Spilled water on MacBook – Saving your MacBook after a liquid spill.
By: Team Trio 11-16-2016
MacBook water damage – It is safe to assume that if you are here then you, or someone you know, has experienced MacBook water damage. If your are like most folks you packed up your soggy Mac and made your way to your local Apple Store, waited in line only to be told that they won’t touch a Mac that has been exposed to liquid. They may offer you a “Tier 4 Repair”, to the tune of $1240.00. Understandably, these options don’t sit well with most consumers and this is why Trio123.com was created.
Once MacBook water damage has occurred, the liquid will likely make its way to the logic board and other components. The liquid’s minerals and salts immediately begin to eat away at the metal, silicone and fiberglass components. Often, the Mac will work for a few days after the spill and then stop working. This is due to the metals oxidizing and slowly corroding. If there is a power source available, such as a battery, which is supplying power to the system (even if the computer is off), the electric current will interact with the liquid and accelerate this corrosion process. This causes the copper and other metals to migrate across the board. If this corrosion process is not stopped, you will likely end up with a very expensive paperweight.
Apple techs have become experts in detecting MacBook water damage and there are even strategically placed LCIs, or liquid contact indicators, throughout your Mac. They are designed to change color when directly exposed to liquid. While the LCIs are largely reliable there are many documented cases of “false positives”. In fact Apple settled an enormous class action lawsuit where people claimed that the LCIs in their iPhones were not functioning properly; thus customers were denied warranty coverage. While LCIs in MacBooks have yet to be challenged in court…I can tell you after 20 plus years servicing Apple products these little guys are pretty reliable. So if your strategy is to get one past the Apple Store I would estimate your chances are pretty slim. Apple has put 10 liquid contact indicators in the new 15″ Retina Display MacBook Pro.
Red stars show the LCI sensors that are hidden under a cable or another component and the blue dots show LCI sensors directly visible when the bottom case is removed.
What to do when you spill water on your MacBook
When liquids and electronics meet, the results can be disastrous. At Trio we can relate to the sheer panic that sets in when MacBook water damage has occurred. First and foremost, Don’t panic! Follow a few easy steps and you can save your data and avoid having to buy a new MacBook.
- Power your MacBook down as quickly as possible– Power off your Mac as soon as you discover that it has been exposed to liquid! The vast majority of spills occur when the MacBook is powered on and in use, it is imperative that you fight the urge to dry it off and continue working. Do not attempt to power the MacBook on until a service provider has inspected it.
- Unplug any accessories – This one is important, some devices send electrical current back to the Logic Board thus causing more damage. Additionally having any hole available so the liquid can escape from is always a plus.
- Dry off any and all external liquid – While it will be nearly impossible for you to dry off any of the internal components so make sure you dry of the outside of your Mac carefully. When drying of the outer parts of your Mac, avoid rolling it around, doing so only cause the liquid to pitch and roll throughout the unit unnecessarily exposing more internal components to the liquid. Finally carefully flip the unit over keyboard side down and allow gravity handle the rest. This will direct the liquid away from the main logic board.
- Putting your MacBook in rice may give you a false sense of security. Rice does not benefit a water damaged MacBook in any way. My guess is that this was a tactic used service providers to deter people from attempting to power on the device after the spill, if your Mac is in a big bag of rice then your not trying to power it on. We all know that it takes every ounce of self control not try to power your Mac on every hour to see if it has come back to life. Remember trying to power on your MacBook immediately after the spill is a big NO NO!
- Blow-dryers are Bad idea – Forcing heated air into your make will accelerate the drying process but it will also push the liquid across otherwise dry components exposing more of your MacBook’s critical internal components to the initial spilled liquid, additionally you may melt the keyboards internal membrane and rendering the keyboard useless.
- If your Mac has a User serviceable Battery Unplug it. Electricity is the catalyst and accelerates the corrosion process. If your Mac is still on, power down the unit down immediately and remove any power source. If your Mac has a “user serviceable battery” you may want to completely remove the battery, newer MacBooks this is typically not an option
Photo courtesy of IFixIt
As you can see a MacBook has many independent components that can be effected by a liquid spill.
