What do I do if I get water on my MacBook?

Assess the Situation Quickly

If you spill water or another liquid onto your MacBook, you need to act fast to limit the amount of damage. Your first priority should be to get as much liquid off the laptop as possible. Turn off the MacBook immediately and disconnect it from any power source or external devices. Hold the laptop upside down to drain out any excess liquid. Gently shake or tip the computer to remove any water that may be trapped in the ports, buttons, or speakers.

Use a soft, absorbent cloth or paper towels to blot up moisture on the surface and keyboard. Avoid rubbing vigorously or applying pressure, as this could push the water further into the internal components. Once you’ve removed any standing liquid, flip the MacBook over and leave it upside down with the display propped open slightly to aid drying.

Do Not Turn It Back On Until Completely Dry

It can be tempting to power on your water-damaged MacBook right away to assess if it still works. However, turning on a wet laptop is a bad idea that could cause electrical shorts and permanent damage. Even after draining excess liquid, there is likely still moisture inside the computer.

You’ll need to let the MacBook dry thoroughly before attempting to use it again. Water and electronics do not mix well! Allow at least 24-48 hours for the laptop to sit powered off and continue air drying. Place it in a dry, well-ventilated area away from any heat source which could warp the casing. You can aim a fan at the computer to speed up evaporation.

Be patient even if your MacBook looks dry on the outside. Residual moisture inside the delicate components can take time to evaporate completely. When in doubt, allow extra drying time to play it safe. Rushing the process risks short-circuiting your laptop when moisture remains internally.

Try Using Rice to Absorb Moisture

One common technique people try with a waterlogged electronics device is submerging it in uncooked rice. Rice is an inexpensive, readily available desiccant that can help draw moisture away from your MacBook’s interior.

To use this approach, fill a sealable bag or storage container with raw rice. Place your closed MacBook inside and ensure the rice surrounds the entire computer. Seal the container and let your laptop soak in the rice bath for at least 24 hours. The rice will gradually absorb water from the air and holes in the computer.

Check on the progress periodically. You may need to change out the old rice for fresh dry rice if it becomes saturated. When the rice no longer seems damp or clumpy, remove the MacBook and inspect for any remaining moisture. Wipe away any rice dust and allow additional air drying if needed before turning it on.

Use Alcohol to Displace Water

Isopropyl alcohol is another useful liquid for drying out electronics after water exposure. Because alcohol has a lower viscosity than water, it can displace moisture in tight spaces and evaporate more quickly than water.

To utilize this technique, dampen a microfiber cloth with 60%+ isopropyl alcohol and gently wipe down the entire outside of the MacBook. Avoid getting liquid in any openings. Tilt the computer as you go to displace drips of water.

You can also use higher proof alcohol like 90%+ isopropyl alcohol with cotton swabs to dab inside ports and buttons. This helps absorb stray droplets stuck in crevices. Be very sparing with liquids around internal components.

As the alcohol evaporates off the laptop’s surface, it carries water along with it. Keep wiping with new alcohol-dampened cloths until you’ve removed as much moisture as possible. Let the remaining alcohol fully evaporate before reassembling and powering on your MacBook.

Consider Opening Up the Case

If liquid sat for a while before you could dry your MacBook or you suspect serious water intrusion, you may need to open up the case to clean and dry the interior. This is an advanced process best done by experienced techs, as you risk damaging components if you are not careful.

Start by disconnecting the battery to prevent electrical shorts or surprises while you work. Refer to online teardown guides for your specific model to methodically take off the back cover and disassemble components.

Use 90%+ isopropyl alcohol and cotton swabs to gently clean water and corrosion off the logic board. Remove any standing moisture from inside the keyboard, trackpad, speakers, etc. Let components fully air dry before reassembling the laptop.

Opening up the case provides direct access for cleaning and drying. Just be very cautious and deliberate when handling delicate internals to avoid causing further harm. Always replace any foam padding, thermal paste, gaskets and seals with new ones.

Do Not Turn It On Until You Are Sure It Is Dry

This bears repeating: wait until you are 100% certain no moisture remains before reconnecting power and turning on your MacBook. Water conducts electricity, so any lingering droplets or humidity can short circuit components when power runs through them.

Double and triple check every nook and cranny for hidden moisture before hitting the power button. Things may look dry on the surface but still be damp inside. If you have any doubts, let it dry longer. Preventing permanent electrical damage is more important than impatience.

