Spilling water or another liquid onto your MacBook Pro can be a scary situation. Water and electronics don’t mix well, and liquid damage can seriously harm your computer if you don’t act fast. Fortunately, there are steps you can take right away to help save your MacBook Pro from permanent damage.
Step 1: Immediately unplug all cables and turn off the MacBook
As soon as you spill liquid on your MacBook Pro, the first thing you’ll want to do is unplug it from any connected cables, like the power adapter, external monitors, or USB devices. Unplugging the cables helps prevent electrical shorts or firing that could fry the logic board.
Next, turn off your MacBook Pro if it is still on. Hold down the power button for 5 seconds to force it to shut down. Turning off the machine helps minimize the spread of liquid inside it.
Step 2: Drain out excess liquid
With cables unplugged and power off, turn your MacBook Pro upside down to drain out as much liquid as possible from areas like the keyboard, trackpad, and ports. Tilt the computer at an angle and gently shake it to remove pooled water inside.
If the spill was soda, coffee, or juice, do not shake the computer as aggressively. Sugary liquids can leave sticky residue that may damage internal components.
Step 3: Dry the outside of the MacBook
Use a microfiber cloth or soft towel to gently blot up any liquid on the exterior of the MacBook. Carefully wipe down the keyboard, trackpad, screen, bottom case, and other areas. Remove any standing liquid, but avoid rubbing aggressively.
You can also use compressed air to blow out droplets from crevices and ports. Make sure to dry any detachable parts like the AC adapter as well.
Step 4: Do not turn on the MacBook until completely dry
After removing initial liquid, do not attempt to turn on your MacBook Pro until you are completely sure it is 100% dry. Powering on too soon can cause electrical damage or short circuiting. Give it at least 24-48 hours to thoroughly air dry.
Place the MacBook upside down on an elevated, absorbent surface. Position it at an angle so gravity helps drain any remaining moisture out. Leave it powered off and open the lid at a 45 degree angle.
Step 5: Use desiccant packs to absorb moisture
For quicker internal drying, place moisture-absorbing desiccant packs inside your MacBook around components like the logic board, fans, and ports. Desiccant packs attract water molecules through a chemical drying process.
silica gel packs work well. They are available at many department stores or online. Place them inside areas that seem wet, but don’t block ventilation ports. Let the desiccant packs sit inside for 1-2 days.
Step 6: Remove keycaps and dry underneath
Use a small pry tool to gently pop off individual keycaps from the keyboard to clean and dry underneath. Wipe away moisture buildup under keys using a cotton swab or microfiber cloth.
Be extremely gentle when removing keycaps. Never force or pry too hard. Place keys back in the exact same spots after drying. Make sure not to lose any small rubber inserts.
Step 7: Get professional help for liquid damage
Even if your MacBook seems to work after drying, it’s best to get professional help to thoroughly check for liquid damage. Take it to an Apple store or authorized service provider for cleaning.
They will open up the case, ensure no connections have corrosion, clean with isopropyl alcohol, and check that everything is in working order after liquid exposure. This can help avoid future problems down the line.
Use moisture monitoring apps
Special apps like Liquid Spill Detector can monitor moisture levels inside your MacBook. The app uses the humidity sensor built into some MacBook models to show liquid detection status and let you know if hardware needs to be dried more or inspected.
Spilling liquid on your MacBook Pro can be stressful, but taking quick action to shut it down, dry it out, and get professional help can save it from permanent water damage in many cases. Just be sure to never turn on a wet MacBook until you are 100% certain all moisture has evaporated.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can a MacBook still work after getting wet?
It is possible for a MacBook to still function normally if only a small amount of water gets on it, as long as it dries out quickly and completely. But larger spills can damage internal components over time if moisture isn’t removed properly.
Does rice help dry out a wet MacBook?
Placing a wet MacBook in rice or another desiccant material can help absorb moisture. But it’s not a foolproof solution on its own. For best results, combine air drying with desiccants. And eventually get professional help to thoroughly check for issues.
How long should you wait to turn on a wet MacBook?
It’s best to wait at least 24-48 hours before attempting to turn on a MacBook that got wet. This gives time for moisture to fully evaporate from inside the computer. If turned on too soon, remaining water can short circuit components.
Can Apple repair liquid damage on a MacBook?
Apple Authorized Service Providers can diagnose and repair liquid damage on MacBooks. The cost and details depend on extent of damage. Some repairs may be covered by AppleCare warranty if still active. But liquid damage is often not included in the standard warranty.
What are signs of liquid damage on a MacBook?
Symptoms of liquid damage on a MacBook include random shutting down or restarting, electrical shorts, component corrosion noticed during internal inspection, not powering on, flickering/glitching display, and external moisture indicators turning red.
Preventing Future Liquid Spills on Your MacBook
While no laptop is 100% liquid-proof, there are steps you can take to prevent spill damage to your MacBook in the future:
- Use a waterproof case or shell when traveling
- Don’t eat or drink near your computer
- Keep liquids capped and away from electronics
- Close the lid when not in use
- Avoid placing MacBooks near sink edges
- Keep the MacBook on stable, flat surfaces
- Be extra careful around children and pets
- Attach a splash guard if using in kitchen
What to Avoid Doing With a Wet MacBook
It’s also important to know what not to do after a liquid spill, as certain actions can increase damage:
- Don’t leave it powered on
- Don’t try to turn it on prematurely
- Don’t shake out water aggressively
- Don’t use a hairdryer or other heat source
- Don’t scrub exterior with harsh cleaners
- Don’t disassemble it yourself
- Don’t use compressed air into ports
- Don’t stack wet books together
- Don’t wrap in non-breathable material
Liquid Damage Repair Costs for MacBooks
Repair costs for MacBook liquid damage vary greatly based on extent of damage. Here are rough estimates:
|Logic board replacement
|$500 – $1000+
|$200 – $700
|$120 – $200
|$80 – $250
|$50 – $150
|$60 – $150
Liquid damage repairs can run from a couple hundred dollars into the thousands if multiple components need replacing. Protecting your MacBook from spills and getting quick help when they occur can potentially save you a lot of money.