- Get your MacBook to a service provider that is familiar with mitigating MacBook water damage – Our MacBook water damage repair services are available nationwide by using our simple 3 step process. Trio is the repair option for people who appreciate superior technical expertise and a customer experience focused on value and integrity. Whether it’s a simple RAM or hard drive upgrade or a complicated MacBook water damage repair, Trio has you covered.
Our Apple Certified Technicians, with over 10 years combined experienced, offer comprehensive Mac repair services for your Apple products at up to 40% less than the Apple Retail Store and far lower than our competitors. We offer an industry leading 1 year worry free warranty on all repairs & convenient free shipping options on all repairs. We love Apple & Apple’s Genius Bar is a fantastic resource for simple technical support issues, but what if your problem isn’t so simple? What if there is no Apple Store in your area? Who do you turn to for Mac repair? Look no further Trio123.com here to help!
$449 – $889
Our flat rate pricing model for MacBook water damage repair is amazingly simple, absolutely no surprises or hidden charges only real savings. All of our pricing for your specific MacBook is clearly displayed below and you pay nothing until the repair is complete. Once your damaged MacBook arrives at our repair facility, we will outline what is needed to restore your MacBook to pre spill condition. It is impossible for anyone to provide a accurate repair time estimate without a physical inspection. Check out our FAQ or How It Works.
|Select My MacBook||
11" MacBook Air, 13" MacBook Air, 13" MacBook Pro, 12" MacBook Retina, 13" MacBook Pro Retina, 15" MacBook Pro, 15" MacBook Pro Retina
MacBook Water Damage Repair Cost
Our promise to you is that your MacBooks water damage repair will never exceed our price cap so you can rest assured you will not get a surprise when your bill arrives when your repair is competed. In the event your MacBook is NOT repairable we will return the unit to you at no charge. All MacBook water damage repair comes with a 1 year warranty. At Trio we understand it can be stressful to ship your MacBook out after a data loss or liquid spill, thats why we are always available by phone at 512.956.TRIO (8746) or submit your technical question directly to our team using the contact us tab below and we will respond the same business day.
|MacBook Air 11||$479 1 Year warranty||$840 45 Day Warranty|
|MacBook Air 13||$499 1 year Warranty||$840 45 Day Warranty|
|MacBook Pro 13 Non Retina||$579 1 Year Warranty||$840 45 Day Warranty|
|MacBook Retina 12||$609 1 Year Warranty||$840 45 Day Warranty|
|MacBook Pro 13 Retina||$609 1 Year Warranty||$840 45 Day Warranty|
|MacBook Pro 15 Retina||$889 1 Year Warranty||$1340 45 Day Warranty|
|MacBook Pro 15 or 17 NonRetina||$849 1 Year Warranty||$1340 45 Day Warranty|
|MacBook Pro 13 or 15 Retina w/ Touch Bar||Service Coming Soon||$1340 45 Day Warranty|
When your MacBook reaches Trio, we make a repair assessment within -48 hours, 90% MacBooks we receive are reparable. As soon our team makes an repair assessment you are notified and we begin working. Our repair technicians carefully take apart the lower case of your MacBook. The proprietary process at Trio removes water and liquids and treats the MacBook logic board. In most cases of a trackpad, keyboard or battery will need to replaced when this occurs, Trio only uses genuine Apple parts for all repairs.
MacBook water damage repair process
Thorough Diagnostic – Any MacBook that is exposed to liquid requires a thorough inspection, even a small amount of corrosion untreated can cause a system failure further down the road.
- Inspect Keyboard and Track Pad for ANY corrosion or sticky residue – If found a keyboard or track pad replacement is recommended.
- Inspect Main LogicBord for any sign of liquid exposure. This should be done with a high powered stereo microscope, each SMD component should be checked for any signs of damage. If damage is found logic board should be cleaned ultrasonically and damaged SMD components replaced. Here is a video of the SMD repair process.
- All display connections and wiring should be throughly inspected, any sign of liquid exposure and the display replacement recommended.
