Apple Time Capsule Model A1302 Hard Drive Replacement

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This guide will show you how to replace the hard drive in your Apple Time Capsule Model A1302.

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

Use this guide to replace the hard drive in your Apple Time Capsule Model A1302.

Edit Step 1 Remove the rubber base  ¶ 

Image #1

Edit Step 1 Remove the rubber base  ¶ 

  • Place a piece of cloth or a similar soft material on a clean, flat surface. Place the device upside down on top of the fabric.

  • Open the Time Capsule by exposing the screws that hold the device together. The screws are concealed by the rubber base, which is the bottom surface of the device.

    • Use a heat gun or hair dryer to heat the rubber base, which softens the adhesive holding it on.

    • Starting in a corner, carefully lift the rubber base to prevent tearing. You can use a guitar pick or a small, plastic ruler to help separate the rubber from the metal.

      • Take your time to prevent tearing the adhesive. Ensure that you don't overheat the device.

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

      • During reassembly, you can apply heat to the rubber base. This will enable the adhesive to flow and form a better bond with the device's metal casing.

Edit Step 2 Remove the screws  ¶ 

Image #1

Edit Step 2 Remove the screws  ¶ 

  • Once the rubber base is separated from the device, remove the 8 Phillips PH00 screws that attach the metal bottom of the case to the plastic top of the case.

    • Use the Philiips #00 Screwdriver.

  • Some revisions of the Time Capsule have 10 screws. The A1254 revision has two screws in the upper right and lower left corners, as shown in the second image. In this situation, be sure to remove all 10 screws.

Edit Step 3 Open the Time Capsule  ¶ 

Image #1

Edit Step 3 Open the Time Capsule  ¶ 

  • Position the rear side of the device (the side with Ethernet connectors) so that it is facing you.

  • Lift up the left side of the metal plate and slowly flip it over the right edge of the device.

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

  • Since many people have had serious problems with the fan power connnector breaking, it is advisable to NOT try to disconnect the fan power connector. Be VERY careful with this connector. It is extremely fragile. If you absolutely have to disconnect the fan from the logic board, VERY carefully use a spudger or tweezers to do so.

Edit Step 4 Remove the hard drive  ¶ 

Image #1

Edit Step 4 Remove the hard drive  ¶ 

  • HDD is an abbreviation for "hard disk drive."

  • Before removing the HDD, remove the temperature sensor that is mounted directly on the hard drive. The sensor is attached to the hard drive using adhesive tape and a protective foam cushion.

    • Peel off the foam and set the sensor aside. Be gentle with the foam because you will reuse it to connect the sensor to the new HDD.

  • Lift the HDD out of the device and disconnect the two SATA cables from the HDD.

Edit Step 5 Replace the hard drive  ¶ 

Image #1

Edit Step 5 Replace the hard drive  ¶ 

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

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

  • Place the temperature sensor in approximately the same position on the new HDD as on the old HDD. Cover the sensor with the foam, using adhesive tape if necessary.

    • Make sure the surface of the sensor is flat against the metal hard drive enclosure.

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

  • It is possible to test the device's functionality before fully reassembling it. To do so, reconnect the fan and replace the metal casing (without installing the screws).

    • To prevent electrical shock and overheating, complete this step before turning the device on.

  • After the Time Capsule is reassembled, format the new HDD using Airport Utility. It may be necessary to perform a hard reset on the Time Capsule.

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


$2.95 · 50+ In stock

Phillips #00 Screwdriver

$5.95 · 50+ In stock

Heat Gun

$24.95 · 50+ In stock

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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

Time capsule had a WD20EARS caviar green in it. Replaced it with a WD40EZRX green. Everything is perfect now.

slcott, · Reply

Most excellent and easy to follow - thank you

Brendan Carney, · Reply

Excellent guide, thank you.

I installed a 4TB WD Green with two partitions. Worked a treat.

Original capacity was 500GB, 2nd generation TC (2009).

IanW, · Reply

Had to try several times (including some hard resets) before Airport Utility successfully erased/re-formated (zero'd the data) the new hard drive. I also took everything apart and put it back to together again several times. Maybe there was loose connection. Who knows. The directions were very clear, just not sure why I had trouble with the last step. Used a WD EZEX 1TB HD.


Mark, · Reply

Good morning to all,

I have a Time Capsule Mod A1302 and one week ago just die.....

I saw this guide and I open it to replace the HDD, inside I found a SATA HDD WD Black Caviar, my question is this:

i don't know if the new HDD WD in the market has the temperature sensor on top of them like my?

I ask the technicians in the stores but know one knows if this sensor is an Apple's specific request for the Time Capsule, if it is like this can I install a new HDD with out temperature sensor or I must send my capsule to recycle?

thank you all in advanced.

