Experts warn of Apple Time Capsule ‘mass extinction’, so act now to save your data

Man with head in hands in front of an iMac computer
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A potentially serious flaw in Apple Time Capsule external drives, and the Seagate drives they use, which could put millions of files at risk, has apparently been found by a data recovery company.

While Apple discontinued the Time Capsule in 2018, many Mac owners continue to use them, as they're easy and effective ways of backing up their devices.

However, German data recovery company Datenrettung Berlin has announced that it has identified abnormally high failure rates in the Seagate drives within the Time Capsules.

In a rather alarming blog post that claims that “mass extinction is imminent”, the company says it believes a design flaw with the Seagate Grenada hard drive (ST3000DM001 / ST2000DM001 2014-2018), and the parking ramp the drives use for reading and writing data could break after lots of use. This is due to the parking ramp being made of two different materials, as well as the compact and “rather poorly ventilated” design of the Time Capsule devices.

When the parking ramp breaks, it can then physically damage the rest of the hard drive, causing sometimes irreplaceable data loss.

According to Datenrettung Berlin, this damage is found in “almost 100%” of the Time Capsule devices the company has have been asked to repair, leading it to believe that this is a serious design flaw that can potentially affect any Time Capsule device.

What should you do?

According to Datenrettung Berlinz, the design flaw is found in the 5th-generation Time Capsules, with both the 2TB and 3TB models affected.

If you're still using one of those devices, the company suggests backing up the data stored on it onto another storage device as soon as possible.

We’ve contacted Apple to see what it says, but in the meantime, we agree that the best course of action would be to backup any data stored on a Time Capsule to another device, just to be sure.

If you need help picking a new storage solution, check out our guide to the best external hard drives.

Via 9 to 5 Mac

Matt Hanson
Managing Editor, Core Tech

Matt is TechRadar's Managing Editor for Core Tech, looking after computing and mobile technology. Having written for a number of publications such as PC Plus, PC Format, T3 and Linux Format, there's no aspect of technology that Matt isn't passionate about, especially computing and PC gaming. Ever since he got an Amiga A500+ for Christmas in 1991, he's loved using (and playing on) computers, and will talk endlessly about how The Secret of Monkey Island is the best game ever made.