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    The Mysterious ‘Touch Disease’ That’s Plaguing iPhone 6 and 6 Plus!

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    Amit Srivatsa
    Amit Srivatsa Aug 26, 2016

    There’s a new, mysterious touch disease that’s plaguing hundreds of iPhone 6 and 6 Plus models all over the world. And the Geniuses as Apple Stores are, as it so often happens, are completely clueless!

    What’s the disease?

    Apparently, third party repair centres have discovered a manufacturing error in iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. “The defect creates an unresponsive touchscreen and shows a flickering grey bar at the top of the display. Eventually, the touchscreen stops working entirely,” reports Macworld.

    Since when is this happening?

    The Touch Disease — as it is being called — was first found by iFixit, who said that a large number of people have been coming to them with a similar problem involving their touchscreen.

    A lot of other third party repair experts have also reported an influx of customer complaining about a partially or a completely non-responsive touch screens. A majority of these people had the same “grey bar” that appeared at the top of their screens: All symptoms of the dreadful Touch Disease.

    What’s causing this Touch Disease?

    iFixit first thought that it’s a touchscreen problem. In fact, replacing the touchscreen did solve the issue for some time. However, in most cases, the problem soon returned. The recurring nature of the problem suggests that it’s a hardware issue. And given the widespread nature of the problem means that the error is not human induced.

    Considering both the points, we have no choice but to conclude that we’re dealing with a manufacturing defect.

    Digging a bit further we found the root of the problem.

    The IC chip that protects the hardware running the touch sensors in the iPhones is protected by a metal case. At least they used to be until the 5s.

    To make the newer phones (6 and 6s) thinner, Apple switched from a metal shield to a sticker shield. The new chip shields don’t work so well if the phones bend. And if there’s one thing we know for sure, it’s that the iPhones are particularly…umm….flexible. And when the phones bends or comes under excessive pressure, the shield cracks, ruining the touch functionality of the iPhones.

    “Apple introduced a small but major change with the iPhone 6 logic board that resulted in Touch IC Disease,” explains CultofMac. “Instead of using a metal shield to protect the board like on the iPhone 5s, Apple instead added a sticker shield.”

    Is this happening to all the iPhones?

    As we explained, the Touch Disease is being caused by a faulty chip shield, which is included only in the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus models. So if you have any older or 6S models then you are in the clear.

    Even among the 6 series, the larger 6 Plus is most prone to the Touch Disease. We guess that’s because of their larger surface area, they are more susceptible to external pressures, and therefore, are more likely to crack their chip shields.

    Can the problem be fixed?

    As we’ve already pointed out, the Touch Disease is a manufacturing defect. Consequently, the only way to fix that problem is to send the phone back to Apple.

    However, be warned that because the chip shield is cracking due to an external force, which is caused by human negligence, Apple will hold you responsible for the damage. And as it were, the problem will not be covered under your warranty. 

    In an ideal world, Apple should recall all the affected phones and replace their hardware for free. Like it did with the MacBooks with a faulty GPU a couple of years back. But that isn’t happening, at least for now. Hopefully, Apple will realise the absurdity of making people pay for its manufacturing error and take responsibility. Till then, if you are an iPhone 6 user, pray for a lucky espace!

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