iFixit, the global teardown and repair organisation, has discovered an “incredibly common” issue it has dubbed “Touch Disease”.
Multiple repairers are reporting seeing the symptoms on “hundreds of phones a month” and according to Jason Villmer, owner of STS Telecom — a board repair shop in Missouri — “This issue is widespread enough that I feel like almost every iPhone 6/6+ has a touch of it (no pun intended) and are like ticking bombs just waiting to act up.”
Apple forums started to see the issue in February, but it seems to have picked up in August. Apple’s initial advice was to restore the phone, but that does not work. It seems to be a fault with the two-touch IC chip degrading over time. Comments range from Apple’s liability to replace handsets even though they are out of warranty, to total recalls of the iPhone 6 series as this appears to be systemic – it's not if, but when, it fails.
iFixit say at this time it appears that Apple doesn’t have a fix for the problem – aside from selling owners another phone. Apple’s in-store repair techs aren’t equipped to make repairs to the logic board.
Third-party, “unauthorised” micro-soldering specialists, can replace the two suspect chips – which is a lot cheaper than an out-of-warranty phone replacement. Since Apple is unwilling to support independent repair shops who can fix the problem, it hopes customers will band together and make enough noise to force Apple to start offering customers a solution (just like they were forced to do earlier this year with Error 53).
It does not appear to affect the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus at this time.
Whatever the case, if you have experienced this issue head to the Genius Bar quickly and, under Australian Consumer Law, whether you are in or out of warranty, you are well within your rights in demanding a replacement if the offer is not forthcoming.