iPhone 5 Power Button Not Working Properly? Apple Will Fix It for Free

Apr 27, 2014 - 13 Comments

Many of us who bought an iPhone 5 early in the release cycle have since discovered that our power buttons have either stopped working entirely, or no longer register some clicks / taps. While the assumption has been that it’s a result of wear and tear, Apple has now acknowledged that a malfunctioning power button (also known as the sleep / wake button) is a flaw, and they are replacing impacted models for free repair through the officially named “iPhone 5 Sleep/Wake Button Replacement Program”. To be perfectly clear, the iPhone power / sleep button is located at the very top of the device:

iPhone 5 power / sleep / wake button

It’s very easy to determine if your iPhone 5 is impacted by the faulty power / sleep / wake button, and most users who have the problem are well aware of the issue. Not all iPhone 5 devices have a broken power button, and the the vast majority work as intended. Nonetheless, it’s easy to check to see if you are eligible for the free repair service.

Checking Eligibility & Replacing the Faulty iPhone 5 Power Button

You can always visit an Apple Store Genius Bar, otherwise here’s the easiest way to find out if your power button can be replaced for free by Apple:

  1. Does your iPhone 5 power button not work? Does it occasionally not registered clicks and presses? If it works fine, you can ignore this
  2. Get the iPhone 5 serial number (find it in iTunes or on the iPhone)
  3. Enter the serial into the replacement program eligibility checker on Apple.com

iPhone 5 Power / Sleep / Wake button replacement program

If your serial number shows eligibility, you will get a message stating:

“The iPhone 5 serial number you entered is eligible for this program. Please follow the instructions below to have your sleep/wake button replaced.”

If your device is impacted by the problem but the serial number does not show eligibility, it may be worth a call to Apple Care anyway.

Apple says it will take about a week to get the iPhone repaired and returned to you. The repair can either be done at an Apple Repair Center by taking it into an Apple Store, or you can mail-in the iPhone 5 to Apple through a postage-paid service they offer.

Whichever method you use for repair, it is absolutely critical that you back up your iPhone before sending it into Apple otherwise you will lose the data stored on it. The iPhone 5 will also be updated the latest version of iOS (7.1.1 at the moment) so if you’re holding onto an ancient release version you may want to keep that in mind before sending your iPhone in for repairs.

As of April 25, 2014, the replacement process will be available in the U.S. and Canada. In other countries, it will be available as of May 2, 2014.

Replacement of the sleep/wake button mechanism is done at an Apple Repair Center. There are two ways to send your iPhone to the repair center—carry-in or mail-in. See below for details. The replacement process takes approximately 4-6 days from the time your iPhone is received at the repair center until it is returned to you. Your iPhone will be examined prior to any service to verify that it is eligible for this program and is otherwise in working order. Before sending your iPhone to Apple for service, you will need to back up all your data and erase all your content and settings.
Note: If your iPhone 5 has any damage such as a cracked screen which impairs the replacement of the sleep/wake button, that issue will need to be resolved prior to the sleep/wake button replacement. In some cases, there may be a cost associated with the repair.

Most users who are impacted by the problem are well aware of it, and they either have relied on
workarounds using iOS to gain a software power button, or simply have learned to live with the malfunctioning button. Fortunately, if you can live without your iPhone for a week or so, you’ll be able to get it back good as new. If you are bothered by this problem and are eligible for a replacement, you should take advantage of it.

Another Option: Trade For a $350 Apple Credit Towards New iPhone?

Several users who have contacted Apple about the iPhone 5 power / sleep button replacement program have also discovered that Apple is offering up to $350 trade-in credit towards a new iPhone.

According to MacRumors, those interested in trading in a faulty iPhone 5 must specifically request the upgrade and put it towards a new iPhone (like an iPhone 5C or iPhone 5S):

In addition to repairs, U.S. Apple store employees have been offering iPhone 5 users with a faulty sleep/wake button a $350 trade-in credit towards a new device, according to multiple tipsters.

Apple is only giving the credit to users who specifically ask about an upgrade, but the credit amount is above what the store typically gives for an iPhone 5 trade-in. The phone must be in full working order aside from exhibiting sleep/wake issues.

With the price of a brand new iPhone 5S off-contract running about $650, being able to trade in a 2 year old iPhone and get the newest model for as low as $300 is a pretty great deal, particularly considering the used market for iPhone 5’s is typically in the $200-$300 range.

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in iPhone, News, Troubleshooting

13 Comments

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  1. Andy Stein says:

    Power button failed on my iPhone 5 about 6 months ago, works sometimes only if I touch it on the far corner, otherwise it registers no click at all. Exact same thing on my girlfriends iPhone 5. In fact, every one of my friends who ordered an iPhone 5 within the first month or two of them being available has a broken sleep button… must be a failed production run and that’s why they’re checking serial numbers?