- Data Integrity – Data integrity should be checked and re checked. In the vast majority of cases data is not effected. If corrosion is present on SSD or HD replacement is recommended.
Once repair has been completed all units are thoroughly tested to ensure you receive the same amazing performance you enjoyed prior to the spill.
Important to think before you act – What do I do now?
The first thing we can tell you is if you take a water logged Mac into any Apple store chances are you leave with a pretty bad taste in your mouth, while Apple excels at creating magical devices we all love when it comes to servicing these devices the so called Genius Bar often falls short. Here is a sample of what you can expect when you have Apple repair your Macs water damage.
- The Apple store may decline to repair your MacBook water damage completely – This varies from location to location but Apple has built a reputation for declining to service liquid damage citing some type of liability issue, not sure what the liability issue is but my guess is that they intention is to sell you a new MacBook. The time that I spent working at Apple the policy for handling MacBook water damage was vague at best. I typically hinted that the customer should look for a 3rd party solution.
- The fee for all MacBook water damage repair on all 13″ MacBooks – MacBook Airs – MacBook Pros at The Apple store is $840.00 – The fee for all Mac water damage repair on 15″ MacBooks Pros is $1340.00 – That is not a typo, now that you have pulled yourself up of the floor ill explain. Before Apples entry into the retail market (Pre Apple Store) the repairing of Macs was a cost centre (A cost centre is a part of an organization that does not produce direct profit and adds to the cost of running a company), thus there were hundreds of independent service providers that supported the repairing of Macs. With the introduction of the brick and mortar Apple Store and the invention of the Genius Bar, Steve Jobs quickly realized that those pesky repairs that used to cost the company millions of dollars could be converted in to a huge profit center (A profit center is a part of a corporation that directly adds to its profit.) not only could they make a boatload of money repairing Macs but the repairs that were not profitable they could price at a level that it would not make any sense for the customer to agree to, thus driving the sales of new Macs.
- MacBook water damage is not covered under AppleCare – Im of the personal opinion that AppleCare DOES add value (I can fix just about anything that could ever happen to my Mac or iPhone and I still purchase AppleCare for all of my devices), that being said where AppleCare falls short is when it comes to accidental damage to MacBooks iMacs and MacPro’s. Unfortunately even a simple call to AppleCare to troubleshoot your Mac after a liquid spill can have long lasting effects, Apple logs every interaction with a customer based on the MacBooks serial number, so if you mention to Apples support team the your troubles started with a glass of spilled water near your Mac chances are your macBook will be flagged as liquid damaged and will not eligible for warranty coverage regardless of where you get the repair done.
Photo Credit MacWorld
One of the biggest challenges facing repair technicians today are the common misconceptions and things that consumers don’t yet understand MacBook water damage. This has led us here at Trio to take on some of these misconceptions, simply by sharing the truth. Some of this may sound a little harsh but we are confident that if you have good information you will make good decisions when it comes to repair your MacBook.
1. You should always disclose your devices water damage,no matter the circumstances of it.
This seems like a no brainer but more often than not people don’t disclose MacBook water damage. Even if you suspect water damage you should give the technician a heads up because what starts as a simple keyboard replacement can turn into hours of troubleshooting other issues caused by the MacBook water damage. At the end of the day we all want the same result, for your MacBook to be back up and running PERFECTLY! If your concerned about getting “hosed” by Apple with their outrageous MacBook water damage repair pricing we would suggest you take a look at our liquid damage repair products and compare our straight forward pricing structure with savings of about 50% versus the Apple Store.
2. You should also disclose any previous self repair attempts to your technician.
Think of a doctor asking for your medical history. We’re basically performing surgery on your device, and we need to know if anyone else has been in there. It’s easy to damage a device during a repair, and really easy to see if a device has been tampered with previously, so we need to know if anyone else has attempted to repair it…just in case. This includes ANY attempts you or a friend may have made trying to fix your MacBook water damage. Remember we are on the same team and we all want the same result.
3. If you attempt (and fail) to repair your MacBook water damage yourself, and then bring it to us in pieces, Have No Fear We Can Fix It!
