Time to retire those Time Capsules

I grieved when my Time Capsule finally bit the dust. It was so handy to have a painless router combined with a flawless scheduled backup of my Apple iMac. That combo allowed me to simply restore all of my programs and data seamlessly to new computers multiple times over the years.

Unfortunately, a design failure in Time Capsules has been found to lead to data loss. Don’t take a chance. Junk those suckers. I replaced mine with the compact Passport with Time Machine software already installed plus a router. Two devices instead of one but that’s life sometimes.


Design failure in Apple’s Time Capsule leads to data loss

 By Wesley Hilliard | Jul 08, 2021

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Mac users who still rely upon Apple’s Time Capsule may be in danger of device failure and data loss because of a newly discovered design flaw.

The Time Capsule was discontinued in 2018, but many Mac users still rely upon the device for timely backups. It is a router and HDD in a single enclosure that performs local backups of a Mac’s data.

According to a German data recovery company, Datenrettung, the Time Capsule has a design flaw leading to failure and data loss in the aging machines. Golem reports that the German company has seen several Time Capsule failures, all with the same flaw.

The translated text from Datenrettung reads:

“We must assume that this is an error in the design1 of the Seagate Grenada hard drive installed in the Time Capsule (ST3000DM001 / ST2000DM001 2014-2018). The parking ramp of this hard drive consists of two different materials. Sooner or later, the parking ramp will break on this hard drive model, installed in a rather poorly ventilated Time Capsule.”

“The damage to the parking ramp then causes the write/read unit to be destroyed and severely deformed the next time the read/write unit is parked. When the Time Capsule is now turned on again or wakes up from hibernation, the data disks of the Seagate hard drive are destroyed because the deformed read-write unit drags onto it.”

The “parking ramp” is the part of the HDD that connects the drive to the external enclosure. Unfortunately, as the poorly-ventilated Time Capsule heats up, the two materials heat at different rates, leading to eventual wear and destruction of the parking ramp.

The data recovery company suggests that users that rely upon the Apple Time Capsule should seek a new backup solution. This is because the failure can occur at any time and data recovery isn’t always possible.

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