Apple has launched a new program to help iPhone 5 owners affected by a fault that may render their sleep/wake button ineffective or unresponsive. The problem affects what Apple calls “a small percentage” of iPhone 5s made from March 2013 on, Apple says, and you can find out if yours qualifies and apply for the replacement hardware by inputting your iPhone’s serial number at the support site created by Apple specifically for this program.
Apple asks that users check their device on the site if their sleep/wake button has stopped working completely, or works inconsistently. If you qualify, you’ll then be able to get your device repaired, either in person at an Apple Store or authorized service provider, or by sending your iPhone in for treatment via mail. If you opt for carry-in, you can also get an iPhone 5 loaner model, which Apple will supply in 16GB variants only for use while your own device is having its sleep/wake button replaced.
The program is live as of today in the U.S. and Canada, and will expand to other countries as of May 2. If your phone isn’t displaying the problem now, don’t worry about it just yet; Apple’s offer to replace broken sleep/wake buttons extends to two years beyond the first purchase date of the device, so in theory you’ve still got another year for the issue to manifest to get it fixed for free.