What to do if you spill water over your MacBook?

Spilling water or any other liquid over your MacBook can be a scary situation. Water and electronics don’t mix well, so your first reaction may be panic. However, all is not lost! There are steps you can take right away to give your MacBook the best chance of survival.

Table of Contents

Step 1: Immediately unplug the MacBook

As soon as you realize liquid has been spilled on your MacBook, the first thing you need to do is unplug it from any power source. This means unplugging the power adapter from the wall and disconnecting any other cables or accessories that may be attached. This stops the flow of electricity and helps prevent short circuits or further damage.

Step 2: Turn the MacBook off

After unplugging everything, press and hold the power button for 5-10 seconds to turn the MacBook completely off. Don’t just put it to sleep by closing the lid – make sure it is powered down. This disables all the components and circuits and minimizes any potential damage from the liquid.

Step 3: Drain out excess liquid

With the MacBook turned off and unplugged, hold it firmly at an angle to allow any excess liquid to drain out through the keyboard, ports or openings. Don’t shake the computer as this can spread the liquid around. Be patient and let gravity do its job. If liquid remains visible on the surface, dab gently with a soft, absorbent cloth.

Step 4: Dry the MacBook with compressed air

Use a can of compressed air to blow out any droplets of liquid stuck in cracks, crevices or hard-to-reach areas. Hold the can upright and spray short blasts of air around the keyboard, trackpad, ports, ventilation holes and other openings. This helps fully dry out any lingering moisture inside.

Step 5: Leave the MacBook upside down to air dry

After draining excess liquid and drying with compressed air, place the MacBook upside down on a flat surface. Leave it alone like this for at least 24-48 hours to allow any residual moisture to evaporate. The longer you leave it, the better. Make sure to put it somewhere safe where it won’t be disturbed or fall.

Step 6: Check for liquid/corrosion damage

Once the MacBook has had time to thoroughly dry, inspect it carefully for any signs of water damage or corrosion. Look for minerals or white powdery residue left behind on circuits or metal components. Also check for distorted or discolored parts. If you find any obvious damage, you may need to take the MacBook in for repair.

Step 7: Attempt to turn on the MacBook

The moment of truth – try turning on your MacBook again! Connect just the power adapter and press the power button as you normally would. If it starts up, fantastic! But don’t get too excited just yet. There may still be unseen damage, so continue on to the next step.

Step 8: Test all the components

If the MacBook powers on, thoroughly test all its components and functions. Check that the screen, keyboard, trackpad, speakers, ports, webcam, wireless connectivity, battery, etc are working properly. Try out some apps to make sure everything is running smoothly. The liquid may have damaged something internally.

Step 9: Backup data and schedule a Genius Bar appointment

Even if everything seems fine initially, liquid damage can cause issues down the road. Backup any important data on your MacBook right away. Also schedule a Genius Bar appointment at your local Apple Store. They can assess your MacBook, check for problems and likely will need to replace any corroded or shorted out parts.

Step 10: Be cautious about future liquid exposure

Hopefully this scary situation motivates you to be more careful around liquids when using your MacBook in the future. Keep drinks far away and use a waterproof case or cover if bringing your MacBook near pools, bathtubs or the beach. Liquid damage often cannot be reversed, so prevention is key.

What if my MacBook won’t turn back on?

If you’ve dried out your MacBook for over 48 hours after a spill and it still won’t power on, the prognosis isn’t good. Liquid has likely reached electronic components and caused significant corrosion or short circuiting. You’ll need to take it to a repair center, but it may be unrecoverable.

Is spilled liquid covered by Apple’s warranty?

Unfortunately, Apple’s limited warranty does not cover any damage caused by liquid exposure. You’ll have to pay out-of-pocket for any repairs due to water or other spills. Some credit cards or third party insurance providers may help cover costs.

Can I repair liquid damage myself?

