🤦‍♂️ Hardware Damage Moments

Would love to hear about the dumbest ways everyone has damaged their expensive hardware, because I just did a number on my MacBook Air and want to feel less alone in my stupidity.

Just now while happily editing my podcast and enjoying some coffee, I spilled about half my cup of joe on my laptop keyboard. Currently coffee comes out when I press the space bar. Why? My pet bird was crawling around in my shirt, made an unexpected loud noise, and startled me :weary:

Visiting Apple later to check if I need repairs.

Pic related. It is my friend, Captain Crunch, who I’d like to blame but cannot.


A solid nominee for paragraph of the day:

In case “lost device” is also relevant here… My wife and I went to Paris for our honeymoon. When I was standing in line for customs after the red-eye flight, I went to grab my phone, only it wasn’t in the pocket I always kept it. It was still on the plane.

The Paris airport we had arrived at involved getting off of planes on a tarmac, taking a bus, transferring to a different bus, and then walking through a terminal to get to the customs desk. I.e., my phone was now very far away.

We got through the line, ran to the airline support desk, begged for help across a language barrier, and waited for an hour… but the airline staff managed to find it and get it back to me! I was in grateful disbelief.

A good start to the trip. :upside_down_face:


About 20 years ago and before I had become a Mac convert, I bought a new Gateway laptop, which was a top of the line PC laptop then (anyone remember the computers in the cow boxes?). It was quite expensive (about $4,000 then) and I brought it with me on a business trip almost the day I got it.

I was using it in a restaurant, opened a can of Diet Coke, and somehow spilled almost the whole can on the computer/keyboard.

Spills were not covered under warranty - it took 3 weeks and over $1,000 to replace the motherboard and other damaged components.


Was your wife also happy, that you get it back so quick, on the honeymoon?! :wink:

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Was on a plane home from Portugal with my new 10.5 iPad Pro. It was in a case since I love having my nice devices in a good condition. I had to put it away to help my son with something and chose to put it the magazine net in the seat in front of me. It had a case on, so no problem, right?
When I heard a low cracking sound, i realized I had put it in with the glass side facing the curved seat where the the screen got cracked by the tension of said net pressing it into the curved seat in front of me!
This crack goes vertically through the whole screen and is to this day a steady reminder of what a fool I am…


I was air sealing our attic and an airpod fell out right into some expanding foam. It is still there to this day, helping to seal above our kitchen sink.


At least it serves even in death 🫡

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Not exactly the same scenario …

In 2014 my wife and I went to the Galapagos. Spoiler alert: It was fantabulous. We lived on a boat and went from island to island. I bought a Nikon AW1 underwater camera for the trip, as we would be snorkeling every day. Did I mention it was fantabulous?

My wife is a teacher, and as such she gets the summer off. My PTO is limited. So while I went home after two plus weeks, she stayed. Extending the trip to do some diving. And on one dive there were hammerhead sharks. The camera was rated for 15 meters. The sharks were at twice that depth. The camera did not survive.

But wait there’s more …

Back at the hotel she put my Mac laptop on the floor to charge overnight, the most convent place given the location of the outlets. She was awaken in the middle of the night by someone banging on the door and yelling in Spanish. She does not speak Spanish. As she got out of bed her feet splashed onto the floor.

That was not a good thing. There were there inches of water in the room. And water was flowing under the door and down the stairs of the hotel. Thus the banging and the yelling.

The Mac was rated for zero inches. The Mac did not survive.

A pipe had burst in the adjacent room, water flowed under the adjoining door, and then out to the stairway.

The Hotel gave her $200 for the computer damage. We did not pay the hotel bill.

I sent the camera to Nikon and they replaced it, no questions asked.

I was able to recover everything on the hard drive. Including the pictures from the trip. We now travel with an external hard drive to back up our images.


Reading this thread has been traumatic :joy:


I’m happy to report the technician at Apple opened my Mac up and found no evidence of damage! I’m sorry to all of you that weren’t so lucky.


A second candidate for best paragraph of the day!


I’m one of those people who thinks Apple Lightning cables are fine — I’ve only ever broken one in 18 years (including very similar dock cables) — so I have very few incidents to report.

The one that annoys me the most is my Apple watch (Series 5) which has a bunch of fine scratches on the screen. They will dent the resale value for sure but I don’t see them most days. How did I get them? Well, I’m not sure Apple included in their testing: watch glass versus architecture. The relative masses of the watch and the enormous concrete pillar I “brushed against” when exiting the railway station one morning did not favour the watch.

