Apple has offered to replace malfunctioning or broken iPhone 5 power buttons for free.

Affected users in the US are able to submit their claim through Apple's support website, while iPhone 5 owners around the world can get in on the action from May 2.

Users will need to enter their phone's serial number through the replacement programme's website and then drop the handset off at an Apple retail store or mail it in, in order for it to be repaired.

Apple has specified that if there is any damage to the phone that impairs the replacement - such as a cracked screen - that must be addressed at the owner's cost - before the new sleep/wake button is fitted.

Recalls

Replacement programs are rare, but not unprecedented for Apple. Other recalls have seen iPod nanos brought in due to overheating concerns and issues with flash memory drives on MacBook Air laptops addressed.

The only prior instance for the iPhone is the infamous 'Antennagate' iPhone 4 issue, which saw signal fall when the device was gripped in a certain way. In that case Apple offered 'bumper' cases for all affected users.