I’ve spilled cof­fee on my key­board!

Spilling liq­uid on your key­board is not nec­es­sar­ily dis­as­trous

Mac Format - - TO THE RESCUE -

Wher­ever there’s a Mac be­ing used for work, there’s of­ten a mug of tea or cof­fee close by. For those of us who need a reg­u­lar dose of caf­feine to see us through the day, having a steam­ing cuppa joe close at hand is a ne­ces­sity.

While cof­fee and work go to­gether like sausage and mash, Java juice and key­boards have a more ac­ri­mo­nious re­la­tion­ship – in­tro­duc­ing one to the other is best avoided. If you do hap­pen to spill cof­fee on your key­board – or worse, knock the en­tire mug and its con­tents onto the lower half of your MacBook – don’t re­vert to the re­cov­ery po­si­tion and start bawl­ing; dis­as­ter can still be averted.

Okay, first the bad news: liq­uid dam­age caused to a MacBook Air or MacBook Pro is specif­i­cally ex­cluded from war­ranty cov­er­age un­der Ap­ple’s terms and con­di­tions. Worse, even if your note­book is fine in the im­me­di­ate af­ter­math of a spillage, any sub­se­quent prob­lem with its elec­tron­ics won’t be cov­ered ei­ther. Ap­ple has even in­stalled liq­uid sub­mer­sion in­di­ca­tors, or spill de­tec­tors, un­der the key­board and track­pad. Th­ese per­ma­nently change colour when they come into con­tact with liq­uid, al­low­ing a tech­ni­cian to tell im­me­di­ately if you’ve been care­less with the Kenco.

The good news is that many spillages, with a lit­tle help from you, don’t need the at­ten­tion of a tech­ni­cian. If your key­board is ex­ter­nal, you should dis­con­nect it from your Mac im­me­di­ately. If it has bat­ter­ies in it, re­move them. Mop rather than wipe up any resid­ual liq­uid, prefer­ably us­ing a mi­cro-fibre cloth. If you don’t have one, a hand­ker­chief (or, as a last resort, kitchen towel) will do. Hold the key­board up­side down to al­low the liq­uid to run out.

Sugar-coated keys

What you do next de­pends on what was spilled and how much liq­uid there was. For wa­ter, your av­er­age cup of rocket fuel or any­thing else that has no sugar in it, you may be able to give the sur­face a quick rinse with clean wa­ter and let it dry out. For larger spills, you might need to open the key­board up with a screw­driver and mop the com­po­nents in­di­vid­u­ally. Wait un­til it’s com­pletely dry be­fore you re-as­sem­ble it.

If the liq­uid did have sugar in it, it’s a good idea to flush with clean wa­ter first. The key mech­a­nisms will be sticky too; you can lift the tops off the keys by care­fully pris­ing them away with your fingers. Be care­ful, though; the scis­sor mech­a­nism un­der­neath is del­i­cate. It’s worth­while Googling the

key­board model to find out ex­actly how to re­move its keys. Clean the keys and mech­a­nism with a damp cloth, or a with a soft tooth­brush and dis­tilled wa­ter.

Lap­top key­boards, un­for­tu­nately, are trick­ier to clean. First, un­plug the note­book from the mains. It’s un­likely that you’ll be able to re­move the bat­tery, be­cause bat­ter­ies in Ap­ple note­books are now sealed in. But if you’re con­fi­dent and brave, check ifixit.com for de­tails on how to ac­cess the bat­tery in your model.

If you don’t want to take your MacBook apart to dry it, tip it back so that the air vents are point­ing down­wards, and so any resid­ual liq­uid can run out. Leave it like that for a cou­ple of days so it has a chance to dry prop­erly and then try start­ing it up.

Caffè catas­tro­phe

If your MacBook boots and works okay, you’re in luck! You’ve dodged a caffè catastophe. If not, it may just need more dry­ing time. Plac­ing it in a warm room (some peo­ple rec­om­mend your car if it’s a warm day) or di­rect sun­light will help.

Do not use a hairdryer. This will blow air, dust, and liq­uid back into the MacBook! If all seems lost, some peo­ple have used a vac­uum cleaner on a very low set­ting over the key­board, to suck out the last of the liq­uid.

To avoid future spills and fur­ther cof­fee trauma, con­sider putting your MacBook on a riser and use a USB or Blue­tooth key­board in­stead.

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