Can MacBook Air survive water spill?

Spilling water or another liquid onto your MacBook Air can be a scary experience. Water and electronics don’t mix well, so there is understandable concern that a spill could seriously damage your laptop. Fortunately, the MacBook Air is designed to withstand minor spills and leaks under certain conditions. In this article, we’ll look at whether the MacBook Air can survive a water spill and what you should do if you accidentally spill liquid on your laptop.

Can the MacBook Air survive water damage?

The short answer is maybe. Whether or not your MacBook Air survives water damage depends on a few key factors:

  • How much liquid was spilled – Was it a few droplets or a whole glass of water?
  • What type of liquid – Water is least risky, while sticky liquids like soda can leave residue.
  • How quickly it was cleaned up – Fast response limits damage from short circuits.
  • Where the spill occurred – Keyboard is most vulnerable area.
  • MacBook model and age – Newer models tend to be more water resistant.

Minor spills that are immediately cleaned up have a good chance of leaving your MacBook unharmed. Large spills or delayed response increase the risk of permanent damage. Liquids like coffee, juice, soda, wine, etc can be problematic due to minerals and sugars getting left behind after the liquid evaporates.

MacBook Air liquid spill damage

When liquid gets inside your MacBook Air, failure can happen through a couple methods:

  1. Short circuit – Small electronics and circuitry can short out when electricity flows abnormally due to water creating connections between components.
  2. Corrosion – Mineral deposits and corrosion build up over time, degrading the connection points and surface of internal electronics.
  3. Component failure – Sensitive components like the logic board, display, etc may fail immediately if exposed to moisture.

Any of these issues can cause anything from temporary glitches to complete component failure. The longer moisture sits inside, the more likely serious irreversible damage will occur.

Which MacBook Air models are water resistant?

Here is the water resistance level for recent MacBook Air models:

MacBook Air Model Liquid Resistance
MacBook Air Late 2020 – M1 chip Keyboard protected against minor spills
MacBook Air Early 2020 Keyboard protected against minor spills
MacBook Air Mid 2019 Not water resistant
MacBook Air 2018 Not water resistant

The 2020 M1 MacBook Air and 2020 Intel MacBook Air have an improved keyboard design that Apple claims can protect against spills up to 60ml (about 2 ounces). This isn’t full waterproofing, but can help prevent minor spills from reaching the electronics underneath.

Older 2018 and 2019 models do not have spill resistance and are more vulnerable to liquid damage. Due to the keyboard limitations, no MacBook Air model is resistant to spills on other areas like the trackpad or ports.

Tips for surviving liquid damage on MacBook Air

If you do end up spilling liquid on your MacBook Air, follow these tips to give yourself the best chance of saving it:

  1. Act quickly – Immediately unplug all cables and turn off the laptop. The faster you can stop power flowing, the less likely serious damage will occur.
  2. Invert laptop – Flip the laptop upside down to allow liquid to drain out openings rather than seeping deeper inside.
  3. Absorb moisture – Gently blot spill area with a dry microfiber cloth or paper towels.
  4. Dry the laptop – Let the MacBook dry for at least 24 hours before attempting to turn it on. Place in front of a fan to speed up drying.
  5. Don’t power on – Don’t attempt to turn on the laptop until completely dry, even if it seems OK.
  6. Consider professional help – For large spills, it may be wise to take the MacBook to an Apple store or repair shop for inspection before using again.

Following these steps can help recover data and avoid permanent damage to your MacBook Air. But the longer moisture sits inside, the lower your chances, so acting quickly is essential.

Does AppleCare cover liquid damage?

Liquid damage is not covered under Apple’s standard 1-year limited warranty or extended AppleCare Protection Plan for Mac. However, you can pay an additional fee for accidental damage coverage.

AppleCare+ for Mac adds protection for up to two incidents of accidental damage, subject to a service fee of $99 for screen or external enclosure damage, or $299 for other damage. This covers spills, drops, electrical surges, and more.

Purchasing AppleCare+ must be done within 60 days of getting your MacBook Air. So if you opted out originally, you unfortunately can’t add coverage after a spill occurs.

Should you repair or replace after water damage?

If your MacBook Air did suffer significant water damage, you’ll need to decide whether to pay for repairs or replace the laptop. Here are a few things to consider:

  • Cost of repairs – Logic board or display replacements often exceed $500+. Compare to a new laptop.
  • Age of laptop – Older models may not be worth investing repair costs into.
  • Data backup – Make sure important data is backed up before attempting repairs.
  • AppleCare+ coverage – Accidental damage fee may be less than full repair bill.
  • Availability of replacement – Weigh waiting for repairs vs. replacing with a new machine.

For newer MacBook Airs where repairs are feasible, AppleCare+ can offset some of the cost. But for older models,replacement may make more financial sense if the damage is extensive.

Tips to prevent MacBook Air water damage

While no laptop is truly waterproof, you can take some simple precautions to avoid spills and leaks with your MacBook Air:

  1. Use a protective case – Cases can block minor spills and splashes from reaching your laptop.
  2. Don’t eat or drink nearby – Keep food and beverages away from your workspace to prevent accidents.
  3. Watch for condensation – Wipe down your MacBook if coming inside from cold weather before the condensation has a chance to drip.
  4. Keep it out of the bathroom – Never bring your laptop into areas with sinks, showers, baths, etc.
  5. Store properly when not in use – Return laptop to protective sleeve or bag so it’s not vulnerable while being transported or stored.

While a brief splash of water on the keyboard may survive, anything more requires immediate action. Make it a habit to keep liquids far from your MacBook Air.


The MacBook Air is decently resilient against minor spills and moisture due to its keyboard design and lack of ventilation ports. Small amounts of water cause issues only if power is still running. Quickly cutting power and drying out the laptop can allow it to recover fully.

However, larger spills or delayed response greatly raises the risk of short circuiting, corroded connections, or failed components. Sugary and sticky liquids also increase the chance of permanent damage. While not waterproof, following best practices can help avoid accidents and give yourself the best shot at saving your MacBook if disaster does strike.