Apple has recently been in the limelight for ‘bricking’ customers’ iPhones if third-party repairs are carried out on the screen or Touch ID home button.
On Friday, the Guardian revealed how thousands of iPhone 6 users have had their devices left useless after encountering the dreaded error message – ‘Error 53’.
The problem is related to the iPhone’s home button, which contains a Touch ID fingerprint sensor that can be used to unlock the device rather than inputting a four-digit security code.
If an iPhone with Touch ID is damaged, and a non-Apple repairer replaces the screen or button, the next update of the OS will detect what has happened and will essentially kill the device. After this point, the phone would be as useful as a brick, hence the term ‘bricking’.
After an uproar from iPhone customers stating that ‘Apple has no right to ‘brick” their phone and that the process is just another money-grabbing scheme to get customers to pay for Apple repairs and AppleCare – Apple released the following statement;
We take customer security very seriously and Error 53 is the result of security checks designed to protect our customers. iOS checks that the Touch ID sensor in your iPhone or iPad correctly matches your device’s other components. If iOS finds a mismatch, the check fails and Touch ID, including for Apple Pay use, is disabled. This security measure is necessary to protect your device and prevent a fraudulent Touch ID sensor from being used. If a customer encounters Error 53, we encourage them to contact Apple Support.Apple
Apple does suggest contacting Apple Support if they have encountered the ‘Error 53’ message but if the error message is a direct result of a screen or home button replacement, the phone is not covered by the warranty – meaning the only way past it would be to buy another phone. Not cool, Apple.