Thousands of iPhone 6 owners have allegedly had their handsets disabled by Apple after using a third-party technician to repair their phones.
Users have reported that repaired devices that were working perfectly were rendered useless after installing the latest operating system, iOS 9. The problem, known as “error 53”, appears to be triggered when an iPhone 6’s touch ID home button has been repaired by a non-Apple technician.
If iOS 9 detects that repairs have been carried out on the fingerprint recognition sensor by a third party its security measures disable the handset. It cannot be restored. Customers on Apple’s discussion forums have complained that they have lost all of their photos and documents after suffering “error 53” and have been told by the company’s staff there is no way to reverse it, rendering the phone useless. new iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus retails for between £459 and £619.
The Guardian reported that a freelance photographer lost all of the data on his phone after upgrading to iOS 9. a few weeks ago. Antonio Olmos said he had his screen and home button repaired in Macedonia while covering the refugee crisis in September. “Because I desperately needed it for work I got it fixed at a local shop, as there are no Apple stores in Macedonia. They repaired the screen and home button, and it worked perfectly,” he said.
Mr Olmos claims that within seconds of upgrading his phone displayed “error 53” and that when he took it to an Apple store in London he was told by staff there was nothing they could do.
One user wrote on Apple’s forums: “With this update I’m unable to use the phone, and still have to pay for [it]. I did get the front screen replaced, and I understand it’s now considered “tampered with”, but at least let me use my iPhone on the old IOS system.”
An Apple spokeswoman said: “We take customer security very seriously and error 53 is the result of security checks designed to protect our customers,” an Apple spokeswoman said. She said that Apple’s latest operating system checks wehether the Touch ID sensor “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.”