Removing Apple Time Capsule Model A1302 Hard Drive

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This guide will show you how to remove the Hard Drive in your Apple Time Capsule Model A1302.

  • Author: rousp
  • Time required: 30 - 60 minutes
  • Difficulty: Moderate
Image #1

Edit Step 1 Lower Case  ¶ 

  • To open the Time Capsule, you need to expose the screws that hold the case together. The screws are concealed by the rubber base on the bottom of the unit

  • Place the unit upside down on a clean flat work surface. You may want to place a piece of cloth or similar soft material underneath to protect the top surface while you work.

  • Use a heat gun or hair dryer to heat the rubber base and soften the adhesive holding it on.

    • Start in a corner and lift the rubber base being careful not to tear it. You may want to use a guitar pick or small plastic spatula to help separate the rubber from the metal.

    • Progress slowly and avoid tearing the adhesive while ensuring you don't over heat the unit.

    • If you tear some of the adhesive, don't worry too much about it. The existing adhesive is more than enough to allow the rubber base to stick back on to the unit during reassembly.

    • During reassembly, you can again apply heat to the rubber base to allow the adhesive to flow slightly and form a better bond to the metal case bottom.

Image #1

Edit Step 2  ¶ 

  • In order to gain access to the hard drive, you will need to remove the 8 Phillips PH00 screws that attach the metal bottom of the case to the top plastic part.

  • Some revisions of the Time Capsule may have 10 screws. The revision with the 10 screws can be identified by checking if the Time Capsule has two screws each in the upper left and bottom right when the unit held in the orientation as shown in the image. In this situation, make sure to remove all 10 screws.

Image #1

Edit Step 3  ¶ 

  • With the rear side of the device (the side with Ethernet connectors) facing you, carefully lift up the left side of the metal plate while keeping the right side of the plate near the top portion of the unit.

  • The fan is attached to the metal plate, and connected to the logic board next to the power connector. To prevent damage, do not lift the plate straight up or use force.

  • Disconnect the fan from the logic board. A spudger or tweezers may make it easier to do this.

Image #1

Edit Step 4 Hard Drive  ¶ 

  • Before removing the HDD you need to remove the temperature sensor attached to it and keep it for installation on the new HDD

  • The HDD temperature sensor is mounted directly on the hard drive using adhesive tape and a protective foam cushion.

  • Carefully peel off the foam and set the sensor aside. Be gentle with the foam, since you will need to reuse it to connect the heat sensor to the new HDD.

  • Lift the HDD out carefully, and disconnect the two SATA cables from the drive.

  • Replace the heat sensor in about the same position on your new HDD. Make sure the flat surface of the sensor is flat against the metal hard drive enclosure, and add some adhesive tape to the foam if necessary to keep it in place.

Image #1

Edit Step 5 Replacing the hard drive.  ¶ 

  • Using a Phillips #00 screwdriver, remove the four metal spacers (pegs) from the old HDD and install them in the same places on your new HDD.

  • If the new HDD is thinner than the old one, you may need to unscrew the spacers a few turns to prevent the drive from rattling around.

  • To save power and reduce waste heat, use a "green" (power-saving) hard drive or a low-speed (5400 RPM) drive.

  • Be sure to format your new HDD using the Airport Utility when you are done and the Time Capsule is reassembled. You might have to hard reset the Time Capsule after installation.

  • It is possible to test run the unit before it is fully reassembled. If you do so, reconnect the fan and replace the metal shield / fan assembly (without installing the screws) before turning it on to prevent electrical shock and overheating.

To reassemble your device, follow these instructions in reverse order.

For more information, check out the Apple Time Capsule Model A1302 device page.

Required Tools


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Phillips #00 Screwdriver

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Heat Gun

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Comments Comments are onturn off

Worked like a charm! Instructions were very thorough. Thank you

jlechuga, · Reply

I dislodged the fan connector from the logic board. How can I go about fixing this? Can I just solder the connector back onto the board? Thanks

Jon, · Reply

Success! I would get a flash of a green light after a factory reset then the flashing amber followed by a solid amber. No wifi signal or HD. Put my ear to the unit and heard the click of death. New hard drive per above and I was back up and running in 20 minutes.

