What to do when your MacBook Pro gets wet

MacBook Pro upside down to air dry

It’s been quiet I know, but aside from being busy with work, the reason why I haven’t written the past weeks is because my MacBook Pro got wet! How can I be so careless for a laptop that costs an arm and a leg and the warranty just recently expired. But I am usually OC when it comes to my gadgets, with my MBP having its own sleeve then keeping it inside the closet when not in use. And in that rare instance that I left my MBP on my home office table overnight was the time our air conditioner leaked and was dripping water droplets that slowly puddled to the spot where the MBP is plugged in. It would have been too late if I hadn’t woken up to the nightmarish sound of water droplets falling one after another.

Was having a hard time snapping out of the early morning grogginess, popped a pill and chugged a glass of stale soda and immediately went to work on reviving my MBP – read on to see what I did that got it working again.

There’s no way I can revive the MBP I thought. Aside from voiding the warranty, water or liquid usually renders a device badly damaged and will be costly to repair. I would’ve panicked, but I took these steps anyway without expecting the MBP to ever work again.

  1. As soon as I saw the MBP soaking wet, I unplugged the MBP from the electrical outlet and removed the charging cable. This is the first crucial step as you need to make sure that it is unplugged to avoid short circuits and electrical shock or fire. If there’s any other cable or dongle attached to the device, it must be removed.
  2. I then moved the MBP from the table and placed it on my side of the bed (my wife’s still fast asleep at the time), being extra careful not to shake the MBP to avoid the water from spreading. You can tell from the bedsheet that the MBP has been soaked in water for hours so there’s no telling if I can still revive it.
  3. I leave my MBP always on and just close the lid when not in use. My wet MBP was already powered off when I checked and I almost got tempted to press the power button to see if it still works. At this point, turning it on is really a bad idea and may cause irreparable damage to the device. If it’s on it must be turned off.
  4. I couldn’t find a towel, so I rummaged through my closet for old cotton shirts and used them to wipe off all water droplets and moisture, which are mostly at the bottom and side part, keyboard, and screen hinges. Again, be careful not to shake the MBP so as not to further spread the water or moisture.
  5. Filipinos are fond of putting any wet device dug deep inside the rice box supposedly to suck out any and all water or moisture. It came to mind but I couldn’t imagine burying the MBP in a box of rice. So I just opened the MBP without powering it on to air dry on the table (this time far from the aircon haha) for a few hours.
  6. I browsed the web for more tips and found this video demonstrating the fastest way to air dry the MBP is to let it stand upside down on a table, just as I did in the photo above. I kept it that way for around three days.
  7. I thought of using a blow dryer to speed up the process but this is not also advisable as it may do more harm than save the device.
  8. I couldn’t wait to turn it on. I was already making computations as to how much it would cost to repair or buy a new one. That made me stop trying haha.
  9. It was exactly five days when I decided to try to turn it on. A lot of articles I read would point out that if it ever turns back on, don’t be surprised to be dealing with a mix of minor and major damage, such as pixelated or blacked-out display, missing speaker sound, keyboard malfunction, and so on. So I wasn’t really expecting anything and was actually ready to dump it if ever.
  10. To my surprise, when I plugged in my MBP, while I didn’t hear the familiar booting sound, it turned on when I pressed the power button! A few hours of use it wasn’t charging but after a couple of days, perhaps when it’s finally rid of water or moisture, all seem to be working and back to normal. What a relief!

Now I’m writing this in the same MBP that was wet a few weeks ago and thankfully was revived and saved me a lot of money. By the way, mine is the 2019 MacBook Pro with the famed butterfly keyboard which I bought a day before the pandemic lockdown and a month before Apple decided to kill it and switch to the scissor mechanism. Anyway, I’m of course extra careful now to keep it away from any possible wet situation.

I think the steps I shared can also be applied to any brand or make of laptop, though results may vary. I sure hope that you keep your laptop away from your aircon.

Thanks for supporting The Versus Workshop. If you’re enjoying the content I produce, a little caffeine to keep me going would be very much appreciated!

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