iPhone 6/6 Plus Flickering Touchscreen Issue Persists: iFixit

Iphone 6 touch defect

The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus’ structural design flaw, Bendgate (of course you remember that!) has an unanticipated, long-term consequence: Touch Disease, says iFixit. What’s that? It’s a grey, flickering bar at the top of the display and an unresponsive touchscreen.

In a blog post iFixit exposes the problem they say lots of repair shops worldwide encounter on a monthly basis. For example, a repair tech from New Orleans sees up to 100 iPhone 6 and 6 Plus devices a month that don’t respond well to touch, and about half of the repairs sent to another repair shop — Microsoldering.com — show the same aforementioned symptoms.

After looking into the matter and speaking with specialists, iFixit has discovered that the problem is not with the touchscreen, but it is the two touchscreen controller chips, or Touch IC chips located on the logic board of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.

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,” [microsoldering specialist] Jessa Jones explains. “As the crack deepens into a full separation of the chip-board bond, the periods of no touch function become more frequent.” Any drops or heavy handling keep chipping away at the cracked solder balls. Damage enough of them, and the connections between the chips and the logic board are severed, signals are lost, touch gets glitchier, and then goes away altogether.

Since Apple’s repair Geniuses aren’t equipped with proper tools to perform logic board repairs in-house, they aren’t able the fix the issue (called Touch Disease). The only way to avoid following their “advice” to buy a new iPhone is to get in touch with skilled third-party microsoldering specialists. The problem is they aren’t authorised by Apple to do repairs. They seem to be the only specialists who can fix this problem by replacing the two Touch IC chips for less than half of the cost of buying a new phone.

As pointed out by iFixit, the problem is limited to these two models, as Apple — despite not acknowledging the problem — moved the Touch IC chips off the logic boards onto the display assembly, possibly for sheltering them from the flexing forces the logic board is subjected to.

A board repair expert from New York City says we are facing a widespread issue, which will probably explode into a class action lawsuit, but for that to happen, customers with Touch Disease symptoms need to demand more support from Apple for this hardware issue.

Are you seeing the described symptoms of Touch Disease?

Technology enthusiast, rocker, biker and writer of iPhoneinCanada.ca. Follow me on Twitter or contact me via email: istvan@iphoneincanada.ca

  • Joe

    I still have Apple Care on my iPhone 6. Should I get them to replace it? I’ve had occasional touch screen issues, but pretty rare tbth.

  • If I were you, I would get it fixed or replaced. Take advantage of your AppleCare.

  • Oliver Hoffmann

    I am already on my iPhone 6 Plus number 4. Got them exchanged for a new one on AppleCare each time. This is driving me crazy. My current one has the least problems so far but I still get the unresponsive screen from time to time. Not sure if I will exchange one more time before AppleCare runs out.

  • Angelus

    How do you show them the issue when you get to the store? It happens occasionally on mine. Do they just take your word for it?

  • Talk to online customer care, or phone in and explain the situation. I find that usually is more helpful than visiting a store.

  • Rickyscv

    How can we know that the iPhone 7’s don’t have the same potential problem?

  • karinatwork

    I missed the boat on Apple Care. For some reason, I thought you had a year to buy it, but instead it was only 90 days after pre-order. So I’m totally SOL. 🙁

  • It’s Me

    Apple needs to get their ass in gear on fixing this. A friend of mine is a long time Apple hater and still doesn’t like them much. But when forced to go with an iPhone or a BB for work, he bought an iPhone 6 Plus, paid for entirely himself at full retail. He actually loved the phone. But shortly after his warranty expired, this started happening and happenign frequently. He hasn’t brought it in yet but has read Apple won’t do anything. It’s quickly reigniting his Apple hate. I expect this is true for a lot of people.

  • Alexandre Forget

    Is there a chat for canadian people or only by phone ?

  • Both available to Canucks

  • Good thing I have Applecare+ if it happens!

  • Mr. Mac

    Yeah, I’ve got it as well. It’s so intermittent though that I’ve not wanted to take it in because I’m sure it won’t replicate in the store. The problem only seems to occur when I need to take a time sensitive photo and then I have to waste precious seconds doing a quick on/off to get it working again. This article has been the final push for me make an appointment before my apple care runs out in November.

  • llluis

    Yeah, iPhone 6 here, bent a while ago. Exact same symptoms as described. Started with intermittent mal function of the touch. Then the flickering in the top. Now it’s completely dead. Already had figured out the problem was the main board as flexing the phone would bring back touch.

  • wahgee88

    Had my wife’s iPhone 6 Plus replaced two times – glad we have AppleCare+. We took several videos from another phone to show the tech ppl.

  • Mr. Mac

    They ran a diagnostic on my phone and then gave me a new one. The iPhone backup makes the switcharoo nice but I sure hope they add new functionality in iOS10 to mark music to be downloaded. It takes around 12h to get the music I want back on my phone and I have to do funny business with some of the playlists to get them to show up because a lot of them showed up as empty.