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Latest iOS update bricks iPhones repaired using unofficial components

Posted: , by Ben R.

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Latest iOS update bricks iPhones repaired using unofficial components
It's no secret that Apple does not appreciate users or unofficial repair outlets meddling with the products it makes. Most of Cupertino's range is glued and soldered to the point where such activity is practically impossible. But since it can be expensive to get an iPhone or iPad fixed officially, many are left with little choice but to opt for some shady / DIY repair jobs -- often to an eventual cost that greatly exceeds the fee. Through iOS 9, folks who got their device fixed illicitly are finding that a subsequent software update causes the fatal 'Error 53' code, which bricks the device and takes any data or information with it. 

At this point, data lost through Error 53 cannot be retrieved. Moreover, users are not warned that their device could be ended by software update if unofficial components have been added. It would appear that repairs pertaining to the home button -- container of the Touch ID fingerprint sensor -- are the main culprit -- suggesting that Apple's bricking motive is something of a fraud prevention measure. 

As reported in The Guardian, many have had their iPhones fixed by repair stores and had it work perfectly for many weeks, before the next iOS 9 software update came through with Error 53 and rendered the device effectively useless. With Apple charging up to and over $300 for out-of-warranty repairs, it's no surprise that folks are looking elsewhere. But when the software update scans the system and finds a piece of hardware that it deems to be alien, the error message will likely kill the device. Right now, it would appear that complaints in Apple's direction are falling on deaf ears. 

On the one hand, it's understandable that Touch ID would cease to function should components have been tampered with. Since it's used to verify anything from payments to passwords, it arguably should fail in such circumstances. But to brick the entire device seems harsh on those with no sinister motives, and with no word from Apple, many users have been left with a very expensive dummy model. 

Needless to say, if your device has had any work done around the Touch ID home button and it wasn't carried out by Apple, it would probably wise to hold off updating for now; perhaps even indefinitely. 

source: The Guardian

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posted on 05 Feb 2016, 05:19 17

2. Shocky (unregistered)

Apple making it harder to get their hardware repaired again, not that surprising

They already keep the diagnostic software to themselves to make it difficult to identify problems and at every opportunity rip people off buy making them buy new devices, instead a far cheaper repair.

They're scum.

posted on 05 Feb 2016, 05:49 7

9. ibend (Posts: 4645; Member since: 30 Sep 2014)

they always get bad score at iFixit, lol
and with $300 repair fee, they can literally make a whole new phone, lol
they just really greedy :D

posted on 05 Feb 2016, 07:03 10

13. Predator-X (banned) (Posts: 44; Member since: 07 Jan 2016)

and yet so many idiot ppl buy this CRAPPIEST crap product on this earth ...
have to blame end users..

posted on 05 Feb 2016, 07:24 1

15. marorun (Posts: 3605; Member since: 30 Mar 2015)

watch out apple lover will try to discredit you when they see this lol.

posted on 05 Feb 2016, 07:28

17. Ordinary (Posts: 2318; Member since: 23 Apr 2015)

Yea PA banned him, lmao.

posted on 05 Feb 2016, 08:22 4

23. lyndon420 (Posts: 4403; Member since: 11 Jul 2012)

Apple lovers are likely going to skim past this article like it doesn't exist.

posted on 06 Feb 2016, 13:36

42. curiousDillan (Posts: 42; Member since: 26 May 2015)

I don't see many people defending Apple here. I think you're right!

posted on 05 Feb 2016, 10:07

28. GoGoGalaxyNexus (Posts: 58; Member since: 01 Nov 2013)

Phonearena, I'm just curious, Did Predator get banned for the use of the C-word or was there another reason?

posted on 05 Feb 2016, 11:09

31. PapaSmurf (Posts: 10456; Member since: 14 May 2012)

No that's Arte-8800 again. This is probably the 50th time he's been banned now lol.

posted on 05 Feb 2016, 11:09

30. catze86 (Posts: 726; Member since: 07 Dec 2015)

Hohoho, PA banned him.
Back to topic, Apple carry Jobs will, a.k.a blame the users first and then silent if the problems are from the faulty products.

posted on 05 Feb 2016, 12:18

33. Arch_Fiend (Posts: 2501; Member since: 03 Oct 2015)

The iPhone isn't crap but it is f**ked up for Apple to kill someone's phone though an update just because they didn't pay for an official $300 repair job.

