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Apple commences replacement program for iPhone 5’s glitchy sleep/wake button

Apple has followed its rival Samsung in issuing a blanket alert concerning a fault on its iPhone 5 handset and plans to replace all devices that feature the error.

Related: A closer look at the iPhone 5S and Apple’s faulty sensors

The Cupertino-based firm confirmed that a “small percentage” of iPhone 5 smartphones are affected by the manufacturing error that means the sleep/wake button either doesn’t work or only works every so often.

It is offering to replace the sleep/wake mechanism in any phone that is affected for free and Apple has hastily set up a website where iPhone 5 owners can enter the serial number to check to see if their device is affected.

Apple added that it thinks the faulty iPhone 5 handsets were manufactured prior to May 2013 and customers with an affected device can either post it to an Apple repair centre or drop it off in person.

It’s anticipated that the process will take between four and six days to be completed from when the device is dropped off to when it is ready and it will be checked over prior to being sent off to the Repair Centre to check it’s in full working order.

Apple also noted, “if your iPhone 5 has any damage such as a cracked screen which impairs the replacement of the sleep/wake button, that issue will need to be resolved prior to the sleep/wake button replacement. In some cases, there may be a cost associated with the repair.”

The news came at the same time that South Korean competitor Samsung admitted to a faulty camera inside its latest Galaxy S5 smartphone, an issue that affects a “very limited” number of handsets. It has committed to replacing the handsets and reminded customers to inform Samsung customer service or the mobile operator to receive a replacement.

Related: Apple agrees to $53m settlement in iPhone warranty case

Apple’s program started in the US and Canada on 25 April and the rest of the world will be able to apply for a replacement sleep/wake button from 2 May.