If you're reading this, there's a good chance your device is chilling in a puddle of water. If so, skip the story and scroll to the bottom.
I need my goods on hand at all times. I can't be without a computer or phone for a day. Not just because I'm obsessed. My job depends on both. But even if it were just a garden variety obsession, it would still suck to lose one. Well, today wasn't my day. We're always carrying our devices on the edge. On a not so unusual day, I might have my Macbook and iPhone in one hand, coffee in the other, and food clenched in my mouth all while hurdling the obstacle strewn across my floor for whatever project I happen to be working on. Not to mention those of us who can't make it through a shower without texting. Our stuff is always one step from cracking, drowning, or falling off the balcony of that party at that one room at that one hotel those creepy dudes invited you to that you totally went to but didn't tell anyone about. I was there. I saw you. Point is, it's bound to happen. The question is, what the deuce are you gonna do about it?
Macbook v.s. Water: Round One
I dropped more pesos than I care to admit on this Macbook a couple of years ago. I use it so often, I forget what a prized possession it is. I forget about all that extra RAM I had installed and how much this Retina Display makes my job a billion times easier. I wasn't thinking about how photography could come to a whiplash halt if anything happened to it. Despite taking it for granted, I baby this sucker. Sure, I carry it one handed through iffy terrain around open liquids and concrete floors, but I'm a ninjacat with this thing. That's the problem, I'm always looking out for the big crashes. Which is exactly how a few drops of water sent everything into a chaos about five hours ago.
It started with a cold bottle in a hot room. Condensation city, but I wasn't thinking. About a paragraph into the original blog I started today, my cursor started jumping and blinking across the screen like a swarm of bees had it by the tail. When I looked down at the trackpad, I saw it. One tiny little puddle of dastardly water looking back at me with that "whatcha gonna do, punk" look in its blubbery eye. My gut reaction was to wipe it off with my hand. Bad move. Pushed the water down in the cracks. I dried the surface with a paper towel, shutdown the computer a few times to make sure it wasn't a coincidental memory issue, and threw a few colorful words at it before I came to the conclusion that this trackpad was toast. The cursor went from jumping, to cutting out, to randomly clicking all over the place, and eventually it quit working altogether. As a pretty desperate attempt to give it one last shot, i dumped some hot rice on it. Seems like I remember people doing that with drenched flip phones. I didn't have much hope, but I dumped it on anyway. Four hours later, back in business! So, never give up, and stock up on rice. It works. More applications of a larger amount of rice would probably work for larger spills.
1) Stop pushing buttons! Soak up the surface water with a towel. If your device has a case, cover, removable backs, battery or any other removable parts, separate everything to better reach the trapped liquids.
2) Pour dry white rice (enough to completely cover your device) into a microwave-safe container and heat it for 30 seconds. Easy, Tiger... not the device, just the rice.
3) Completely cover the affected area(s). I'm talking, bury it!
4) When the rice cools, remove it and repeat with new warm rice. Multiple times is the key. Keep the rice fresh and keep it warm. Old cold rice is no bueno. I went four rounds with it. Some say room temperature rice works, but not as well. So as an extra measure, I left the last pile of rice on for a few hours.
No guarantees, but it definitely worked for me. Bigger spills may be tougher. Act fast, and there's a good chance you'll save a lot of time and money. I always thought the rice thing was a myth for desperate measures, but it's not. Drawing the moisture out through the trackpad of my laptop is pretty impressive. It will probably work even better on keyboards and similar objects with open air passage. I really expected an Apple MacBook Pro to be more resistant than that. Maybe being a Mac had a lot to do with how well it recovered. Or maybe rice is made of magic. Either way, give it a try next time you throw you laptop in a river. Hope it helps!