Apple's AirPort Time Capsule vulnerable to total failure, says report

Apple AirPort Extreme Time Capsule
Apple AirPort Extreme Time Capsule (Image credit: Rene Ritchie / iMore)

What you need to know

  • German security experts say Apple's AirPort Time Capsule is prone to total failure.
  • They've warned of a fatal design flaw that is causing drives to be destroyed, resulting in data loss.
  • Datenrettung Berlin recommends replacing the hard drive if you still rely on one.

A German data company has warned of a potentially fatal flaw in Apple's discontinued AirPort Time Capsule that could see users who still rely on one lose their data.

Datenrettung Berlin states:

as a professional data recovery service, we see the Time Capsule devices quite often to perform data recovery of the TimeCapsule.In the numerous analyses, we had to diagnose the same damage picture almost in 100% of cases: a broken parking ramp and subsequently a destroyed and deformed read/write unit as well as severe surface damage to the data plates.We have to assume that this is a flaw in the design¹ of the Seagate Grenada hard drive installed in the Time Capsule (ST3000DM001 / ST2000DM001 2014-2018). The parking ramp consists of two different materials for this hard disk. Sooner or later, the parking ramp will break in this hard disk model, installed in a rather poorly ventilated Time Capsule.

DB says that this damage to the parking ramp means the next time it is used results in the read/write unit being destroyed and "severely deformed", when it's next switched on this deformed unit grinds on the hard disk, destroying it and causing data loss.

The warning says data can only be recovered very carefully and that it isn't always possible.

The report says that all 2TB and 3TB 5. generation Time Capsule devices that feature the Seagate Grenada hard drive are at risk, the report says that users with these devices should back up their important data ASAP and then take it out of circulation. You can find our top picks for the best external hard drive for Mac right here.

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design.

Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9