The malfunction occurs because the phone's touchscreen controller chips, which work by converting finger taps into data that the phone can interpret, aren't properly connected to the device's logic board. The design flaw causes the chips to wiggle loose and ultimately fail, according to Mashable. Users then lose the ability to navigate their devices.
Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple said in a statement on Thursday that phones with the problem "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."
Apple will fix phones with the issue if the screen hasn't been cracked or broken. Customers can get help from participating centers like authorized service providers, retail stores and technical support for $149, but the program "only applies to the iPhone 6 Plus," Apple said in a statement.
The company said it would reimburse customers who previously paid to have the "touch disease" fixed independently, paying the difference between the original service cost and the $149 fee Apple is currently charging.
This comes after Apple was sued by three iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus customers this summer over the problem. The class-action lawsuit, which was filed in federal court in San Jose, Calif., in August, alleged that "the iPhones are not fit for the purpose of use as smartphones because of the touchscreen defect," Reuters reported.
By October, three more law firms had signed onto the case and California law firm McCuneWright, which was representing plaintiffs in the suit, told Motherboard that it had received requests from nearly 10,000 people to join the lawsuit.
Apple's move to provide a fix for the issue could be an attempt by the company to acknowledge the widespread problem and potentially end discussion of it, according to Mashable.
However, Apple's new repair offer only extends to the 6 Plus model, despite reports from hardware repair firms like iFixit that the issue has also plagued regular iPhone 6 versions.
The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus both debuted in September 2014. Following the models' launch, Apple CEO Tim Cook said in the company's fiscal 2015 first-quarter earnings call in January, 2015 that consumer demand for the new devices was "staggering, shattering our highest expectations."
Hopefully none of those consumers shattered their phones, too, because they'll be out of luck now.