Time Capsule 802.11n (2nd Gen)

John Rouvellas, · Reply

This just saved me $300 bucks!!! Thank you so much it worked like a charm. First generation TC replaced my broken 1 TB Hitachi HD with a WD 3 TB HD. I was already thinking about buying a brand new 3 TB TC, but decided to check this out and I could not believe how easy it was. Thank YOU!!

Asociacion De Comerciantes, · Reply

I haven't been able to do backups since I had to swap out my 500GB drive for a 1TB one because my Time Capsule, 1st Generation, was only 500GB. After reading this guide, I bought a WD Red 3TB EFRX model and, after a bit of a struggle with some of the screws, it's up and running. Starting to wonder if the fan no longer works as there's no sound from it, but I think it's working fine as the backup is going along smoothly, no error reports and the light is green. Should anyone know differently, please post.

leighinternet, · Reply

Thanks from Italy! The upgrade process (from a Seagate 500GB HD to a WD Green 3TB HD) has been smooth and easy (removing the rubber on the bottom apart!! @). BTW, my TC is a second generation model, after Apple changed for free my previous first generation, due the famous problems with the power supply module (it died after two years). Thanks again iFix.

alexgenova72, · Reply

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

rdemby, · Reply

I'd destroyed the connection between my fan and logic board by trying to remove the fan. This is a bigger problem than a broken hard drive. DO NOT TRY TO DISCONNECT THE FAN. Instead be careful with the base (making sure not to stretch the fan wire) as your proceed to step four.

redmonton11, · Reply

I wish I had read the comments too!! DO NOT try to disconnect the fan!!!! The connector broke off with out a lot of force. Now I have a worthless piece of metal and plastic!!!!

mightyquinn6362, · Reply

This is not my guide, but in order to try to prevent future damage, I've edited the guide to warn against disconnecting the fan from the logic board. Hopefully the update will be approved soon :0\


Replaced 2 x 1500 uF capacitors ant the Time capsule is back to work !

Thanks for this guide.

gilberto, · Reply

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

Shai Perednik, · Reply

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

I just installed a WD40EFRX as well and my first back is running fine. I love how easy apple makes things. My original 2TB was still working fine, but since I doubled the space on my Macbook Pro hard drive and created a Fusion drive on it I decided it would be nice to have more space on my Time Capsule. Now I can add this old 2TB to my Airport Extreme (already had an empty enclosure laying around) that extends my WiFi network and have a NAS for sharing home movies, media, etc. Your write up was awesome. Thank you.

One other note, take your time on removing the rubber cover on the bottom. I used a heat gun on low and worked little by little. All the adhesive stayed on the rubber cover beautifully. To reinstall just lightly heat it again and the weight of the TC will cause it to reattach.

mikewiandt, · Reply

Also used a WD Red 3TB/SATA3/64M/3.5. Model WD30EFRX. ($129 at MicroCenter) Fit is perfect and performance is outstanding. Directions are fine except the rubber base is glued pretty strongly and is a bit delicate when peeling off. Didn't use a heat gun, just patiently and slowly peeled it back.

drgallo, · Reply

I just installed a WD Red 6TB WD60EFRX in my 4th Gen A1409 with firmware 7.6.4. The drive formatted just fine showing 6TB of free space.

Jonatan, · Reply

I can add that the drive seems to spin down just as it should.


Just try WD60EZRX in my Time Capsule, no idea of the generation, but it is firmware 7.6.4. It goes on, for 1 minute. Light blink amber, and TC go off.

Any idea ?



I updated two different Time Capsule Models with the WD Red 6TB WD60EFRX. The drive works in both Models A1355 (third Generation) and A1409 (fourth Generation) and shows fully 6TB of Space. By the way ... the A1355 1TB had been equipped with a Samsung HD103SI, the A1409 2TB with a WD Green WD20EARS. Partitioning ist also possible! The WD60EFRX is now fitted into the A1409 and the WD20EARS into the A1355. Everything works fine!


Tom, · Reply

I can concur regarding a 6TB drive working just fine. I just installed a WD Red WD60EFRX 6TB drive in a A1254 (2nd gen TC). I took the precaution of upgrading the firmware to 7.6.4 before doing the install. After the physical install, I simply connected using Airport Utility. I could see the new disk immediately under Edit -> Disks and the disk capacity was correct (6TB).

I selected "Erase Disk" and "fast" as the method (since it was a brand new drive). I also renamed the disk (which you can do by clicking on the name in the "Disks" pane).

The disk that I removed (because it failed) was a Hitachi Deskstar HDS721010KLA330 (1TB).

Hope this helps.


John Martin, · Reply

Did it with a WD40EZRX (green serie from WD) - thank you iFixit!

One comment though, the power inlet was displaced (slighty rotated) during disassembly or re-assembly.

One quick check before closing the box by inserting the power cable isn't too much.

bitonio, · Reply

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