Apple launches free sleep / wake button replacement program for iPhone 5

Apple has started a sleep / wake button replacement program, which will repair affected units for free. Apple has determined that a small percentage of iPhone 5’s manufactured before April 2013 could possibly see issues with the sleep / wake button not working or working intermittently.

In order to begin the process for this repair, iPhone owners must check eligibility of their product by entering their serial number into Apple’s repair website. Once repair eligibility is verified, you can bring your iPhone 5 into an Apple Store or an Apple authorized repair center. The repair will take between four to six days.

If you choose to bring it into a store, you will have the option to receive a loaner iPhone 5. These loaner devices will be limited to the 16GB model. The mail-in repairs will not have a loaner option. Lastly, with any repair it is important to back up any important information that you might have on your iPhone. This can be done either through iTunes or iCloud.

The button replacement program will begin today in the United States / Canada and roll out to other countries on May 2, 2014. This program will cover iPhone 5 models for 2 years after the initial retail sale of the unit. 

Source: Wall Street Journal via Apple | Image via Apple 

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51 Comments

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In the US+Canada (possibly other countries too), I believe a phone with a faulty sleep/wake button will be sent away for repair. In the UK (and maybe other countries as well), they will replace the phone with a new one (it will be running iOS 7.x mind you). Naturally, Genius Bar appointment required wherever you happen to be.

Rosyna said,
Some people hate having the iPhone they bought as new replaced with a used version.

Don't they have like 3 re-used parts in them?

My iPhone 5 didn't qualify for this, what a bummer! I checked just out of curiosity. xD
I love my 5, it just...works! For jailbroken devices, you gotta love Activator which allows you to use any other button to wake the device for cases like this.

Activator is awesome. But my home button went bad despite using swipe commands, and doing my best to not stress the button it self.

Wall-swe said,
Activator is awesome. But my home button went bad despite using swipe commands, and doing my best to not stress the button it self.

Sucks I'm on iOS 7.1.1 at the moment but when the jailbreak is released, I want to try ActIf alongside it. This will allow Activator to have IF statements such as "If this, do that!" kinda deal. If you've dealt with any programming classes, you'll get the concept.

Gary ///M said,
My iPhone 5 didn't qualify for this, what a bummer! I checked just out of curiosity. xD

Note: Any iPhone 5 that has T-Mobile AWS support for 3G/4G (as opposed to LTE) was manufactured after this date and should not be eligible.

Rosyna said,

Note: Any iPhone 5 that has T-Mobile AWS support for 3G/4G (as opposed to LTE) was manufactured after this date and should not be eligible.

I'm on AT&T and I doubt I got that batch but it doesn't matter anyways.

What about the home button? Hardly any iPhone 4/4s still have a fully working home button. Thanks to the idiotic double/tripple click and press and hold actions.

Wall-swe said,
Yes, really. The home button is crap.
You can't even properly read your original comment. You bravely stated, "Hardly any iPhone 4/4s still having working home buttons". You have concrete evidence of this? Keyword before you do your research is "hardly". "Hardly any" is what I'm waiting for you to prove. Got my popcorn ready for this one.............

Apples own forum has close to hundred threads concerning the issue.
https://discussions.apple.com/...relevance&numResults=30

You can also look at the millions of results you get when you search for, Iphone 4 home button not working.
I have seen a lot of people using the assistance function as a workaround for the broken home button.

The physical home button was a bad choice to begin with, and Apple must have known how frail this setup is. But they clearly only care about money and getting consumers to upgrade their phones, as they haven't changed this setup after all reports.

Edited by Wall-swe, Apr 27 2014, 6:16am :

Actually apple only allow 2 pages to show up on their forum when you search for something, and more will show when you click next. I'm guessing they probably do this to downplay how many problem threads actually exists. So there are probably HUNDREDS of threads concerning this issue on their own support forum.

Wall-swe, even if there are 3 million iPhone 4/4s with this problem, do you realize how many total iPhone 4/4s have been sold compared to that number? Your original comment was, "hardly any iPhone 4/4s still have a fully working home button". Even if 10 million buttons don't work, it still doesn't equate to "hardly any".

