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I want the power!
September 27, 2012 8:53 AM   Subscribe

My iPhone (3G)'s power/headphone/volume rocker assembly is on the fritz all of a sudden. How can I try to remedy this? (Either cheaply/locally in NYC or DIY).

It just started this morning - I was using the power (sleep/wake) button a lot because I jailbroke/unlocked and managed to screw it up pretty bad at one point, so I probably restarted it 20+ times in the last few days and had no problems. Now, this morning, the power button and down volume buttons randomly stopped working, and the up volume rocker/headphone jack/lock switch are temperamental. Everything seems to work if I squeeze the top of the phone. I didn't drop it or anything, so it's not that (although I did drop it later in the day? It seems to have survived that one fine though and it's not like that drop changed this situation at all). The phone has belonged to a few different people, so I don't really know its history entirely but I don't think it has had this issue in the past.

I see resources like this that suggest that cleaning dust etc. might help. Would removing the SIM and using compressed air in that slot make sense? Can you point to resources for a non-handy person to safely take apart and clean the iPhone? I'm not experienced with DIY stuff but I do enjoy it (and I'm not terribly attached to the phone, so if it dies I'll be disappointed but not crushed).
posted by R a c h e l to Technology (3 answers total)
 
While I don't have much advice about how to actually repair the hardware (my instinct is this will be difficult, but not impossible - especially if breaking the whole phone isn't a disastrous outcome in your mind), but I wanted to point you to a software feature for dealing with the external hardware buttons not working. My wake/sleep button is busted too, so I've been using the "assistive touch" feature for the past month or two. It adds a UI element that lets you activate the functions that the hardware buttons would otherwise handle for you. It's a bit tedious to use 2-3 touches to activate features that used to be one button, but it's better than not being able to adjust volume.

There are instructions for how to enable it in this article. The TL;DR version is Settings->General->Accessibility->(scroll down)AssistiveTouch -> On. It'll pop a transparent white button that floats over the entire phone UI and lets you access a variety of features.
posted by heresiarch at 9:20 AM on September 27, 2012


(Oh, one quick caveat: I'm not sure what iOS version this was introduced in, so your 3G may not have it. But it's worth a try to see if it's there and if you could live with it.)
posted by heresiarch at 9:23 AM on September 27, 2012


My headphone jack got pretty linty, so the headphone controls didn't work (the headphones couldn't push far enough down). I used a paperclip to carefully remove the lint, and it worked again. Not sure that'll fix the volume and power buttons, though.
posted by backwards guitar at 9:31 AM on September 27, 2012


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