Touch controllers on iPhone 6, 6 Plus failing in specific way for some users

Posted:
in iPhone edited August 2016
A handful of users of the Apple iPhone 6 and 6 Plus are reporting manifestation of display aberrations and inconsistent touch functionality -- and a screen replacement doesn't fix the problem.




The problems with the 2014 iPhone 6 and 6 Plus generally start with a small patterned band at the top of the screen of afflicted devices, according to the Apple community support forums. As time goes on, the aberrant band sometimes extends further down the screen, and touch sensitivity and device response to the touch gets progressively worse.

iFixit has collated reports from component-level repair shops from around the U.S. that have seen the problem. One vendor claims to repair about 100 iPhone 6 and 6 Plus models a month exhibiting the problem. Others report dozens.

AppleInsider has spoken with a screen repair chain that performs repairs on about a thousand devices a week that confirmed seeing the problem, with "a few [iPhones] a week" that enter the shops exhibiting the issue.

Third party repair shops have traced the problem to the chips that translate the user's touch to information the iPhone can use. These controller chips are sometimes failing outright, and in other cases the microscopic solder joints connecting each chip to the motherboard are breaking, causing the progressive failures.



Location of the touch controllers on the iPhone 6 motherboard, photo by iFixit.


While a single root cause of the problem has yet to be determined, the problem may be related to the "Bendgate" issue from 2015, where the large and thin iPhones were warping as a result of force applied by users. The increased incidence of flexing of the case because of the larger surface area may be exacerbating the problem over time, and causing more solder joints to break.

Apple may have been aware of the potential for a problem with the touch controller when it designed the iPhone 6s family. The touch controller has been moved to the display assembly. In conjunction with overall frame strengthening, the migration appears to be protecting the controller chips' solder joints from the flexes the iPhone 6 endures because of its size.

Prior to the iPhone 6, the touch controller chips were reinforced by a metal electromagnetic interference shield as well, protecting older phones from the same problem.

Apple's solution at this time is to replace a device that has failed in such a fashion. Third party non-warranty repair shops specializing in micro-soldering can replace the touch controllers that are failing as well, but this invalidates any Apple warranty.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 44
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,152member
    This must be an INSANELY small # of people, since tens and tens and tens of millions of iPhone 6/6S have been sold, and I haven't heard a peep about this issue. But I'm sure some will desperately try to turn this into the next "gate", and headlines will be made about how the phone is a lemon. 
    williamlondoncalizroger73ericthehalfbeeDeelronnolamacguyredgeminipatobianbadmonkanton zuykov
  • Reply 2 of 44
    coolfactorcoolfactor Posts: 1,469member
    slurpy said:
    This must be an INSANELY small # of people, since tens and tens and tens of millions of iPhone 6/6S have been sold, and I haven't heard a peep about this issue. But I'm sure some will desperately try to turn this into the next "gate", and headlines will be made about how the phone is a lemon. 
    You may not have heard anything because of timing. Maybe these devices are beginning to degrade around the two-year point from daily wear-and-tear. Who knows, but it seems that Apple has addressed the issue already with their newer devices, and let's hope that continues into the next generation.
    edited August 2016
  • Reply 3 of 44
    I have this exact problem and it's been getting worse and worse. Most of the time I can get the phone to work again with twisting the top and bottom in the opposite directions. Other times I give up after few tries. My phone shows no visible damage and I think I take a good care of it.

    Of course, I am out of warranty already but truth be told I have not tried to take it in yet. I feel that I can last till the new one comes out.

