Mac OS X Lion Says Good-Bye To Analog Communications [Modems]


Lion (4 and a half years) - Panthera leo

Mac OS X Lion has killed off a number of things including, but not limited to Rosetta, visible scrolls bars, Quicken (see Rosetta), and unnatural scrolling. Now another casualty is the venerable analog modem.

According to users on MacRumors Forums it is true that Apple has killed off support for the analog Apple USB Modem in Mac OS X Lion since the device is no longer working after they upgraded from Mac OS X Snow Leopard.

I tried plugging my own Apple USB Modem into an available USB port on my iMac and MacBook Air (both running Mac OS X Lion) and I received the following error message.

The problem is being blamed on two issues: the required modem drivers are missing and the drivers only work when your Mac kernel is running in 32-bit mode. Since Lion generally runs in 64-bit kernel mode by default the drivers will not work unless you boot your machine into 32-bit mode. A lively discussion about 32 vs. 64-bit mode can be found here.

The forum discussion included a work around that required modification of your system files and instructions on starting your Mac in 32-bit kernel mode. Unfortunately at press time I wasn’t able to get the suggested work around to work on either of my Macs.

One person, HellDiverUK, on the forum made a comment that I can agree with when they asked, “Modem?” followed by “Last millennium is calling, it wants its outdated technology back. ”  I think Apple agrees and that they are telling you that it looks like it is time to say good-bye to the analog modem and look to alternatives like encrypted email, zip files, PDFs, or secure FTP.

I know it is hard to let go of technology sometimes, but seriously I haven’t needed to send a fax in a while now. Instead I’m using alternatives like the ones I mentioned above. I think you can too.



  • Michael Black

    My only problem with this decision is something that doesn’t affect me. Like you, I haven’t needed an analog modem in almost 6 years. My concern, though, are people that are in the boonies that can’t get access to high speed internet. Then again, they wouldn’t be able to download Lion anyway.

    I guess this is just one more way that Apple is forcing everybody to get with the times.

  • thumbmaster

    There’re plenty of people who still use their modems for faxes. A lot of jurisdictions still don’t accept electronic legal documents.

  • DysonApps

    Does Apple still sell that USB Modem? That would be pretty stupid to sell a dongle that isn’t supported by the current OS.

  • stevewoz

    Certain products, like the MacBook Pro, killed off the analog modem with some OS X upgrade, quite a while back. I learned this the hard way, trying my old ‘fax to hotel’ printer trick. I thought it was the OS X version that did the kill, but maybe not.

  • DavidWMartin

    Nope I checked today and I don’t think they’ve sold it for at least one or two years now.

  • Mike Retondo

    Buy an all-in-one printer that has a fax. I have a HP printer and I can print the HP PrinterFax instead of the HP Printer. Very seamless.

  • Stephen Grall

    There are some of us, my father being one, who’s only viable Internet option is dial-up. This will cause users to hold onto older Macs with Snow Leopard until other Internet options become available, if ever. Apple cannot brute force change everything without consequences. Hopefully, 3G and 4G air cards and service come down in price.

  • AlexJames987372

    I just p a i d $21.87 for an i P a d 2-64GB and my boyfriend loves his Panasonîc Lumîx GF 1 Camera that we got for $38.76 there arriving tomorrow by UPS.I will never pay such expensive retail prices in stores again. Especially when I also sold a 40 inch LED TV to my boss for $657 which only cost me $62.81 to buy.
    Here is the website we use to get it all from,

  • Al

    So for people who live out of range of ADSL, what is Apple’s solution? Move house?

  • Greg_in_Dallas

    Banks and legal offices also require faxes.  Luckily, my Zoom USB modem is supported on Lion.

  • pangeomedia

    I’m trying to figure this out:

    “I think Apple agrees and that they are telling you that it looks like it is time to say good-bye to the analog modem and look to alternatives like encrypted email, zip files, PDFs, or secure FTP.”

