Error 53 problem for the iPhone 6

JPCT 150713 Alan Stainer. Photo by Derek Martin
JPCT 150713 Alan Stainer. Photo by Derek Martin

A disturbing error has started appearing on some iPhones after being upgraded to iOS 9. If you see a message displaying error 53 on your iPhone 6, then unfortunately your phone is no longer operable and none of the data on your phone is recoverable either.

The issue centres around a new piece of code which detects whether a repair has been performed by a non Apple technician. Specifically it appears to relate to the home button and fingerprint sensor, supposedly as a security feature.

Now you may be thinking, “But I haven’t had anything done to the home button.” Well that isn’t necessarily the case. While you may not have specifically had your home button fixed, if you have ever had a cracked screen repaired, the home button will have been removed and then put back in place.

The error appears to affect iPhones that have damaged home buttons as well, regardless of whether a repair has been made or not.

Apple are understandably coming under for fire for this and may well be facing legal action from all corners. After all, deliberately breaking someone’s property is generally considered a crime.

There is also an issue of competition here. By forcing customers to only use Apple technicians to perform repairs (and charging a premium rate at the same time) they are destroying a vibrant market while ensuring they retain a profitable revenue stream.

If you are in any doubt about your iPhone 6 and haven’t upgraded to iOS 9 already, then you may wish to delay upgrading for a bit longer, or even indefinitely. If you have already upgraded and need to get a repair done, then go through an approved Apple repair centre.

Apple’s move may have been implemented with the best of intentions, as security is definitely important and they do not want a repeat of the icloud celebrity photo hacking scandal. That, it appears, has become synonymous with iCloud, as I still hear clients talking about it even now.

The truth of the matter is, there may be many people right now thinking that their next phone will be running Android.

Do you have an iPhone 6 and have you upgraded to iOS 9 yet? I would really love to hear about your experiences, especially if you have been affected by error 53.

Alan Stainer