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The smaller of Apple's MacBook Air laptops featuring dual microphones and 802.11ac Wi-Fi connectivity.

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How to remove WiFi/Bluetooth safely?

I want to remove the WIFI/Bluetooth Card from the MacBook Air 11" (2013).

1) Can this be done safely?

2) And which tools are necessary?

3) And can the MacBook Air function without the Card?

(If curious, this is an attempt to create an 'impenetrable' Laptop for anywhere --a serious tool for work.)

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Yes, with the correct tools one can remove the WiFi (AirPort) & Bluetooth board from the logic board. Follow this IFIXIT guide on the process and the needed tools MacBook Air 11" Mid 2013 AirPort/Bluetooth Board Replacement. In your case you're just removing it. You'll need to cover the cable ends with some electrical tape so they don't short out things when you put the systems back together.

With that said I think you're throwing out the baby with the bathwater here!

You can achieve the same effect by turning off the WiFi & Bluetooth services via the OS. To make it so someone can't turn it on (even your self) it quite easy. All you need to do is setup a second user account which you use which has the the services not accessible by the admin user. So you use this locked account all of the time and only use the admin account when you need to use these services. In addition using good user account practices: passwords, and if needed file or drive encryption on sensitive data.

Also remember the WiFi AP at your office will have needed setup & password settings so it just doesn't happen and the same also holds true for your Bluetooth services.

Lastly, one could still plug something into the USB port bypassing all of your efforts.

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Thank you for your answer to my question and suggestion --much appreciated. I ordered and received the necessary tools. I'm also excited to have a laptop that could last as long as the batteries are in production!

I have quite a long story about my reasons for the 'wifi-card' removal. I'll spare you the details and state that 'peace of mind' is more valuable than internet access via the laptop. (I need to get some work done; and fiddling with security settings, installing new OS's, and anticipating more 'remote-hijackings' is exhausting.)

Last question however: would a 'back-door' or 'root-kit' --possibly hidden within the RAM or Firmware-- still provide remote access without Wi-Fi or Bluetooth or Ethernet? (I assume the answer is 'no', yet I must ask.)

Thank you for your site and Q&A!


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Apple keeps the Bluetooth channel 3 open and calling 24/7. You can’t turn it off. It’s supposedly for wireless mouses and keyboards to be able to grab on just in case yours fails and the house is on fire so super keyboard knows where to land and save the day..

anyway there aint a update or a firewall in the world gonna save you… a line of code is stored on a virtual volume and you can rub the color off of your drives in Recovery Mode, soon as you hit reboot, install or recover “Heres’s Johnny”

you our can take your modem, unplug it and throw it in the street. Disable every network configuration in SP (don’t forget that mother fu$@@ing Thunderbolt Bridge BS either) if some one next door stands too close to the wall and their cell phone (that’s probably logged in a thousand different cache locations) it will flip either your Bluetooth trigger or maybe the Infared Signal and activate a handshake that will tell your preferences to turn your oven off lol, no cut your WiFi back on and hide the process so it looks to you like everything is off but meanwhile it’s slowly configuring itself to never be caught in a situation where you throw the modem in the street and leave it lifeless again.

Nobody plays the the chess app, it’s a Trojan Horse (the wooden knight piece is the logo) it’s there to specifically watch your moves and prepare itself to counter. In as few moves as possible. Or use a program in the CONTENTS > RESOURCES folder called .suicide (I swear to god) and it’s there to drive the computer into the dirt when losing or help you do it… cause soon as you format the disk in Recovery mode it’s “Here’s Johnny” I mean “Welcome to macOS Language Chooser.. blah blah blah”

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Came here just to reply to you, because I am so sick and tired of people not understanding the depths to which some people will go to in order to maintain a compromised system (or the ease of doing so).

Macs are not infallible. Your system is accessible. You should know that the OS has been leaky for years and any doubt of this, based on a mass marketed ideal that they care about you, should be squashed.

Libraries can be rewritten and it has been proven, by Patrick Wardle at Obective See, and many other dedicated humans who care about our technological security.

Learn what they put in your machine and know how to turn off the bullshit they subscribe you to without forewarning.

If I wanted my machine talking to every &&^&^$^ device that has a battery, I'd ask for it. Half the engineers have no real idea of what can be changed and monitored.


@hendobartendo - First, each generation of hardware and OS’s learn from the previous generation so engineers do care and develop more advanced means of security.

Now let’s use an analogy to help you see this!

