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I've spilled 5-10 mL of liquid on my Macbook Pro (13 inch, early 2015) some hours ago. I purchased this laptop a few months ago. It has 16 GB of RAM and 512 GB storage, though this is probably irrelevant. The liquid came in contact with the trackpad (including the edges of it). I did not turn it off. Rather, I ran the Apple Diagnostics Test and it came out fine. Several hours later, I ran the diagnostics test again and it was fine. The laptop, including the trackpad, is functioning normally at this moment.

What is the likelihood that the laptop, particularly the trackpad, will develop problems in the future?

Also,

Is it worth the time to go to an Apple Store and get this checked out?

Normally, I wouldn't even ask; I'd take it to the Apple Store just in case. However, I am very busy this weekend and a visit to the Apple Store will take a good 2 hours of my time, at the very least. Resassurance from experts on this site will give me peace of mind.

Moreover, I would also appreciate a comment from people who know a thing or two about the hardware of this laptop model regarding how 'water protected' the trackpad structure is. I am, again, mainly worried about liquid having leaked through its edges.

  • If this had happened to me, the very first thing I would have done is turn off the notebook and disconnect the charger! Then turn it upside down, still open, not in closed clamshell mode, with an air gap between the keyboard and surface upon which it was going to rest on. I'd leave it like that for an appropriate amount of time to allow gravity to drain any fluid away from the notebook and evaporate it. In lieu of enough time to ensure total evaporation of the liquid if necessary I'd open the notebook and use a hairdryer set on no heat and just use circulating air to speed up evaporation. – user3439894 Sep 24 '16 at 17:46
  • I would not power up again until I was sure all liquid has been evaporated! If the liquid was anything but water I'd also consider proper cleaning and drying before powering up again. Also note that if opening the case the first thing I'd do is disconnect the battery. – user3439894 Sep 24 '16 at 17:46
  • You can take it to Apple, regardless of what you've done to it. do not turn it on, leave it and take it to the people that know it best, please do not go to a shoddy third party.. please! they have moister sensors in them, I have split water over my MBA, 2011, and it still works, twice. Not on purpose, due to issues in my hand. – OzzieSpin Sep 24 '16 at 19:54
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You won't know anything until you take it apart, that is the sad truth. In the mean time, keeping it angled with the vent up and the trackpad down will hopefully make any liquid that got in stay away from the motherboard until is evaporates. If any corrosion is happening, you may not notice until an electrical connection is actually disrupted by it.

  • This is precisely correct. Water externally isn't a problem. The nature of small gaps and capillary action is that water wicks to the inside where it cannot dry rapidly or safely. This then transports salts and contaminants to where it will corrode and damage connectors. It matters precisely how much water went inside and where exactly it landed / stopped. – bmike Sep 24 '16 at 18:52
  • I gently used a warm hairdryer when I split water on my MBA, if it was shutdown ASAP, it should hopefully be fine, but TBH, it needs to go to an apple store.. – OzzieSpin Sep 24 '16 at 19:56
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OK, having wrecked a couple of Macbooks myself because someone spilled liquid into them, I'll tell you what to expect:

First, power it off and remove the battery if you can (but I don't think you can with your model) and prop it up so any liquid can run out. Give it about a day for the liquid to dry.

Or better yet, get it to a repair shop if you can. They'll know how to take it apart and dry it out. Note that it's important to remove the liquid and not dry it in place. A hot-air hair dryer would not help; you could just as well air-dry it yourself. Jets of compressed air that actually blow the water out of the machine would be better.

Otherwise if you have a teeny-tiny phillips-head screwdriver, and the guts to do it, dismantle it yourself and pat everything dry that you can reach. Keep very good track of which screw came from where.

The bad news:

After the liquid dries, the residue remains on the circuit boards. It will almost certainly contain sugars or other corrosive chemicals. These will slowly eat away at the circuitry. So you think you dodged a bullet with the spilled drink, but in about three years you will start to experience unexplained flakiness. I spent about $400 replacing parts in mine before I remembered the mocha someone spilled in it three years prior and realized that I would certainly have to replace the motherboard itself.

The good news:

In your case it was just water, and just a little bit, and not on the motherboard. There's a good chance that you did dodge a bullet. And in any event, you have probably another three years to start saving your pennies for a replacement.

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If you spill water on your MacBook or MacBook Pro - if you have an air purifier, target it to the keyboard/screen where the liquid is until it's dry.

I put my MacBook Pro in an upside-down v-shape over a towel and then positioned my air purifier a few inches away from the keyboard/screen - in 5-10 mins my computer was working just fine! Right after I spilled a 1/2 glass of ice water on it I could not even turn it on!

I think an air purifier works much, much better than a fan - I think the air purifier just sucks the water right out in literally minutes! If you have a high quality air purifier, it can save your Mac Book!

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I drowned my 2010 Macbook Pro with a fresh full cup of hot black tea (no sugar or milk). I immediately turned it over in the v-shape. When I moved it 2 hours later to a heater on pilot light only, (lightly warm), a waterfall came out the back end. At the heater it came on, then died again all by itself. I saw water dripping from the disc drive on the side. I pound it against my thigh to get out as much as possible. Then, the fan came on. I did not want it to operate, so I opened up the back. The fan then stopped. I looked under the battery. There was small puddle of water, so wiped it up. However, I did not disconnect the battery because I didn't know how, safely. I also wanted to look under the hard drive, but I did not have a star wrench. It sat without back upside down for 18 hours, (covered with a think cotton shirt), when I took it to my Mac repair person.

He said to get a new computer, because of the corrosion that will likely happen. It was running and started up, but acting strangely. It has been a workhorse for me; I've taken it all over Europe teaching with the powerpoint, emails, surfing, etc. etc. My right arm. Being female, sad to have drowned it. It has 500 storage and updated RAM 3 years ago.

I shopped for alternatives, like the new Airbook. I used to do video, that's why i got a Pro. But I don't anymore, so think Airbook will be good enough for me and my budget.

Meanwhile, I am using it. The repair man had no time for it, but because I love it, I am nursing it. finding out its problems. Lost the sound. Did I also loose the camera (unknown). seems the Shift and or Command key is locked down because it is selecting multiple emails and paragraphs on Word. So, I saw someone clean the shift key on the You tube (could not hear it), so I'll try that. It starts up in safe mode, so can't do a back up. But repair man said the hard drive is fine, so that will just go into a new computer.

So no YouTubes or Zoom Meetings. I do webinars, so had to get my iphone doing that. iPhone clatters and clicks on Zoom, so that is not a reliable option. The display screen is fine, sometimes loads strangely, but it loads, fine with me. But choosing a file to attach, I get the multiple options. So shift key and command key is next on my list to clean.

Now I can't edit, because it is selecting everything! So have to go! thanks for listening. Hate to ruin a good workhorse. But onward. There is a new computer in my near future.

  • Welcome to Ask Different. Please refrain from adding comments in the Answer section. This is for answers to the questions only. If you have a different question, you can ask it by clicking Ask Question. You can also add a bounty to draw more attention to this question once you have enough reputation. See How to Ask for more info on how to ask a question. - From Review – fsb Sep 20 '18 at 21:33

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