Apple Time Capsule Review Ttitle Image

MacTakeAwayData Rank – 9 Stars Out Of 10

9 out of 10 stars

The Apple Airport Time Capsule is a great device. But it’s not just any device.

It’s discontinued by Apple and now you can only buy refurbished units.

So, if you want to buy one of these, then you need to act fast!

If you don’t have an Apple Airport Time Capsule yet. Then this product review will help you make up your mind about whether or not it’s worth buying one. Before they’re all gone forever.

There are several reasons why the AirPort Time Capsule is still worth it for a Mac user today.

Read on and find out why.

Airport Time Capsule Review 2021 Verdict

When you’re an Apple addict. Buy this 5th generation Airport Time Capsule. You’ll adore its fast dual band WIFI.

You’ll find its small footprint handy. And be grateful for its large WIFI range. And its tie into the rest of your Apple eco system.

You’ll have to move quick. Apple has ended production. And when new stocks go and you wanna buy an Apple Time Capsule.

You’ll need to go refurbished or buy second user.

*Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. And at no extra cost to you this site earns a commission through image links, Amazon button and text links should you buy.

Recommended Drive : Apple Airport Time Capsule

Airport Time Capsule - 3TB 5th Generation

Check Price Of The Airport Time Capsule On Amazon

Airport Time Capsule Pros

  • You’ll find an attractive design with a smaller footprint. Makes it easier for you to find the perfect spot to put it in your home or officeac. As it comes ready to plug straight into your Mac
  • Fast performance for your over the air Time Machine backups
  • Supports 802.11ac Wi-Fi for your newest Apple tech
  • The Wi-Fi antenna is now upright. And this means that you’ll a get much wider range on the Time Capsule’s Wi-Fi

Airport Time Capsule Cons

  • Apple has disbanded the division that develops its wireless routers. And the hot news since May 2018 is that. Apple will no longer make any AirPort Base station routers. And this covers the Airport Express, Airport Extreme and Airport Time Capsule.
  • You can buy an Apple Airport Time Capsule till all stocks run out. So if you’re keen you’ll need to hurry.

Don’t worry you’ll get support services and parts for five years from end of production.

You can read this article in Mac Observer. And this one in Zdnet to find out more about this.

Due to the demise of the Apple Airport Time Capsule I decided to check the market.

Were there any suitable alternatives?

​Find out how I got on.

Apple Airport Time Capsule Review Features Overview

You’ll find below a review of the Airport Time Capsule key points. From design to internal storage capacity.

Apple Time Capsule Model Comparison Table

​​Airport Time Capsule​​Airport Extreme​Airport Express
WIFIYes – 802.11acYes – 802.11acYes -802.11n
Internal Hard Drive?​Yes – 2TB or 3TBNo​No
USB Ports​Printer or External Drive​​Printer Or External DrivePrinter Only
Ethernet Ports​4 x Gigabit4 ​x Gigabit2 x 10/100 BASE-T
Guest NetworkingYesYesYes
Airplay​NoNoYes

You’ll see that not all the Time Capsules have internal drives. The Airport Express and Airport Extreme work mainly as WIFI routers and boosters.

How Does Your Apple Time Capsule Work?

You’ll find a true two in one appliance.  What does that mean?

For your connection to the Internet you’ll have a router. A router supplied by your Internet Service Provider. That router services all your gadgets in your home or office.

But what:

  • If you’ve dead zones in your home or office space? Or areas where the wireless network sometimes works and sometimes doesn’t?
  • And when you want to use your Mac, iPhone or iPad in that area. It’s frustrating as the signal keeps cutting out.
  • You’ve thought about running cables but you really don’t want to. Or you can’t.
  • ​​And you’d like to back up your Macs over the air.

That’s when the Apple Time Capsule 5th generation comes to the rescue.

The Apple Time Capsule folds into one device your WIFI router, and 2TB or 3TB of external storage.

