Pin Me

Dealing with Water on an Apple MacBook Keyboard

written by: •edited by: Michael Dougherty•updated: 9/28/2010

If you have spilled a drink on your MacBook, you need to act fast!This guide explains the immediate steps you need to take to save your Apple.

  • slide 1 of 4

    The Stuff of Nightmares!

    It is the worst nightmare of any laptop owner.

    Spilling water or any other liquid on a desktop keyboard is something that can quickly and easily resolved – you just purchase a new keyboard. The desktop PC remains undamaged, and work can proceed.

    Conversely, spilling “water” (let’s face it, it’s usually coffee) on an Apple MacBook keyboard or whatever laptop computer you are using is, in most cases, devastating. The key to survival from this catastrophic accident is to act quickly.

    Staring helplessly at the MacBook as it becomes increasingly damp isn’t going to save it.

  • slide 2 of 4

    Water on Your Apple MacBook Keyboard? Act Quickly!

    Don't spill water on Apple MacBook keyboard If you’re already clued in and certain about what you’re going to do, you can save your MacBook, and if you’re lucky even avoid repair bills.

    The moment a liquid comes into contact with your open MacBook, turn the computer upside down, so that the keyboard and monitor both face down.

    This is, of course, basic physics – we want the liquid out as quickly as possible, and the best way to do this in any considerable volume, is to let gravity do its job.

    You should also ensure that your MacBook is powered off immediately.

    Gravity won’t drain all of the liquid from your keyboard, however. The final step at this stage is to place the MacBook on a towel or sheet of absorbent paper. Then leave it alone.

  • slide 3 of 4

    How Long Should I Wait?

    Well, how long is a piece of string? When the liquid came into contact with your MacBook keyboard, it immediately started finding its way under the keys. As the liquid spreads (depending on volume and how quick you were to act) it could have found its way into the very workings of the computer.

    As you probably know:

    water + electrical components = bad news

    If your liquid happened to be some sort of sugary recreational drink or coffee, then the damage can be even worse, thanks to the high sugar content.

    For an idea of how long to wait, find a tray in your kitchen, tip your drink over that, then shake it dry. Finally, turn it upside down. When the tray is dry, your MacBook should be dry!

    If you’re in a rush, however, you might consider placing your MacBook in an airing cupboard, or close to a regular hear source like a boiler. Not too close, of course. We want the computer to dry out, not boil!

  • slide 4 of 4

    Worst Case Scenario…

    The quicker you act, the better your chances of saving the MacBook – however, this is no guarantee of success. As you’ll know doubt have recognised by this point, you should have been more careful with your drink – but beating yourself up about the spilt water on your Apple MacBook keyboard won’t save your computer.

    If only the keyboard is damaged, you should be able to pick up a new one online and fit it at home pretty easily. You can check whether damage is localized to your keyboard by testing it out after your MacBook has dried out.

    However if the whole device refuses to boot – and you’ve plugged it into the mains – it’s time to pay your local Apple Store a visit…