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(Pocket-lint) - Apple has launched a new Sleep/Wake button replacement program for iPhone 5 users.

The program is ideal for consumers who own an iPhone 5 and have noticed their Sleep/Wake button not functioning properly. It seems the Cupertino-based company has determined that the Sleep/Wake button mechanism on a "small percentage" of iPhone 5 models stops working intermittently. Specifically, the issue occurs on iPhone 5 models manufactured through March 2013.

When searching for "iPhone 5" on Google, the query "iphone 5 sleep button not working" is among the top searches. Apple's Support Communities are also loaded with forum posts about malfunctioning Sleep/Wake buttons on the iPhone 5. One of the oldest posts, for instance, which originated in November 2012, just two months after the iPhone 5 launched, has roughly 100,000 views and 100 replies.

It therefore is unclear what a "small percentage" means to Apple, but obviously the company has needed to address this issue for a while. That said, starting today, Apple will replace the sleep/wake button mechanism - free of charge - on iPhone 5 models with a qualifying serial number. Apple has even launched a dedicated webpage where you can submit your serial number to see of you qualify.

READ:Apple iPhone 5 Review

The replacement process is limited to the US and Canada. It will launch in other countries on 2 May. All replacements are completed at an Apple Repair Center, and there are two ways to send your iPhone to the repair center: carry-in or mail-in. Check out Apple's webpage for the program details. Keep in mind that damaged iPhones, such as iPhones with cracked screens, do not qualify until their other issues are addressed.

Writing by Elyse Betters. Originally published on 26 April 2014.