Should I get the Apple Store to check my Macbook for liquid damage?
February 25, 2017 9:39 AM   Subscribe

I'm not certain if water got into my Macbook Pro. It's working fine so far, but should I bring it to the Apple Store to find out for sure?

Some water spilled on a table near my (closed and sleeping) Macbook Pro, and it got on the outside of the body. My estimate is that there's a 50/50 chance that some got inside through the rear vents. After shutting it down immediately and wiping off all the water I could see, I let it dry out for 7 days. Then I booted it up without incident, and on day 4 it continues to run fine.

Some online forums say that if you make it through a few days without any problems, you're probably in the clear. Others say that problems like corrosion can creep up after weeks or even months. So, with the delayed-reaction scenario in mind, I'm wondering if I should take it to Apple and find out whether to expect problems down the road. But what should I expect if I go? Specifically...

1. If they find that any of the internal liquid detectors have been 'activated', will that cancel out my Apple Care for any other issue, even if the issue is unrelated?

2. If I tell them the truth but then they find no physical evidence of liquid, will they still flag my computer as potentially liquid damaged and then refuse to cover other issues that would otherwise be under warranty/Apple Care?

3. Are diagnostics like this free at the Apple Store?

4. Can they ever do these diagnostics in a few hours, or do I need to leave the laptop with them? (This is in Toronto.)

5. Bonus question: do you think I'm in the clear based on the facts above, or could my computer still fizzle at any time?

posted by Beardman to Computers & Internet (6 answers total)
I don't really see what there is to gain by this. If they find there is water damage, then your warranty is void and they give you your computer back. If they find no damage then they give your computer back? I think you're fine, I had the same thing happen and mine die immediately, so you got lucky. Count your blessings.
posted by geoff. at 9:42 AM on February 25, 2017

The water exposure stickers are either activated or not. If you're concerned tell them the Mac was near a spill, you don't know if water got in, and do they recommend looking/cleaning the interior as a prophylactic measure.

Given it was closed and you did the right things after, I myself wouldn't be worried about damage unless this was a flood of water of epic proportions.
posted by zippy at 10:00 AM on February 25, 2017

If you want to be able to use your Apple Care for anything, you have nothing to gain by telling them that you spilled something on your laptop, especially if it appears to work still. If there is a problem, it will manifest eventually, and you can take it to the Apple Store then (and if the water damage indicators have been tripped, you'll find out then). If there isn't, it won't. There aren't any preventative measures you can do beyond what you've already done. Back up any important data if you want peace of mind (and you should be doing that anyway).
posted by Aleyn at 1:28 PM on February 25, 2017 [1 favorite]

I've spilled water on multiple laptops and I don't recall anything bad ever happening. I'd say, be glad everything seems to be working fine and move on.
posted by AppleTurnover at 5:26 PM on February 25, 2017

If it was just water, and just a splash, and you let it dry out for a week, you're probably good. Water on its own is just not that corrosive, and even tap water leaves behind very little in the way of residue when it dries out.

Coffee and tea are a little acidic, so they're more effective electrolytes than plain water; cola contains phosphoric acid at a concentration that actually eats metal even without help from electricity. But plain water in tiny quantities? Shouldn't be much of a worry.

I wouldn't take it to Apple if it were mine.
posted by flabdablet at 9:11 AM on February 26, 2017

5. Bonus question: do you think I'm in the clear based on the facts above, or could my computer still fizzle at any time?

Any computer, wet or dry, could fizzle at any time. Do you have any backups, either local (Time Machine, Carbon Copy Cloner) or offsite (like Backblaze or CrashPlan)?
posted by bcwinters at 1:33 PM on February 26, 2017 [2 favorites]

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