Is Your iPhone 4 Warranty About To Expire? Here Are The Defects To Look Out For


iPhone 4 side promo

While many of us already have our eyes set on the new iPhone, which Apple will likely release this fall, there are still millions of people using the iPhone 4.

Released on June 24, 2010, the first round of iPhone 4’s are about to hit their two-year anniversary. This means that those who purchased an iPhone 4 along with the AppleCare protection plan, which effectively extends warranty protection to two years, are about to lose coverage.

If you bought an iPhone 4 in the summer of 2010 you should take some time to examine it in order to ensure that no part of it is showing signs of defect. Here’s what you need to know.

First off, visit Apple’s Warranty Status site to determine whether your iPhone 4 is still covered by its One-Year Limited Warranty or AppleCare. All you need is your iPhone 4’s serial number, which can be accessed from the Settings > General > About menu on your iPhone. If your iPhone is still eligible for service, take a few minutes to vet your iPhone for possible defects.

Three Common and Easy-to-Spot Defects

Screen discoloration. Some users have reported issues with the iPhone 4’s Retina display. These screen defects are typically described as blotchy or patchy areas of pale or yellow screen discoloration. This is a defect and Apple will replace your iPhone 4 if it exhibits this issue.

Broken Home button. Some users have seen their iPhone 4’s Home button wear out prematurely. Not to be confused with a sluggish or occasionally unresponsive Home button, which is caused by software issues and can normally be fixed through recalibration or system restore (something Apple may attempt before providing you with a replacement iPhone 4), a defective Home button will have suffered a premature breakdown in the button’s physical mechanism. Whether this is due to defect or some other reason (i.e. water damage or dirt in or around the contact), you should seek to have your iPhone 4 repaired. Absent signs of abuse or improper usage Apple will be happy to replace your iPhone 4.

Broken sleep button. Like the Home button, the Sleep/Power button has been known to wear out prematurely. When this happens the button typically starts to stick or become difficult to push. Eventually, the Sleep/Power button becomes entirely inoperable and requires replacement. The Sleep/Power button is required to perform some very important functions (e.g. power, forced resets, sleep, etc.) and, therefore, if yours is showing signs of wearing out you should seek to have Apple replace your iPhone as soon as possible.

Other Components to Test Out

The iPhone 4 is a complicated device that contains a host of components. The abovementioned defects are both comparatively common and easy to spot. If you have the time, I would encourage iPhone 4 owners to also run through the following components. Links to basic Google searches are provided as a suggested starting point.

You likely purchased AppleCare in order to further protect your iPhone 4 from the risk of defects. Conduct your own due diligence before your iPhone 4’s AppleCare protection expires. If you discover a potential defect you should contact Apple technical support or schedule a Genius Bar appointment at your local Apple Store. Don’t forget to back up your iPhone before you go because the solution to a defective iPhone is usually to issue a replacement on the spot.

Why Make the Effort?

There are numerous reasons for taking the time to troubleshoot your iPhone 4. First, you paid for AppleCare. That’s right, you shelled out around $69 for your iPhone 4’s AppleCare protection plan back in 2010 – don’t let it go to waste. Second, defective components may be signs of larger issues or may, over time, negatively impact other components (i.e. defective batteries). Third, if you’re thinking about selling your old iPhone 4 when you upgrade to a new iPhone you will get more cash for a replacement that is in pristine condition than one with a Home button that doesn’t work.

Finally, remember that we are not expecting the new iPhone to arrive until this fall. Once your AppleCare expires you’re going to be on your own if your iPhone 4 breaks down. Right now, a replacement iPhone 4, 16 GB costs between $250.00 and $450.00 (on Amazon) if you’re not eligible for a subsidized phone. Not only will a replacement iPhone resolve any existing defect, but Apple offers a 90-day warranty on parts and service provided under its One-Year Limited Warranty or AppleCare service plans. Therefore, having your iPhone 4 replaced under its AppleCare protection plan will effectively extend warranty protection against defects up until just about the time the new iPhone hits the shelves. That way you can use your carrier’s iPhone subsidy on the new iPhone when it is released this fall instead of a replacement for your iPhone 4 if it breaks down prematurely.

Do you have any tips for our readers? Are there other common defects that you think our readers should look out for? If so, post your thoughts in the comments to this article.

  • Timothy Williamson

    My iPhone 4 has the Home Button issue, and I brought my phone in a few weeks after the original 1-year warranty expired, and they would not replace it. They said oh it’s a software issue and recommended a full restore (which didn’t fix it). Kinda pisses me off.

  • ApplePr0n

    My iPhone 4 has the Home Button issue, and I brought my phone in a few weeks after the original 1-year warranty expired, and they would not replace it. They said oh it’s a software issue and recommended a full restore (which didn’t fix it). Kinda pisses me off.

    Wow, that is literally one of the very few stories I’ve heard of poor customer service at an Apple store. Mine, the guy looked at the phone. Didn’t even press the home button once, and grabbed another iPhone and hooked it up to my account for me

  • Travis Polad

    My warranty for my Iphone has been expired for a few months now, and I recently got the broken sleep button problem. I’ve looked it up online and many people have this problem; Apparently it’s a factory defect. I’ve gone into my local Apple Store and despite it being Apples defect and not my fault, they say they will not replace it because I’m out of warranty. So I have to pay $300 for a new one when it’s not even my fault that it’s broken? It’s disgusting! Now I just have it set so it goes into sleep mode after a minute.

  • taro23100

    Hey! There is a cheap App (1$) that helps in most of those checks: “Device Explorer Pro” is the perfect suite of tools for those kind of verifications! :)

  • Cinval

    Yes, I too have this Home Button problem and found it would cost me the equivalent of $300 here in Norway to have it fixed after only 18 months light use.

    The solution I have adopted on the iPhone is to enable AssistiveTouch in Settings>General>Accessibility.

    My other solution is to avoid future Apple products. Today I ordered a Galaxy Nexus, which has no hardware Home button..