Error 53: New update disables iPhones if Apple detects third party repairs

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If you have ever had the home button or screen replaced on your iPhone in somewhere like Pantip Plaza or MBK then your device may soon be disabled.

Apple’s latest software update for iPhone 6 allegedly ‘kills’ the phone if it detects the device has been repaired by a third party, according to The Guardian.

The problem, known officially as ‘error 53’, leaves the device virtually useless once it has been updated to the latest version of iOS 9. Some users have even reported losing photos and other data.

Antonio Olmos, a freelance photographer, told The Guardian that he was working in Macedonia when he realised his iPhone 6 wasn’t working properly. Not being close to an official Apple store, he took it to a local shop to be repaired.

Olmos says that his device was working fine until he updated the device.

There has also been lots of discussion regarding the issue on the official Apple support forum.

Kyle Wiens, CEO of iFixit, says the error is a major problem for iPhone users.

“The ‘error 53’ page on our website has had more than 183,000 hits, suggesting this is a big problem for Apple users. The problem occurs if the repairer changes the home button or the cable. Following the software upgrade, the phone in effect checks to make sure it is still using the original components, and if it isn’t, it simply locks out the phone. There is no warning, and there’s no way that I know of to bring it back to life”, Wiens told the Guardian.

Apple have said that error 53 is meant to be a security measure designed to protect against fraudulent activities.

iOS performs a standard check to make sure that the Touch ID sensor matches the other components inside the device. If the check fails and a mismatch is found then the Touch ID, which is also used for Apple Pay, is disabled.

A spokesperson for Apple told The Guardian: “When an iPhone is serviced by an unauthorised repair provider, faulty screens or other invalid components that affect the touch ID sensor could cause the check to fail if the pairing cannot be validated. With a subsequent update or restore, additional security checks result in an ‘error 53’ being displayed.

Anyone who encounters error 53 is advised to contact Apple Support.

 

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2 Comments

  1. ExpatDavid on

    “Apple have said that error 53 is meant to be a security measure designed to protect against fraudulent activities.”

    Really? They must think we have just come over on the banana boat.

    If this really is the case then hit them where it hurts – don’t buy any more of their products, ever.

  2. This not new from Apple, it happens some few years ago with a so called Time mnachine from Apple.
    I bought it with a small HD, about 500Gb, later I changed it with a bigger disc, no problem at all, until….there was a firmware update, after that is was useless.
    Even with an iMac about 10 years ago, after an firmware update the optical dousn’t working anymore.