Guide: Replacing the iPhone 4 Lock & Power Button

Although I've captured the replacement of the power/lock button on my iPhone 4 across a number of posts, I want to condense it all here. It's not a terribly difficult repair, just a bit of a pain. 

The Problem

The power & lock button on the top of your iPhone 4 appears to be stuck or does not click. In some cases, it may still register a button press if you push on it hard enough, as was the case with mine, but there is no more clicking action. Most of the threads I've found on the 'tubes regarding this issue diagnose it as being 'stuck'. It's not stuck, in fact there really isn't a way to get it stuck. The mechanical button that lives under the metal button cap is broken, and no longer provides any clicking action.

If you have this issue, the first thing to do is march into the nearest Apple store with big, glistening puppy-dog eyes and ask them to swap the phone out for you. If you've already done repairs on this phone, or otherwise voided your warranty, you'll be out of luck. It never hurts to ask though.

What You Need

The button lives on a flex cable assembly that must be completely replaced. The part is cheap, about $20, and can be purchased from iFixit for the AT&T device here and the Verizon device here. The repair I did was on a GSM (AT&T) iPhone 4 so I can't say how the process varies for the CDMA (Verizon) device.

What you most likely don't need (something I figured out when I first tried to fix this problem) is the button cover. The description just says 'button', and although it's true that this is the thing you push, it doesn't actually have the electrical contact inside. It's just a metal cover, doesn't really break, and is really just in the way of your finger and the actual button underneath.

This thing on the left, you don't need it. This thing on the right, buy it here. Photo credits: iFixit

The actual button lives on the top right part of the flex assembly (it's on the underside in the photo, since it has to fold up to mount to the top of the phone). This piece also contains the proximity sensor, ambient light sensor, and a secondary microphone (used for ambient noise canceling). I really don't see how the button cap could break, the thing is pretty sturdy. There is that little metal bar that you can see in the photograph, which swivels around, but you'd be hard pressed to break it. If you want to be safe, since it really is a huge pain in the ass to take the phone apart, pick up both pieces since the total cost is still only $25.

How to do it

Here are my detailed instructions: Go ask iFixit. They have excruciatingly detailed instructions and high res photos to guide you along. I've used their guides and parts exclusively with great success. Also, see my other posts on my shot glass strategy for organizing screws.

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