A design defect has been plaguing iPhone 6 and 6 Plus devices worldwide.
In a report by iFixit, a company known to tear down the latest gadgets for repair today, many of the aforementioned Apple devices are experiencing an unresponsive touchscreen, as well as a 'gray, flickering bar at the top of the display.' The issue has been dubbed 'Touch Disease,' and while there has not been any official record of how many devices are affected, repair techs are saying that the problem is incredibly common.
"This issue is widespread enough that I feel like almost every iPhone 6/6+ has a touch of it (no pun intended) and are like ticking bombs just waiting to act up,” says Jason Villmer, owner of STS Telecom, a board repair shop in Missouri.
An iPhone 6 Plus owner wrote on the Apple Forum to express his dismay over the issue. It states:
“I took [my phone] to the ‘Geniuses’ at Apple Store in Westfield Valley Fair mall (Santa Clara, CA). After a very long wait (~2 hrs) I finally met with a rep. He acknowledged the problem (he was very familiar with it), but said Apple doesn’t recognize it as an issue, and so there is not much he can do.”
A few who are affected found that twisting the phone or putting a little pressure on the touch screen temporarily takes the problem away. However, as it returns, the gray bar on the screen spreads, and the touchscreen eventually loses total functionality.
In iFixit's investigation, it seems that the issue is an internal hardware defect. This already rules out replacing the touchscreen, as according to them, the gray bar will eventually show itself again. Digging deeper, two repair pros reportedly found that the issue lies within two touchscreen controller chips (Touch IC) found on the logic board inside the phone.
The chips are responsible for processing the finger taps and other gestures sent by the user's fingers to the phone. If this is broken, the display will not process information correctly.
What's more peculiar is that the issue is seen to be a long-term consequence to 'Bendgate,' the issue back in 2014 that literally bent iPhones when placed in back pockets.
Apple apparently did not use any 'underfill,' a substance that holds chips secure, to hold the Touch IC. Instead, it was seen that the company only used a sticker shield to keep it inside the logic board. When this breaks off, it causes the gray bar to appear on the screen. Putting pressure on the screen as said above, allows the chip to finally make contact again with the logic board, fixing the problem, albeit temporarily.
The iPhone 6S and 6S Plus are not affected by the issue as the Touch IC chip has been moved to the display board, where it is kept more secure.
Owners affected by the issue are left with only a few options: either have the Touch IC or logic board replaced, or have the phone replaced altogether.
Source and Images via iFixit