    Can anyone confirm if they are only early release iPhone 5 models that have this problem? Anyone who bought one a year later run into it? Does the 5S or 5C have the same issue?

    Personally, if I didn’t have to mail mine in I’d take that $350 store credit and hold onto it until the fall, get a whopper free iPhone 6 upgrade! In the meantime, use an old junker phone… Maybe I’ll call Apple to see if they’ll give gift cards to those who mail them in too….

    • Apple user says:

      I would like to add my bad experience with apple here, my iPhone 5 is eligible with the serial number they mentioned as eligibility check. I understand they have conditions like the screen must not be broken and iPhone must be in a working condition, which my phone is. Now, at the store they start a drama that the phone has a bulge at the bottom which is something related to better which they have manufactured, so the phone can’t be fixed unless the issue is addressed. What a lame excuse to trick ppl and show off as if they are actually fixing devices! I respected apple until today, but never in future!!

  2. SheRock says:

    It’s about time they’ll do that! I’ve got a small crack, hope it wont be a problem, but the only downside is really, that it’s 4-6 days waiting…! How many of us will be bothered?

  3. JBuck says:

    Free fix my backside…I think my power button was one of the first to fail…I mean I can hardly remember a time when it had not intermittent issues, and its been well over a year that the button hasn’t worked at all…

    So as you can imagine I was SO excited when I heard they were going to be fixing it for free….

    I made my appointment and 45 minutes later walked out pissed off…free my *ss…Your phone must be in PERFECT working condition before they will send it in…

    After testing, my battery was determined to be failing (it will hold a charge for about 3 hours), and the very small crack in the corner of the screen was not acceptable either.

    Check this out…I was told that if I decided to save money and fix the 2 issues myself, that it would still not be excepted. The only way to get my power button fixed is to spend 200 for the repairs…BS!!!

    Its been so long that it hasnt worked that I have decided to wait for the new one to come out in the fall…at that point I will be eligible for upgrade, and the Apple promised 350 trade in…FREE phone!

  4. Michael says:

    Got mine replaced about 9 months ago at an Apple Store. The only question I was asked was; “did I perform a backup before coming in?” Of course, my answer was yes. However, it had been dropped by a doofus who just had to see (and hold) such a cool phone. Luckily it didn’t break the glass. Had it not been dropped, I suspicion that the sleep/wake button may not have been an issue.

  5. Greg says:

    So I had this exact problem, called at&t tech support, Called apple support and both stated it was wear on the phone. So I sold my phone unnecessarily… I won’t my money back….

  6. SIG says:

    I just called to arrange to send mine in since the nearest apple store is over an hour away. After at least a half hour on the phone with the tech filled with long pauses and hearing his breathing for way too long. He ended up having to pass me off to a supervisor because some issue was preventing hime from being able to complete the request. After a few minutes on hold I got the supervisor with a poor microphone that was difficult to hear well. I went through the whole thing again although not quite as long this time and she was having the same issue. Just as she was about to tell me they would have to call me back later to try again she said “let me try something” and after a few more minutes she was able to get it to go through.

    Now I am supposed to be getting an email with the shipping information to take to the UPS store and send my iphone off.

    We’ll see how it works out. For the record the phone has no damage at all.

    • SIG says:

      I got the email from apple later that evening and went to the local UPS store to send it out. I showed them the email and they took care of everything.

      I got the email the next day from apple that they received my iphone. This was friday. I got another email saying they were sending a replacement phone on Monday and yesterday (Wednesday) FedEx dropped it off at my door. It was packaged in a plain white box with no accessories at all. It had the plastic film on the front and back like a new iPhone and it looks like new. I guess it’s probably a refurb, but damned if I can tell if it’s not new. So I got a replacement iPhone back in less than a week.

      Didn’t cost me anything. Thanks Apple.

  7. Shaji says:

    I had the exact problem with my Iphone bought in Nov ’12. It used work if I pressed one of the corners, but later on it stopped working completely. Went to an apple authorized repair shop, and they gave me a replacement phone next day.

  8. Apple is bad says:

    Yes, Apple will fix this issue for free IF it was manufactured before April 2013. Mine was manufactured May 2013 and apparently is not covered by the recall. They want to charge me $300 to fix it, Manager in the Apple Store said it was “my fault for not purchasing Apple Care” for an additional $100 at purchase. Call me old fashioned, but I don’t expect to pay $700 for a phone to have it stop working 1.5yrs later. Apple sucks.

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