Your Time Capsule acts as a:

  • ​WIFI router and booster for your Apple gadgets. Fantastic as it can extend the range of your WIFI network.
  • Place where you can centrally store your files.
  • Backup destination. Use with Time Machine and your Apple Time Capsule can backup your Mac, or several Mac’s over WIFI.
  • Support for a printer. Put a printer on its USB 2.0 port and then its available to you as a network printer. Or
    put on an extra hard disk drive. Handy as then you can attach more storage. Storage that you can use on your home network.

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Why not check on the price of the Apple Airport Time Capsule

Benefit Tear Down Of The Apple Time Capsule

​When Apple gets into an area there’s no doubt that they do an first class job.

The Apple Time Capsule is easy to use. And ok, it won’t be the cheapest piece of gear you’ll ever buy. But when you buy Apple, what you buy will look good and just work.

With the Time Capsule Airport device Apple doesn’t disappoint.

Apple Time Capsule Wireless Range And Speed

The Apple Time Capsule offers wireless coverage on 5Hz and 2.4GHz frequency bands. And that means it’ll work with your older 2.4GHz needing gadgets and your newer 5GHz ones.

The Time Capsule 5th generation is a true Airport Extreme device. It raises its network credentials by increasing the number of antennas you have to six.

And relocating them at the top of the Time Capsule for better WIFI range. 

Wi-fi and iPad

You’ll have three antennae for 5GHz. And three for 2.4Ghz. And there you have it. Your Apple Time Capsule is a true dual-band Wi Fi router. And its Wi Fi system can send and receive on both bands at the same time. Supporting your WIFI gear, new and old.

The Time Capsule uses something called beamforming in its antenna array. 

This means your Apple Time Capsule works out where your 802.11ac kit is. And then it targets its WIFI signal to it.

Meaning you get a stronger and more consistent router signal. Clever eh.

UnBoxing The Time Capsule YouTube Video

If you’re curious about what comes in the box, I’ve found for you a cute 1 minute 53 seconds unboxing video on YouTube. Why not take a peek.

Airport Time Capsule 3TB Unboxing

Video Credit: hashtag it

Time Capsule’s Better WIFI Speed Support For Your Apple Family

The latest range of Apple: 

  • MacBook, MacBook Pro, MacBook Air
  • iMac,
  • iPad, iPad Pro or Mini 4
  • IPhone,
  • iPod Touch,  
  • Apple TV 4K

They all support the faster 802.11ac Wi-Fi networking. And for your slightly older Apple kit the Airport Time Capsule supports 802.11 a, b, g and n standards.

So your family’s Apple devices can play.

Not only that your Time Capsule’s top tier 802.11ac standard gives you 1.3 Gbps wireless data speeds. That is 3 x faster than 802.11n.

These speeds are only available to 802.11ac capable gadgets at a 5 GHz frequency.

For your 802.11n machines, The Airport Time Capsule offers you 450 Mbps data speeds.

And you need to keep in mind that your real WIFI speeds will go up and down. So can be lower than the headline speeds you see here.

Owners of Airport Time Capsule’s rave about its WIFI speed. And its superior WIFI coverage and reliability.

Pairing the new 802.11ac WIFI standard with 802.11ac enabled clients unlocks the Time Capsule’s most notable feature … Time Capsule boasts the fastest wireless data speeds.

Apple Time Capsule Sleek Design

You’ll be happy to put this piece of kit on display in your home. And there aren’t many WIFI routers and storage devices you could say that about.

The Airport Time Capsule’s footprint is 6.6” height x 3.85″ x 3.85”. Which is a change from the square flatter shape of the older generations.

Apple used a top-down minimalist design. They reduced the Apple Time Capsule’s footprint while retaining its attractive style.

The 75% footprint reduction doesn’t affect its features. And that is thanks to the smart placement of the ports and the powerful internal hard drive.

You’ll see on the front of the Apple Time Capsule, a status light that glows green when everything is as it should be. But glows amber when there’s a problem.

What the status light glows and responds to you can configure. This means you can decide what your Capsule tells you through its LED lights.

A nice touch.