Actually of all iPhone 4/4s i see in my classes at school, or that's owned by friends none have a fully working home button. So as I haven't seen a fully working on a iPhone 4/4s my statement is valid. I know you hate admitting Apple has made a bad decision, and that they wont admit this and help their customers.

Wall-swe said,
Actually of all iPhone 4/4s i see in my classes at school, or that's owned by friends none have a fully working home button. So as I haven't seen a fully working on a iPhone 4/4s my statement is valid. I know you hate admitting Apple has made a bad decision, and that they wont admit this and help their customers.

Your statement is not valid because you're relying on an anecdote to back up your initial claim. You can't say that there are hardly any iPhone 4/4s with working home button, and that it's bad decision on Apple's part because, "everyone," you see with said phone has a none functioning home button, or the search queries turn up, "millions," of results (I put the millions in quotes because not all of the 109 million search results for, "Iphone 4 home button not working," have anything to do with a home button that doesn't work). That would be like me saying that the iPhone 4/4s doesn't have a single issue with the home button because the one on my mother-in-law's 4s still operates fine after a year of use.

I've never been or seen New York City in person, so it must not exist!

It has nothing to do with someone not wanting to admit that Apple made a bad decision. It's just that you've made a false statement, and you're trying to use logical fallacies to make it true.

Edited by benthebear, Apr 27 2014, 11:33am :

I can second this thread. I support a large number of iPhones at work. I have yet to see the sleep/wake button issue on any device, but the home button I have seen a few times (not a lot, a few). It is nice that Apple is fixing it for free, wish they had done the same thing for the home button. Hopefully after this their design team will put more time into designing sturdier buttons.

Decebalvs Rex said,
With their prices, you would expect quality made and troublefree devices. All that money behind the company and no proper testing.

Same can be said about car manufacturers like Mercedes, etc. I've had two recalls on my car since I bought it for parts they later considered defective for a premium car brand. I think its good that they actually want to replace components after the product released rather than let the components fail and let people pay for the repairs themselves.

Decebalvs Rex said,
With their prices, you would expect quality made and troublefree devices.

Why would you expect that?

Decebalvs Rex said,
With their prices, you would expect quality made and troublefree devices. All that money behind the company and no proper testing.

Right, it reminds me the fact that I had my Lumia 900 replaced three times for random reboots....

Raa said,

Why would you expect that?

Because they offer premium devices at a very high cost AND because they have the money and the resources to test their **** properly.
@GotBored : a car is 1000x more complex than a phone , you can expect trouble there.
If Apple tries to brand this as the Phones God then don't give it Achilles tendonitis.

You got a replacement for random reboots, I have had this on my iPhone many times, I bet you Apple would laugh if I called them about that issue. During summer times in Sweden(cold country) my iPhone 4 would overheat, Apple did nothing.

GotBored said,

Same can be said about car manufacturers like Mercedes, etc. I've had two recalls on my car since I bought it for parts they later considered defective for a premium car brand. I think its good that they actually want to replace components after the product released rather than let the components fail and let people pay for the repairs themselves.

Agreed; only had one recall on my Dodge too for what it's worth. Stuff happens; so long as they go about correcting the issue, I don't see the problem.

Hell, Samsung just had announced an issue with the cameras on their S5. Again, so long as they fix it... /shrug

Haha, every product can have issues. Doesn't matter if its premium or not.
But part of what makes it a premium product, usually is the service you get if something is broken.

Apple fixes it in 4-6 days. Usually companies give 2-4 weeks.
So yeah, there's a little part of that premium-ness Apple products have.

Shadowzz said,

Apple fixes it in 4-6 days.
So yeah, there's a little part of that premium-ness Apple products have.

Can't say I've seen that in my experiences. Therefore, I wouldn't class Apple's products as 'premium' - except for the price tag.

Decebalvs Rex said,
With their prices, you would expect quality made and troublefree devices. All that money behind the company and no proper testing.
Give it a rest.

sjaak327 said,
The only premium aspect on iPhone is their price.
It's very strange that millions would disagree with you. I use both an iPhone and a Galaxy Note 3. Premium has never felt so good!

JHBrown said,
It's very strange that millions would disagree with you.

