What should I do if my MacBook gets wet?

Assess the Damage

If you’ve spilled liquid on your MacBook, the first step is to quickly assess the extent of the damage. Determine exactly where the liquid made contact and how much liquid was spilled. Even a small amount of water can cause corrosion over time, so don’t assume a minor spill is harmless.

Examine the outside case and screen for any visible moisture or beads of liquid. Also check around the trackpad, keyboard, speakers, ports, vents, and any other openings in the case. Pay special attention to the bottom side where liquid can easily seep inside.

While a powered-off MacBook may outwardly appear unaffected, moisture inside can short circuit components once power is restored. To thoroughly inspect the internal condition, you will need to disassemble the MacBook in the next steps. But for now, document externally visible signs of wetness or moisture ingress.

According to Apple’s discussion forums, indications of liquid damage include visual corrosion, computer randomly shutting down, odd behaviors, and problems powering on[1]. The extent of internal corrosion is best diagnosed by an authorized Apple repair center or experienced repair technicians[2].

Don’t power on a wet MacBook until it has been fully dried internally and externally. Powering on before proper cleaning can cause short circuits and permanent damage.

[1] https://discussions.apple.com/thread/5200434

[2] https://www.ifixit.com/Guide/MacBook+water+damage+diagnostic/88913

Act Quickly

Time is critical when drying out a wet laptop. The longer moisture sits inside your MacBook, the more corrosion can occur on electronic components, leading to permanent damage. According to experts at iFixit, exposure to liquids for just one minute can cause corrosion and failure of electronic components after 24-72 hours.[1]

Therefore, it is important to act as quickly as possible after a spill to maximize your chances of saving your MacBook. As soon as possible, you will want to remove all power sources and begin the drying process. Do not try turning your MacBook on if it got wet, as this can short circuit the logic board. The goal is to dry out all moisture before it can cause any permanent damage.

Some key steps to take right away include:
– Unplug the power adapter
– Turn off the MacBook (if possible)

– Disconnect any connected cables or accessories

With swift action, you can help prevent liquid from reaching vulnerable components inside your MacBook. But the clock starts ticking as soon as moisture makes contact, so every second counts.

[1]: https://www.ifixit.com/Wiki/MacBook_water_damage_-_The_definitive_guide

Remove Power

The most important first step is to completely remove power from your MacBook. This will stop any active electrical components from short-circuiting and causing additional damage while wet. Do not delay – remove all power sources immediately:

  • Unplug the charger from both the wall and laptop if connected.

  • Remove the battery from the bottom. For most models, you’ll need a small Phillips screwdriver to take off the back panel and access the battery.

  • Once the battery is out, hold down the MacBook’s power button for 5 seconds to discharge any residual power.

With no charger or battery connected, your MacBook is now fully powered off. You can safely proceed to drying it out without causing any further electrical damage.

Dry the Outside

After removing power from your MacBook, the next step is to thoroughly dry the outside of the device. Wipe down the entire exterior surface with a clean, soft lint-free cloth or paper towel to absorb as much moisture as possible. Be sure to get into all the cracks and crevices around the edges and between keys. According to IT-tech.com.au, you may use a microfiber cloth if you have one, as these work well for absorbing liquid from electronics.

Once you’ve wiped down the entire outside, allow your MacBook to air dry completely before moving on. Resist the temptation to dry it with an external heat source like a hairdryer, as this can push moisture further inside. Simply let your MacBook sit upside down on a towel and let gravity help drain out water droplets. Check on it periodically to wipe up any newly emerged moisture until no more appears. Thorough air drying is crucial before proceeding to the next step.


Carefully disassembling your MacBook allows you to thoroughly dry any inner components that got wet. Make sure to turn off and unplug your laptop before disassembling. Refer to an authorized service manual, such as from iFixit, for your specific MacBook model. Generally, you’ll want to remove the bottom case, battery, logic board, heat sink, fans, speakers, trackpad, keyboard, display assembly and other components. Lay components out on a dry, soft cloth. Use a can of compressed air to blow lingering moisture out of crevices and heat sinks. Be very gentle when handling wet components.