Listen closely when restarting your MacBook for signs of abnormal arcing, sizzling or popping noises, which indicate remaining water. If you hear anything suspicious, power back down immediately and allow more drying time. Proceeding while there is still moisture raises the risk of frying internal parts. Play it safe even if it means waiting awhile longer.

Test Functionality After It Turns On

Once your MacBook successfully boots up again without incident, run diagnostic tests to check for water damage. Verify the keyboard, trackpad, display, speakers, ports and battery are all operating normally without any glitches or odd behaviors.

Run Apple Diagnostics by holding D during startup to detect issues. Try a thorough test of all components to determine if anything was affected by the water intrusion. Check for flickering screens, unresponsive keys, corroded ports, etc. The sooner you catch any developing problems, the better chance you have of fixing them before serious damage occurs.

You may need to bring your MacBook to the Apple Store or authorized repair shop if you notice any underlying water-related problems impacting functionality. It is smart to get professional assistance assessing water damage instead of waiting for a total failure down the road.

Be Cautious About Using It Until Repaired

If your diagnostic tests reveal a component malfunctioning after water exposure, exercise caution about continued usage before getting it fixed. A damaged component risks failing entirely if you keep stressing it with normal operation.

Avoid using the battery, keyboard, trackpad, display, or ports exhibiting abnormal behaviors to prevent causing a complete failure. You may need to disable problem components like the keyboard until you can bring your MacBook in for repair. Continuing to tax water-damaged parts could fry them for good.

Handle your MacBook gently and do not transport it around until repaired, as this puts stress on fragile components. Be careful even after drying to prevent dislodging corroded connectors or wires until an expert can properly fix any underlying moisture damage. Take protective measures now to prevent the issue from escalating into a much bigger problem.

Get Professional Repairs for Any Lingering Damage

If your MacBook suffered significant water exposure, it is wise to have it professionally inspected and repaired even if it is powering on normally. There may be corrosion or other issues you cannot detect yourself which could worsen over time. It is smart to get ahead of any underlying damage before it causes failure down the road.

An Apple Genius or authorized repair technician can open up your laptop and examine the internals closely for any signs of water damage. They have the skills and tools to clean corrosion, fix damaged parts, and ensure everything is in working order after being submerged. Certain parts may need to be replaced entirely.

Repair costs will depend on extent of the damage and what components need fixing or replacing. This is difficult to assess yourself without proper diagnostics. Water damage repairs can range from a few hundred dollars into the thousands for more complex fixes. But paying now can prevent pricier damage later if moisture issues are left unchecked.

Protect your investment by getting professional assistance to return your MacBook to fully operational condition after any sort of significant water event. Don’t take chances on neglected moisture causing a devastating failure down the road.

Invest in a Waterproof Case

One of the best forms of defense for your MacBook is preventing water exposure in the first place. Consider investing in a waterproof case or other protective accessories if you frequently use your laptop around liquids.

For full waterproofing, choose a sealed floating case that completely surrounds your MacBook in a protective shell. Make sure any case you buy is designed specifically for your model and has solid reviews confirming its water-tightness. Test it with a little water first to verify no moisture seeps through before trusting expensive tech to its protection.

There are also water-resistant sleeves and bags which provide an extra barrier against minor splashes and spills. Use these when carrying your computer around to limit risk from everyday liquid encounters. While not 100% waterproof, they add useful protection during transport.

Any additional water protection for your MacBook is wise if you want to avoid dealing with frustrating water damage again. Don’t expose the computer’s vulnerable internals to liquid dangers – keep it protected with a quality waterproofing accessory.

Have Homeowner’s or Renter’s Insurance

As a final precaution, make sure you have adequate homeowner’s or renter’s insurance with protection for your valuables. Many policies cover accidental damage from unexpected water encounters. This can help reimburse you for repair or replacement costs if your MacBook sustains unrecoverable water damage.

Check your coverage amounts and read the fine print to verify water damage is included under accidental damage or electronics protection clauses. You may need to add specialty electronic equipment coverage to your existing policy if it only provides basic protection. Having this backup insurance safety net gives peace of mind if a worst-case water incident strikes.

While no one expects or wants water damage to strike their MacBook, it pays to be prepared in case it does. Following proper drying techniques, getting professional repairs, using protective accessories, and maintaining adequate insurance are wise precautions to minimize hassle and costs if you ever get your laptop wet. With some planning and care, your MacBook can survive an accidental water spill.