Released alongside the AirPort Extreme base station, this hard drive equipped variant offers 802.11ac speed on a time capsule NAS.

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How do I remove tamper resistant torx screws that hold HDD?

My Airport Time Capsule A1470 purchased 02Aug2014 will not turn on. I wish to remove the 3TB HDD to recover its backup files. I removed the plastic base plate with metal spudgers. The HDD is retained by a 1.5”x2” metal plate held by four torx screws. The screws turn in either direction without tightening nor loosening. They appear to be set in tamper resistant collars designed to receive the screws until tight and thereafter slip in either direction.

Does iFixit have a tool for this?

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To start with the Time Capsule HD has a special format and can't be read directly by your Mac. You will need to get a new AirPort Time Capsule of the same series and swap the drives around.

Given the age of your unit I would first try going to an Apple Store to see what they can do for you under warranty.

Even if you have to buy a new unit they should be willing to swap over the HD for you if you need to get at the data.

As to the Torx screws you may need a different sized driver (T8 & T10), Apple hasn't done anything special as far as I know in altering the screws.

You may want to review this IFIXIT teardown of the AirPort Extreme A1521 it goes into the teardown deeper than the AirPort Time Capsule A1470 teardown as they are basically the same units (with/without the HD).

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Dan, thank you for replying. I would like to limit this discussion to the four screws I described. These otherwise standard torx screws are not simply unscrewed as was described by iFixit in mid 2013 where they gave a repairability score of 8 out of 10. I can turn the screws multiple revolutions in either direction without tightening nor loosening.

My theory is that Apple has replaced the normal threaded bracket holes with something that requires special tools to disassemble. On the face of it I would give a repairability score of 1 — unless iFixit can come to the rescue. But maybe I am missing something.


The screws may appear caught as the rubber shock bushings to have the tendency to hold them. I suspect the drive is loose and just needs to be pulled out, if all of the screws are fully unscrewed. You could try easing the screws out by carefully listing the head with a flat blade while turning the screw. I don't have one of the newer ones to check for you. Please take a good set of pictures so we can see what you have.


Dan, thanks again for replying. It is hard to believe but each screw turns without unscrewing. For each of the four screws the female threads are not cut into the receiving bracket but rather into a bushing that appears to be pressed into the bracket and is free to turn in either direction with the screw. I took a photo through the power plug cutout in the back of the Airport case which shows one of two screws in focus. Notice four elements: black top plate, silver bracket, female bushing, male screw. Either Apple intended to make these screws much harder to remove or they goofed.


And now I need help to add my picture to this comment.


Ah.. I see the problem the press-fit nuts are spinning! The assembler of your unit over did the tork breaking the press-fit nut loose. You'll need to grab the nut under the two sheet metal layers so you can unscrew the screws (what you can see via your picture). You could try placing some super glue at the seam of the nut and the sheet metal to hold the nut from spinning but be careful here! You don't want to glue the screw in.


Dan, I withdraw both my theories regarding Apple either changing their design or making a mistake such as over-tightening. Instead I find that my iFixit T8 handle turns, in either direction, without turning its shaft. The screws came out in the normal way with my Newer Technology T8 driver. I was truly “missing something”. Case closed.


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