Apple sued as growing number of customers complain about 'touch disease' in the iPhone 6

By Nick Whigham

People have complained about the diminishing sensitivity and spotty functionality of the touchscreen on their iPhone 6 device as it gets older. Photo / Jason Oxenham
People have complained about the diminishing sensitivity and spotty functionality of the touchscreen on their iPhone 6 device as it gets older. Photo / Jason Oxenham

If you own an iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus have you experienced a problem with the functionality of the touch screen?

Plenty of Apple customers have - and they're certainly not happy about it. A number of people have complained about the diminishing sensitivity and spotty functionality of the touchscreen on their iPhone 6 device as it gets older. With an unresponsive touchscreen the phone effectively becomes frozen and can't be used properly.

The problem has been dubbed "touch disease" and according to the blog ifixit.org which coined the term, iPhone repair technicians are getting an increasing number of customers experiencing the annoying issue, which seems to be more common in the larger iPhone 6 Plus version.

Aside from the obvious symptom of a frozen screen, touch disease is easy to diagnose because handsets will display a flickering grey bar at the top of the screen. The reason for this is that the two tiny "Touch IC" connectors, which translate the tapping and swiping of your fingers on the screen into a machine input, become slightly detached from the phone's logic board. The result is often a progressive, and seemingly erratic, deterioration of touchscreen function.

Apple has so far declined to officially acknowledge the issue but angry customers in North America have taken things into their own hands.

A class action lawsuit has been filed in both the US and Canada complaining about the issue and even accusing Apple of covering it up.

The country-wide lawsuit filed in the US in late August claims Apple concealed "a material design defect that causes the touchscreens on the iPhones to become unresponsive."

In an effort to make the handset slimmer, the tech giant failed to "properly (secure the touch IC chips) to the logic board and, as a result of foreseeable and reasonable use by consumers, fail from normal wear and tear," the lawsuit states.

Depending on your situation (the conditions of your contract or whether your phone is under warranty) Apple could charge hundreds of dollars to fix the issue.

"Apple has long been aware of the defective iPhones. Yet, notwithstanding its longstanding knowledge of this design defect, Apple routinely has refused to repair the iPhones without charge when the defect manifests," the suit says.

Disgruntled folk in Canada have filed two lawsuits of their own over touch disease, one nation-wide complaint and another solely for Quebec residents.

The lawyer of the Canada-wide suit Tony Merchant said since filing the complaint in September "we've had significant numbers of people contact us," to complain of the issue, adding that Apple had "brushed it under the rug."


According to AppleInsider, touch disease now accounts for 11 per cent of all Apple store repairs, eclipsing all other problems.

"In our notes, we started calling it by a specific name we made up at our store because we all knew it," one Apple store worker told the site. "Management said we had to refer to it as flickering."

- news.com.au

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