LOL banned.

posted on 05 Feb 2016, 08:47 3

25. janis (Posts: 324; Member since: 10 Mar 2014)

looks like phone arena did not received payment from apple lately :D

posted on 05 Feb 2016, 10:03

27. Brewski (Posts: 351; Member since: 05 Jun 2012)

"Right now, it would appear that complaints in Apple's direction are falling on deaf ears."

I bet they ARE getting these complaints, they are just writing up a response to the public that will sound something like: "You're updating it wrong." and then charge a fee for bringing your phone back up. Same with the antenna problem on the 4.

posted on 05 Feb 2016, 21:14

39. lyndon420 (Posts: 4403; Member since: 11 Jul 2012)

Removable sdcards would have been a nice feature to have for something like this.

posted on 05 Feb 2016, 05:20 15

3. flavius22 (Posts: 173; Member since: 23 Aug 2015)

That's a crime

posted on 05 Feb 2016, 05:24 3

4. Finalflash (Posts: 3107; Member since: 23 Jul 2013)

This is quite old news, but they seem to be getting desperate. All this BS about protection is just that, BS. They've been trying to kill repair shops and second hand sales of iPhones for years and now they have this and force touch putting the final nail in that coffin. Combined with installment payments, this will likely mean people stop buying Apple completely in a few years time. Any broken iPhone will still need to be paid for unlike on contracts where the price was hidden. No repairs and no second hand iPhones will likely push more and more people to cheaper Android devices leading to purchases of higher end Android devices when a new upgrade is due.

posted on 05 Feb 2016, 05:36 7

5. submar (Posts: 462; Member since: 19 Sep 2014)

apple really think they are god

posted on 05 Feb 2016, 05:36 1

6. Baracus (Posts: 223; Member since: 15 Sep 2012)

Maybe Apple can legally block you from using any Apple services after unofficial upgrade but I'm sure Apple are acting illegally bricking phones at least in many countries and I hope they get the s#it sued out of them for this next level of greed.

posted on 05 Feb 2016, 10:36

29. nodes (Posts: 730; Member since: 06 Mar 2014)

what is unofficial upgrade?

posted on 06 Feb 2016, 17:34

43. elitewolverine (Posts: 5184; Member since: 28 Oct 2013)

Show me where in their warranty or agreement that they cant do this. And all they can make sure works is original hardware. I cannot get mad at ford, if I install a aftermarket sound system and fords radio update bricks my sound system.

posted on 05 Feb 2016, 05:41 4

7. realjjj (Posts: 371; Member since: 28 Jan 2014)

So Apple thinks its users don't own the devices and they have no right to do w/e the hell they want with the devices they bought.
Apple breaks such devices on purpose just to force users to always pay a huge premium for repairs.
If anyone deserves to spend time in jail for reabilitation, it is exactly this kind of people that lead corportaions like Apple.

posted on 05 Feb 2016, 05:51 2

11. ibend (Posts: 4645; Member since: 30 Sep 2014)

lets see how far sheeps will stay worshiping apple, lol

posted on 05 Feb 2016, 05:47

8. andynaija (Posts: 898; Member since: 08 Sep 2012)

