If you’re one of the unfortunate souls who have encountered the dreaded “Error 53” message on your iPhone by getting a third party technician to service the device, then what you probably have in your hands is a useless, expensive brick. However, with thousands of people affected by the likely irreversible issue, Apple now says that it was a “factory test” and as such released a software update to fix it.
“Error 53” is an issue caused by unofficial Apple repair services. The company said back then that it was a security feature designed to keep Touch ID secured and to avoid third party technicians that may replace the Home button to access iPhones. The error makes the affected iPhones boot loop due to a security mismatch. “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,” Apple said in a statement back then.
In a surprising turn of events, Apple changed its tune and says that the error was only a test designed to check if the Touch ID sensor works properly before it leaves the factory. In a statement Apple issued to TechCrunch, the “Error 53” message was indeed only a factory test and wasn’t intended to affect customers. The company has released a fix via a software update to restore affected iPhones using a Mac or a PC. Furthermore, those who shelled out cash to have an out-of-warranty replacement iPhone should contact the company regarding reimbursements.
Last Thursday, a Seattle-based law firm has filed a class-action lawsuit against Apple, claiming that the company wasn’t able to “adequately” warn its customers about the risks that could come from a replaced or damaged Touch ID sensor. Apple issuing the fix, albeit a bit late, may help mitigate the lawsuit.
Meanwhile, those who have been affected by the “Error 53” can now have their iPhones restored by downloading the update via iTunes. The update isn’t exactly an increment to iOS. Instead, it’s a patched version of iOS 9.2.1, which should serve as a quick fix if your iPhone has been gathering dust for quite some time now.