Trouble with Nexus 5 power button

I bought a Nexus 5 on a 2 year contract with Vidéotron in june 2014. Except weird signal losses, I liked the phone. This phone being in the Nexus series, the manufacturer doesn’t try to prevent you from rooting it and he doesn’t install countless bloatware apps. I had no major problem with it until november 2015. At this point, my phone was going in constant boot loop. A few searches told me that this problem is very common with Nexus 5 and the cause was the contact with the power button being almost pressed and almost non-pressed. I was bummed out because it was as my phone was bricked. Here are a few workarounds that I got to try while my phone was partially broken.

Booting without power button

This case happened a few times and I got around this problem with fastboot. You need to have USB debugging enabled on your phone. After a few desparate diffrent tries, I got a working one: on the phone unplugged but with a good amount of battery, hold volume up and down for about 10 seconds. Then plug it while still holding the volume buttons down. You should be in fastboot menu. Ironically, to boot or reboot the system from this menu, you need the power button to validate your choice. Nothing we can do there, but with fastboot from your computer, you can reboot it.

Turning on screen

This was my initial concern: how the heck can I turn on and off my screen. I know that when I plug my phone for charging, the screen lits up. However, this solution is pretty awful in term of convernience, so I looked for other solutions. Luckily, I am not the first one to encouter such problems, so there are a bunch of apps to circumvent this issue.

I initially tried Gravity Screen, which controls the screen according to motion sensors. For example, when the phone is in vertical position, like in a pants pocket, the screen is off, but when the phone is face up and horizontal, the screen is on. Most importantly, you can turn on the screen by waving in front of the screen. I thought that this app was all I needed but it was a bit too much for me; I more control over my screen. Also, I would get a few false positives for example when I was laying down in bed reading on my phone. Gravity Screen is a great app but it didn’t suit my needs very well.

I kept looking for another app and I found the one that I used until I repaired my phone: Power Button to Volume Button. I doesn’t get simpler. I am able to open my screen with the volume Up button. For closing it, the app adds a notification in my notification tray “Turn off screen” so I simply click it. The only issue I have is when I am screen-casting with my phone. In this case, the volume Up or Down signals were send to the TV. I had to plug in a power cable to turn the screen on, and to stop the casting.

Repair

I tried a few phone repair shop and I eventually found one that claimed they could solve the problem. For 40$, they fixed it and I got a working phone. Eventually, after 9 months, my cellphone contract expired and I was elligible for a new phone. I got the OnePlus 3 and I could not be happier with it.