What is Touch Disease?
For the past year or so hundreds of thousands of consumers have suffered with defective iPhone 6 and 6+ devices. A huge manufacturing flaw exists in all of these devices which causes the screen to become completely unresponsive to touch. The user may also notice a flickering grey bar at the top of the screen. This increasingly common issue has been dubbed “Touch Disease” and is caused by faulty connections between some of the internal micro-chips on the logic board.
This is an iPhone 6+ affected by “Touch Disease” or as called by repair professionals, Touch IC Failure.
On 11/21/2016 Apple acknowledged that this problem exists and launched a repair program for affected iPhone 6+ handsets called the “Multi-Touch Repair Program.” Before the program launched your only option was to purchase a new device at full price as Apple is claiming that the issue was caused by repeatedly dropping the handset on hard surfaces.
What Causes Touch Disease?
Lets talk about the real cause of the problem, the part that Apple will never admit – Poor manufacturing. There are two chips on the logic board in each phone which control touch screen functionality. These chips are soldered to the logic board and that is where the first problem begins. Numerous solder pads connect each chip to its respective place on the logic board. These solder pads are oxidizing and breaking down over time causing the connection to fail. One reason for this is the type of metal used to solder the chips to the board but the other reason is yet another manufacturing oversight – The phone bends easily because the material used to make it is very thin and weak.
90% of iPhone 6/6+ devices that come into our shop are bent. In most cases the bend is not noticeable to the owner but it is one of the first things that our technicians will look for because these bends can accelerate Touch IC Failure.
What is the Solution?
When the iPhone bends, the logic board bends with it, creating stress on the already fragile connection between the Touch IC chips and the board. The metal used for the iPhone 6/6+ housing is incredibly weak and usually bends simply from being in your pocket. To help prevent bending we recommend keeping your phone in a front pocket and never sitting on it. We also recommend using a thick protective case. A shocking 90% of iPhone 6/6+ devices that come into our shop are slightly bent and require re-forming to ensure proper fitment of the new screen.
These are the two Touch IC chips on an iPhone 6+ logic board.
These chips can be replaced but, in our opinion, the repair is not reliable as it requires micro-soldering and extreme heat which usually affects the chips surrounding the one being replaced. Touch function may be restored but other problems can present. The only real solution is a replacement handset.