The Number One Killer of MacBooks, and How to Avoid It!

James departed the Apple Store with a slow shuffle, eyes fixed downward, and seemingly… glazed. He had just been informed that his MacBook Pro, purchased only weeks prior, had been devastated by a small mishap over dinner. “Not much more than a tablespoon of wine…”, – but quite enough to render his three-thousand dollar investment utterly worthless! Sadly, Jim had recently paid extra for the extended, three-year warranty – Apple Care! The words burned in his dazed consciousness, like a rejected lover… “SPILLS ARE NOT COVERED!”.

Jim is not alone; spill damage is, hands down, the number one killer of MacBook pro is water damage – the world over. The piles of broken macbook in my shop are largely there due to spill damage. The fragile circuits in these electronic power houses are literally printed onto the boards with lasers, making them extremely expensive to produce and impossible to replace at reasonable cost. The power and technology built into these exclusive Machines, makes them fatally susceptible to electrical shorts brought on by water and/or liquid spills. If the MacBook Pro (and perhaps the Alienware) is the ‘SUPERMAN’ of the Laptop world, then liquids are their ‘KRYPTONITE’!

As a technician, and a refurbish-er of broken macbooks, I have seen liquid damage from just about every liquid under the sun, not the least of which is… You guessed it… BEER! – And little wonder: Drinking and driving don’t mix – we all know that. Just so, drinking and ‘surfing’ is just as fatal to laptops. Coffee spills are just a common, as are latte, water, juice, milk, and of course – Water!

Here’s Some Sure Fire Tips On How To Avoid Spills: (‘An ounces of prevention is worth a pound of cure!’)

1. Don’t drink and ‘surf’
MacBooks and bars DON’T MIX. MacBooks and ALCOHOL don’t mix. If you are meeting some friends for a drink (or drinks?) after a bit of studying at the library, GO HOME FIRST! If you want to avoid a broken macbook with spill damage (and other damage, as well), then don’t bring your laptop to the bar. Leave it home!

2. Coffee hides in coffee houses. Avoid them!
A very common practice is to catch up on some work or study at the local latte joint. Interestingly, it is also a very common place for coffee spills. The tables are too small and unsteady, there are too many people walking around, and it is far too crowded to make coffee houses a safe place for your MacBook. Worse, there is coffee EVERYWHERE, on every table, counter, and in every hand, in flimsy paper cups. A MacBook in a coffee house is a broken macbook waiting to happen, even if the coffee has a fancy french name and is priced at $9.00 per cup.

3. A Warning From My College Professor – 25 years ago…
“Never, Ever, EVER Eat or Drink around computers.” This RULE WAS LAW in ALL COMPUTER LABS in the 1980’s. There were signs everywhere, and you could be kicked out of the lab for good if this rule was violated. Back then, computers were enormously expensive, and the schools knew well the tragic financial results of ‘snacking’ in the lab. Take this rule very seriously, and you will avoid a mountain of HEARTACHE! Never drink, eat (or snack) while working on your MacBook!

4. Stay out of the kitchen.
When dining, leave your MacBook home or in the car – locked in the trunk, of course. Do not bring a MacBook into a lunchroom, restaurant, dining area, kitchen, or ANY PLACE where Food and Drinks are being served. (Yes, this includes the kitchen table – the NUMBER ONE LOCATION FOR SPILL DAMAGE, AND RESPONSIBLE FOR MORE BROKEN MACBOOKS THAN ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD)

5. MacBook Armor (MacBook case)
Armor sounds impressive, especially when describing something as simple as a neoprene MacBook case, but a good MacBook case can help to avoid the unavoidable – USE IT! MacBook bags are the last defense of your MacBook – don’t leave home without one. At under $30 dollars, there is no reason not to own one, and use one – all the time.

6. If possible, remove your battery while using your MacBook with your power adapter. Warning: do not use this method if you are working on important projects or sensitive data, as a power loss will cause you to lose ALL YOUR UNSAVED WORK. However, if a spill damage were to occur on a MacBook with no battery, there is a great chance that you could remove the power cord, and thereby cutoff all electricity – in less than a second. There are few situations in life where seconds count so dramatically. You may well save your MacBook’s life!

4. Flip the MacBook as to let gravity direct the spill back from whence it came.
5. Let the MacBook dry for 72 hours.
6. Bring it to the Apple Store after fully dried out.
7. Pray! Meditate! Yoga! You’ll need all the extra terrestrial help you can get.