How to Save a MacBook from Water Damage

If you accidentally spilled some water on your MacBook or it went for an accidental swim, here’s how to save your MacBook from water damage.

If there’s one thing you should know about electronics, it’s that they don’t mix well with water, but sometimes accidents happen, and that’s where you have to take action so that nothing worse happens.

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You probably eat and drink at your computer, which is completely fine (I do too), but you have to be a little extra careful when you do this, as one slip up could cause your coffee or other beverage to run into your MacBook.

Obviously, this will cause a bit of a panic and you may be so flustered that you if you know what steps to take to save your MacBook from certain death, you’ll reduce the chances of it being damaged.

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Here are some things that you should know in order to save a MacBook from water damage.

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First Line of Defense

If you spill anything on your MacBook, follow these steps as soon as possible to prevent further damage to your laptop.

  • Power It Down – Shut off your MacBook as soon as you can. Most water damage is from when devices are still powered on, which can cause short circuiting and lead to components failing.
  • Unplug All Accessories – Anything that can be unplugged should be unplugged. It might not make a big difference, but any last opening that water can spill out of will help the chances of your MacBook surviving.
  • Dry Off Excess Water – While you won’t be able to dry off any water that made its way inside, you can at least get a towel and dry off the outside to remove any excess water. This will prevent more water from making its way inside your MacBook.
  • Flip It Over – Open up your MacBook and flip it over so that the keyboard is completely face down. Since the screen doesn’t open up all the way, you may have to place your MacBook on an elevated surface and let the screen hang down over the side (picture below).
  • Disassemble It – If you really want to, you can take off the bottom cover to help with soaking up excess water, but be gentle because you’ll expose the innards of your MacBook.

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Let It Dry

This may be hard to do, but you need to let your MacBook dry for at least a few days. This will allow enough time for every last drop to eventually evaporate and dry completely.

Be sure to keep in a room with good air circulation and low humidity. Ideally, put a couple of box fans in the room to keep the air flowing strong. Otherwise, if the room has a ceiling fan, just turn it on high and let it do its thing.

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Don’t power up the MacBook until it has dried for a significant period of time. You’ll no doubt be curious to see if it still works, but the longer you wait to plug it in and power it back on, the better the results could be.

Skip the Rice

Putting your gadgets in uncooked rice is said to help soak up water to a water-damaged device, but it really doesn’t work as well as people say it does.

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According to a cellphone repairman, putting your devices in rice is mostly just a safety measure to ensure that users don’t mess with the gadget and try to turn it back on. It might work a little bit, but old-fashioned air drying works a lot better.

Plus, you’d need a ton of rice for a MacBook, so it’s really just not practical from that standpoint alone.

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Power It On

Finally, after it has been a few days of air drying, it’s the moment of truth.

Get your MacBook set up and try to power it on. If it powers on, then great! If not, try plugging it into the charger for a couple of hours to give a kick-start of sorts.

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If that still doesn’t work, it’s possible that the battery is dead or some other component is preventing the MacBook from powering on because it itself is fried. This is where you’ll have to take it to Apple to get repaired, but since it’s water damaged, it doesn’t fall under AppleCare, so you’ll be paying for any repairs.

However, repairs usually cost as much as a new MacBook anyway, if not more. If that’s the case, it looks like you’ll be paying some unexpected fees, but at least you can buy a brand-new MacBook now.

Perhaps the most important thing to know about preventing any damage when you spill something on your MacBook is that you should power it down immediately and leave it powered down until its fully dry. Water and electronics don’t mix, but that’s only when the electronics are powered on. Otherwise, water doesn’t hurt.