In September of 2014, Apple released the iPhone 6 Plus too much fanfare, as it was the first “big” iPhone that Apple had ever produced.  Overall, this phone is an excellent device and should be in service for many years to come.  However, shortly after its release, the iPhone 6 Plus developed a problem that would later be dubbed “Touch Disease.”  Symptoms included gray “jailbars” at the top of the screen, glitching, intermittent touch problems and finally, it would simply stop touching. Sometimes, you can restart the phone and it will work for a short while, but eventually, it stops touching again, as the effects of restarting the phone are incidental, as will be explained later.

What has been determined is that “Touch Disease” is caused by a design flaw in the iPhone 6 Plus. As we previously stated, the iPhone 6 Plus has a 5.5″ display, much bigger than the 4.7″ screen on the iPhone 6.  As a result, this much larger phone is much more flexible than the smaller iPhones that had been released prior to this point.  Being more flexible, the phone would bend at its weakest point, which we refer to as the fault line. And unfortunately for iPhone 6 Plus owners, the fault line on the iPhone 6 Plus runs directly under the Touch Control IC.  Over time, when the phone flexes from being dropped or even being in a bind from being in a pocket, the weld on the motherboard cracks underneath the chip, and then you have Touch Disease!

The symptoms are often intermittent at first, but always end up resulting in a phone that will not touch.  The “Touch Disease” was first brought to the attention of the cell phone repair community by a private phone repair shop, like ours, that is not affiliated with Apple.  We noticed that a phone affected with Touch Disease could sometimes be made to touch temporarily if you applied pressure in opposite directions on two opposing corners of the phone.  We didn’t know why at the time, but the reason was that bending the fault line under the Touch Control IC was forcing the pins to make contact.  That is why restarting an affected iPhone 6 Plus would sometimes make it work temporarily because handling the phone would put pressure on the fault line, and had nothing to do with the phone being restarted.

Fixing Touch Disease is a relatively simple procedure if you have the equipment, knowledge, and skill.  The affected IC has to be de-soldered and removed, without pulling the pads underneath the Chip.  The chip is then rebolled and reflowed onto the pads.  This will usually fix the problem, but unless you run a jumper wire from the affected pad under the chip to the proper point on the board, it is just going to happen again the next time the phone gets dropped or bends. Here, at Fixmysmartphone, we always take the extra time to run the jumper wire, so that the phone will not have to be repaired again down the road.

The scope of the problem is pretty big.  We are located in Ruston, La., which is a small college town, in North Louisiana, and we successfully repaired over 30 Touch Disease affected phones this past Summer.  We currently charge $120.00 for that repair.  Apple did finally acknowledge that certain iPhone 6 Pluses were affected by problems in the Touch IC and offers to repair these phones for $149.00, so long as the phone qualifies.  There are some reports indicating that instead of repairing phones with Touch Disease, they are simply replacing the affected phones with refurbished ones.

The iPhone 6 CAN have Touch Disease, but we rarely see it.  Because the phone is smaller than the 6 Plus, it is much less susceptible to flexing than the larger iPhone 6 Plus. The subsequent models (iPhone 6S through iPhone X) don’t have a touch control IC’s on the motherboard, which corrected the problem.

For more information about fixing Touch Disease, or any other repairs that you may need, visit our website, www.totallyunwired.net.  Fixmysmartphone has a “no fix, no pay” policy, so if we cannot fix it, there is no charge.  We also accept repairs by mail!