    How are email, zip files, PDFs, or FTP alternatives to an analog modem? 

    The latter is a means to connect to the internet (albeit quaint). The former are methods of communicating, archiving files, document creation, and file transport (which could occur over an analog modem connection to the internet).

  • Greg_in_Dallas

    Modem manufactures will continue to publish drivers for their products.  

  • Glenn258

    I replaced my Apple dongle with a US Robotics 5637 56 kb 64 buss USB Modem and can dial out just fine. I use AB Dialer and the 5637 modem you can dial up any land line number from my address book. I did not network my USR modem.   

  • 300AShareMakesMeSmile

    I’m surprised there aren’t more cries of injustice.  I think I threw out my Hayes Smartmodem 9600 v32bis years and years ago when I first got TimeWarner cable.  I knew I never intended to use it again after spending an hour or so on broadband.  In fact, I’d almost forgotten about dial-up since I’d have to get an ISP that supported it as TWC dropped analog modem support a long time ago.  Still, I’m sure there are still those diehard tech-heads that must be cursing Apple and mourning the loss of analog modem support.  I’ll bet when Windows 8 is announced they can have bragging rights as the modern OS that still supports legacy dial-up connections.  Well screw it.  Analog modems were slow for me ten years ago and they must be even worse now.

    Even now I can remember that awful connection handshaking screech and watching those lovely flashing lights.  Jeez.  I went from 1200 to 2400 to 9600 modems within a few years just to get more speed.  What a memory trip.  I wonder if Hayes is still around.

  • lals33
  • clasqm

    I do still need to send faxes to banks and such. My ISP gave me a faxmail number and once a year or so I put a little money on the faxmail account. I receive faxes as big .tiff attachments in my email inbox and I can send one as a PDF or Word attachment. Easy. The guy at the other end never realises that I don’t have a fax machine at home.

    For some reason, ISPs don’t like to advertise that this service exists, but it is worth while digging into the more obscure sections of your ISP’s website.

  • Dai

    Mac Accounting and Bookkeeping Software!
    Is a very good article, I would recommend to my friends.

  • Amin Amin

    Boy we have been saying good bye to a lot things in Lion. I know Apple always tries to stay cutting edge and ahead of time; but this is just getting ridiculous. 

  • mdskizot

    Lion only ends support for the Apple USB Modem not all modems, so it is really a non issue as long as there are still available modems that work and have working drivers.  Which there are.  Why you would want use technology that most people retired more than a decade ago, well that’s up to the individual.

    I agree with Apple’s decision, they shouldn’t dedicate staff to support old tech that only a small fraction of people would actually use.  Especially when there are viable alternatives out there.  Get them on the next big thing.

  • redrocklobster

    Yet another reason to wait and see with Lion. I use my USB modem for Caller ID and other things, and from time to time am forced to send faxes too.  Apple pisses me off with the amount of things it just decides to kill off that worked perfectly fine.  Another annoying casualty is iSync. I take an old cell unlocked Ericsson phone with an easily swappable SIM card when I travel abroad. It just worked to sync contacts from Address Book. Now? And Rosetta: so what if they just left it in? As “outdated” as Quicken 2007 is, and as shameful it is that Intuit hasn’t rewritten it by now, I’ve wasted more than a day trying to find a replacement. Then there’s MobileMe. It took years to get all my family used to looking at my Galleries for pictures. Now what? Every “upgrade” seems like a downgrade to me with lost capabilities. Lion is the worst offender of all.

  • redrocklobster

    It wouldn’t require dedicated support staff. It would just require Apple to use their own tools to build their code in compatible formats with current processors.  It’s a friggin check box in XCode to support 64 bit.

  • Adam Robins

    Figured I’d best point out something here. There are some people that have to use USB modems, and who most certainly aren’t out in the sticks without wifi. My example would be the year I just completed at Uni. In my room in halls, the only way to connect a laptop to the internet was via an ethernet cable, as no wifi was provided. This goes for most halls in most campuses in the country. That essentially means no more macbook air use for them. 

