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Report: iPhone 6 ‘Touch Disease’ Leaves Phones Unusable

An Apple design flaw appears to be causing “Touch Disease” on two iPhone 6 models.

As the phone’s internal soldering is put under the stress of touch screen usage, the “Touch IC” chips on an iPhone 6 series logic board can sometimes lose their hold. The first symptom of this problem can be as subtle as a flickering gray bar at the very top of the screen or occasional unresponsiveness. But as Touch Disease worsens, the touch screen becomes wholly unusable.

The iPhone 6+ is the most common culprit, but the “disease” seems to be affecting the original iPhone 6 as well.

iFixit.org was the first to identify the issue, citing multiple phone repair specialists’ reports of a problem that’s becoming more and more common. Despite the widespread issues, Apple has yet to respond to anything more than individual claims under warranty. If you’re past warranty coverage, you’ll need to pay for the privilege of having your factory defect corrected.

Michael Huie of Microsoldering.com isn’t impressed. In an e-mail to iFixit.org, Huie said:

The issue is ridiculously widespread and Apple should’ve issued a recall or maybe a free warranty repair on this problem already. If you own an iPhone 6+ and haven’t experienced the problem yet, then I think the chances are pretty high that you’ll experience it during the lifetime of the phone.

Since the “Geniuses” at the Apple store aren’t qualified to make the repairs themselves, you’ve only two options: You can send your phone to Apple — along with your money, if it’s not longer under warranty — or you can have it privately repaired. Apple isn’t fond of the second option, and has reportedly banned some independent techies from posting on Apple Support Communities. Their crime? Explaining what was causing Touch Disease and suggesting someone other than Apple might fix it.

This isn’t the first problem with the iPhone 6 series. “Bendgate” was caused by shoddy internal construction, causing phones kept in consumers’ back pockets to bend to the curve of their bottoms. Error 53 also prompted widespread criticism before Apple finally deigned to respond.

For now, there are no great options for users. Unless Apple decides to take responsibility for the defect, the corporately derided “unauthorized” professionals might very well be your best bet.

Follow Nate Church @Get2Church on Twitter for the latest news in gaming and technology, and snarky opinions on both.

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