Good news for iPhone 5
users who have been struggling with a finicky sleep/wake button. Apple
has acknowledged the issue and set up a special website where you can request a free repair. According to Apple, the issue affects a small percentage of iPhone 5 models in which the sleep/wake mechanism may stop working altogether or work intermittently.
If you're experiencing the issue, head over to the support page
and input your phone's serial number to see if you qualify, as apparently Apple knows exactly which batch(es) of iPhone 5 models exhibit the issue. You should also be aware that if there's any damage that could impair the replacement of the sleep/wake button, such as a cracked screen, it will need to be resolved first. There may be a cost associated with that portion of the repair, Apple says.
The replacement program is available to iPhone 5 owners living in the U.S. and Canada. In other countries, the replacement program will become available on May 2, 2014.
Repairs are done at an Apple Repair Center. You have the option of dropping off or mailing in your defective iPhone 5 model, after which it will take about 4-6 days (from the time it's received) until you get it back. Apple says to be sure and back up all your data and erase all your content and settings prior to repair.
It's not super often that Apple acknowledges issues with its products, and sometimes it happens begrudgingly. An example is when the iPhone 4 came out, Steve Jobs said that anyone having issues with signal strength was holding it wrong
-- this became known as "Antennagate." Apple would later offer free cases to iPhone 4 owners before properly fixing the issue with the iPhone 4S.
Apple also fessed up to a camera flaw in the iPhone 5
, though again blamed owners of essentially holding the handset incorrectly. More specifically, Apple's engineering team determined that iPhone 5 owners needed to angle the camera away from bright light sources to avoid having a purple flare ruin their pictures.