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This Error Could Brick Your iPhone 6... And Apple Won't Fix It

Here's how you can avoid turning your phone into a very expensive paperweight.
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Apple's "Error 53" has been in the news a lot lately, plaguing iPhone 6 and 6 Plus users by turning their shiny phones into very expensive paperweights when they update to iOS 9. In most cases, this error results in data being lost forever, with no recovery fix known.

Unfortunately, for those who have experienced it, their only solution seems to be to shell out the big bucks and buy a brand new phone. So what should you do to avoid it; and do you have any recourse if affected?

How Can You Tell If Your Phone is a Brick Waiting to Happen?

Though most cases seem to be stemming from users who have had their home buttons repaired, some who have had screens replaced are seeing it as well. Either way, if the work was done via a third-party, and then the owner tries to update their phone to iOS 9, it's likely they'll run into this error.

Apple says this is caused by a security feature put into place to protect users from thieves snagging their phones and using illicit Touch ID scanners. But customers are asking why this feature doesn't actually "protect" anything until an update is performed. Theoretically a thief could replace the ID scanner and use the phone continuously without updating, giving them ample time to collect all your sensitive data.

In any event, don't use third-party repairs (at least for now). Even regardless of this current issue, it's better to rely on Apple for repairs to preserve your warranty. And if you've already had an unauthorized third-party repair, it's best to avoid upgrading to iOS 9 for as long as you can.

My Phone Is Worthless?! How Can I Fix It?!

There have been some who claim a fix for Error 53 is incredibly rare. The blog iCracked details a way that you can replace your third-party parts with your original home button setup (since apparently reprogramming home buttons is not high on Apple's to-do list). You're still basically taking a chance, but the only other option is buying a new phone.

Unless, that is, certain rumors turn out to be true. In response to some major negative media attention, Apple is supposedly giving stores permission to replace unauthorized parts. Unfortunately, at the time of this writing, there is no official list of retail stores that are performing these repairs (the service isn't available at all locations). On top of that, the fix isn't free — it's still going to cost you the out-of-warranty price, on top of what you already paid for the third-party mend. At least it's cheaper than outright buying a new iPhone, though.

It should be noted that there is at least one lawsuit in the works. A big part of the argument is not just that Apple has made so many iPhones completely inoperative, but also that they didn't warn users that due to repairs, a new update would make their phones worthless.

One barrister in London believes Apple's action might violate UK law. And in Seattle, one law firm is currently building a case for a class action suit, inviting any who have experienced "Error 53" to contact them. Even if these lawsuits succeed, you will not receive money for years, but it could help reimburse you down the road.


Staff Writer

As a college student, Julie wrote for the college newspaper and freelanced for the website College Candy. Since then she has worked as freelancer through Textbroker and has written press releases, feature pages, and other miscellaneous pieces for a software company. She enjoys writing both as a hobby and a career, and is always working on some kind of story.
DealNews may be compensated by companies mentioned in this article. Unless marked as a "Sponsored Deal," the opinions expressed here are those of the author and have not been reviewed or endorsed by the companies mentioned. Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).
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7 comments
Dubie1977
It sucks that it wasn't in the upgrade notes but most people don't read those anyway. I am glad that Apple is try to protect my data especially with states like new york and California trying to expose it. This is always the risk of using unauthorized parts or service places for any product. That is just how technology works. It is like choosing not to use an Apple MFi product. It may work, it may break, or it may harm your device.
Go after the people who f'ed you up by giving you cheep parts and not the one that sold you a fully working device that would still be working with the original parts.
Herbannana
I think there is a point of security by this is just Apple trying to monopolize the market.
ski522
Alias the difference between how Steve Jobs ran company and how poorly Tim Cook is running the company!
pmurray63
Which part of "customers are asking why this feature doesn't actually 'protect' anything until an update is performed" did you miss?
jonathanbruck
If someone steals your phone, do you want them to be able to access all your information just by changing out the home button? Of course not.
Cilvre
having worked for them, they will have to do something because of the negative pr, but will likely charge you still. better off changing phone brands now to show you are willing to take your business elsewhere if they dont clean up their act.
nimer
Apple's own genius employees are not to be trusted either. I would never send an iPhone for Apple for repairs or replacement. I had a major BBB dispute with them in which one of their genius employees in their W14th store in New York committed fraud, but Apple refused to address this

Things went downhill when they 'trained' their 'genius' employees to perform repairs rather than replace phones.
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