Apple Knew About Bendgate and Touch Disease iPhone 6 Issues Months in Advance of Repair Programs

As part of an ongoing lawsuit over the "Touch Disease" manufacturing issue affecting iPhone 6 and 6 Plus devices, Apple was required to provide the court with internal testing documents that suggest the company knew about iPhone 6 and 6 Plus design problems before the two devices launched.

The full scope of the internal documents remain under seal, but the judge presiding over the case, Lucy Koh, made some of the information public when she published an opinion on the case earlier this month, and Motherboard shared the details she offered up about the case.

iphone6plus
Apple knew that the iPhone 6 was 3.3 times more likely to bend than the iPhone 5s, while the iPhone 6 Plus was 7.2 times more likely to bend ahead of the release of the two devices. Publicly, though, Apple said that the two devices had been "thoroughly tested" and evaluated for "strength and durability." Bending, according to Apple, was "extremely rare" and only happened to a small number of customers.


At the heart of the Touch Disease problem is an earlier issue that received widespread attention -- bendgate.

Bendgate was the first and most visible issue affecting the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, but the malleability of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus is also what led to Touch Disease, which occurs when the chip that detects touch input becomes unseated from the logic board from bending or as Apple claims, multiple drops. Apple quietly addressed Touch Disease in an engineering change implemented in May 2016, but did not launch a repair program until months later after the problem received significant attention. From Judge Koh:

After internal investigation, Apple determined underfill was necessary to resolve the problems caused by the touchscreen defect. As the Plaintiffs explain, "[u]nderfill is a bead of epoxy encapsulant that is placed on a circuit chip to reinforce its attachment to the board substrate and to stiffen the surrounding assembly. ... Underfill is used to prevent the manifestation of chip defects induced by bending because it reinforces the connections and prevents them from bending away from the substrate."

As part of the repair program that Apple eventually put in place, the company is replacing devices affected by Touch Disease with a replacement device for a service fee of $149.

The Touch Disease lawsuit is still ongoing and not all documentation has been made public. Judge Koh recently denied the plantiffs' attempt to get class certification, but an appeal is in the works. The full court document covering the denial for class certification is available from Motherboard.

Popular Stories

iPhone 17 Plus Feature

iPhone 17 Lineup Specs Detail Display Upgrade and New High-End Model

Monday July 22, 2024 4:33 am PDT by
Key details about the overall specifications of the iPhone 17 lineup have been shared by the leaker known as "Ice Universe," clarifying several important aspects of next year's devices. Reports in recent months have converged in agreement that Apple will discontinue the "Plus" iPhone model in 2025 while introducing an all-new iPhone 17 "Slim" model as an even more high-end option sitting...
iPhone SE 4 Vertical Camera Feature

iPhone SE 4 Rumored to Use Same Rear Chassis as iPhone 16

Friday July 19, 2024 7:16 am PDT by
Apple will adopt the same rear chassis manufacturing process for the iPhone SE 4 that it is using for the upcoming standard iPhone 16, claims a new rumor coming out of China. According to the Weibo-based leaker "Fixed Focus Digital," the backplate manufacturing process for the iPhone SE 4 is "exactly the same" as the standard model in Apple's upcoming iPhone 16 lineup, which is expected to...
Apple TV Plus Feature 2 Magenta and Blue

Apple TV+ Curbs Costs After Expensive Projects Fail to Capture Viewers

Monday July 22, 2024 5:11 am PDT by
Apple is scaling back its Hollywood spending after investing over $20 billion in original programming with limited success, Bloomberg reports. This shift comes after the streaming service, which launched in 2019, struggled to capture a significant share of the market, accounting for only 0.2% of TV viewership in the U.S., compared to Netflix's 8%. Despite heavy investment, critical acclaim,...
iPhone 16 Pro Sizes Feature

iPhone 16 Series Is Just Two Months Away: Everything We Know

Monday July 15, 2024 4:44 am PDT by
Apple typically releases its new iPhone series around mid-September, which means we are about two months out from the launch of the iPhone 16. Like the iPhone 15 series, this year's lineup is expected to stick with four models – iPhone 16, iPhone 16 Plus, iPhone 16 Pro, and iPhone 16 Pro Max – although there are plenty of design differences and new features to take into account. To bring ...
iPhone 17 Plus Feature Purple

These 5 Features Will Make the iPhone 17 the Biggest Update in Years

Monday July 22, 2024 4:02 pm PDT by
The upcoming iPhone 16 models that we're expecting to see in September are going to be quite similar to the iPhone 15 models, but rumors suggest that Apple is making big changes in 2025. We've been hearing hints of an all-new device in the iPhone lineup, and it may be the most expensive iPhone Apple has offered to date. New 'Slim' Design Rumors have taken to referring to the new iPhone 17...
iPhone SE 4 Thumb 1

iPhone SE 4 Rumored to Launch Early Next Year With OLED Display, 48MP Camera, and More

Monday July 22, 2024 7:22 am PDT by
The fourth-generation iPhone SE will offer a series of major upgrades over the current model, the leaker known as "Ice Universe" claims. The information was listed in a post on Weibo, which also detailed the specifications of the iPhone 17 lineup. As previously rumored, the fourth-generation iPhone SE is expected to feature Face ID and USB-C, marking a major upgrade from current and previous ...
bsod

Microsoft Blames European Commission for Major Worldwide Outage

Monday July 22, 2024 11:55 am PDT by
Last Friday, a major CrowdStrike outage impacted PCs running Microsoft Windows, causing worldwide issues affecting airlines, retailers, banks, hospitals, rail networks, and more. Computers were stuck in continuous recovery loops, rendering them unusable. The failure was caused by an update to the CrowdStrike Falcon antivirus software that auto-installed on Windows 10 PCs, but Mac and Linux...

Top Rated Comments

snowboarder Avatar
81 months ago
If anyone thinks there is any honesty left in the corporate world, he's lying to himself...
Score: 50 Votes (Like | Disagree)
mi7chy Avatar
81 months ago
"Designed for obsolescence in California."
- Apple
Score: 41 Votes (Like | Disagree)
rjohnstone Avatar
81 months ago
I still think it is absurd that Apple charged $149 to "fix" an admitted production defect.
Score: 35 Votes (Like | Disagree)
NIKKG Avatar
81 months ago
When you got a crook like Tim Cook at the helm, what do you expect?
Score: 27 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Dethklok Avatar
81 months ago
This is why I don't get it when people talk crap about Samsung. Manufacturer defects do happen, but when they do happen most companies will do a proper recall.

Except Apple. They will give you a piece of rubber instead.
Score: 26 Votes (Like | Disagree)
TheShadowKnows! Avatar
81 months ago
Where is the Apple Defense Force now?

Come on dudes! Give it the old-college try!
Let denials, and "Apple cannot do no wrong" ripostes, flow!

Apple marketing is depending on you.
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)