Apple apologizes to customers, updates iOS 9.2.1 to fix ‘Error 53’ iPhones

“Today, Apple is issuing an updated version of iOS 9.2.1 for users that update their iPhones via iTunes only,” Matthew Panzarino reports for TechCrunch. “This update will restore phones ‘bricked’ or disabled by Error 53 and will prevent future iPhones that have had their home button (or the cable) replaced by third party repair centers from being disabled. Note that this is a patched version of iOS 9.2.1, previously issued, not a brand new version of iOS.”

“The update is not for users who update their iPhones over the air (OTA) via iCloud,” Panzarino reports. “If you update your phone that way, you should never have encountered Error 53 in the first place. If, however, you update via iTunes or your phone is bricked, you should be able to plug it into iTunes to get the update today, restoring your phone’s functionality. Note, that the update will NOT re-enable Touch ID.”

“Allowing a third-party Touch ID sensor to function properly without an official Apple repair center both verifying that it is legitimate and recalibrating the cable to work with your iPhone’s Secure Enclave is a huge security risk,” Panzarino reports. “A malicious repair shop or corrupted part could allow unauthorized access to your phone or its data. Apple is absolutely right to disable Touch ID — it was also wrong for it to disable your entire iPhone for getting your home button replaced on the cheap. If you want to retain Touch ID functionality, you can get your home button replaced by Apple.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: And, thusly, “Error 53” was laid to rest. Under the bright light of this iOS update, class action shysters scurry away in chase of the next ambulance.

Lessons learned on each side by both Apple and their customers, we can only hope.

Apple is faces class action lawsuit over iPhone’s ‘Error 53’ – February 12, 2016
Error 53: Once again, Apple PR drops the ball – February 9, 2016
Apple under pressure as lawyers pledge action over ‘Error 53’ iPhones – February 9, 2016
‘Error 53’ fury mounts as Apple software update kills some iPhones ‘fixed’ by non-Apple repair shops – February 5, 2016


    1. Chances are this whole thing was a bug, they tried to be authoritative about it, then realized they didn’t have a leg to stand on. Still, they ended up (probably reluctantly) doing the right thing. They fixed the damage they caused.

      1. @ Hilarious and applecynic… The fact that it didn’t brick the phone after replacing the home button is the only real issue here… looks bad that it happened after an update. @ apple cynic… you are just an asshat! Apple didn’t cause the damage… If Apple develops the advanced tech to allow a fingerprint sensor to unlock access to your private data, then they should by all means disable the sensor if it is replaced by a non-authorized repair shop. If disabling the touch ID is doing the “right thing”, then you are correct, they did the right thing.

        1. It was the bricking of the phone I was referring to… They have no right to ruin my property beyond whatever I may have done to it.
          Ruminate on that. Anyway, it’s now obvious that they bricked it for our own good is complete and utter BS. At least they made it right.

    2. It does. This fix doesn’t re-activate the TouchID, it just stops the bricking of the iPhone on updating to a new version after someone has updated the iOS to the next version.

  1. Didn’t MDN tout this as an Apple se3curity feature and that the poor should who got bricked deserved it? Why yes they did. And didn’t the same clowns say that it was the user’s fault.? Why yes, yes they did.

    And didn’t many of the pundits and brainiacs who come here tell the poor souls who got THEIR property brickede ethat they should go pound salt?

    Well, yes. Yes, they did.

    And isn’t the MDN cast of clowns full of shit?

    Why yes, yes they are.

      1. You’re as dumb as they come. This is a false analogy. Let me give you one that works.

        Toyota has a defective part that prevents the car from being used in the fashion it was intended. Let’s say that this is a piece of security equipment like the anti-theft mechanism. If the mechanism doesn’t do what it is supposed to do in a proper manner, In this case, the product is recalled, either voluntarily or under the legal compulsion of saqfety law. If If Toyota refused to repair the defect, a class action lawsuit would be filed so that the courts could decide the liability.
        Toyota is compelled to fix it. They fix it for free.

        GMC is involved in this right now with their ignition system.

        1. First off, thank you for instantly going into “name calling” as a response to a post you disagree with. I expect nothing less on the Internet.

          Second, no one is saying the Touch ID buttons are defective. But it can be damaged (along with the screen) and need to be repaired (sorta like a car).

          If you go to an unauthorized repair shop, you SHOULD lose access to this vital feature, otherwise it’s worthless as a security device.

  2. “Apple is absolutely right to disable Touch ID — it was also wrong for it to disable your entire iPhone for getting your home button replaced on the cheap. If you want to retain Touch ID functionality, you can get your home button replaced by Apple ”

    Funny, that’s EXACTLY what I said Apple should’ve done in the first place. Tamper with TouchID sensor, disable it (at least until it’s serviced by an authorized Apple service centre), but let users keep using it with their passcode, since the passcode is still the actual final say for authenticating access to an iOS device, not TouchID.

    Glad to be proven right.

    1. Yes, because beta testers would naturally plug in a default date into a phone to see what would happen. I’m sure Apple will fix whatever weird glitch causes phones to brick for what is likely a simple overflow error, or some such nonsense…

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