Some iPhone 6, 6 Plus users affected by “Touch of Death” issue, questionable component soldering thought to be at fault
Date: Wednesday, August 24th, 2016, 05:20
Category: Hardware, iPhone, News
This is a bit of a mess.
A growing numb er of iPhone 6 and 6 Plus users are reporting that their screens have been showing a gray flickering bar at the top of the screen and a display that’s unresponsive or less responsive to touch.
As such, the extremely cool cats at iFixit have said that this appears to be a manufacturing issue.
According to Jason Villmer of Louisiana-based STS Telecom:
“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,”
iFixit has labeled the issue “Touch Disease” and has stated that Apple is aware of the issue thanks to dozens of complaints on its support forum. The company doesn’t seem to have addressed the issue, though, and multiple users who brought their iPhones to Apple Stores were told that Apple doesn’t recognize it as an issue and nothing could be done as their iPhones were out of warranty.
As seen in the video, putting pressure on the display of an affected iPhone or twisting the device appears to reverse the issue for a short period, but the gray bar returns and touch functionality grows worse and worse until the touchscreen stops functioning entirely.
Replacing the iPhone’s display doesn’t work, as the issue is caused by the way the touchscreen controller chips have been soldered to the iPhone’s logic board. In both the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, the Touch IC chips connect to the logic board via an array of tiny solder balls–“like a plate resting on marbles,” as iFixit’s Jessa Jones 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.”
iFixit’s present solution is to replace the iPhone, replace its logic board or replace the Touch ICs on the logic board, a repair that generally needs to be sent away for given that most Apple Store locations lack the facilities to perform the fix in-house.
For those without a warranty, iFixit suggests taking an affected iPhone 6 or 6 Plus to an electronics repair shop able to replace the chips. Apple doesn’t approve of third-party repairs, but it may be the only solution until the problem is officially acknowledged by the company.
If you’ve seen this issue on your end or want to throw in your two cents, please let us know what’s on your mind in the comments.