How to Backup a MacBook Before Liquid Damage Repairs
Before taking a spill-damaged MacBook in for repair, be sure to fully back up your data in case files need to be wiped. Options include:
- Time Machine backup to external hard drive
- iCloud backup of photos, documents, etc
- Manually copying files to cloud storage
- Cloning drive with disk utility
- Using migration assistant to transfer to new Mac
Also be sure to deactivate Find My Mac and sign out of iCloud before repairs, so there are no activation locks when wiping data as needed.
Is AppleCare Worth it for Liquid Damage Protection?
Purchasing AppleCare+ extended warranty for your MacBook can be worth it to cover liquid spills. It extends hardware coverage for up to 3 years after purchase. AppleCare+ offers up to two incidents of accidental damage coverage, each subject to a service fee of $99 for screen damage or $299 for other damage.
So while AppleCare+ won’t fully cover a spill repair cost, it can significantly take the sting out of a large mishap. Just be aware that each repaired incident counts against your allotment of two repairs over the coverage duration.
Alternatives to Apple Repairs for Liquid Damage
Repairs directly from Apple for liquid damage can be pricey without warranty coverage. Some cheaper alternatives include:
- Local repair shops – Often charge less labor rates than Apple
- Mail-in repair services – Send MacBook to depot center for fixing
- DIY repairs – Following online tutorials, with risks involved
- Third party warranty plans – Can cover more types of damage
- Selling on sites like eBay for parts – Recoup some cost back
Shop around to compare repair quotes, but avoid cheap fixes that seem sketchy or too good to be true. Quality repairs require quality parts and technicians.
Is Liquid Damage Covered by Apple Warranty?
Apple’s standard 1-year limited warranty does not cover any damage resulting from liquid contact. The warranty only covers defects in manufacturing and materials.
To have liquid damage covered, you need to purchase AppleCare+ extended warranty within 60 days of buying your MacBook. AppleCare+ provides up to two instances of accidental damage coverage over 3 years, for a service fee.
Should I Trade In or Sell a MacBook with Liquid Damage?
Depending on the severity and repair costs for liquid damage on your MacBook, you may want to consider trading it in or selling it “as-is” instead of paying for expensive fixes.
Sites like Decluttr, ItsWorthMore, and MyPhones Unlimited allow you to get a quote for a damaged device and mail it in to be recycled or refurbished. Just be honest about the type of damage when getting a valuation.
You can also sell on eBay or Craigslist as “for parts” – being upfront about defects. Just don’t expect to recoup too much value. Any amount you get back can go towards a replacement MacBook.
Try Putting in Rice Overnight
One simple trick to try and absorb moisture from a wet MacBook is to bury it in a bowl or bag of rice overnight. The rice will act as a desiccant and pull some water out. It’s not a foolproof solution, but worth trying while waiting for it to fully dry out.
Make sure the rice fully surrounds the MacBook and gets into keyboard gaps. Dry rice works best. Let it sit for at least 24 hours, checking for moisture accumulation in the rice. Using rice won’t fix underlying damage but can help as a supplemental drying method.
The Best Way to Dry Out Keycaps After Spill
If liquid seeps under the MacBook’s keycaps, properly drying them out is crucial to avoid issues like sticky keys. Gently pry up caps and wipe the underlying plastic housing and mechanisms clean using a soft bristle brush and isopropyl alcohol.
Let keycaps fully dry for at least a day before reattaching to the keyboard. Place them on a soft cloth or towel, avoiding direct heat. Check for any visible moisture or debris inside before replacing them in the exact same orientation.
Getting a Free Repair Estimate
Before investing in out-of-warranty liquid damage repairs for a MacBook, get a free estimate first. Apple Store Geniuses can provide rough quotes based on a visual inspection and diagnostic test.
Third-party Apple repair shops will also often give free estimates. They’ll open up the laptop, assess the components affected, and let you know potential costs. This information can help determine if repairs are worth the price.
Is Liquid Damage Covered by Homeowners Insurance?
Homeowners and renters insurance sometimes covers accidental electronic device damage from liquid spills. Policies differ, but coverage is often included under personal property or additional living expenses.
File a claim as soon as possible after spill damage. Provide details on repair estimates and have your insurer evaluate coverage limits based on your policy. This can reimburse some costs.
Just be aware that you may need to pay your policy’s deductible. And too many claims can cause premium rates to eventually increase. So insurance should be a backup option, not a replacement for being careful around liquids.
Liquid Spill Warning Signs
Watch for these common warning signs that liquid has damaged the internal components of a MacBook:
- Device won’t power on or continuously restarts
- Corrosion visible inside ports
- Fuzzy lines or glitching on the screen
- Keys become sticky and don’t respond well
- Speakers crackle or stop working entirely
- Battery icon gives inaccurate readings
- Internal moisture sensors have turned red
- Random shutdowns or crashes occur
Don’t ignore these signs of water damage. Get professional help right away to prevent serious problems down the line.