According to Apple support, the sleep/wake button mechanism on a small percentage of iPhone 5 models, manufactured through March 2013, may stop working or work intermittently. However, if there are no signs of any issue, no action is needed.
Apple stated that it will replace the mechanism for free on iPhone 5 models that exhibit this issue and “have a qualifying serial number.”
Here are the details of eligibility. Go to the Apple support page and submit the serial number here. There are also directions to find your serial number.
The replacement process started in the U.S. and Canada last Friday, April 25. Other countries will have to wait until May 2. Replacement is done at an Apple Repair Center, either via carry-in or mail-in.
The replacement process takes approximately 4-6 days from the time the device is received at the center until it is returned to you. Important to note, “Before sending your iPhone to Apple for service, you will need to back up all your data and erase all your content and settings.”
If there is any other damage to the smartphone, that could hinder the repair process, that must be fixed first and there is likely to be a cost.
To carry in, bring the phone to an Apple Retail Store or Apple Authorized Service Provider (not a wireless carrier partner) to begin the process. Participating Apple Retail Stores and Apple Authorized Service Providers may have iPhone 5 models (16GB only) available for loan, while your phone is being fixed.
For mailing, call Apple and request a postage paid box to begin the process. Your phone will also be returned via mail.
Prepping for Repair
Apple advises the following before bringing or sending your phone for repair:
Back up data to iTunes or iCloud.
Turn off Find my iPhone.
Erase data and settings in Settings > General > Reset > Erase all Content and Settings.
Remove any case or cover.
If not already on it, you must upgrade to iOS 7 after the sleep/wake button mechanism is replaced.
Apple offers these ways to contact the company about this or any other iPhone issues.