The latest illness to sweep the U.S. isn't going to leave you with a rash but it may cause you some frustration.
The telltale symptoms of "Touch IC Disease" are being reported from the surgical theaters of mobile phone repair shops across the country. Limited to the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, users have found a gray flickering bar at the top of the screen along with a lack of responsiveness.
The issue stems from a design flaw in the 6 and 6 Plus. In both models, the Touch IC chips are connected to the logic board by a tiny solder array. The lack of a metal plate securing and protecting these chips from flexing, as was included with the iPhone 6S and likely the 7, has resulted in cracked solder and compromised circuits. In serious cases, the LCD is blemished with the Tough IC Disease's characteristic gray bar and the touch sensors sporadically deactivate.
Touch IC Disease isn't something that shows up early with regular use. Users with warranties will typically see those expire before the signs of Touch IC appear, which means the issue could simply be an extension of Apple's original iPhone 6 bending problems. The smartphone giant is known for keeping its design process under deep security, but enough complaining customers around the world is enough to send that department back to the drawing board.
Apple reinforced the iPhone 6's weak points last fall, as that would solve the bending and breaking problem, but stopped short of bracing the logic board with the same protection. Considering the length of time it takes for Touch IC Disease to appear, and the date of the iPhone 7 release so close, Apple has been slow to address the issue.
Along with plenty of upset iPhone 6 users sharing their stories on Apple's support forum are some who have come up creative albeit temporary solutions to the problem.
"If you move your fingers to the left slightly and up slightly you'll be right on top of it!" one user posted. "Pressure can help the chip make electrical contact and temporarily solve the problem. You'll also notice the problem is exacerbated by any drop or vibration."
As other have found, putting pressure on the body of the phone alleviates the issue for a short while as the IC chip is reconnected, but eventually it comes back even worse than before.
A friend of the bloggers at iPad Rehab posted the technical solution to the support forum before it was later deleted by a forum moderator.
They refer to Touch IC Disease as the "ebola of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus," prompted by a minor drop or squeeze.
"Suddenly you have no touchscreen function, sporadic touch function, and sometimes with a flashing gray bar at the top of the screen," iPad Rehab explains. "We have been seeing this problem dozens per week since the iPhone 6 came off warranty. The underlying problem is poor adhesion of the touch ICs to the board. This is complicated by oxidation, so that simply reflowing the chip results in another poor bond. The solution is to remove the chip, reflow the underlying pads to remove oxidation, and then solder a new touch IC in place. But which one? There are two touch ICs..."
Their video explains in greater visual detail.
If your device is under warranty, the choice is clear. If not, get in touch with us at Group Vertical and we can direct you to the most qualified and reputable repair experts we know, and we know quite a few.
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