A new lawsuit claims the iPhone4 has a defective on-off button. The national class action claims Apple knew about the defect but didn’t disclose it even as it worked with AT&T to sell 2 year contracts.


A Florida woman is seeking more than $5 million from Apple on behalf of thousands of iPhone owners who allegedly bought phones with defective power buttons that would not lock or turn off.

In a class action suit filed in San Jose, California, Debra Hilton claims that Apple knew about a defect in a flex cable that controls the on-off button, but chose to stay quiet about it so as to sell more phones.

As evidence, she points to Apple discussion forums viewed by hundreds of thousands of visitors on which users complain of “wiggly” power buttons. Hilton also points to a fix-it video on YouTube and comments by a self-described iPhone repairman who says the power button defect is prevalent on the iPhone 4 which went on sale in 2010.

Apple did not immediately return a request for comment.

The lawsuit claims that the defect typically arises shortly after one year at which point the warranty has expired, forcing consumers to pay $149 for repairs.

Hilton is suing under the RICO statute, a federal racketeering law that has become a vehicle for national class actions. The lawsuit also accuses Apple of violating California’s unfair competition laws.

You can read the complaint for yourself here:

Apple Power Button Lawsuit

  1. Insane waste of court time. At most, she should be entitled to the cost of repairing the phone. Does she plan to sue for every other product she has that developed a fault?

    1. Due Process Tuesday, May 14, 2013

      Welcome to America, this process exist for a reason.

  2. Disgruntled apple guy Tuesday, May 14, 2013

    I’m actually rooting for her because two months after my warranty expired, my on/off button is stuck. Not sure if its the same issue but I can’t turn off the screen when finished w my phone. Took it to apple to have tell me ill have to fork out 199 for a new unit. Apple can suck my unit!

    1. I’m assuming everyone on here has discovered the accessability settings on their I phones to work around the issue???

      1. Unfortunately this is only a somewhat viable work around. The on screen button doesn’t allow powering off the device and it also won’t allow for a soft reset if necessary. I think 5 million is excessive but it should make Apple aware that maybe they need to do a recall. Because the four is being sold still with the faulty power buttons. I will also state that working in the cell phone industry if I wasn’t already anti-apple I would most definitely be after seeing all the crap they do to their customers. They need a wake up call.

  3. they have to sue Apple another $5 million for defective home buttons.
    issues with home button are more widespread than the power button.
    Just google it!
    At times doesn’t register the clicks, at times triple clicks, and sometimes registers only a single click when I perform a double click!
    And this has started after a single month of usage…

    1. Happened to my second and fourth generation iPod Touches, and my iPhone 4.

    2. Ya, the 4th Generation iPod Touch does this for sure.

    3. Don’t forget speakers going out. Phones don’t work so well when you can’t hear. My two iPhone 4 models (one warranty replacement) had all three issues.3-

  4. Reinhard Wieser Wednesday, May 15, 2013

    I have the same problem with the on/off button – after using my iPhone for one and a half year. Apple doesn’t want to repair it for free even though there is a warranty of 2 years on each device bought in the EU. Instead they offered me to repair the phone for €161,-. :-(

  5. I gave my and my wife’s iphone 4 to my kids as hand-me-downs (no cell service, just a fat ipod touch I guess). They are rough on the devices. Power buttons work fine and have always worked fine. and they are SO easy to fix anyway. It’s sad how people can such pathetic whiners.

  6. Well, I would suggest buying Samsung phones but they have NO CUSTOMER Service at all, so actually I guess that would be worse.

    PS, yeah the 65$ for the two year Apple care is a pain, but guess what, every time I have ever had any issue with my iPhones (3G, 4,G) Apple has just swapped it out, on the spot.

    And if you back up /sync to your computer, just plug it in and everything is the same as it ever was. Just a thought.

    Of course suing for 5 million is a great way to make a buck or two….. /s

  7. I have this problem with my phone – the sleep/power button stopped working after more than a year of use. I get by without it – it really doesn’t render it useless as the filing claims – but it does render the phone *less* useful. For instance, I can’t take screenshots anymore, which I used to do all of the time.

    I haven’t complained because Apple replaced my original iPhone 4 just before the end of my warranty when the noise canceling mic was malfunctioning. The tech said they thought I could fix it via some firmware update but said “we’ll just give it to you since your warranty is almost up”.

    I’m not angry about this but will be following the case to see what comes of it.

    1. You can still take screenshots (and lock your phone). Go to Settings -> General -> Accessibility and enable AssistiveTouch.

      It’s still crappier than not being able to use the lock button, but it’s better than nothing.

  8. I also had the same issue my iPhone 4 On/Sleep button went bad few days before warranty expire. thanks to the stupid store appointment the closest one was like 4 days after expiration day. Once there they told me I had to pay for repair, I had to argue that I made the appointment before warranty expire and the closest date was after so it was not fault. They ended up replacing without charging any repair cost. But it is stupid that you have to make appointment to solve phone issues why not plain simple walking and the worst was that I was in Yuma at the time the closest apple store was 2 hrs away.

  9. cranialscratch Thursday, May 16, 2013

    After shelling out for 2 iPhones to be replaced after 18 months, and a third in hand with a faulty power button, I am all for Apple resolving this. Unfortunately, this is the only way for the little man to be heard. Pity we can’t do class action suits in the UK.

  10. Don’t pay the repair costs, go into Settings/Genera/Accessability/AssistiveTouch set to YES.

    That puts a button on your screen that when touched, gives you a home button. So you can bypass the physical button. My 11yr old daughter figured this out because her hand me down iphone4 home button only worked half the time.

    Save the $150, wait until the next phone comes out and upgrade.

    1. Thanks a million Rick for the tip.


Comments have been disabled for this post