Apple Updates iMac Owners on the Hard Drive Replacement Program

By Sidharth | Apple

Well done, Apple. That’s what I said when the billion dollar company silently updated their Hard Drive Replacement page for iMacs. The page — located here — describes that iMacs purchased in 2009, 2010, and 2011 were shipped with defective Seagate hard drives and Apple will generously replace them at no additional cost.

Not everyone knew this was possible. Many iMac owners didn’t even know there was a bad piece of hardware breathing within their iMacs. And that is why Apple is sending out emails to notify eligible iMac owners about the replacement program.

Find out if your iMac can get a Hard Drive Replacement

There are two ways to know if your iMac has a bad hard drive:

  1. Go to this page and enter your iMac’s serial number. [More info]
  2. Check your email inbox — you will receive a message like the one below.

Email I received from Apple:

Dear iMac owner,

Apple has determined that certain 1TB Seagate hard drives used in 21.5-inch and 27-inch Intel iMac systems may fail. These systems were sold between October 2009 and July 2011.

Our records show that you have an iMac with an affected 1TB Seagate hard drive. Apple will replace your hard drive with a new one, free of charge, under the iMac 1TB Seagate Hard Drive Replacement Program.

Please choose one of the following options to get a replacement hard drive.

  • Apple Retail Store – Set up an appointment with a Genius.
  • Apple Authorized Service Provider – Find one here.
  • Apple Technical Support – Contact us for local service options.

Apple recommends replacing your affected hard drive as soon as possible. Before you go in for service, please back up your data. Learn more about backup options.

Additional Information

You will need to have the original Mac OS installation discs that were shipped with your iMac in order to reinstall your operating system, other applications, and any backed up data after your hard drive is replaced.

This worldwide Apple program does not extend the standard warranty coverage of the iMac.

Apple will replace affected 1TB Seagate hard drives, free of charge, for three years from your iMac’s original date of purchase or until April 12, 2013, whichever provides longer coverage for you. Apple will continue to evaluate service data and provide extensions to this program as needed.

We apologize for any inconvenience.

Apple Inc.

As mentioned in the email, you must ask for a replacement within April 12, 2013 — we have almost 6 months left. But don’t pack your iMac just yet. Read on to find out why…

No, We won’t backup your Hard Disk Drive

Can the folks at Apple backup the data of my HD? Should I backup everything on my own? Those were the few questions that hit my mind, as I was calling the Apple’s customer care service.

I was taught that I should take the backup myself, and the genius folks will only replace my iMac’s hard drive — nothing more than that. This naturally means that I should transfer the data to another hard disk, if I want my data.

One can always wirelessly backup Mac’s HD using Time Capsule, but that was not an option for me. Even transferring Mac’s data to iCloud is not possible, primarily because of the lack of storage space — Apple’s top notch iCloud plan costs $100 and comes with 55 GB space.

I am planning to backup my iMac’s data using Time Machine and an external HD. Time Machine, as you probably know, is just too slow. I have heard of hard disk cloning, and I will probably give it a shot very soon. Whatever the case is, I will keep you posted.

No HD Upgrade

Upgrading from 1TB storage space to 2TB is not possible, at least that’s what the Apple representative told me.

However, if you have paid for the hard disk that was damaged within these 3 year period, and if your iMac is eligible for a replacement, you can ask a refund.

Should I carry my iMac to the Apple Store?

The biggest problem, and probably the most annoying one, is to carry our iMacs to the Apple Store. Lugging an iMac to an Apple Store that’s very far from your place can be challenging. But you can always request for onsite service. I am not entirely sure what’s the criteria here, but a polite request over the phone will suffice. Also, no harm in giving a shot, right?

I purchased AppleCare this year, and my iMac’s Seagate hard drive will be replaced with a new one — and yes, they will be traveling to my place (onsite service is available for AppleCare subscribers) with a brand new hard drive.

Have you received your new HD from Apple? Did you take your iMac to the Apple Store? Any interesting stories? Share with us through your comments below!

About the Author

Hi, I am Sidharth. Full-time blogger. Editor of Blogote. And a self-proclaimed geek!

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(3) comments

Dale Cooper October 27, 2012

Great program, the turn around time at the Fair Oaks Apple Store is only 2 weeks!

And yes, according to the Apple phone rep it’s perfectly acceptable to be without a computer for that period of time.

alex October 25, 2012

I’m pretty sure I don’t have the original disks that came with my imac, so that’s gonna be fun!

Jon October 22, 2012

While it is great that Apple is going to replace these defective hard drives there is a catch.
They (apple store) will not transfer the data from the old drive to a new drive. If you take it to an authorized independent service center there will be a charge to transfer the data ($89.00 in my case).

It gets worse, both sources tell me it will take 24 – 48 hours to complete the process maybe more since they need to have Apple send them the replacement drive on a case by case basis.
Since our Mac is used to run our business this means our business is SOL for an extended period of time plus we need to pay to have the data transferred. Plus there is the issue of data security.

Yes we can back up the drive on the time capsule, the time to do this is 12 – 14 hours, then another 12 – 14 hours to reload. That takes our business off-line for 72 – 96 hours or more. This is unacceptable.

Apple will not send us the replacement drive and allow us to replace it ourselves, which would save in drive time and waiting for replacement drive at service center.
The bottom line is, while Apple is nice enough to replace the drives, the process is not well thought through and leaves all Mac business owners in a world of hurt if they rely on their Mac as we do.

Apple would do well to find a way to reduce the impact of their poor choice of hardware on the consumers.

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