Count yourself lucky if you’re an iPhone user and you have yet to meet the dreaded Error 53 message. Thousands of iPhone users now claim that they are holding bricks instead of a smartphone because Apple’s latest update to its operating system permanently renders it worthless if it happens to detect that the handset has been repaired by a third-party technician.
Error 53 results into repaired iPhones, either for its display panels or home buttons, to boot loop after doing a software update. The error was widely known as a bug, but Apple itself had to clear things up with The Guardian to settle the matter.
Apple explained to the Guardian Money that they protect fingerprint data using a “secure enclave,” which is uniquely paired to the touch ID sensor of the iPhone. Should a unit be serviced by an authorized Apple service provider or an Apple retail store, the pairing is re-validated should there be changes that affect the sensor. The procedure ensures that the device as well as the iOS features that use the touch ID remain secure. Without such unique pairing, a malicious touch ID sensor could lead to substitution, allowing access to the secured enclave. Should the OS detect that the pairing fails, the touch ID, including Apple Pay will be disabled to keep the device secured.
If that may seem a bit jargon-heavy, Apple simplified the explanation for its official statement. “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. 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.”
iFixit’s Kyle Wiens suggest that the Error 53 is a major issue. It currently has over 183,000 hits up at their website, suggesting that many iOS users are experiencing the issue. Upgrading the operating system checks to make sure if the iPhone still has its original components intact. If it isn’t, then the users are locked out from their phones, and there’s no way of repairing it. Moreover, this could also prove as a threat to people looking at Craigslist or eBay for a used iPhone since, at the moment, there seem to be a huge number of users that aren’t relatively happy with the latest update.