If you see ‘Error 53’ on your iPhone 6 or 6 Plus, prepare yourself for some bad news.
The message has been popping up on iPhones since the release of the recent iOS 9 update and it’s essentially a death sentence for any more recent Apple devices you own which have undergone third-party repairs, The Daily Mail reports.
Apple claim the error will protect customers, but thousands of users have said the update has essentially bricked their iPhones, and meant that any data kept within is lost with no hope of retrieval.
— Cory Doctorow (@doctorow) February 5, 2016
In a statement made to AppleInsider, Apple explained the security purposes behind the move and apparently the issue lies in the security measures of the Touch ID sensor.
The statement said:
We take our 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.
Basically the touch ID sensor is what records your fingerprints, and it keeps that data protected with a ‘secure enclave,’ an Apple spokeswoman explained in an earlier statement to The Guardian.
So it seems, any third-party repair work done that affects the home button and possibly the screen could mean that you might be get this message.
Kyle Wiens, head of the electronics-repair site iFixit.com, claims the policy is harsh, and ‘ridiculous.’ He even likens the Error-53 related crashes to the car company Ford, saying: ‘we’re not going to let any mechanics work on our cars because they’ll change the key.’
An Apple spokeswoman explained that ‘faulty screens or other invalid components,’ can disrupt the unique pairing methods of the touch ID, disabling the phone so it remains secure.
Worst of all, the error message has also popped up for users who had damaged their phones, and gone on using them without seeking repair.
Apple recommends taking the error-struck phones to an Apple Store, but not all iPhone users have access to official Apple repair centers. Even then, the Wall Street Journal has reported that some customers have gone to the Apple Store only to be turned away as the error message was like ‘the plague,’ and unauthorized repairs void the device warranty.
For many, the only solution has been to throw away the bricked phone, and buy a new one.
Unfortunately, Apple has its back covered on this as iPhone users did agree to this in the terms and conditions.