Apple’s ‘touch disease’ repair program for the iPhone 6 Plus is not free

iPhone 6 Plus
Three months after iFixit coined the term “touch disease” for a defect discovered with some iPhone 6 Plus devices, Apple has finally responded with the launch on Thursday of a new repair program.

It’s not clear how many units of this older version of Apple’s largest phone are affected by the glitch, which causes some displays to show a gray bar at the top or in some cases becomes totally unresponsive.

The issue was deemed so serious by some users that they launched a lawsuit against the tech giant in the summer.

In a message posted on its site on Thursday announcing the repair program, Apple puts the issue down to some serious user mishandling rather than a manufacturing error.

“Apple has determined that some iPhone 6 Plus devices may exhibit display flickering or multi-touch issues after being dropped multiple times on a hard surface and then incurring further stress on the device,” the Cupertino-based company said.

But the fix doesn’t come free. Apple says it’ll repair affected phones for $149, though anyone who’s already paid more to repair it through Apple or an Apple authorized service provider can make a claim to have the difference refunded.

Anyone with an iPhone 6 Plus experiencing touch disease can take it to an Apple Store for repair charged at the new set rate of $149. Alternatively, they can take it to an authorized service provider, where the same fee will be charged. Apple notes that wireless carrier partners are not participating in the new program, and that it’s only eligible for the larger, 6 Plus device.

Following a growing number of complaints from iPhone 6 Plus owners earlier in the year, device repair website iFixit decided to take a closer look at the matter. After speaking to experts and examining the phone’s interior, it put the problem down to an issue with the chip-board where a crack could occur and grow gradually over weeks and months, causing increasing trouble for the user over time.

“At first, there may be no defect at all,” iFixit said in August. “Later you might notice that the screen is sometimes unresponsive, but it is quick to come back with a hard reset. As the crack deepens into a full separation of the chip-board bond, the periods of no touch become more frequent.”

For many customers experiencing the problem, Apple’s repair program will be considered a step in the right direction. However, it’s unlikely to satisfy any users who can’t recall ever dropping their device “multiple times on a hard surface,” instead believing it’s a manufacturing issue for which no repair fee should be charged.

We may not have heard the last of this so-called touch disease.

Mobile

Apple’s iPhone battery offer was reportedly way more popular than expected

As many as 11 million iPhone owners reportedly made use of Apple's cheaper battery replacement offer that launched in 2018 in response to the iPhone throttling debacle — some 10 times more than the company had apparently expected.
Mobile

How to choose an iPad in 2019: A practical guide to Apple’s tablets

Selecting an iPad from Apple's lineup can be intimidating, but it doesn't have to be. Our comprehensive guide should put the numbers and specs in practical, easy-to-understand terms. Find your ideal iPad with the help of our guide.
Mobile

Here’s how to download podcasts and listen to them on Android or iOS

Podcasts have become a cultural staple. Here's how to download podcasts and listen to them on your Android or iOS device, and which apps to use if you're looking to get the most out of the format.
Apple

Rumors say Apple's AirPower wireless charger may finally be in production

At its September event in 2018, Apple unveiled the AirPower, a new wireless charging mat that will allow you to charge multiple devices at one time. It has not yet been released. Here's everything we know about the device so far.
Business

Apple banned from distributing some iPhone models in Germany

Apple is following the FTC's lead and has sued Qualcomm for a massive $1 billion in the U.S., $145 million in China, and also in the U.K., claiming the company charged onerous royalties for its patented tech.
Mobile

Windows 10 Mobile is dead: Switch to iOS or Android, Microsoft says

A Microsoft support page detailed the company's plans to end support for Windows 10 Mobile in less than a year. Users with devices powered by the platform are suggested to switch to iOS or Android devices.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: camera with A.I. director, robot arm assistant

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Mobile

How to use iOS 12’s Passwords and Accounts tool to autofill passwords

Keeping track of all your passwords and accounts can be a real chore. If you use an iPhone with iOS 12, then you don't have to. Here's how to use iOS 12's own password manager to autofill passwords.
Computing

What is fixed wireless 5G? Here’s everything you need to know

Here's fixed wireless 5G explained! Learn what you need to know about this effective new wireless technology, when it's available, how much it costs, and more. If you're thinking about 5G, this guide can help!
Mobile

Razer’s Wireless Charger will turn your desk into gamer heaven

The Razer Wireless Charger adds colorful flair to your desk or bedside table. It works with any phone that supports Qi wireless charging -- with some quirks -- but is it worth the high price tag? We take a look.
Gaming

Xbox app lets you access your console while away from home. Here's how

Microsoft's Xbox allows you to access your profile information and launch media content directly from your mobile device. Check out our quick guide on how to connect your smartphone to an Xbox One.
Wearables

The best Apple Watch bands and straps to stylize your timepiece

If you have an Apple Watch, you know how easy it is to take off the strap it came with, so why not buy yourself another one? Here, we've gathered the best Apple Watch bands we've seen so far. There's something for everyone.
Mobile

Apple resurrects the iPhone SE with brand-new units starting at $249

Apple quietly started selling the iPhone SE again, at even lower prices than when it was discontinued four months ago. Brand new units of the 32GB version are on sale for $249, while the 128GB version is going for $299.
Android

Popular Android navigation apps are just Google Maps with ads, researcher says

A malware researcher found that 19 free Android navigation apps on the Google Play Store were nothing more than Google Maps, but with ads. One of the apps asked for a payment to remove the ads, while some of them presented security risks.