Here’s a little reminder: check your iPhone 4 thoroughly for issues before your warranty expires. At this point in time, most iPhone 4s are still under their One-Year Limited Warranty — but not for long.
Here’s a partial list of some of the issues that may warrant a replacement:
- Prematurely worn out buttons
- High counts of dead pixels
- Case discoloration
- White bleeding
- Yellow spots on the screen
- Bars along the top or bottom of the screen
- Persistent Wifi or connectivity issues may indicate defective antennas
- Sound jack problems
- Documented camera issues
Whenever I have an issue with an Apple product that warrants a visit to the genius bar, I am surprised at how few other Apple customers know what to expect as an outcome. For example, last week my iPhone 4’s sleep button started to stick. It became extremely difficult to press and within a day it stopped working altogether. Seeing that my iPhone was still covered by Apple’s One-Year Limited Warranty (it’s only about nine months old) I backed it up and scheduled a trip to my local Apple Store. In my case, it seems as if the button had prematurely worn out likely due to a defect in the button mechanism.
The next day I had a brand new (albeit technically refurbished) iPhone 4 in my hands. I did the exchange during my lunch break and still had time to grab something to eat afterwards. Total time spent: about 45 minutes. While I was at the Genius Bar I noticed that the woman sitting next to me had an iPhone 4 with the same problem — her iPhone’s sleep button had also stopped working. While we waited I asked her whether she expected Apple to replace her iPhone. To my surprise, she said that she did not. Well, they replaced her phone too.
I did some limited research and there are some reports of the sleep button wearing out in this fashion. In almost all cases the forum conversation goes something like this:
Distressed iPhone 4 Owner: “Help my iPhone’s button stopped working.”
Response Post: “That’s a shame, try taking it in and hopefully Apple will fix it.”
Distressed iPhone 4 Owner: “I don’t think they’ll fix it because I may have caused the damage myself. I just don’t know.”
Response Post: “No, seriously, just take it in. Apple will fix it.”
Distressed iPhone 4 Owner: “But I bought my iPhone from the AT&T store.”
Response Post: “Seriously… Just take your phone in. Apple will fix it.”
No Longer Distressed iPhone 4 Owner: “OMG, Apple fixed it! They just gave me a new iPhone! Thanks!”
There seems to be an awfully large number of people who are excusably misinformed about defects and how to get them addressed. If this happens to your iPhone 4, do not hesitate to take it in for repair, Apple will replace it. Provided your iPhone is still covered by its One-Year Limited Warranty or AppleCare and exhibits any legitimate defect, Apple will likely replace it. It’s really that simple.
My point here is not to tell you about my defective iPhone button, but to remind you to be sure you check your iPhone 4 thoroughly for issues before your warranty expires. As of the publishing of this article, most iPhone 4’s are still under their One-Year Limited Warranty (provided the warranty has not been breached) and many will be under AppleCare for years to come. The One-Year Limited Warranty travels with the iPhone, so it doesn’t matter where you bought it (AT&T, eBay, etc.). Now is the time to give your iPhone 4 a good hard look to determine whether any defects have manifested. If you find a defect, get it addressed before it’s too late. Just be sure to back up your iPhone before taking it in as you will need to re-sync it in order to restore all of your settings afterwards.
NOTE: Look out for Jonathan Zschau’s upcoming e-book from CultofMac.com, Buying and Owning a Mac: Secrets Apple Doesn’t Want You to Know. It’s full of advice like this on how to get the most out of you Mac.