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Apple announced Thursday that it will fix iPhone 6 Plus phones afflicted by “touch disease,” for significantly less than before. On its Support page, Apple said that it would fix iPhone 6 Plus smartphones that exhibit symptoms of touch disease for $149, instead of the standard, out-of-warranty $329 service charge the company had previously offered — provided that the phone is in working order, and the screen is not cracked or broken.
“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 document read.
Apple doesn’t use the term “touch disease,” but the “multi-touch repair program” page is talking about the same thing. Previously to Apple’s repair price reduction, many owners were frustrated that Apple seemed aware of the issue, but did not offer a reduced service price.
Touch disease issues were actually pretty widespread among owners of the iPhone 6 Plus. The issue occurs when an internal glitch causes the phone’s display to flicker, display a gray bar at the top, and become unresponsive to user’s touch, Business Insider reported — essentially rendering some phones inoperable. And according to Motherboard, the problem was afflicting “thousands and thousands” of iPhone 6 Plus owners by September.
Touch disease seems to be rooted in how the phone’s logic board and display are connected. According to testing by popular Apple repair site iFixit, there are little chips within the phone that allow the screen to interact with touch inputs. These chips are connected to the logic board by small, soldered metal balls — which, over time, can crack and cause connectivity issues, according to Fortune.
But who is at fault for touch disease remains a point of contention between Cupertino and its customers. Apple maintains that touch disease is caused solely by users — due to the fact that it is brought on by dropping the device “multiple times” on hard surfaces.
But not everyone agrees with that assessment. Some have shot back that the problem is caused by an internal hardware issue. iFixit CEO Kyle Wiens criticized Cupertino in a statement for not acknowledging that the problem could be caused by a manufacturing defect — specifically, “insufficient structural support around the (phone)’s logic board.”
“Apple is correct that dropping the device onto a hard surface could cause this issue,” Wiens wrote in a statement. “But that’s not the only cause: we have seen this problem on phones that have never been dropped. And in phones that have lived their entire lives in protected cases.”
Now that the service price for touch disease has been slashed, Apple is offering a reimbursement for anyone who paid full price for a replacement or repair. The amount will be equal to the difference between the previous cost of repair and $149, Apple announced.