A Design Defect Is Breaking a Ton of iPhone 6 Pluses

The phones apparently malfunction from "molding themselves to the shape of your rump if left too long in a back pocket."

The gray flickering bar you can see across the top of this iPhone is a classic symptom of a problem that repair pros are seeing in more and more iPhone 6 and 6 Plus devices.

Lots of repair pros are experiencing the same influx of faulty iPhones—most with flickering gray bars and all with glitchy touch functionality.

“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 STS Telecom—a board repair shop in Missouri.

...,according to repair pros, the problem isn’t the screen at all. It’s the two touchscreen controller chips, or Touch IC chips, on the logic board inside the phone.

Apple’s repair Geniuses aren’t equipped to make specialized repairs to the logic board in-house, so they can’t actually fix Touch Disease. But skilled, third-party microsoldering specialists (most “unauthorized” to do Apple repairs, according to official company policy) can fix phones with symptoms of Touch Disease. And they can do it a whole lot cheaper than the cost of a new logic board or an out-of-warranty phone replacement.

And repair professionals have singled out other problematic design elements of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. In other phones, a little blob of cured “underfill” beneath critical chips helps to keep solder balls secure—but there’s no underfill anchoring Touch IC chips to the board in the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. In previous iPhone models, Apple also covered the Touch IC chips with a rigid, metal EMI shield. In the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, the rigid shield was replaced with a pliable sticker shield.

“Since the Touch IC chip doesn’t have underfill, nor a metal backing, it seems to be the first to ‘break off’ the logic board,”...

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Replies to This Discussion

Uhhhhhhhh, who the heck puts their smart phone in their rear pocket?  Ancient flip-phones, sure, although even that wasn't a great idea.  The tiny form factor meant that those weren't subject to bending, but sitting on a cell phone still isn't a good idea.

I'd put this down to user error.  Put them in your front pocket or purse.

Good point, Joseph.

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