It is not recommended attempting DIY repairs on a liquid damaged MacBook unless you have experience with electronics repair. The components are tightly packed and complex, and any mistakes can make the damage worse. Leave it to the professionals for the best chance of success.

How much does MacBook liquid damage repair cost?

Costs vary depending on the extent of the damage, which parts need to be replaced, and who you go through for repair. Apple charges around $700-800 just to evaluate and diagnose a liquid damaged MacBook. Actual repair costs can range from $300 up to $1000 or more if the logic board was affected.

Repair Type Average Cost
Keyboard replacement $200-$300
Trackpad replacement $150-$250
Logic board replacement $500-$800
Battery replacement $120-$200

Should I just buy a new MacBook?

If your MacBook sustains substantial liquid damage requiring major component replacements, you may want to consider buying a new laptop altogether. Extensive repairs can end up costing as much as a new MacBook or close to it. Weigh the repair costs vs. getting a new device under warranty.

How can I protect my MacBook from future spills?

Here are some tips to safeguard your MacBook:

  • Use a waterproof case or protective cover when traveling
  • Don’t eat or drink near your MacBook
  • Keep the MacBook away from table edges where drinks may get knocked over
  • Ensure young children or pets don’t have unsupervised access
  • Avoid working in very humid environments
  • Carry your MacBook securely when moving around
  • Close lid when not in use to prevent spills from getting on keyboard
  • Only use laptop on flat, stable surfaces

What’s the best way to dry out my MacBook after a spill?

Follow these key steps:

  1. Immediately power off MacBook and unplug from power
  2. Drain out any standing liquid by holding laptop upside down
  3. Lightly dab surface dry with soft cloth if needed
  4. Use compressed air to blow out moisture from cracks and openings
  5. Place MacBook upside down on flat surface and leave to air dry for at least 48 hours
  6. Check for signs of corrosion once fully dried before turning back on

Is it safe to use my MacBook after drying from a spill?

It may seem to work normally after thorough drying, but liquid damage can cause problems over time. It’s best to back up data, get the MacBook checked by a professional and watch for odd behavior. Intermittent issues may show up later even if it boots up fine initially.

Should I put my MacBook in rice after a spill?

Pouring rice over a wet MacBook was a popular DIY drying recommendation, but it turns out to not be very effective. The starch in rice can get stuck inside small laptop openings and possibly cause more harm. Letting your MacBook air dry upside down is safer. The key is being patient and allowing time for moisture to fully evaporate.

How can I get water out of my MacBook keyboard after a spill?

Don’t try pressing the keys to pump out liquid, which can force it deeper inside. Follow these steps instead:

  1. Hold MacBook upside down to drain liquid from keyboard
  2. Lightly dab tops of keys with absorbent cloth
  3. Use compressed air to blow out moisture from gaps between and under keys
  4. Let air dry upside down for at least 48-72 hours
  5. Consider eventual keyboard replacement if any keys act faulty

What household items can help dry out my wet MacBook?

Avoid using household items like rice, paper towels or a hair dryer, which can cause issues. Safely drying a spilled on MacBook is simple:

  1. Immediately turn off and unplug the MacBook
  2. Hold it upside down to drain liquid from openings
  3. Use compressed air to blow out moisture from cracks and crevices
  4. Place on flat surface upside down and let air dry for at least 48 hours

Can I prevent my MacBook from being damaged when spilled on?

While nothing can guarantee liquid damage won’t occur, you can take steps to reduce the risks:

  • Use a waterproof case or cover
  • Don’t eat/drink around the MacBook
  • Carry it securely when moving around
  • Keep away from table edges
  • Ensure kids and pets can’t access unattended
  • Shut lid when not in use

What liquids are most damaging to spill on a MacBook?