Another reason why I don't mess with Apple products, y'all can deal with all that drama lol #deuces

posted on 05 Feb 2016, 05:50

10. MichiGo (Posts: 173; Member since: 09 Sep 2014)


posted on 05 Feb 2016, 06:24 2

12. rob5150 (Posts: 161; Member since: 31 Oct 2011)

when you reboot an apple phone with fingerprint sensor on board. isnt it true that you need to enter your password first to unlock phone? fingerprint reader doesnt unlock phone on boot, correct?
then this should be a non issue of senor being replaced. all the owners info is encypted, so there is no chance that changing that piece on a stolen phone would put owner at risk.
proud owner of a google nexus 6p here

posted on 05 Feb 2016, 07:08 2

14. RoboticEngi (Posts: 722; Member since: 03 Dec 2014)

God I love it. Apple who doesnt do anything but caring for their customers............

posted on 05 Feb 2016, 07:25 2

16. Droids-R-us (Posts: 33; Member since: 17 Sep 2012)

Not sure why this reviewer is using words like "meddling with", "shady / DIY repair jobs" and "often to an eventual cost that greatly exceeds the fee" This all sounds very negative towards repair shops. Does it say when buying an i device that having your device repaired anywhere else is illegal or forbidden or it will be bricked? As I see it these shops do a very good job of repairing devices perfectly legally (Genuine tax paying businesses) not shady at all. I know several work friends that are addicted to i devices and they have kids that break them often so have needed repairs more than once. The price was around 50% to 90% less by supporting their local repair businesses rather than a very capitalist 'you know who' corporation. I think these repair shops deserve a pat on the back for helping the consumer, not a series of comments like the ones above.

posted on 05 Feb 2016, 07:59

19. VZWuser76 (Posts: 4212; Member since: 04 Mar 2010)

We have had a few of the devices on our share an repaired by local repair shops. There's nothing wrong or illicit about it. It's no worse than taking you car to a mechanic rather than a dealership. The worst part of this is that it's bricking the device and losing all the owner's data on it. That seems like a pretty dick move to me.

posted on 05 Feb 2016, 07:34

18. Droids-R-us (Posts: 33; Member since: 17 Sep 2012)

What about the environment too? isn't recycling technology a good thing rather than throwing it away and supposed to be top concern of any responsible company?

posted on 05 Feb 2016, 08:18 2

21. lyndon420 (Posts: 4403; Member since: 11 Jul 2012)

This is their 'upgrade a broken iPhone' campaign at work. If you bring in a phone that they bricked on you, apple will gladly replace it at full cost to you. Gotta hand it to apple...they sure know how to keep their customers happy.

posted on 05 Feb 2016, 08:17 5

20. _PHug_ (Posts: 444; Member since: 11 Oct 2011)

Gotta hand it to Apple.
Innovating new ways to screw their loyal customers.

posted on 05 Feb 2016, 08:20 1

22. Sakeem (Posts: 476; Member since: 05 Sep 2012)

How does Apple get away with this? The only way Apple would ever change some of its "cult like" practices is if the consumer voted with their wallets. Let them take a hit on their bottom line. Unfortunately, that will never happen. Thank goodness for choice.

posted on 05 Feb 2016, 08:42

24. darkkjedii (Posts: 21367; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)

Keep official my dudes.

posted on 05 Feb 2016, 14:01 2

36. Shocky (unregistered)

Apple in most cases will NOT repair your device, they are the only ones with access to diagnostic software and most of time they won't use it.

When they give you the option for repair it's usually for such an expense you might as well buy a new device, so most of time they won't bother giving users the option.

If you like Apple "official" support then you're an idiot.

It's like this for ALL Apple hardware, not just the iPhone.

posted on 05 Feb 2016, 09:30 3

26. hortizano (Posts: 292; Member since: 22 May 2013)


intense and selfish desire for something, especially wealth and power AKA Apple.

