TIME Mobile

Apple Is Fixing a Big Problem With iPhones

Xaume Olleros—© 2015 Bloomberg Finance LP

A error that bricked repaired iPhones has been fixed

iPhones that have been rendered useless due to repairs by third-party vendors are finally getting a fix.

On Thursday Apple released an update to iOS 9 that fixes “error 53,” a mysterious issue that was disabling some users’ iPhones after they tried to get them repaired at local shops instead of going to Apple.

The issue, Apple says, is tied to the iPhone 6’s Touch ID system. The sensor for Touch ID, which lets users unlock their phones via fingerprint, resides on the iPhone’s home button. If users tried to replace a broken home button through a third party, the iPhone read this as a potential security threat and shut the phone down with the “error 53” message. The error ensures that vendors can’t install Touch-ID sensors that would help them steal user data, but it also limits customers’ options for getting repairs. Apple faces a class-action lawsuit over the issue, according to The Guardian.

Now, iPhones with error 53 can be updated via iTunes and they should be operable again. Touch ID still won’t work for security reasons, but the phone can be unlocked with a passcode.

“We apologize for any inconvenience, this was designed to be a factory test and was not intended to affect customers,” Apple said in a statement to TechCrunch. The company is offering reimbursements to customers who bought an out-of-warranty replacement device due to Error 53.

Tap to read full story

Your browser is out of date. Please update your browser at http://update.microsoft.com


Dear TIME Reader,

As a regular visitor to TIME.com, we are sure you enjoy all the great journalism created by our editors and reporters. Great journalism has great value, and it costs money to make it. One of the main ways we cover our costs is through advertising.

The use of software that blocks ads limits our ability to provide you with the journalism you enjoy. Consider turning your Ad Blocker off so that we can continue to provide the world class journalism you have become accustomed to.

The TIME Team