Fixing a broken iPhone?
September 3, 2008 10:51 PM   Subscribe

Broken iPhone sleep/wake button...

I have access to an old iPhone with a broken sleep/wake button. The button is "pressed into" the case, and so is permanently pressed in.

I'd like to do something with it. Other than the button the phone worked fine. Is there an easy / inexpensive fix for this? Are there instructions for disassembly? Is there a place I can sell this phone other than eBay?
posted by Blazecock Pileon to Computers & Internet (6 answers total)
Have you tried talking to Apple? It's quite possibly still under waranty. A friend had the same problem and they just handed him a new phone, no questions asked. (And it was a 16gig when he only had an 8.)
posted by Ookseer at 12:21 AM on September 4, 2008

Response by poster: No, this is definitely not a warranty issue.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:44 AM on September 4, 2008

Is the button metal or plastic? You could use the point of a pin or a safety pin to press down on whatever portion of the button you can see, and try to "scrape" it back into proper position.
posted by TheNewWazoo at 5:56 AM on September 4, 2008

Best answer: iFixit has pretty decent teardown guides - if you've got access to the right tools (a spudger and the special iPod tool), getting the thing open becomes mostly a matter of patience.

If the button still acts stuck once it's apart, there's an issue with the button. There are some spray lubricants that are designed for such situations, and one of them may be helpful in some minutely small quantity. That's if the button is actually sticking, and not physically damaged in some way.

If the button is free at that point, there might be an issue of tolerance with whatever surrounds the button - I'd guess that it's metal, though, so that seems unlikely to me.

It's possible that the simple act of taking the thing apart and giving that plastic button a thorough washing will fix the problem.
posted by god hates math at 6:28 AM on September 4, 2008

What god says. I dropped my iPhone so that its power button was stuck down too. I used the iFixit guide to take apart the iPhone, bent back out the case around the power button that was holding it down, and then reassembled. It was a very delicate and frustrating task (and I take apart a lot of tiny electroncis). And the "fit" of all the parts now isn't as good as it was. But, it's all back together and works again.
posted by todbot at 10:02 AM on September 4, 2008

Response by poster: I took it apart using the iFixit instructions. Thanks for the link!

I filed down the button and stretched out the bent buttonhole, so that the button could travel freely. Works lovely, now.

I think Apple wins at making grown adults cry. I ended up damaging the metal case getting it open. There was the case damage from the drop, anyway. The other bits work fine. It's fine for dev purposes and I'm okay with that.

But for you kids at home reading along, make sure you have the plastic shimmy tools to keep from damaging your case, if you want to keep it looking good.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:17 PM on September 4, 2008

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