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Your iPhone 6 could be falling victim to 'touch disease'

Engadget Engadget 25/08/2016 Brittany Vincent

If you've ever seen a flickering gray bar at the top of your iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus lately, you may be the victim of a very serious problem plaguing your mobile device.

It's a massive issue that's been making the rounds on a staggering number of iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Pluses sent in for repair each month, each displaying the same symptoms: the gray bar at the top of the screen and a touchscreen that refuses to work properly, almost as if it's frozen.

According to IFixIt and Forbes, the issue is widespread enough to warrant several pages of complaints via the Apple support forums. The problem is, both the repair techs who continually see the issues coming in and the customers taking to the internet to make their concerns known aren't seeing much done about it.

While there are some fixes by way of twisting the phone a bit or putting pressure on the screen, these are only temporary band-aids for a much larger problem. The malady may go away for a short time, but then return with a vengeance, eventually losing touchscreen functionality altogether.

Weirdly enough, replacing the touchscreen isn't a proper fix. The gray bar will creep onto the new screen even when it's been swapped out, because it's not exactly a problem with the screen. It's a problem with the Touch IC chips on the board inside the phone. They must be replaced for the problem to completely go away, and Apple's Geniuses aren't able to open up phones to go inside and replace them. Hence, the quandary. Instead, people are turning to smaller, third-party repair shops who are "unauthorized" to fix the issue.

Repair shops have been trying out various fixes to ward off the problem so that it doesn't return. According to Jessa Jones, microsoldering specialist via IFixIt.org, placing a metal shield soldered over the sticker shield on the problem iPhones seems to fix the issue indefinitely, offering an "internal reinforcement," a "futureproof shield," as she calls it.

Unfortunately, since these kinds of fixes aren't endorsed or OKed by Apple, Jessa and her colleagues have actually been banned from posting on the Apple Support Communities for offering their own views on resolving the problems that so many iPhone owners are experiencing. Apple is fine with having customers purchase new phones, but it doesn't seem to want to include repair specialists who are finding success when it comes to actually fixing the issue.

It's estimated, according to New York board repair specialist Louis Rossmann, that this "touch disease" malady could very well turn into a class action lawsuit at some point if customers make a big enough stink. And from the way things are going, it looks like that could be a very real possibility in the future.

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