It's their way or the highway..

posted on 05 Feb 2016, 12:17 2

32. Arch_Fiend (Posts: 2501; Member since: 03 Oct 2015)

Damn that's f**ked up Apple. Killing someones phone just because they didn't want to pay $300 for an official apple repair job.

posted on 05 Feb 2016, 12:48 2

34. PHYCLOPSH (Posts: 287; Member since: 28 Jun 2014)

Apple is diabolical and they should be ashamed of themselves.

posted on 05 Feb 2016, 13:17 5

35. NorthernViking (Posts: 33; Member since: 25 Mar 2015)

Remember: Apple owns it, not you. You just pay $1000 to be able to use the phone.

posted on 05 Feb 2016, 15:51 1

37. garciano (unregistered)

will never have anything to do with apple!!!!!

posted on 05 Feb 2016, 20:53

38. nycezwl (Posts: 11; Member since: 19 Oct 2011)

The fault remains in the hands of the holders rather than the technician themselves. As a matter a fact usually not even the holder himself but the evidently poor framework of the phone where upon drop the home button would rip off as well. This being what I do for a living this problem has become quotidian. The belligerent greediness derived from the cocksuckers running Apple should by no means be accepted or tolerated.

P.S.: It is time for a new movement to arise. Those who place their trust in the corrupt company, Apple, must aggregate. A petition by the name of "Error 53" must be created and signed by all who feel this way. Don't just stand idle to this desperate attempt for Apple to drain even more money from us. #Error53

posted on 06 Feb 2016, 00:36 1

40. TechieXP1969 (Posts: 10115; Member since: 25 Sep 2013)

if its my phone, I should be able to get it repaired whaever I want.
This is dictation at its best.


Oh you dont want to buy a new iPhone? Here install this update, it will make it so slow you will want a new phone.

Don't want to upgrade your iPad? Ok, even though your present iPad can run this feature, we will only make it on the next model. If you want this new feature, you have to buy.

I don't see any Ifans speaking up. I wish Samsung would try this crap. I would switch to another brand in a heartbeat.

I have no alliance to a brand. Make what I think I might want and I will buy it.
But I'm not going to pay more for less...EVER!

Also I want to either be able to do some simple repairs myself, or be able to take it to a place of my choice.

Just because I get my car from a certain brand, dont mean I can go get a better price from somewhere else. Why should I pay my dealer $70 to do an oil change, when Jiffy Lube will do it for $49.

Bricking your phone, that YOU own, simply because you didnt want them to fix it is unheard of in any industry. What many will do is maybe void your warranty. But getting an oil change at Jiffy Lube, isnt going to void my factory warranty.

Apple is goign to get sued for that. In fact, if it was my phone; I'd be already lawyer hunting.

If Microsoft did this, they would be stoned to death. MS has only bullied partners, not me as a customer. MS has never broke my PC to force me to upgrade to another. I've never had the issues on Windows many have had...EVER.

If I dont want Windows 7 I can use XP all I want knowing i wont get support. But using XP isnt going to brick my brand new laptop that came with a more recent version. I just may not have access to certain features. But it will still boot.

Apple has lost its godforsaken mind!

posted on 06 Feb 2016, 17:38 1

44. elitewolverine (Posts: 5184; Member since: 28 Oct 2013)

They already do. There is no guarantee that your device will work with unofficial parts, no matter it be android or apple.

Yesterday we had an upset customer because another person fixed a Note 4 Camera at a repair shop, after the latest update the camera no longer loads. The phone was even still under warranty. We couldn't exchange, so we called Samsung. Their first response after I told them the repair has been done? Sorry its out of warranty. And that was it. It could have been coincidence but no OEM honors 3rd party repair for either software or hardware issues.

Also you talking about windows 7 and xp is entirely different, because the bios and x86 platform from the ground up was made to be cross compatible, and if something didn't work, you darn right it could brick windows if there was bad drivers or bad bios updates etc.

posted on 06 Feb 2016, 13:23 1

41. curiousDillan (Posts: 42; Member since: 26 May 2015)

This nicely sums up why I am not a Apple person.

posted on 06 Feb 2016, 22:56

45. andynaija (Posts: 898; Member since: 08 Sep 2012)

Same here.

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