Nah, even the worst products have their fans and we know how few Apple customers can tell actual good quality from bad. But it's nice to see them admitting they f'd up (the iPhone 5 has many more problems though), usually they just say nothing and ignore the problem or have to be dragged to court.

Wall-swe said,
You got a replacement for random reboots, I have had this on my iPhone many times, I bet you Apple would laugh if I called them about that issue. During summer times in Sweden(cold country) my iPhone 4 would overheat, Apple did nothing.

Personally I consider overheating more a design flaw than a bug, unless of course there is some apps stressing the CPU and therefore something that a software patch could fix.
I have this issue as well with my Lumia 920 and Nokia told me that it happens when the phone is used intensely.....
Yes I am familiar with the weather in Northern Europe: Once I spent two weeks, in the Summer, in Trondheim and it was quite cold indeed.

Cosmocronos said,

Right, it reminds me the fact that I had my Lumia 900 replaced three times for random reboots....

The funny thing, on most iPhones and Android devices this is not considered a problem because crashes and reboots are not out of normal operation.

Only on a WP device does it stand out as a 'problem' due to their stability.

Mobius Enigma said,

The funny thing, on most iPhones and Android devices this is not considered a problem because crashes and reboots are not out of normal operation.

Only on a WP device does it stand out as a 'problem' due to their stability.


I do not use Android or Apple but both my wife and my daughter have iPhones and they do not see these reboots and crashes that you mention.

Cosmocronos said,

I do not use Android or Apple but both my wife and my daughter have iPhones and they do not see these reboots and crashes that you mention.

My iPhone friends don't seem to have these issues either. Android on the other hand, I have plenty of experiences with these issues. People usually tell me that I just need a more up-to-date phone, but then my brother shows me Clash of Clans on his S4, staring at the loading screen, and says, "I don't think it loaded, lemme try again..."

At that point, I just sigh... :/

(granted, yes, this could easily be a developer issue, but I'm just tired of broken apps)

Cosmocronos said,

I do not use Android or Apple but both my wife and my daughter have iPhones and they do not see these reboots and crashes that you mention.

I agree that the iPhone is more stable than Android, but the iPhone locking up or restarting is not entirely uncommon.

However, as amazing as this might sound, most WP users will never see an App crash or the phone OS crash or reboot. Which is why it REALLY stands out if you have a WP device that behaves like this.

It is unreasonable to expect that the product will be completely immune to defects or to assume that when they occur it is due to improper testing. Exhaustive testing of a product is literally impossible and even if it were it would be impossible to resolve all possible defects in design. Obviously the if the frequency and/or severity of defects is high then that is more concerning - but not the fact that they exist.

The other major factor is how they respond to the defects. I'm not entirely sure that their two year limit will fly in every jurisdiction - EU countries have statutory requirements for how long a product can be expected to function - particularly if it's due to an inherent defect in design or workmanship. My Dell laptop got a new motherboard and GPU after almost 5 years under these rules because it had one of the dodgy nVidia chips that shipped around '07/'08.

Cosmocronos said,

I do not use Android or Apple but both my wife and my daughter have iPhones and they do not see these reboots and crashes that you mention.

I work with a company that handles a lot of Apple devices, and I frequently see this issue.

On the other hand, I've never seen it with an Android device.

Conclusion? I guess it comes down to how you operate your device.

Raa said,

Can't say I've seen that in my experiences. Therefore, I wouldn't class Apple's products as 'premium' - except for the price tag.

I don't own an iPhone myself, but people around me usually get their phone back within a week. (or a new/refurbished one). Few exceptions there.

Shadowzz said,

I don't own an iPhone myself, but people around me usually get their phone back within a week. (or a new/refurbished one). Few exceptions there.

If you're in a major city it's fairly quick... can't speak for outside Aus though.

JHBrown said,
It's very strange that millions would disagree with you. I use both an iPhone and a Galaxy Note 3. Premium has never felt so good!

Good on you. I personally would NEVER pay 700 bucks for a smartphone. At the end of the day, this is simply daytime robbery. No way the device is worth that price.

It has nothing to do with premium of course, except maybe your notion. Personally I regard IPhone users to be mainstream.