Friday, Jul 09, 2021, 22:36 Hardware

Apple Time Capsule: Design Error Leads To Hard Drive Failure

In April 2018, Apple abruptly discontinued the AirPort product series. "AirPort" stood for a line of products functioning both as WiFi routers that could come either with or without an integrated hard drive to back up users' data on other devices – the models with integrated hard drives were called "Time Capsule". The practical part about having an Apple router with an integrated HDD for data backup is that its operating system is designed to effortlessly support wireless teamwork with Apple's Time Machine assistant. Despite the product's discontinuation, many Apple customers continue to use it – and Apple continues to provide updates to the product's operating system. Cupertino ended sales for the AirPort series of products in November of 2018.

Time Capsule: Design Failure In Hard Drive
Time Capsule models produced between 2014 and 2018 (Apple model numbers ME177Z/A and ME182Z/A) were equipped with a "Granata" Seagate hard drive (model numbers ST3000DM001 / ST2000DM001). However, there's a design error with this hard drive – the parking ramp (which holds the read and write heads) is made out of two different materials. This causes varying expansion of the materials during thermal changes, according to the German site, 030 Datenrettung Berlin. The varying. degrees to which the different materials expand leads to the park ramp breaking and warps the sensitive read and write units. After this has occurred, the read and write heads can end up pressing on the hard drive and once this happens – it's bad news for the lifespan of your hard drive and can lead to complete loss of data.

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No Recall
The problem has actually been known since 2016 – but neither Seagate nor Apple have issued a recall for either the Time Capsule or the hard drive itself. In the meantime, warranties for the AirPort Time Capsule have expired, meaning that a defective model can't be exchanged for a new one now. Because the AirPort Time Capsule doesn't possess a fan, the internal hard drive can end up being subjected to some very high temperatures – meaning that many Seagate hard drives within the devices are likely to fail due to the design flaw.

Swapping Hard Dives & Other Solutions
Those who have important data on their Time Capsule should definitely consider an exchange – either by purchasing a similar product from another manufacturer and transferrin their data, or swapping the internal hard drive out for a new one. The latter is possible with some practical skill, but there's still a risk of damaging the Time Capsule.

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