Connecting Your Apple Time Capsule Base Station

For Networking

On the back you’ll find four ports.

The 5th generation has its ports stacked vertically. When compared to the previous horizontal set up).

Apple Time Capsule 3TB Ports
Apple Time Capsule 3TB Ports

You’ve three Gigabit Ethernet LAN ports. For direct connection your Mac and any wired clients want. There’s one WAN port for connection to your Internet source.

Every port is gigabit Ethernet compatible with up to 1,000 Mbps data speeds.

The Airport Time Capsule has a built in firewall. Giving you protection you from any nasty hackers over the Internet. But you can’t configure the firewall yourself. Some owners find that frustrating.

For More Devices On Your Apple Time Capsule

You’ll find a single USB port.

Apple using the USB 2.0 standard for this port is a bit of a disappointment. The faster USB 3.0 standard would have been a more modern, better choice.

But the Airport Time Capsule 2TB and 3TB sized options allows you to connect their USB port to a USB printer.

And then you’ve a networked shareable printer.

Or you can connect the port to an external USB drive for even more storage (see below).

Finally at the front you’ll find the power port. And right beside that is your reset button. Should you ever need to reset your Apple Time Capsule.

The Apple Time Capsule is going away. But before you think about buying a wireless external hard drive. Take a look at my article about the current wireless drives.

Expanding Your Time Capsule Storage

The USB interface on the Airport Time Capsule allows you to add storage by connecting an external drive.

Yes, it’s a USB 2.0 port. And many of the external USB hard drives you buy now support USB 3.0. But backwards compatibility means you can put those drives on the Time Capsule as well.

Your Time Capsule will talk to those external drives at USB 2.0 speed.

​You can store more documents, photos, music, whatever you want.

And use the external drive as a network storage resource for all your Macs on your home or office network.

Note that:

​Any external USB drive you put onto the USB 2.0 port must be already formatted to Mac OS Extended (Journaled) file system.

​Or partitioned to have ExFAT partitions.

You’ll need ExFAT if you want to support Windows PCs and share files between Mac and Windows users.

Connect up the external drive to your Mac first, format and or partition then connect to the Apple Time Capsule and you are good to go.

You can learn how to set up an external drive. And other set up tips from this article ‘Set Up Airport Time Capsule’.

Can You Use Your Time Capsule As An External Storage Device?

Yes, and after its great WIFI performance this is its second main benefit.

The 2TB drive and the Apple Time Capsule 3TB version contain a server grade hard drive. What is the significance of this?

Server grade means your Time Capsule’s internal 2TB or 3TB drive is robust.  And seems to have proven itself as such in the field.

This is just as well as the Apple Time Capsule’s design doesn’t let you replace parts. Or carry out any repairs.

In that area it’s like most of Apple’s other products.

But you’ll find this a flaw if you’re the type that likes to crack open their gear. And get in to upgrade or change parts.

​But if that doesn’t deter you. And you’re the type who likes stylish design on all your Mac’s accessories. Even the ones that are usually hidden under the table. Then the Airport Time Capsule is a great buy.

How Do You Use A Time Capsule?

You can configure Time Capsule on your iPhone

Set Up

You’ll find the set up easy.

Airport Time Capsule needs the Apple software AirPort Utility. You use the Airport Utility App to set up, manage and configure your Capsule.

The Airport Utility App is a standard part of MacOS on your Mac. And you can freely download it from the Apple Store for IOS for your iPhone or iPad.

It’s also on the Apple store for free download, for your Windows PC.

And the beauty is that you can use your Apple device to set up and manage the Airport Time Capsule. And it’s as easy to use on an iMac or MacBook or Windows PC.

Once you connect your Airport Time Capsule to the Internet and mains power it’ll boot up. It boots up in a default configuration.

You start up your Airport Utility software on your Mac or Windows PC.

You’ll need your Mac or PC’s WIFI turned on.

Then you pretty much follow the prompts to install the Time Capsule.

You’ll find an article on how to do that here. How To Use Airport Time Capsule.

