Apple has launched a replacement program for any users affected by a broken sleep/wake button on the iPhone 5. Some handsets manufactured after March 2013 have faulty mechanisms that can lead to problems with the switch, and as a result prevent the device from being turned off and on or locked in the usual way.
“Apple has determined that the sleep/wake button mechanism on a small percentage of iPhone 5 models may stop working or work intermittently,” says Apple on the program’s official page. “iPhone 5 models manufactured through March 2013 may be affected by this issue. Apple will replace the sleep/wake button mechanism, free of charge, on iPhone 5 models that exhibit this issue and have a qualifying serial number.”
Head to the replacement program page and enter your device’s serial number to see if you qualify for a free repair. If you do, then you can send your iPhone for inspection through the mail, or call in at an Apple Store or other authorized service provider. If you choose to take your handset to a store you can get a 16GB iPhone 5 on loan while yours is fixed.
The program is live in the U.S. and Canada today, and expands to other countries on May 2. The deal is good for up to two years after the device in question was purchased, so if your iPhone 5 hasn’t yet shown signs of the problem then there’s still plenty of time for you to make a claim. Although Apple says that only a “small percentage” of devices are affected, the issue does seem to have been reported widely by users.