I can honestly say that Time Capsule is one of my favorite Apple products. I have a 1TB Time Capsule at home that holds backups for three of my machines. It’s a beautiful thing when I come home from a long day at work, open up my MacBook Pro and see the Time Machine wheel start spinning as it automatically starts my backup. Despite my personal adoration for the Time Capsule, it’s been getting some flack on the internet because “it gets hot.”
One thing to remember about the Time Capsule is that it houses a 3.5” server-grade hard drive. A hard drive is comprised of spinning platters and they do get hot; not hot enough to melt their plastic housing, or injure someone, but fairly warm nonetheless. The Time Capsule also has an internal fan and temperature sensors that monitor the internal temperature to ensure the device is performing within the proper temperature range.
Despite those features, we do occasionally get returns from people who are afraid their Time Capsule is running too hot. Nine out of ten times we stress-test the Time Capsules and never find anything wrong with them. But this is what I found on that “10th” time:
I have to say my jaw dropped when I saw AirPort Utility open and display this error. I had never seen it before! I walked over to the Time Capsule and found that the fan was running on high and it truly was unusually hot. I also noticed there was a physical separation in the case around the rear left ports. Out of curiosity, I disassembled the Time Capsule and found that the case was dented around the power supply.
While the power supply did not actually look swollen, I had to believe that the damage was somehow related to it due to the proximity. It still remains a mystery, but I was happy to find that Apple had programed the Time Capsule to give the end user such a clear message in the event that the Time Capsule really was overheating.
If you ever get this message at home, the best thing to do is ensure that there’s nothing blocking the airflow around the device. If the Time Capsule has breathing room and is still reporting issues overheating, unplug the device and bring it to your nearest Apple Authorized Service Provider for support.