A rare fault in the Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone will be replaced by the company free of cost. The fault is with the on-off buttons on the iPhone 5, which the company admitted affected “a small percentage” of the previous-generation smartphones.

In a statement on Friday, spokeswoman Teresa Brewer said, “Apple will offer the service free of charge to iPhone 5 customers with models that exhibit this issue and have a qualifying serial number.”

A free of charge service from Apple

On its user-support page, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) informed “iPhone 5 models manufactured through March 2013 may be affected by this issue.” The button referred to as a sleep/wake mechanism do not work or work only intermittently.

However, the Cupertino based company has not revealed the number of devices carrying the faulty mechanism. To identify if a phone is eligible for the replacement, users can check by putting their iPhone serial numbers on Apple’s website. To avail the facility, users could either visit the store or mail the device to the company.

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), which has been known for its perfect hardware engineering and design, rarely go for the mass scale repair programs as the glitches are hardly seen.

The replacement service provided by Apple will be free of charge, which would certainly help the company to placate the users affected.

In 2010, a glitch called “Antennagate,” affected many iPhone 4. The glitch, as was told by Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), could result in a signal loss under certain conditions. As a corrective action, the company offered free phone casings to correct the issue.

Increasing buybacks lowering dividend bill

Apple’s recent announcement of the share buyback did have a favorable impact on the stock. In last four quarters, the company has spent $44 billion on the stock buybacks, which have helped the shares to gain 29.2% or $129.28. Presently, the iPhone maker has 861.74 million shares outstanding compared to 892.55 million outstanding shares, in the last quarter. In the March quarter, Apple repurchased 31.7 million shares, and plans to retire them. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) now has 31.7 million fewer shares outstanding, which implies that the company will have to pay out $104.3 million less in its total dividend payments this quarter.

Compared to 861.74 million outstanding shares, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has been authorized with 1.8 billion common shares, which means that the company still has some billion shares to offer or allot employees or use for other reasons.