Wondering how to fix a water damaged MacBook? Here’s everything you need to know!
If you have just experienced the horror of seeing your perfect Macbook book covered in water or some other liquid you may feel that all is lost right there, but, if you react fast enough you may be able to salvage it yet or at least limit the amount of damage.
Although this may seem irrelevant, the type of liquid you spill on your Macbook will also have an impact on the amount of damage it will cause, for example, if you spill water or tea maybe on the Macbook it is relatively easy to clean, but if you spill something more acidic like orange juice or wine, the acidity in these liquids can accelerate the corrosion of metal, silicone and fibreglass components. Sugary drinks will also make it quite a sticky situation.
So, if you just had an accident and wet your Macbook or you are generally just a clumsy person and these sorts of things keep happening to you, the following tips and procedures should definitely be kept in mind, if not for now for future emergencies.
When water or other liquids have already entered through the keyboard, if kept in the same position the liquid will flow down towards the components at the centre, this is not a good thing.
The liquids minerals and salts especially if more acidic will start to corrode the metal and fibre parts inside. The Macbook might work for a few days after drying out, but if not cleaned fully it may stop working in a couple of days.
This is a result of the metals oxidizing and corroding slowly. If there is any power source still in the laptop, the inbuilt battery is most likely to be it. If this has not been disconnected, even if the Macbook is turned off, there will still be tiny amounts of current coming from the battery.
These small currents will get in contact with the liquid and speed up the corrosion. If the liquid is not cleaned out properly and quickly and the corrosion is not stopped, there will most likely be no hope of salvaging your Macbook.
So, next time you spill any liquid on your Macbook, act fast and at least limit the damage, so the repairs you will have to do will also be limited, save you some money and salvage your laptop.
To remain safe, begin with, immediately unplugging your Macbook if it is connected to any power source such as the charger, remove the wall socket first before attempting to remove the laptop charging pin.
If your Macbook is still on, forget about any work you were doing and don’t waste time trying to save it. To power your Macbook off instantly, press and hold down the Macbooks power button for a few seconds.
If there is a lot of liquid around, to be safer it is recommended to use a non conductive material like a wood pencil to press the button. This avoids the risk of getting an electric shock.
Remove all peripherals that are connected to the Macbook like the mouse and any external hard disks.
If you can remove the battery do so, but most Macbooks have it sealed so if you have not done it before and are not too sure about how to go about it, do not attempt to do so. If you can, great, get it out.
If there is water or other liquid visible on your Macbook use a clean cloth, towel, or paper towels to start dabbing and absorb the water. I found paper towels to absorb the fastest.
Start with dabbing the liquid closest to the vent holes, these are there for the Macbook to release heat generated, because of this it leads to the inner components directly.
The parts under the keyboard will remain slightly protected as there is a silicone layer present under the keyboard, this will keep the liquid away from the components under but only in limited quantities.
You can also use a cotton bud or something similar to clean inside the ports if there is any moisture present.
The above tips will work only if it is a small spill and the Macbook did not get completely submerged.
Place The Water Damaged MacBook In Tent Position
Once you have removed the battery and wiped the Macbook down properly with paper towels or cloth, open the MacBook slightly and on a table place it on its edges in a tent like position like shown in the below image.
Placing the laptop in this position will allow the water to drain out slowly but surely. Keeping it in this position will also ensure the water moves away from and not towards the main electric components like the logic board.
This is the hard part for most people to do but it is an important part of the process.
Although at this point it might look dry and you are tempted to turn it back on, restrain yourself and do not. Even though there might not be visible signs of water, even traces of moisture that remain on the logic board or other electric parts can damage your Macbook completely if you turn it on and electricity flows through it at that time.
Leave your Macbook off for a minimum of 48 hours, a day more if you can to completely dry out.
If you want to try and speed up the drying process, you can place a fan toward the laptop to blow air onto it to get rid of the water quicker.
Even if you use the fan as well, you will still need to rest it for 48 hours to avoid any risk of damaging it further, this will end up with you spending more money to fix your Macbook.
If the liquid you have spilt is not water and something with sugar or something acidic, like coffee, soda, or orange juice. The sugar in the soda or acid from the orange juice can damage your Macbook further if not cleaned properly. At the least will leave your Macbook very sticky.
With the help of a microfiber cloth or paper towels, clean all the surfaces thoroughly and do so with the laptop turned off and disconnected from the power.
Screen cleaners can also help in getting out some of the harder stains of the spill and give your Macbook a more thorough cleaning.
And, if and only if you are sure how to open up the rest of the Macbook, clean the inside as well as you can. It takes time is and is not too easy, so be patient.
Once at least 48 hours have passed it should be ok to run a check on your Macbook.
First, put the battery back in if you have removed it and plug it in. Power up the Macbook and see if it boots up as usual.
Check random keys if you don’t want to check all of them, check the internet and Bluetooth connectivity and the ports as well, check the trackpad and mouse buttons too.
If everything is working as it usually should then the damage has been limited and you have saved yourself from expensive repairs.
Although all may look fine after you have completed the above steps and your Macbook is running, it is still recommended that you take it in for a quick service to an authorized service centre.
There may still be residues from the water like the salts and minerals or sugar from coffee or soda, these residues can continue to cause damage to your Macbook over time if not cleaned out properly.
So, it is better to get it done once by a professional rather than struggle with laptop issues later.
The specialists will open it up completely and clean it out with the right kind of cleaners and check the functioning of all internal parts, and also for any other damage.
If your Macbook is relatively new and still is covered by the warranty some costs may be covered by it. Read below to get more information about Apple’s extended warranty.
Here are some things to note that you should definitely not do, and doing such things may make your Macbook impossible to recover from the liquid damage.
- Do not switch it on immediately
Switching your Macbook on too early can be devastating. If you put power through it when not fully dry the electricity can do ay more damage and cause components to short out. If this happens your Macbook definitely cannot be saved and will need to be replaced.
- Do not shake the Macbook
In an attempt to save your laptop you may think shaking it will help get the water out quicker, but in fact, shaking it will only spread the liquid around more and faster and also force the liquid where it was not even going.
- Do not use heating devices
Even though it might seem like a good idea, never use anything such as a hair dryer which puts out a lot of heat to try and dry the Macbook. This excess heat can damage sensitive electrical components and connectors and possibly melt things.
If you are a clumsy person and this sort of thing happens to you relatively often, you should consider getting Apple’s extra warranty known as AppleCare +. It costs 99 USD for a 12 month period.
With this, you will be covered for up to two such or similar incidents during the given insured period.
The specified incidents are not just limited to water or liquid damage but will also cover accidental drops, faulty batteries and cracked screens too.
Apple would otherwise charge a minimum service fee of 299 USD for most repairs. So, if you are prone to such incidents the 99 USD extra is definitely worth spending to have complete peace of mind.