Here are some of the worst offenders when it comes to MacBook liquid damage:

  • Water – Highly conductive and corrosive if minerals are present
  • Coffee, tea, juice, soda – Contain sugars and acids that can corrode
  • Alcohol – Very conductive and evaporates quickly leaving mineral deposits behind
  • Shampoo, soap, lotions – Can be sticky and stain surface

Will Apple repair liquid damage for free?

Unfortunately liquid damage is not covered under Apple’s limited warranty or optional AppleCare Protection Plan for MacBooks. You will have to pay Apple or a third party repair center for any liquid damage repairs.

Can liquid damage be reversed if caught quickly?

It depends on the amount and type of liquid spilled. If only a small amount of water splashed on the surface and power was cut immediately, drying it out thoroughly may prevent permanent damage. But any liquid directly on components or in large amounts likely caused some level of irreversible damage.

What are signs my MacBook sustained liquid damage?

Watch for these warning signs:

  • Corrosion or residue on metal parts
  • Discoloration or distortion of components
  • Short circuit, sparks or smoke when powered on
  • Keyboard or trackpad not working properly
  • Display issues – flickering, lines, discoloration
  • Speakers/microphone producing crackling or decreased sound

Should I take apart my MacBook to dry out liquid spill damage?

It is not recommended to take apart your MacBook to try and dry out liquid damage yourself, as this risks further damage unless done properly. The components are very tightly packed and complex. Just thoroughly air drying the external case is safest.

How long can a MacBook last after getting wet?

It depends on these factors:

  • Amount of liquid spilled – Large spills cause more damage
  • Type of liquid – Water is safer than corrosive liquids
  • Drying time – 48+ hours is best for moisture to evaporate
  • Visible corrosion – Corroded parts likely need replacement
  • Location of spill – Keyboard, trackpad, logic board most vulnerable

With only minor exposure that is dried quickly, a MacBook can last for years. But extensive liquid damage often causes problems sooner rather than later.

What are my options if my MacBook is damaged beyond repair from liquid?

If your MacBook sustains extensive liquid damage not worth repairing, you have a few choices:

  • Buy a brand new MacBook
  • Look for discounted refurbished MacBooks
  • Trade in the damaged device for credit toward a new one
  • Sell the MacBook for parts to recoup some money

Thoroughly drying it out right after a spill and seeking professional help gives your MacBook the best chance of avoiding irreparable damage. But once beyond the point of economical repair, it’s time to replace it.

Does AppleCare cover liquid damage to MacBooks?

Unfortunately both Apple’s included 1-year limited warranty and optional AppleCare Protection Plan explicitly exclude damage caused by liquid exposure. You’ll have to pay out of pocket for any liquid damage repairs to a MacBook.

Can liquid damage cause a MacBook battery to swell?

Yes, liquid exposure can potentially cause the battery in a MacBook to swell and bulge out. This is very dangerous and the battery needs to be replaced immediately. Signs of a swelling battery may include:

  • MacBook not sitting flush on flat surface
  • Trackpad is pushed up and feels unresponsive
  • Cracked or warped bottom case
  • Fan making abnormal noises

Stop using the MacBook and take it to Apple or an authorized service provider right away if you notice any battery swelling.

How do I backup my MacBook data before a liquid damage repair?

To preserve your important files and information before getting liquid damage on your MacBook repaired, make sure to:

  • Create a Time Machine backup to an external hard drive
  • Use cloud storage like iCloud or Dropbox to sync files online
  • Manually copy key files and folders to a USB flash drive
  • Sign out of web accounts and disable auto login

Following proper backup procedures gives you peace of mind that your data is safe before surrendering your MacBook for repair.


Spilling liquid on your MacBook can be alarming, but doesn’t necessarily mean catastrophe. By immediately unplugging power, drying out the machine, and bringing it to a professional for assessment, there’s a good chance only minor repairs or component replacements will be needed. Be extra cautious around liquids when using your MacBook in the future and keep drinks far away from it. With the proper drying precautions taken after a spill, your MacBook still has an excellent prognosis to make a full recovery.