Don’t expect us to be overly thrilled about it. While we applaud your DIY spirit, It’ll probably take longer than it would have otherwise, and no, we can’t offer you a discount.
We know iFixit makes it look easy, but it’s way harder than you might expect and there are hundreds of things that could go wrong – which in turn, could increase the cost of your repair. Break a connector off the board and that repair could cost you a lot more than you’d even like to know. Unless you’re a highly confident and skilled “DIY-er,” we always suggest taking your broken devices to your local repair shop.
But if you do attempt a repair and can’t finish it, don’t worry – you’d be amazed (and reassured) to know how many times this happens to us. Just bring all the pieces to us and we’ll put it back together again!
Spilled water on MacBook
While this may seem like a no brainer there is more to this than one may think….there are many variables to consider. First it depends on what type of liquid we are talking about. Water, tea and coffee are not particularly acidic and tend to be the easiest an quickest to repair and restore. On the other hand, wine can pose a new set of challenges due to the acidity.
Of all liquids to spill on your MacBook water is by far the easiest to mitigate. Things like keyboards and trackpads are relatively resilient to water spills, but don’t let this lull you into a false sense of security, as you can see in the video below even a small amount of plain water usually will cause your MacBook to fail and require service. So remember if you have spilled water on your MacBook it’s the smart play to have the unit serviced to ensure the years of use you expected when you first purchased your MacBook.
Below is a video of a 2012 15″ MacBook Pro coming in contact with about .1 ounces of plain water (the equivalent of a few drops of condensation from a cold drink) As you will see even a tiny amount of liquid will cause your Mac to immediately shutdown.
Spilled water on MacBook – MacBook water damage and corrosion.
Corrosion is a process, which converts refined metals to their more stable oxide. It is the slow and gradual deterioration of materials (usually metals) by chemical reaction within their environment, In this case the corrosion occurs with you combine electricity, metal, water and oxygen, creating iron oxide (or what is more commonly known as rust). There is no reliable timetable for this process to occur; a MacBooks internal components typically begin corroding immediately after the water spill, in some cases your Mac can function normally for days or weeks without showing any signs that there is a problem. How fast the corrosion process takes is dependent on a ton of factors we have no control over like humidity levels, the severity of the spill and how long the device was in contact with the liquid.
Spilled water on MacBook Keyboard
Below is a picture of the damage caused by spilled water on a MacBook keyboard and trackpad ribbon cable, as you can see even a small amount of liquid can cause functionality issues, however this customer was lucky and her repair only required a replacement of the trackpad and keyboard ribbon cable for a total cost of $149.
Spilled coffee on MacBook ? Here are a few additional things to consider.
Spilled coffee on MacBook ? Nothing will stop your heart quicker then spilling your white chocolate mocha all over your beloved MacBook, we all know when liquids and electronics meet, the results can be disastrous. There are distinct differences between MacBook water damage and that of coffee spilled on your MacBook here are a few things to consider,
- Milk and Sugar – When things like milk and sugar are added to the equation you will in most cases need to replace the keyboard and track pad.
- “My MacBook is still working after I spilled coffee on on it” – We often see cases where MacBooks will work for a few days after a coffee spill only to eventually succumb to damage done by the spill. Often times spilling a liquid that has lots of sugar like, soda, energy drinks or coffee will slow the corrosions process by a few days often lulling you into thinking your in the clear. It’s still our best advice to ALWAYS have your MacBook inspected after even a minor spill to ensure that your in the clear.
- I’ve got this…fixing MacBook water damage DIY – I could write for days and not touch on half the pitfalls of the casual electronics tinkerer. Ill just say that unless you having working knowledge of PCB (Printed Circuit Boards) or BGA soldiering I would leave this one to the experts. We get countless emails from people saying “So I fixed my MacBook after I spilled beer in it, BUT the keyboard, display and battery still don’t work” This is why self repair is usually a bad idea, most units we see that people have attempted to self repair are a lost cause by the time they get to us.
Spilled Wine on MacBook ? Here are a few additional things to consider.
Spilled wine on MacBook ? Wine are VERY acidic!