Can you fix water damage on MacBook Pro?

Water damage is one of the most common issues that can affect MacBook Pro laptops. Spilling liquid on your MacBook – whether it’s water, coffee, soda, or juice – can cause serious problems if not addressed quickly. The good news is that in many cases, water damage on a MacBook Pro can be repaired if acted upon fast enough. Here’s what you need to know about fixing water damage on a MacBook Pro.

How to Check for Water Damage on MacBook Pro

If you’ve spilled liquid on your MacBook Pro or suspect water has gotten inside it, the first thing to do is check for signs of water damage. Here are some things to look for:

  • Visible moisture or wet areas on the laptop’s casing, keyboard, trackpad, or ports
  • Distorted or blurry visuals on the screen
  • Flickering or no video on the screen
  • Laptop not powering on or not charging
  • Keys not working properly or sticking
  • Trackpad not responding accurately
  • Fan spinning loudly or making abnormal noises
  • Strange smells coming from the vents
  • Sparking or electrical shorts

If you notice any of these warning signs, it means liquid has likely gotten inside your MacBook Pro and started causing damage. The longer it goes unchecked, the worse the damage can become. Quick action is necessary to try and repair it.

Shut Down and Dry Out Your MacBook

If your MacBook is still powered on after getting wet, the first thing you’ll want to do is shut it down. Leaving it running risks short circuiting and further damaging the components. To properly shut down, hold the power button down for 5 seconds until the MacBook turns off.

With the laptop powered down, the next step is to dry it out as best as you can. Gently wipe down the exterior and keyboard with a dry microfiber cloth to soak up excess moisture. Be sure to remove any wet clothes or materials from around the laptop as well. Allow the MacBook to sit open and air dry for at least 24 hours before attempting to turn it on again.

Do NOT try quick fixes like blow drying or microwaving your MacBook to accelerate the drying process – this can seriously damage the machine. Air drying is the safest method.

When to Take Your MacBook to the Genius Bar

If you spilled liquid on your powered-down MacBook and dried it quickly, you may have gotten lucky and fixed the water damage. Try turning it back on after 24 hours of drying – if it powers up normally, you may have avoided serious issues.

However, if you notice continued problems like no power, visual distortion, or keyboard/trackpad malfunctions, then internal components have likely been affected. At this point, you’ll want to take your MacBook to an Apple Store or authorized service provider for proper examination and repair.

An Apple Genius can run diagnostic tests to assess the extent of the water damage and what components need to be repaired or replaced. This provides the best chance for fully fixing your MacBook Pro and avoiding permanent damage. Water damage left unchecked can corrode connections over time.

Repair Options for a Water Damaged MacBook Pro

The specific repair measures taken for a water damaged MacBook Pro will depend on where and how much liquid made it inside the laptop. Here are some common repair options:

  • Drying out connections: If a small amount of liquid got inside, technicians may be able to save the MacBook by thoroughly drying its internal connectors and components.
  • Cleaning corrosion: Liquid can leave behind corrosion and mineral deposits on electronic parts. A thorough cleaning can remove this damage.
  • Replacing individual parts: Parts weakened by water exposure like the keyboard, trackpad, speakers, or fans may need replacing.
  • Logic board repair: If enough liquid reached the logic board, it may need to be repaired or replaced – one of the costlier fixes.
  • Full device replacement: In severe cases with extensive damage, replacing the entire MacBook may be most cost effective.

Liquid and corrosion sensors inside your MacBook will help the Genius Bar technicians determine affected components. In general, the less exposure to moisture, the easier repairs tend to be.

Cost of Repairing a Water Damaged MacBook Pro

Costs for repairing a water damaged MacBook Pro can range quite a bit based on the severity and which parts need fixing, but some general estimates are:

  • Minor drying/cleaning: $200 – $700+
  • Component-level repairs: $500 – $900
  • Logic board repair: $700 – $1200+
  • Full device replacement: $1200 – $3000+

Having AppleCare+ warranty coverage on your MacBook Pro can offset some repair costs as well. You can check into your coverage options when consulting with the Apple Genius Bar.

How to Prevent Water Damage on a MacBook Pro

While a water damaged MacBook Pro can often be repaired, your best bet is trying to prevent liquid exposure in the first place. Here are some tips to keep your MacBook Pro safe from spills and moisture:

  • Keep drinks away from your laptop when working.
  • Only use your MacBook in dry locations.
  • Carry it in a protective case when moving around.
  • Keep MacBook away from table edges where it could be knocked over.
  • Close the lid when not in use.
  • Do not eat or drink around your open laptop.
  • Keep young kids and pets away from the MacBook.
  • Shut down completely if bringing the MacBook outside.
  • Store in a dry place.