Dry Internal Components

Once you have disassembled your MacBook, it’s time to thoroughly dry the internal components. This step is critical, as any remaining moisture inside can lead to corrosion and permanent damage.

Use a can of compressed air to blow out any water droplets lingering inside the MacBook. Hold fans in place and spray compressed air around the logic board, connectors, and ports to remove moisture.1

Next, use a clean microfiber cloth or towel to gently blot up any standing water you see inside the case. Check crevices, connectors, and underneath cables for hidden moisture.

Use high purity isopropyl alcohol and a clean toothbrush or cotton swabs to scrub away corrosion or mineral deposits left behind after drying. This can help revive components and connections. Let the logic board fully air dry afterwards.

Be very thorough and patient during this step. Repeat drying techniques until you are confident no moisture remains inside the MacBook’s internal components. Allow at least 24 hours for the inside to completely dry out before reassembling.

Let It Dry

Before attempting to reassemble or turn on your MacBook after water damage, it is crucial to allow adequate time for the laptop to fully dry. Apple recommends leaving the MacBook powered off and disassembled for at least 24-48 hours to ensure no moisture remains inside.1 Remaining water could cause electrical shorts, corrosion, or permanent damage when power is restored.

Be patient during the drying process. Even if your MacBook seems dry on the outside, droplets could still be trapped under keyboard keys, inside ports, or within internal components. Rushing to reassemble or boot up prematurely risks further damage. Letting the laptop air dry for a full 48 hours is safest.

During drying, it’s ideal to place the disassembled MacBook in a dry, well-ventilated area or use a fan to circulate air. Avoid direct heat sources. Check closely for any remaining damp spots before reassembling. When in doubt, allow extra time to dry rather than cutting the process short.

While waiting, back up data if possible and make preparations for potential data recovery needs. With careful drying and cleaning, you may be able to revive your MacBook after water exposure. But taking the time to fully dry all components is key.

Test Components

Before reassembling your MacBook, it’s important to test components to check that they are still fully functional after drying. As recommended in this iFixit guide, you should methodically test each component:

  • Check that the trackpad, keyboard, speaker and ports are working
  • Test that the display turns on and has no visual artifacts
  • Verify the webcam, microphone and headphones are functional
  • Confirm the battery is charging and holding power
  • Ensure the logic board powers on and operates normally

It’s better to find any damaged parts now rather than after reassembly. Some components may work initially but then fail later from latent water damage. Be extra thorough and replace anything that isn’t completely reliable.

Once satisfied everything is in working order, you can move forward with reassembling your MacBook. Taking the time to test components first will help avoid headaches down the road.


Once you are confident all internal components are completely dry, it’s time to carefully reassemble your MacBook. It is critical to take your time and ensure everything is put back together properly.

Refer to an official teardown guide like the ones from iFixit to see the step-by-step process for your specific MacBook model. The general process will involve:

  • Reattaching any flex cables properly.
  • Screwing the bottom case back on tightly.
  • Reconnecting the battery.
  • Placing back any smaller components like the fans or speakers.
  • Testing that keyboard, trackpad, USB ports etc. are working.

Go slowly and double check your work. It may take some time and patience to get everything lined up and fastened back together correctly after having fully disassembled your MacBook. But taking your time will help ensure full functionality is restored.

Data Recovery

After restoring your MacBook functionality, you may still need to recover important data and files. If the internal hard drive or SSD suffered water damage, you may be able to recover data before it’s permanently lost.

First, create a bootable macOS installer on an external drive according to Apple’s instructions (1). Boot your Mac from the external drive and use Disk Utility to see if the internal drive is detected. If it is, you may be able to copy data to another external drive.

If the internal drive is not detected, remove it and connect it to another Mac using an enclosure or adapter cable (2). Use data recovery software like Stellar Data Recovery to scan the drive and recover recoverable files. Send the drive for professional data recovery if DIY methods don’t work.

Act quickly, as the longer the drive sits wet, the more data will be permanently lost. And stop using the wet drive, as continued use can overwrite deleted files needed for recovery (3). With prompt action, you may recover critical data from a water damaged MacBook drive.