Others include putting a small ding (that was very visible) in my iPhone 3G screen — my keys have not shared a pocket with my phone ever since — and the one time I have dropped an iPad — off a tenuous pile of slippery books I was balancing as I entered the only hard-floored (i.e. concrete) part of the house; the garage with its narrow access between cars. I’ll claim that I was pioneering flat sides before Apple thought of it, though I only had one flat corner. Amazingly the glass did not break but bent!

Additional update: while in use, my computer smells like coffee. Also, the space bar now is a bit gummy. I’m guessing coffee residue under the space bar… melted?

Debating taking it back tomorrow OR trying to finish off teaching for the school year and take it in around late June.

Odds this gummy space bar issue somehow resolves itself?

At least 15 years ago, I was using my macbook at the dining room table and decide to join my girlfriend on the couch.

For some stupid reason, I decided to jump into a sitting position on the couch rather than sit down like a normal human. As I landed with my open macbook in my hands, the impact caused the screen to swing open way past its normal locking point and snap right off, hanging by the ribbon cable/hinge.

I definitely felt very stupid that day and a lot poorer as I had to pay for a new screen.


It will probably change over time, but I doubt the dried coffee will totally go away by itself. :sweat_smile:

Sitting with my laptop, doing some maintenance while waiting for my tea to infuse. When the reminder told me to get it, I set the laptop aside without closing the lid (which I normally do). When I came back the display looked totally ruined with all kinds of distorted lines on it, while not seeing any physical damage.

To this day I believe that one of our cats did something in the few minutes I was gone. Unfortunately, I can’t pin it to a specific cat… :joy_cat: The display had to be replaced, of course.

Since then, I always make sure I put the laptop away or close the lid, no matter how high the perceived inconvenience may be.

Good luck to you!

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I once left my very new iPad charging in a conference room in BFE, Illinois, and didn’t realize it until I went through security at the airport, which was a 2-hour drive away. The upside is that I was very early for my flight and made a very nice taxi driver’s day.


Same thing happened to me almost 2 years ago (minus the parrot). Had been delaying swelling battery change because I needed MBP every single day for work. Brought it in to get it checked after the spill, expecting to be told the inside was done and I would need to get a new machine. Liquid check passed, decided to change the battery. Turns out battery replacement comes with top case replacement, including keyboard & trackpad. Best 250$ spent ever. MBP 2014 looks like new and still going strong to this day :muscle:

EDIT: Meant to reply to ERJ_T… oh well… But in fact, I have a story about « lost device » too. Same MBP, left in my open bag with wallet, passport etc in a passenger seat on a train in Italy, from which I got off in a hurry to catch the next train. Realized what I had done on the next train :flushed:
Still cannot believe I got everything back, including all the money in my wallet!


Something similar happened to me with the same iPad model. In my case however it was somewhat more entertaining – I managed to sit on it. I guess a red Smart Cover and a red blanket on my bed were a particularly bad idea. Especially when paired with a semi-dark room and body weight of ~110 kg (at that time). Luckily I had AppleCare+ on that device, so as a result it only cost me €99 and I got a new iPad. Interestingly, despite a rather serious bend (really visible) the screen wasn’t cracked. The only “big” piece of electronics that I have actually managed to break in my career.


Waaaay back my Dad used to run a DOS menu we built on his PC. One of the options was the file manager software X-Tree. The family cat managed to jump up on the keyboard one day, launch X-Tree, navigate said tree to a reasonably critical file, and hit delete! She did not, however, manage to hit Y to confirm. :relieved:

This. Always this. Until 2020 I’ve always had cats in the house. But they’re not the worst. Kids and even adults don’t see things, or in some cases don’t value things as I do.

  • Never leave an open vessel of liquid unattended near something you value.
  • Never run a cable where it can be caught (yes, I think MagSafe is unnecessary).
  • Never leave a cover open when it can be closed.
  • Never trust your ability to “balance stuff” for “long enough”.

I’m getting on in years now and I can attest that the (very) minor inconvenience of following all of the above rules constantly is nothing compared to the angst of the one time you lapse and disaster happens.

See also turning lights off when you leave the room, never putting a beverage near the edge of a table/bench, don’t leave fragile stuff out where it’s unprotected, and… my big one… treat computer/phone cables like wires, not dog leads. Still only ever broken one white Apple cable in 18 years, and that in an unfamiliar hotel room.