Dos and Don’ts of Liquid Spills

It’s happened to the best of us. In just seconds, your Mac went from being your workhorse to being in dire need of some TLC, all because liquid and electronics are not friends. Hopefully, you’re not reading this from your iPhone because your Mac just had a liquid spill but if that’s the case: Don’t panic. Know that there are some precautions to take and some you should definitely not take.


    • Turn off your computer immediately. Hold down the power button to force-shutdown.
    • If connected to the charger, unplug it.
    • Wipe off any visible liquid.
    • Do nothing that will move the liquid around. It is liquid touching electronics that causes damage. If you slosh the liquid around it touches more components risking more damage.
    • Stick it in a bag of rice: Without moving around the liquid, place it in a bag of rice. Rice is a natural desiccant. This will help it dry faster but not necessarily reverse any damage that has already been done. Keep it in there for a minimum of 24 hours, though we recommend 48-72 hours.
    • Take it to Mike’s Tech Shop or an Apple Authorized Service Provider.



  • Try to turn it back on. As tempting as this can be, even just to see how bad the symptoms are, don’t try to turn it on.
  • Take a hair or blow-dryer to it—regardless of the temperature, this can cause more damage by spreading the liquid internally. MacBook keys are surprisingly easy to melt with a hot blow-dryer, not to mention the heat can cause worsen internal damage. Remember: heat + electronics = bad.
  • Disassemble the computer to clean it out or have an unauthorized repair done. Unless you are a certified technician and are observing ESD precautions, resist the temptation. Again, this can cause more damage. Certified Mac technicians can easily take notice if screws are in the wrong spot or if liquid spill indicator stickers are missing, replaced, or altered, which can affect the cost or outcome of a repair.


Some things to keep in mind:

  • If your computer is submerged in liquid, whether it fell into a pool, a bath, or was uncovered outside overnight in the rain (we’ve seen them all), there is not much you can do to get the computer to work again. Getting your data, on the other hand, might still be a possibility.
  • Even a small amount of liquid can cause major issues. In the years that we’ve been fixing Macs, we can say with certainty that there’s not always rhyme or reason as to what damage liquid can cause. We’ve seen it all: there have been times a Mac that drank a whole glass of water fared better than one with mere drops of liquid damage.
  • Liquid damage can cause unpredictable issues, even long after the spill occurred. Symptoms can get worse and rarely get better (though usually not for long). Symptoms can also be wildly intermittent, unfortunately.
  • Your data may not be gone! Read on.


Okay, what next?

  • Take it to Mike’s Tech Shop or an Apple Authorized Service Provider.
    • Apple does not handle any data-related troubleshooting and does not do data recovery. For that, they will send you to an Authorized Service Provider, like Mike’s Tech Shop. If you need your data out of your damaged Mac, we can likely get it, whether fixing your Mac or not.
    • Another advantage of taking your Mac to an Apple Authorized Service Provider is that they may have more repair options for you than an Apple retail store, which can be less costly. For example: if your Mac suffered liquid damage and only your keyboard isn’t working, Apple retail does not quote a cheaper repair, whereas an AASP may.
  • While liquid damage isn’t always preventable, being prepared can help both your sanity and your wallet.
    • A keyboard cover or a laptop sleeve can prevent damage by providing an extra barrier.
    • And of course, always remember to back up your data regularly. Fixing a computer with liquid damage (or sometimes, having to unexpectedly buy a new one) is already stressful, don’t let data loss worsen the blow. Data recovery can sometimes run hundreds or even thousands of dollars and is sometimes not possible.
    • Invest in AppleCare+ on your next Mac. AppleCare+ covers liquid damage for a service fee that’s significantly less than fixing it out-of-pocket.
    • The obvious: Keep liquids an arm’s length away


Getting your repair paid for

  • If you have AppleCare+: liquid damage is covered for a service fee that is significantly less than what the repair would cost without it. If you have AppleCare (the previous version of AppleCare+ that was sold before April 2017), liquid damage is not covered under warranty.
  • If you have homeowner’s or renter’s insurance, the damage may be covered under your policy. Check your policy!
  • If you bought your Mac using a credit card that covers damage or incidents, look into that! We have helped many customers who were able to get reimbursed by their credit card company for their repair.


Posted in Best Practices