove the scripts and renable awdl0 interface
curl -s https://raw.githubusercontent.com/meterup/awdl_wifi_scripts/main/cleanup-and-renenable-awdl.sh | bash &> /dev/null

We will send communication once we hear from Apple about the resolution.

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