iPhone 4 Stuck Power Button - What You Need To Know


I have torn up 2 iPhones in my past. From tearing them up after attempting to fix them, I became quite proficient in the art of fixing them. But today, I uncovered what I believe to be a common issue with the iPhone 4 (4S) - the stuck or sticking power button.

A young friend of mine asked me if I could repair his iPhone 4 that had a mushy power button that no longer clicks. To turn his phone on or wake it back up, he would have to use tremendous force on the sticking power button. I decided to take it on.

I discovered a quick-fix and a real fix for this issue. The quick fix only requires taking the back off of the phone. Apparently, someone was lucky enough to shove a small folded piece of paper in-between the power button and ribbon to give it something to press against in order to activate. This does not work.

It can be a dangerous pseudo repair. If you break the ribbon from putting pressure in the wrong place, you can FUBAR your iPhone power button completely.

The only real repair for this is to compeltely tear down the phone and replace the entire ribbon and button assembly. Unfortunately, this is more time consuming than replacing the LCD/digitizer screen. Everything has to come out. And the replacement ribbon/button assembly is tiny.

The labor for this fix might not be worth the trouble you have to go through. In my opinion, this is a problem that should be taken straight to Apple whether or not the phone is still under warranty. From my research, I'm finding out that this is not a malfunction that comes from abnormal wear.

If you want to see the process you must go through to accomplish the replacement of the ribbon and button, check out www.imore.com and their step-by-step process. You can also check out my favorite iPhone repair site at www.ifixit.com for a great guide. However, if you have never disassembled an iPhone 4/4S, I do not recommend attempting this.

I believe the instances of this issue numbers in the 200,000-plus range. That's proof enough of a manufacturer's defect at worst case, and poor design at least case. I don't think it's a defect, but just a common problem that can occur due to the tight space the button and ribbon assembly have to be squished into.

My recommendation is to find a workaround. You can jailbreak your iPhone and reassign some of the buttons to simulate the power button's functionality. I did this with my iPhone 4 when my home button had the same problem. Instead of hitting the home button when the phone was off, I would depress the volume up + volume down buttons at the same time to turn it on.

If this is not something you want to do, you can call Apple directly and bug the crap out of them until they agree that it is not your fault that they designed the phone this way, and make them repair it for free.

This is just one of a nice list I have of serious Apple iPhone issues that the company doesn't seem to want to deal with. Judging from the response to the original "Antennagate" issue, I am of the belief that they don't want to deal with the headache.

I hate to be critical of Apple's devices, but this is just an unacceptable problem that I think a significant number of people are having. Physical buttons on the iPhone 4, including the home button, power button, volume button, and silence button are all prone to sticking in this same manner.

I'm hoping that Apple resolves this with the iPhone 5, along with the ridiculously fragile cracking screen issue. The iPhone is a solid, heavy "quality-feeling" device, but that obviously comes with a price.

Critics tend to take jabs at manufacturers like Samsung and Pantech for having "plasticky" light-weight devices, but you can't take a blind eye to the fact that they are much much more durable and don't have these common button malfunctions.

Take note of this, Apple, and please save the frustration of countless future customers of yours by resolving these issues on the next breakthrough version of your flagship device!

Carlton Flowers
Defender of Poor Souls Who Own Phaulty iPhones