The “Touch Disease” issue appears to be caused by a systemic design failure in the Apple iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus handsets

It is thought that people are turning to third-party repair shops in a bid to beat the problem, which effectively paralyzes the touch screen of the Apple smartphones. Touch Disease is the subject of a new blog post and accompanying video from iFixit, who believe they have discovered what the problem is as well as the reasons behind it.

Touch Disease, iPhone 6, Apple
Image source: YouTube Video Screenshot

Solder balls between logic board and Touch IC chips come loose

The blog explains that the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus feature Touch IC chips connected to the logic board using tiny solder balls, which is “like a plate resting on marbles.” As a result of normal use the phone may start to flex or twist, making the solder balls crack and lose touch with the logic board.

If your phone has the issue, you may notice a flickering gray bar near the top of your screen, and your display may be less touch sensitive than before.

Reports claim that the issue has tended to arise towards the end of the warranty period, and often once the warranty is over. This leaves users with no other option but to use a third-party repair firm, and many of these businesses claim that they are repairing iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus units at a rapid rate.

Check your phone for Touch Disease

“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 board repair shop STS Telecom in Missouri.

If you have an iPhone 6 in warranty and notice a similar problem, it’s worth telling Apple about it to get a new handset before things get worse. If you’re outside warranty, well, it looks like you might have to choose the most reputable board repair shop you can find.

While major controversy is yet to erupt around Touch Disease, it does look like an issue that could get worse for Apple. As it stands there are dozens of posts on Touch Diseas on the Apple support forum, but the company has not taken any action at this stage. Some users report that they took their smartphones to their local Apple Store only to be informed that Apple does not think it is an issue and there was nothing that could be done as their warranty had run out.

Issue apparently fixed in later iPhones

Squeezing the display or twisting the device reportedly brings a temporary improvement, although it worsens over time until the display is unresponsive to touch. Replacing the screen apparently has no effect as the problem is with the touchscreen controller chips.

iFixit says that you can fix the problem by replacing your handset, replacing the logic board, or replacing the Touch ICs. The iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus are apparently not affected by the issue after Apple gave the smartphone a stronger body and re-positioned the Touch IC chips.

Apple is currently gearing up for the predicted launch of the new iPhone 7. Rumor has it that an official announcement on the flagship smartphone will be made around the beginning of September. Expectations are relatively low for the iPhone 7, with many commentators already turning their attention to the 2017 iPhone and its predicted groundbreaking features.