One downside to owning a MacBook or any other laptop is that they are vulnerable to spills. With gaps between the keys on the keyboard leading to a mass of internal electronics, any liquid slipping through is bound to cause an issue. Worse, Apple's warranty for MacBooks doesn't cover spills, leaving the user responsible and a repair bill likely. Here's what to do when you've spilled water, coffee or other liquids on your MacBook.

The first and most important step to take is to immediately shut down your MacBook, and unplug it from the wall. If you have an older MacBook that doesn't have the battery sealed up inside the unibody enclosure, take the battery out as well. It's critical that the power be turned off so that none of the liquid that has been spilled can soak through and cause any sort of short circuit.

After you've got the power cut to the MacBook, it's time to start dealing with the spill itself. If you've spilled water or black coffee on your MacBook, you'll be able to get things going again with a little luck. If your coffee had cream and sugar in it, however, it may end up being a sticky mess. Use an absorbent paper towel or other cloth to first blot up all of the liquid on the MacBook and as much through the keyboard keys as possible. Once you've gotten this mopped up, switch to using cotton balls which can slide underneath the keyboard keys a little easier. It's not worth it to pull the keys off, so don't bother with this.

The next step is entirely optional and isn't for the faint of heart. If you have the tools available, you can dismantle your MacBook to expose the parts that have gotten wet and allow them to dry. A site like iFixit can provide a guide for taking your MacBook cover off and getting to the logic board; once it's exposed, it's best to avoid touching it with anything but very dry paper towels. Do NOT try to dismantle your MacBook unless you have removed the battery!

If - and only if - you spilled clean water on your MacBook, you can try to dry it out with a hair dryer. Simply turn on the hair dryer and run it over the MacBook keyboard or other area where the spill occurred. If you can set the hair dryer up to blow on the keys without having to hold it, you can leave it for ten or twenty minutes to allow it to dry everything out. Users without access to a hair dryer will want to put their MacBook in a warm area of the house and allow it to dry. The MacBook should not be placed on a heater, or any other source of heat.

It's best to leave the MacBook for as long as you can to let it dry out once you've removed the power source and mopped up the spill. One to two days will be sufficient drying time if clear water was spilled on the MacBook and it was placed in a dry, warm area. If you spilled a large amount of coffee or soda that had sugar in it, you're likely going to have to take the MacBook in for servicing, which is going to cost you a bit and may not result in anything positive except the need for logic board or keyboard replacement.

Finally, when you're ready and all signs of moisture are gone, put the battery back in the MacBook and turn the power on. With luck, the MacBook will boot and no signs of water damage will show. If the MacBook doesn't boot, or if there are any issues, book an appointment at the closest Apple Store to have the MacBook serviced. Your AppleCare warranty won't cover the spill damage - and don't try to lie, since Apple technicians can easily tell when the MacBook has suffered a spill - and you'll likely have to pay for a repair. Good luck!

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