    It is extremely frustrating. 
    revenantjdw
  • Reply 4 of 44
    I've had touch funkiness lately, and while I don't have that gray band, I do have a discoloration at the top of the screen. Between those and the other mounting issues I've basically just committed to limping it through until next month when I can get a replacement.
  • Reply 5 of 44
    slurpy said:
    This must be an INSANELY small # of people, since tens and tens and tens of millions of iPhone 6/6S have been sold, and I haven't heard a peep about this issue. But I'm sure some will desperately try to turn this into the next "gate", and headlines will be made about how the phone is a lemon. 
    Clearly Apple never has issues with their hardware... /s

     https://www.apple.com/support/exchange_repair/

    revenantcnocbuiktappe
  • Reply 6 of 44
    I had this issue in my 6Plus (1.5 yrs of usage, out of warranty). After 3 months of going back and forth and a number of refusals in the local stores as well as phone support calls, Apple replace the entire unit last month. 

    This issue is definitely a result of the phone getting bent after over a year of usage without a cover. I now use a cover with the replacement device.
    edited August 2016
  • Reply 7 of 44
    nolamacguynolamacguy Posts: 4,758member
    pixelpro said:
    I had this issue in my 6Plus (1.5 yrs of usage, out of warranty). After 3 months of going back and forth and a number of refusals in the local stores as well as phone support calls, Apple replace the entire unit last month. 

    This issue is definitely a result of the phone getting bent after over a year of usage without a cover. I now use a cover with the replacement device.
    note that a case alone won't prevent bending damage on the 6. my original 6 was bent in my front pocket while using a go-kart, in a case. the 6 had softer aluminum so they readily replaced it for me at the time. the 6s is harder. 
    pixelproai46
  • Reply 8 of 44
    How can a vendor claim to "repair about 100 iPhone 6 and 6 Plus models a month exhibiting the problem" when it looks like the problem may be the chip on the motherboard? I highly doubt they have the equipment of skill to replace such a component (that is, if they could even source it).
    ai46badmonk
  • Reply 9 of 44
    How can a vendor claim to "repair about 100 iPhone 6 and 6 Plus models a month exhibiting the problem" when it looks like the problem may be the chip on the motherboard? I highly doubt they have the equipment of skill to replace such a component (that is, if they could even source it).
    Likely they'd just reflow the solder, or replace the board entirely.
    badmonk
  • Reply 10 of 44
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 7,101member
    slurpy said:
    This must be an INSANELY small # of people, since tens and tens and tens of millions of iPhone 6/6S have been sold, and I haven't heard a peep about this issue. But I'm sure some will desperately try to turn this into the next "gate", and headlines will be made about how the phone is a lemon. 

    9TO5Mac is calling this “widespread” and iFixit is demanding a recall from Apple. See how this works? It’s already started. Meanwhile the Galaxy S7 has been found to be less  water resistant than touted, the Gorilla glass scratches easily... and nobody gives a shit. Not a rat’s ass.
    edited August 2016 nolamacguyelijahgai46badmonkanton zuykov
  • Reply 11 of 44
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,604administrator
    It doesn't appear "widespread" but isn't the typical random failure that electronics have over time. A combination of factors led to this point, aggravated in some cases by user abuse.

    If you've had the problem, keep your documentation, just in case.
    edited August 2016 palomineai46
  • Reply 12 of 44
    gprovidagprovida Posts: 247member
    Following this thread, apparently Apple was eventually willing to replace an out of warranty iPhone with another to address the issue.  Others with out of warranty problems have not explained what their experience with Apple was.  If it was a manufacturing defect, it is very possible that the iPhone would be replaced with a refurbished iPhone 6 or 6 plus.  

    The real message is get the two year warranty contract.  These devices get a lot of abuse [including bending] and for 2 years the device is under repair warranty [and as I recall some user abuse repairs, water damage, for low cost].  This is a pretty good deal considering the cost of the device, the likelihood of a problem given its heavy usage, and feeling of comfort/security.

