A Design Defect is Plaguing Many iPhone 6 and 6 Plus Units

BY Evan Selleck

Published 23 Aug 2016

iPhone 6 Touch Disease

For many iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus owners out there in the wild, a design defect is apparently causing some huge issues.

In a lengthy blog post published recently by iFixit, a flaw in design is apparently cropping up, which they are calling “Touch Disease.” With it, owners of the phones are experiencing, to start, a gray bar that appears at the very top of their display. And, for many others, the display itself becomes unresponsive to touch, or less responsive overall.

In the blog post, which is supported by third-party repair shops that have seen the issue quite a bit, iFixit says the problem stems from issues with the touchscreen controller chip, which is soldered onto the logic board. Interestingly enough, iFixit posits that the same internal design decisions that led to “Endgate” might be causing the issue leading to Touch Disease, too:

“In both the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, the Touch IC chips connect to the logic board via an array of itty-bitty solder balls–“like a plate resting on marbles,” Jessa explains. Over time, as the phone flexes or twists slightly during normal use, those solder balls crack and start to lose contact with the board.

“At first, there may be no defect at all. Later you might notice that the screen is sometimes unresponsive, but it is quick to come back with a hard reset,” Jessa explains. “As the crack deepens into a full separation of the chip-board bond, the periods of no touch function become more frequent.”

The publication says that one way to fix it is to actually twist the phone, so that the controller chip makes direct contact again. Or apply pressure in the spot where the touchscreen is not responding. However, neither of these fixes are a cure, and the issue appears to return soon after.

The problem is widespread at this point, with hundreds of threads appearing in the Apple Support communities. What’s more, the third-party repair shops cited in the original blog post say they’ve seen hundreds of iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus units arrive with the issue. Replacing the display doesn’t fix it, either.

The safest bet at this point is if the phone is under warranty to get it replaced by Apple. And, if it is not under warranty any longer, to find a repair shop that will replace the chips inside the device altogether.

Check out the video regarding Touch Disease below. Have you, or someone you know, suffered through this?

[via iFixit]