Airport Time Capsule For File Storage Or Backups

You can decide how you want to use your Apple Time Capsule:

  • Use for extra file storage space
  • As a backup spot for Time Machine
  • For a shared drive for Mac, IOS or Windows PC
  • Partitioned up for either of the above options

It’s truly flexible.

The Airport Time Capsule connects with Time Machine for Mac users.

It’s so simple to set up.

Once set up, backups are automatic over your WIFI. You need do nothing more.

Sync your IOS tech to your Mac. And then your Airport Time Capsule backs up your IOS device as well over WIFI.

Apple Time Capsule Remote File And Printer Sharing

Back to My Mac is an interesting feature. It’s for you if you to access your files on your Mac when you are out and about. And you’ve a decent connection to the Internet.

You set it up on both your Time Machine and on your Mac.

How you find it performs will depend on the speed of network have at home. And the speed of the one you’re using remotely.

And there’s the tricky question. How comfortable are you opening up your network to the Internet? Even when it’s managed by your Apple Time Capsule. 

If that doesn’t bother you then it’s a pretty good feature.

And means that when your desperate to get to that document and you know it’s on your Time Capsule at home. You can just download it.

You should note that there’s no support for media streaming. Or FTP offered by Back to My Mac on the Airport Time Capsule.

Apple Time Capsule Guest Networking

You’ll wonder how you did without guest networking when you use it on the Airport Time Capsule.

You can create a guest login and password. And hey presto your guests access to the WIFI and the Internet.

And with no access to your computers and the files on your network.

Means clever youngsters visiting your home can’t get to stuff they shouldn’t be seeing. And there’s no need for you to share your own WIFI login with your visitors.

Connect an External Drive Over Wifi

Expanding And Extending Your Wi-Fi Range

You’ve the ability to daisy chain Airport Time Capsules together. Why is that useful?

Because this allows you to expand or extend the range of your WIFI.

It’s how you can cover those WIFI dead zones or those difficult areas you’ve on your property.

You could even extend your WIFI out to the back yard or garden.

Happen to have your home office or den down the bottom of your garden?

Why not use the Time Capsule to cover it. You’ll find an article that covers extending and expanding your Time Capsule’s WIFI.

​Extend Time Capsule Wireless Network. Click on the link.

How Do I Access My Time Capsule?

Using Your Time Capsule To Store Your Documents On

You can drag and drop or copy and paste your files to the Time Capsule.

Just as you would to your Mac’s internal drive.

And if you want to share files with a Windows PC.  Create an ExFAT partition on the Airport Time Capsule to store the files you want.

And then drag and drop there.

Then you make that partition shareable. And both your Macs and Windows PCs can see it.

Time Capsule for Backup
Time Capsule for Backup

Using Your Time Capsule For Backup With Time Machine

It’s simple to do and a strength of the Time Capsule

Once your Apple Time Capsule is up and running join it up to Time Machine on your Mac.

​You do this by going into Time Machine preferences on your Mac.

Your Mac will see the Time Capsule on the network and then you can click to use it as your backup place. ​You’ll find an article on the site that goes into this in more detail.

IPhone And iPad With Time Capsule

Your IOS gear can’t backup to Airport Time Capsule directly.

IPhones and iPads need to be first backed up to a Mac with iTunes.

​And then when Airport Time Capsule backs up your Mac, it backs up your mobile gadgets.

Airport Time Capsule Review In Closing

You’ll agree that the Apple Time Capsule sounds like a great product. And it’s a pity that Apple has decided to stop making it.

The Apple Time Capsule 2TB and its bigger brother the Time Capsule 3TB works great with Time Machine.

Time Capsule is also excellent as a WIFI base station, thanks to its 802.11ac WIFI networking.

And while you still can. There’s nothing to stop you getting a second Time Capsule. Then you can daisy chain them for extra backup and file storage.

W​ondering about the other wireless external hard drives out there on the market?

Take a look at my post Wireless External Hard Drives For Mac Need to Knows Before You Buy.