    It would be nice if Apple offered a three year warranty, but I suspect the durability makes this an expensive option for them unless we were wiling to pay a steeper extended warranty price.  Also, the end of life period is shorter and like the Macs Apple will not repair after end of life.
  • Reply 13 of 44
    volcanvolcan Posts: 1,789member
    I guess I'm just lucky. My iPhone 6 is absolutely pristine, not a scratch on it front or back, never used a case either. No problem of any sort and it will be 2 years old in a couple weeks. I always buy AppleCare+ so if there ever was a problem, I'm covered. 
  • Reply 14 of 44
    crowleycrowley Posts: 5,834member
    I've had a number of screen lookups with my 6S+.  Assumed it was software related, hope it's not this.
  • Reply 15 of 44
    slurpy said:
    This must be an INSANELY small # of people, since tens and tens and tens of millions of iPhone 6/6S have been sold, and I haven't heard a peep about this issue. But I'm sure some will desperately try to turn this into the next "gate", and headlines will be made about how the phone is a lemon. 
    A coworker's wife has a 6+ with exactly this issue; she swapped it for a like-new factory replacement. But that about it. My 6 is still going (knock on wood!)
    ai46
  • Reply 16 of 44
    lkrupp said:
    slurpy said:
    This must be an INSANELY small # of people, since tens and tens and tens of millions of iPhone 6/6S have been sold, and I haven't heard a peep about this issue. But I'm sure some will desperately try to turn this into the next "gate", and headlines will be made about how the phone is a lemon. 

    9TO5Mac is calling this “widespread” and iFixit is demanding a recall from Apple. See how this works? It’s already started. Meanwhile the Galaxy S7 has been found to be less  water resistant than touted, the Gorilla glass scratches easily... and nobody gives a shit. Not a rat’s ass.
    Don't worry. Samsung is fine. Everything is fine. Apple haters love their Sammies. Just leave it alone, mmkay? Don't try to make this about Samsmug. Focus on Apple's doom. /s
    cnocbuiai46anton zuykov
  • Reply 17 of 44
    I myself used to work for an Apple Specialist, and I had seen this issue since the 6 Plus came out. I actually rarely saw this issue on iPhone 6's, if ever, however I saw them constantly on 6 Plus's. Any of the technician's knew that when you say "iPhone 6 Plus Flickering Display" this was exactly the issue stated above. They see at least 10 a week, if not more. However at this point, when they fail, people are just looking at an upgrade so that's what most do. Other than that they are required to send these phones in for an Out of Warranty Display Replacement where they will replace the display for about $135 plus tax. If the display replacement doesn't solve the issue, which happened a lot, they would replace the device for the same cost. However that is only if there is absolutely no damage. Other than that, you can replace the device completely for $329 plus tax. I am honestly surprised this is just now becoming news.
    edited August 2016
  • Reply 18 of 44
    I'm on my 3rd replacement for this problem. the first 2 replacements all had the same problem within a week of replacement. This 3rd one has lasted a few months. I'm hoping it will last a few more months until the iPhone 7 comes out.
  • Reply 19 of 44
    sennensennen Posts: 1,465member
    mattstypa said:
    I have this exact problem and it's been getting worse and worse. Most of the time I can get the phone to work again with twisting the top and bottom in the opposite directions. Other times I give up after few tries. My phone shows no visible damage and I think I take a good care of it.

    Of course, I am out of warranty already but truth be told I have not tried to take it in yet. I feel that I can last till the new one comes out.

    It is extremely frustrating. 
    Just call Applecare and then take it to an Apple store. Even out of warranty they will straight out replace it on the spot - they did so with my 3GS back in the day.
    williamlondonai46
  • Reply 20 of 44
    slurpy said:
    This must be an INSANELY small # of people, since tens and tens and tens of millions of iPhone 6/6S have been sold, and I haven't heard a peep about this issue. But I'm sure some will desperately try to turn this into the next "gate", and headlines will be made about how the phone is a lemon. 
    I'm one of them. If I give it a slight gentile twist on the landscape axis it comes right.

    It started happening about 6 months ago but I couldn't find anything about it. Unfortunately my phone is out of warranty by about a year so I'm not sure what I can do other than lean on Vodafone due to the Consumer Guarantees Act in New Zealand.
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