iPhone 6 Plus owners have been offered a solution to the ‘touch disease’ problem that affects touchscreen functionality and appearance: pay Apple $228.95 for a repair.
Apple reports on its repair program site that some iPhone 6 Plus devices could exhibit an unresponsive touchscreen and a grey flickering bar “after being dropped multiple times on a hard surface and then incurring further stress on the device.”
The $228.95 repair fee is less than the $488.95 fee Apple would usually charge for an iPhone 6 Plus repair not related to a broken touchscreen. However, device repair guide website iFixit, which first reported the issue in August, said the problem can be linked back to the structural design of the phone.
“Apple’s statement confirms what the independent repair industry has been saying for a long time: the problem is failed solder joints beneath the touch IC components,” iFixit CEO Kyle Wiens said in a blog post.
“Apple is correct that dropping the device onto a hard surface could cause this issue. But that’s not the only cause: we have seen this problem on phones that have never been dropped. And in phones that have lived their entire lives protected in cases. The root problem is insufficient structural support around the logic board,” Mr Wiens said.
Apple appears to be issuing refurbished iPhone 6 Plus devices to customers rather than repairing the problem. The refurbished smartphones can also be affected by the ‘touch disease’ issue, which leaves customers at risk of issues arising outside the 90 day warranty offered by Apple in the U.S. for refurbished devices.
iFixit is requesting Apple to extend the warranty of iPhone 6 Plus devices in the U.S. to 24 months from the purchase date, and to offer support to owners of iPhone 6 devices which may also be affected by ‘touch disease’.