is a blog about design, technology and culture written by Khoi Vinh, and has been more or less continuously published since December 2000 in New York City. Khoi is currently Principal Designer at Adobe, Design Chair at Wildcard and co-founder of Kidpost. Previously, Khoi was co-founder and CEO of Mixel (acquired by Etsy, Inc.), Design Director of The New York Times Online, and co-founder of the design studio Behavior, LLC. He is the author of “Ordering Disorder: Grid Principles for Web Design,” and was named one of Fast Company’s “fifty most influential designers in America.” Khoi lives in Crown Heights, Brooklyn with his wife and three children. Refer to the advertising and sponsorship page for inquiries.+
Spray and Play
In my experience, on not just my own iPhone 4 but also on my girlfriend’s, WD-40 restores the responsiveness of the iPhone’s home button to basically like-new condition. I just sprayed a little bit of WD-40 directly on the button, then pressed the button rapidly a few dozen times, tested its responsiveness afterwards, then repeated the process two or three times until it began to improve. Then I used the phone for a day or two to see how well the button did in actual use; I found that after a few days the problem ebbed back slightly, at which point I applied more WD-40. After the second or third application, the responsiveness remained indefinitely.
Caveat lector: I make no guarantees, and have no idea if this does any long-term harm to the device. I’m nearly certain someone will insist that it does, so anyone reading this and thinking about using WD-40 themselves should assume that this is a potentially risky fix, and I can accept no responsibilities for any damage done to your device. But for my part, I’ve had no problems with it, and it’s been six months or so since I tried this.
(Update: A friend suggests that this will void your warranty. I have no further knowledge on that issue, so, again, use your own judgment.)
In fact, I’ve found WD-40 to be a reliable and enjoyably analog fix to digital hardware for years. I first discovered this many, many years ago, when I asked an electronics repair technician if it was worth trying to fix an unresponsive button on a portable stereo that I then owned. He said don’t bother; just try a bit of WD-40. Since then I’ve used it on buttons on all sorts of hardware, always with success. The best part, of course, is that a can of WD-40 costs about as much as a sandwich and has a thousand uses.+