The original Ford Model T had no safety features at at the time the expectation was it’s as safe as a horse! As the automobile improved they gain speed and as the roads improved as well as the number of vehicles using the roads increased stop lights and rules of the road came out to make sure people weren’t driving into each other. Again speeds increased and in the 1940’s here in the states interstate highways became established into a web that reaches from coast to coast. All the while more safety was added to cars like safety glass so f you hit the windshield you didn’t get cut up by the shards.

Safety belts and today we have sensors to make sure we don’t drive into another vehicle or a building! Still most cars don’t have this feature yet but does that stop you from driving your car?

Computers, tablets and cellphones are just the same older generations are not as safe as the newer ones. Both physically and via the OS and what to access from remote systems. Even still many vendors make the effort to maintain the OS’s so it is important to maintain it and even get utilities to help protect you from what you might unwilling access from a remote site.

As someone who has had to deal with systems which where violated. I can tell you there are ways to be fully safe and you don’t need to hide out in a Greek monastery o top of a steep mountain with no way up other than a rope!


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Back doors are often your own creation by not setting up strong enough passwords and/or using the Admin user account instead of setting up user accounts that are limited for day to day use. Then only using the admin account to maintain the system. Also setup required password on boot up.

Root kits are OS break-ins. As to the risk while it's not zero its as close as you can get running OS-X Lion or newer without another OS running on your system. Other OS's are much more risky.

Anything running in RAM gets lost as soon as you power down your system (but not in sleep mode).

As to Firmware sure its possible for someone to alter it but they would need direct access to your system to do that (no means to do it remotely).

As to your system being exposed just being connected to your Ethernet network, Yes, your system is broadcasting its name across your local network so it can be seen and someone could also probe your IP network finding your system from the internet. So yes you are exposed!

Now crossing the street or driving a car could be dangerous too! but we don't panic on that risk. Basically, I think your over doing it here.

You just can't live with zero risk, but you can be smart!

Don't download apps from pirate sites, don't open email that you don't know the sender. Install and maintain a good anti-virus app and use it to scan your HD often. Maintain your OS & Apps, Have a good backup setup so you can recover things. Setup a good router and maybe even a double Nat'ed setup (2 routers). Enable Find my Mac and consider setup a hardware password. Use user accounts effectively. Don't leave sensitive data on your laptop and use encryption on it so its not easily readable and lock it so it doesn't walk away on its own (Kensington laptop lock).

Lastly, enjoy life! Don't cower in fear, life is too short.

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Hey! Thanks a bunch for your words.

I was nodding my head with everything you wrote...until the bit about the Firmware. Someone did have access. What could they have done? (If the question isn't too much of a bother.) I'd like to know for my imagination's sake.

Thanks again!


Firmware reprograming is quite advanced. Someone would need to know machine code and they would need to take your computer apart to get to the chip to alter it. You can always check your firmware by downloading Apples firmware checker and updater EFI and SMC firmware updates for Intel-based Macs. Unlike the firmware cracker these files are controlled and have encryption that can't be bypassed. In addition your firmware also has a special key and verification systems which also protects its core content. Basically this is so remote it is just not a risk.


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yeah. turning it off in your OS does next to nothing. When you boot under recovery or a bootable USB drive you still send out probe requests.

And if you've never heard of OTA updates... well they arn't just for phones. Any laptop made after 2010 is capable of upgrading ANY hardware based firmware which resides in the OS such as UEFI or WiFi drivers by associating directly with a cell tower before you even log in or are fully booted. This is to stop piracy now act + illegal emergency actions

Unattended upgraded does nothing to your physical ports. Whoever thinks removing unused hardware has anything to do with physical security is silly. That’s like saying there is no point in self defense because some people are aggressive. Or, that taekwondo is anything other than a sport. If I don’t know something I just offer up something which sounds similar but really isn’t and claim I’m right anyway.

Its not like you can just look this stuff up… idiots

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Keeping focused on Mac systems here, lets correct a few misconceptions in your post:

Laptops with Bluetooth or WiFi don't have direct access to the cellular network so thats not true! So far no Mac's have access. Yes, some other laptops do!

As far as booting up under recovery mode thats all it is! It allows you to re-install the OS it won't let you unlock your laptop and the same holds true with an external bootable drive. Without the hardware password you won't get in, that is if you set it.

Different OS's have different abilities. MacOS is one of the better ones. Take some time to do some reading Apple - macOS Security Overview


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