I wanted to take a moment today to offer some tips on what to do in what is probably the most common hardware related issue we see on a day to day basis: liquid damage.

I’m sure that most people reading this post will sit regularly, notebook on their lap, or iOS device in their hands, with a cup of tea, wine, beer or water. And almost all of you will have, at some point, had that moment of panic when you’ve almost spilt your drink onto whatever device it is you’re holding…….right?

Having worked at an Apple repair facility in the past, I know that repairs to machines subjected to liquid spills are usually expensive to repair. This is due to how modern devices are built to keep them small and light; the downside of this is that if one component fails, for whatever reason, it requires many more to be replaced. As liquid damage is not covered by any warranty, you could almost be looking at the price of a new unit to repair any damage you cause by spilling liquids. So I wanted to offer some advice on what to do should you have an accident, and how you can possibly prevent any serious damage being done.

The first thing to do is disconnect from the mains and turn the machine off, and then get as much of the liquid out of the machine as possible. Stand it upright to allow liquid to drain out, but DO NOT rub or shake the device. Once the majority of fluid is out, dab the unit with kitchen towel or a microfibre cloth to get rid of as much as possible. If you have a removable battery, take it out now. The next step is the one that most people do incorrectly or don’t do at all…….

Next, get a sealable box big enough to hold your device and put some fresh,, dry (uncooked) rice into it (if you don’t have a sealable box, you’ll need a bag that you can seal, and this is important, without holes). Carefully place your device on top of the rice, seal the box and put it somewhere warm (not hot), like an airing cupboard, for at least 24 hours. The warmth should encourage the moisture to be drawn into the air, and sealing the box ensures that the rice absorbs moisture from the air inside the box (i.e. your device) rather than the general atmosphere.

I’ve had many people call me in a blind panic, asking me what they should do after knocking their drink over their device and the actions above have saved them a costly repair. That said, it won’t always work, but swift action will at least give you a fighting chance of keeping your machine alive.

Of course, it would be foolish of me not to remind you that liquid and expensive electrical equipment don’t mix well, so the safest thing all round is to keep them as far away from each other as possible!

When all else fails, remember two things:

  • ALWAYS use an Authorised Apple Service Provider for your repairs (we have links with several authorised repairers and can arrange this on your behalf); third party repairs typically use inferior quality parts (let me remind you of the lady in China who recently lost her life whilst using a 3rd party charger on her iPhone), and will ensure that warranties remain intact (there are occasionally extension programs for known issues – if your machine has been repaired by a non-authorised repairer you may not qualify).
  • Talk to your home insurance provider; often accidental damage is covered under your household insurance