Stuart, · Reply

I successfully took mine apart in order to harvest the hard drive (Apple told me that the unit as a whole wasn't fixable, but that the drive should be good).

However, I got to the point of trying to remove the 4 metal spacers in Step 5 and I can't get them to budge one bit. I need them out in order to fit the drive in the enclosure I got for it, and they just won't move. I've tried a couple different Phillips #00 screwdrivers on them, and no joy.

Any suggestions? Alternatively, anyone know of an enclosure that would work for the drive that doesn't require me getting these spacers out? I hate trashing a perfectly good drive if I don't have to.

Kevin McGuirk, · Reply

This might help you:

If it's too expensive for you, grab a pair of pliers and try to twist the screw


I had a 2nd Generation 1TB TimeCapsule (model A1302) that was starting to act up, lots of 'backups incomplete' and then it started showing up as "Time Capsule may be overheating..." in AirPort utility. The Genius at Apple pointed out it was well out of warranty so I could buy a new one, or try a DIY fixit. I decided to try the WesterDigital 3TB green drive as it's had received good reviews from other upgrades. I can confirm that the WD30EZRX installed without a hitch, rebooted the TimeCapsule and all I had to do was erase the disk to see the whole 3TB space (it reported 2.7TB in AirPort utility, but When I restarted TimeMachine it reported 3TB free). yes! I did have to remove the old backup drive and restart a whole new backup from scratch - but maybe that's not a bad thing?

Eoin, · Reply

You wrote " I can confirm that the WD30EZRX installed without a hitch, rebooted the TimeCapsule and all I had to do was erase the disk to see the whole 3TB space (it reported 2.7TB in AirPort utility, but When I restarted TimeMachine it reported 3TB free). yes! I did have to remove the old backup drive and restart a whole new backup from scratch - but maybe that's not a bad thing?"

I bought and installed this drive. Can you also tell me how you removed the old backup drive? Thank you for your help!


Thanks for the instructions. It made everything easy to do as your instructions were excellent. I was working on a first generation 1TB TC (A1254) whose drive had gone bad. I removed it and decided not to replace it. I'm now using the TC solely as a Airport Express to extend my wireless signal throughout the house. It fired up perfectly and has the added advantage of running much, much cooler.

Ron Lockhart, · Reply

Constant yellow light doesn’t mean once and for all that the HDD is faulty. In my case it showed that the electronic was not alright. When I put out the HDD both worked fine - the AirPort of TimeCapsule and the HDD in an external dock. The guide is excellent, but be very careful trying to put out the plug of the fan, as this seems to be the predetermined breaking point.

Jobst Flasbart, · Reply

It is really not necessary to disconnect the fan and you risk breaking it off of the logic board. :(

rdemby, · Reply

You should reconnect the heat sensor in about the same location as on the original drive.

Shai Perednik, · Reply

i even edited a red square to mark its location


About the HDD - can I use any HDD as long as it is low-speed or power-saving?

There is nothing else I need to take into account?

Soeren, · Reply

About the HDD compatibility:

I replaced the 1TB HDD in my Time Capsule (3rd generation, model A1355, firmware version 7.6.3) with a Western Digital Red 3TB SATA-3 (WD30EFRX)

Works just perfect :)

Mario Ban, · Reply

Hey many thanks for posting! I am thinking to upgrade my TC 3rd gen with same drive as you WD30EFRX (3TB). Any reports WD40EFRX (4TB) works as well?

Question: Does your WD30EFRX HDD spins down (power save)?


I JUST bought the WD40EFRX. It will be here on Jan 4th and I'll post if it works.

dkmillerii, · Reply

This works beautifully with the WD40EZRX Western Digital Green 4TB 3.5" SATA3 64MB Buffer Hard Drive on a Time Capsule MD032LL/A (4th Generation) running firmware 7.6.4.

Mark Luscher, · Reply

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