Do you own an iPhone with a damaged screen or damaged Touch ID button – or one repaired by a non-Apple engineer ? If so, updating your operating system to iOS9 might kill your phone.
When handsets are updated to the latest operating system, iOS 9 runs a series of internal checks. If certain checks fail the message ‘Error 53’ is displayed and the phone becomes totally inoperative. In most cases users cannot salvage their handset (or even their data) by rolling back to an earlier version of the operating system or disabling the Touch ID pad. A non-Apple repair to the screen or Touch pad can trigger this result, as can (occasionally) a cracked, unrepaired screen.
Apple’s initial explanation was that the screen and home button’s fingerprint recognition “pairs” with encrypted data on the handset. A non-Apple repairer can fit a replacement Touch ID button or screen but cannot fully authorise the handset to accept the new part. This is a security measure designed to prevent unauthorised access via swapping ID buttons, particularly relevant since the advent of Apple Pay. The end result is that any repairs to these components must be done by an authorised Apple repairer at premium rates.
After an public outcry, Apple offered an alternative explanation that ‘Error 53’ was in fact a factory test and never intended to impact consumers. They have released an update to iOS 9.2.1 to correct the error message and restore functionality – instructions can be viewed here.
Now all Apple have to do is fix the bug which breaks iPhones if the date is set to 1 January, 1970. This is a known bug – online tricksters are spoofing gullible users to alter date settings with promises of retro themes. In fact it breaks the handset and requires a trip to the Apple store to rectify.