Error 53: The message that destroys your iPhone

Thousands of iPhone users are complaining that their device has been rendered useless by Apple's latest updates. Photo / Getty Images
Thousands of iPhone users are complaining that their device has been rendered useless by Apple's latest updates. Photo / Getty Images

If a mysterious error code called "Error 53" pops up on your iPhone 6 or 6 Plus, brace yourself.

This message has been occurring on iPhones since the emergence of iOS 9 updates.

For devices that have undergone third-party repairs, the error message could mean imminent death.

Apple says that the error appears to protect customers, but thousands of users are claiming that it has rendered their iPhones useless, and any data kept within is lost without hope of retrieval.

The focal point of the issue lies in the security measures of the Touch ID sensor.

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Apple released its latest statement on the issue to AppleInsider, explaining the security purposes behind the move.

The statement said: "We take our 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.

Apple really are in the wrong here.They could easily disable Touch ID features instead of soft bricking the phone.

"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."
See Apple's help page on the error here:

The touch ID sensor records fingerprints, and keeps that data protected with a "secure enclave", an Apple spokeswoman explained in an earlier statement to The Guardian.

Any third-party repairs that affect this area, like the home-button or the screen, can spur the messages, and thus, the death-sentence, for an iPhone.

The Apple spokeswoman explains that "faulty screens or other invalid components", can disrupt the unique pairing methods of the touch ID, disabling the phone so it remains secure.

The biggest problem is for those who damage the home button from dropping their phone (or other ways) that damages the touch ID system. No third party part has been used, no security compromise made.

The company has recommended users contact Apple Support for help.
But, once Error 53 comes up, contacting Apple Support may not be of much help.

"Apple really are in the wrong here," said one Herald reader. "They could easily disable Touch ID features instead of soft bricking the phone. The phone is perfectly usable and every other aspect of the phone works fine, except features requiring Touch ID. Even then, the features you use Touch ID for all work with the pin code or Apple ID password in place of using touch ID to authenticate (except Apple Pay)."

"The biggest problem is for those who damage the home button from dropping their phone (or other ways) that damages the touch ID system. No third party part has been used, no security compromise made. Then, the user attempts to update their phone and it comes up with error 53 during the final validation checks after the update has been applied. So a functioning phone (albeit without touch ID working) has now become useless."

The same reader pointed out that the iPhone does not "die" as a result of the error - it is "soft-bricked".

"Apple could provide an update that allows a user to update the phone and disable touch ID. Since they can detect a non-functioning touch ID sensor or an incorrect sensor, they could easily just say, well here is your update with no Touch ID. ALSO, the phone could be returned to Apple (Service Plus or Yoobee in NZ) to have a new Touch ID sensor or screen replaced and the device will work."

The reader pointed out that the iPhones remain secure if Touch ID is disabled by the user - through the settings menu.

"Remember, everything (besides Apple Pay, which isn't even available in all countries anyway) work without Touch ID but using other passwords or pass codes."

Another Herald reader said they had "been victim to this BS" recently and needed to buy a new phone:

"I had a screen repair done at a third party repairer, the phone then stated playing up shutting down re starting until it wouldn't re start," the reader said. "I took it back to the repairer he looked at it for a couple of hours and said sorry I can't fix you must take back to Apple.
Took to a ninja and he hadn't seen it before and said because third party had worked on it Apple wouldn't touch it, best advice buy new phone, sucks eh."

- Daily Mail

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