Accidents can still happen, but these measures greatly reduce the risk of exposing your expensive MacBook Pro to moisture. Be especially mindful in kitchens, bathrooms, pool areas, and during weather events.

Can Rice Fix a Wet MacBook Pro?

You may hear some people recommend putting your wet MacBook Pro into a bag or container of rice to try and absorb the moisture. However, this is generally NOT an effective method and is not recommended by Apple.

Rice is less absorbent than many people think and does not do a good job removing liquid from inside a MacBook. The grains can even get stuck inside small crevices and ports, causing more issues.

Additionally, rice does not speed up the drying time as much as air drying does. So it’s best to simply keep your MacBook open in a dry indoor environment rather than burying it in rice. Focus instead on following Apple’s advice of powering down, gently drying with a cloth, and allowing 24+ hours for air drying.

Should You Fix or Replace Your Water Damaged MacBook Pro?

If your MacBook Pro has severe water damage that requires logic board replacement or other expensive component repairs, you may need to decide whether fixing it is worth the cost compared to replacing it entirely. Here are some factors to consider:

  • Repair costs – Weigh projected repair costs vs. the replacement cost to buy a similar model MacBook Pro.
  • Age of laptop – Older models may not be worth sinking repair money into.
  • Data backup – Be sure your data is backed up before attempting repairs.
  • Warranty status – Repairs will be cheaper if you have AppleCare+.
  • Likelihood of recurrence – If future water damage is likely, replacement may be better.
  • Other damage – Existing wear & tear also adds to the repair costs.

In many cases, fully repairing a water damaged MacBook Pro ends up being the most cost effective option. But run through these considerations to decide if replacement makes more financial sense for your situation.

Third Party Water Damage Repair Options

While Apple and authorized service providers are usually the best sources for repairing a water damaged MacBook Pro, there are also many independent repair shops that work on liquid-exposed laptops. Prices at third party repair shops tend to be lower than Apple.

However, it’s important to do research ahead of time to find a reputable repair shop in your area that is experienced working specifically on MacBooks. Getting quotes from multiple shops is wise as well.

Some things to look for when vetting third party MacBook Pro water damage repair options:

  • Reviews from past customers
  • Professional associations like IRP or PITS
  • Use of high quality OEM Apple parts
  • Warranties on work performed
  • Experience with advanced board-level MacBook repairs
  • Microsoldering capabilities

Avoid very cheap shops that seem sketchy or don’t have demonstrated MacBook expertise. Paying for quality repair work that won’t require repeat visits is worth the extra expense.

Should You Try DIY MacBook Pro Water Damage Repairs?

Finding a reliable water damage repair shop can be a hassle. Some MacBook owners may consider attempting their own DIY repairs instead. However, caution is highly advised before cracking open your laptop.

MacBook Pros are very tightly engineered devices not really intended for DIY servicing. Without proper technical knowledge and tools, you can easily damage components even more during amateur repair attempts.

Things that make DIY MacBook Pro water damage repair risky include:

  • High chance of improperly reassembling the MacBook
  • Lack of microsoldering skills for logic board repairs
  • No access to proprietary diagnostic software and tools
  • Difficulty getting high quality Apple replacement parts
  • Following online tutorials that may omit important steps or cautions
  • Potential electrical dangers if improperly disconnecting the battery
  • No warranty or liability protection

In general, DIY attempts at fixing a water damaged MacBook Pro are not recommended. The repairs are best left to trained professionals with proper experience. But if you insist on trying, proceed carefully and with full knowledge of the risks.


Water damage is a serious threat to expensive electronics like the MacBook Pro. But quick action can often save a liquid-damaged laptop and prevent permanent component failure.

Allow 24 hours of air drying time after a spill before attempting to power on your MacBook. If it still doesn’t function properly or you see signs of corrosion, take it to Apple or an authorized repair shop for professional service.

Costs vary based on the parts needing replacement, but full repair is often cheaper than replacing the whole laptop. Weigh your options carefully when deciding whether to fix or replace a water damaged MacBook Pro.

While liquid accidents can’t always be avoided, following responsible precautions around your MacBook greatly reduces the risks. Handle spills promptly and properly when they occur to maximize your chances of reversing water damage.