‘Error 53’ Enrages iPhone Users Who Had Their Devices Repaired by Non-Apple Technicians

‘Error 53’ Enrages iPhone Users Who Had Their Devices Repaired By Non-Apple Technicians
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iPhone users around the world have been left with almost useless devices after Apple has released a software update that disables a handset if it is repaired by a non-Apple technician.

Of course, not too many non-techies are aware of the ‘error 53,’ however you will become aware of it if you take your device to a non-Apple technician. And when you become aware of it, you won’t have a usable iPhone anymore.


According to reports, the issue mainly affects those who get their home button repaired, with the home button having the touch ID fingerprint sensor inside of it. In some cases, customers who have damaged their iPhone have also experienced the issue.

It’s important to note that the issue only seems to arise for users of the latest Apple mobile operating system, iOS 9, and the device may have been working fine since a repair or damage, and then show the error once iOS 9 is installed.

In fact, the more people who install iOS 9, the more people who have experienced the issue, which may turn a rather expensive device into nothing more than a paperweight.

According to some experts, Apple is well aware of the issue, but hasn’t warned users of the fact that their device could become useless if they try and get it repaired by a non-Apple technician.

“I was in the Balkans covering the refugee crisis in September when I dropped my phone. Because I desperately needed it for work I got it fixed at a local shop, as there are no Apple stores in Macedonia. They repaired the screen and home button, and it worked perfectly,” said Antonio Olmos, a freelance photographer, in an interview with The Guardian.

Olmos then was sent an invitation to install iOS 9, which he accepted, after which the ‘error 53’ was shown and his phone couldn’t be used anymore. He then took his device to an Apple store in London, however they said that there was nothing they could do and that his phone could no longer be used.

The move seems to be an attempt by Apple to get rid of third-party repair-people, which is a very controversial move and is likely to be challenged legally. In the car industry, for example, carmakers cannot insist that drivers only get their cars repaired by the manufacturer.

Despite this, there is a reason that many prefer to get their device repaired by non-Apple technicians – while Apple might be the safer way to go, it is not at all the cheapest. Apple charges at least a few hundred dollars to get the home button repaired, but a third-party technician would charge a fraction of this.


“The ‘error 53’ page on our website has had more than 183,000 hits, suggesting this is a big problem for Apple users,” said Kyle Wiens, from Apple repair site iFixit. “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.”

Coupled with the fact that Apple offers no fix for the issue, and it is a very serious issue indeed, although it does appear to be related to the touch ID sensor. The sensor itself is uniquely paired with the user’s fingerprint, and when the button is repaired or damaged, the pairing becomes invalid. The pairing does make sense, of course – without it, someone could maliciously replace the home button in order to gain access to the user’s iPhone.

Apple has long been very strict when it comes to repairs and any third-party activity related to its devices. The company, of course, aims to make more money off users by charging them for repairs or by forcing them to buy a new device, however it also roots this in the fact that Apple is by far the best option for repairs if possible.

Of course, it is still recommended that users contact Apple if they encounter the issue, even though they will probably told that they need to buy a new device.

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