It has been a while since Apple had a bit of a furore to face regarding one of its products, but today there is quite the buzz surrounding the 2014-released iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus and what is being dubbed “Touch IC Disease.”
The phenomenon, named by repair site iFixit, results in users whose iPhones exhibit a grey flickering bar at the top of the device’s screen as well as a progressively less responsive touch screen.
The issue, which it is said is causing a huge number of phones to be repaired by third-party outfits in the United States, is believed to be caused by a systemic failing in the design of both the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.
In a blog post and accompanying video, the folks at iFixit have detailed just what the issue is, and why they believe it is happening. The explanation as to why this is happening makes plenty of sense on the face of it, though we would love to know what Apple has to say about it.
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.”
iPhone screen showing the aforementioned gray flickering symptom along the top its screen
As the issue tends to crop up towards the end of a user’s warranty, or often outside of it, they are left with no option but to seek a fix from one of the many third-party hardware repair firms out there, many of which claim to be fixing iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus devices at a rate of knots.
“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.
At this point, the only advice we can offer is that if you are still in your warranty period and notice an issue similar to this, it might be worth getting the iPhone in question swapped out before things escalate. Do it now, before it’s too late!
While this issue isn’t yet at the “-gate” stage, it does have the feeling of something that could blow up at any moment. Here’s hoping Apple gets out ahead of it this time around.
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