    Lucky I’m moving into a house this year! 

  • TonyK50

    The problem comes from needing to FAX directly from the computer.  Why should I have to printout a document to FAX it to a company’s FAX.  Not every company allows for documents to be sent via email.  There are large amounts of resources vested in automated FAX systems that take the incoming fax, parse certain information from it and put it in a document retrieval system.

    Based on everything I’ve seen so far, Lion won’t be showing up any time soon on our 4 OS X computers nor am I recommending people upgrade to Lion any time soon.

  • Mark Fuller

    Not everything old is bad. The FCC won’t allow the phone companies to shut down the regular, old fashioned, land line phone service for a reason, Apple (or someone) needs to write drivers for analog modems, in a disaster, we may need them. 

  • techgeek01

    What if you live out way in the country and don’t have high speed internet?  I live out in the country and only recently we got high speed internet.  There are still places in the country where people use dial-up. 

  • lals42
  • Harold Kelly

    ok i’m so confused.  i just bought a new MacBook Air and I’m able to connect wirelessly most of the time.  But when I’m traveling I must have a way to connect an ethernet cable while in my offices there.  Does anyone have any idea of how to do this and get connected while I’m there?  I’m so frustrated.

  • aardman

    Sorry, accidental double post.

  • aardman

    Lost the ability to send faxes years ago when I switched to VOIP.  For the occasional 1 to 3 page fax, I get free faxing through Hope that helps some people.

  • lals42
  • Peter Jackson

    Purchase the USB Ethernet Adapter from Apple.  Part number MC704ZM/A. It is $29 USD.

  • GDal

    Memories indeed. 

    14.4, 28.8, then 33.6. I never did 56k. After that it was 1.5/768 DSL and I never looked back. FTP server software, and FXP on my friends’ systems. They filled my 2GB hard drive in just over one night. 1996 was a great year. I do miss the BBSes though – much more locally focussed.

  • GDal

    Ethernet, not modem… Totally different.

  • GDal

    I never realized ISPs were doing this… I’ll have to check mine. Thanks for the tip. (Although I haven’t sent a fax in over 12 years.)

  • GDal

    What’s DSL’s reach now? 10 miles?

  • mdskizot

    Support isn’t just writing software or clicking a checkbox.  Support is also testing making sure it works and then supporting the people who use it.  This is clearly a business decision as opposed to being to lazy to click a check box.

  • ?????? ???????

    Those are alternatives to fax function of an analog modem.

  • TheLip

    I have an intel mac mini with the apple modem connected and set fax setting to receive faxs. The modem is plugged into my canon AIO on the telephone port.
    Why would I do such a thing since AIO can send & receive fax? The Mini gets the phone rings first (have Canon set to high ring number)  and accepts the fax and puts in a folder and sends me email.

    The reason I did this is the fax spammers where chewing up my paper and ink, so I will leave the mini (don’t use it for anything but this and to run wireless security cameras) on snow leopard until an alternative comes along.

    So “old school” may not be fashionable but until the “new kid on the block” can do what the old one did and then some it’s NOT better just different.

  • TheLip

    “dedicate staff to support” you have to be kidding , like apple support is being flooded with calls about the apple modem which just worked. I don’t think so.

  • Anon

    Ignorant myopic applesauce turd.

  • Cindy Young

    Buy the USB ethernet adapter.

  • Cindy Young

    Re. Lion not supporting the USB fax/modem adapter…. Yeah, I can’t remember when I last sent a fax BUT there are still luddites out there that occasionally I have to do business with who haven’t figured out out what an email attachment is.  What then?

  • Nicolas B.

    That’s too bad.

    You know, the modem is not only useful for fax, it is also useful ton connect to the Internet. And, for your FTP and other stuff, you need the Internet — otherwise, you can just communicate in your local network.