Apple has just announced that a small number of users may experience issues with the 3TB hard drive sold in certain 27-inch iMac models. Specifically, Apple is talking about devices sold between December 2012 and September 2013. While no specific model numbers were mentioned on Apple’s support page, devices sold in that time period should be the late 2012 models.
Note that this only applies to devices featuring a 3TB hard drive and a 27-inch display. At the time, Apple offered configuration with other drives, and those are not affected by this potential hardware failure.
Owners who registered their devices upon purchasing them should receive an email from Apple informing them of the problem and offering a replacement solution. For users who didn’t register or who didn’t get the email for one reason or another, the support page has a field where you can enter your computer’s serial number and find out if its drive is able to be replaced free of charge.
Replacements can be done through an appointment at an Apple Store, at an Apple Authorized Service Provider, or via Apple Technical Support. Additionally, users whose hard drives have already failed can contact Apple for a refund if repairs for which Apple charged were completed already, but presumably, these refunds will be granted on a case-by-case basis depending on where the repair was done.
Apple recommends that users replace their drives as soon as possible, and it has imposed a deadline of either December 19, 2015 or three years from the computer’s original purchase, whichever provides longer coverage for the iMac owner.
The company didn’t go into specifics about how the drives fail, only saying that they “may fail under certain conditions.” Before taking the drive in for repairs, Apple has advised users to make sure they back up their system, as the drive will be replaced, thus erasing all of the data stored on it.