Class action suit filed over iPhone "error 53" seeks over $5 million in damages and restitution

On Monday, we told you that Seattle law firm PCVA was contemplating the filing of a class baction suit against Apple over the "error 53" message that indicates that an iPhone has been bricked. Today, the law firm filed for a jury trial in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. What causes this error message to pop up is the replacement of certain components in the Apple iPhone 6 and Apple iPhone 6 Plus, with unauthorized parts installed by non-Apple repairmen.

While replacing the Touch ID component, the screen and flex cable with non-Apple parts doesn't automatically set off the error message, the problem starts afterward when backed up data or iOS 9 is loaded onto the repaired phone. At that point, it is believed that the software is looking for the original Apple hardware. When it is not found, the "error 53" message comes up on the screen and the phone becomes unusable. Not only is the phone bricked, but all data and content that was saved on the handset is gone forever. And since the phone is considered tampered with by a non-Apple repairman, the warranty is voided. The iPhone owner has lost the use of his phone with no hope of getting a replacement from Apple.

On its website, PCVA says that it believes that Apple may be intentionally forcing its customers to use Apple's own repair services which are much pricier than third party shops. Apple claims that it needs to control the parts used in Touch ID in order to prevent security breaches. The fingerprint scanner is used to verify an iPhone user's identity when using Apple Pay. It also is employed when purchasing paid apps from the App Store.

PCVA is seeking at least $5 million in damages and restitution from Apple on behalf of those affected by the "error 53" message. PCVA also is asking Apple to release software that will remove the restrictions on iOS repairs.
      Error 53 Lawsuit

source: Scribd via AppleInsider



1. FrenchTea

Posts: 16; Member since: Aug 18, 2014

Saw this coming a mile away lol @apple

8. AlikMalix unregistered

Actually I saw bigger consequences. $5 mil is nothing!!! Has to be at least $50mil.

15. maple_mak

Posts: 953; Member since: Dec 18, 2013

That's weird.

36. My1cent

Posts: 370; Member since: Jan 30, 2014

Error fruity tree?

17. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

at least $5bil to slap some sense to their head, so they can respect their customer permanently deleting customer data is so wrong.. (btw they should give those money to all "error 53 victims", not PCVA)

32. MSi_GS70 unregistered

Popcorn or crisps?

2. GreekGeek

Posts: 1276; Member since: Mar 22, 2014

They were updating it wrong

3. MrElectrifyer

Posts: 3960; Member since: Oct 21, 2014

That's just a meh smack on the wrist...I doubt it'll be enough to make them loosen their iDictator grip on devices people paid for.

4. darkkjedii

Posts: 31624; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

There's been some bulls**t suits filed against Apple in the past, but not this one. Not only should they have to pay, but they should be made to replace every single bricked device also. Apple has a ton of money, and can easily afford to reimburse these people, that they should've warned in the first place. I like Apple and all, but right is right, and on this one they're mos def wrong. I also think this may cause Apple some iPhone 7 sales, cause those who've been affected have to be pretty bummed. I'd only take my iPhone to Apple, even if I didn't know about this before hand, but those who don't have the luxury of having 4 Apple stores in their city, must make due. Apple, Cook, and the rest of them are point blank outta line on this one. If people want to compromise their data Apple, just remember....they paid for that right. Damn, I almost TechieXP'd.

7. AlikMalix unregistered

100% agree dj!

13. darkkjedii

Posts: 31624; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Yeah bro, Apple is dead wrong on this one. They shoulda put a disclaimer on the box, or in the fingertips pamphlet to let people know the risk of using 3rd party parts, related to that error. I'm disappointed in them on this one big time.

35. Finalflash

Posts: 4063; Member since: Jul 23, 2013

They put a disclaimer called the EULA which everyone accepts without reading. Apple is allowed to change and. mess with the software as they please. They literally just changed iOS only on the error 53 phones. You still own the hardware and all, but you can't use iOS on it, which you license from Apple, if the hardware has been messed with. So this suit is dead in the water, especially in California.

37. xfire99

Posts: 1207; Member since: Mar 14, 2012

Where in EULA does it says Apple have right to brick peoples phone and make it unsuable? Also destroy peoples data stored on the phone? Since Apple refused to repair any bricked phones which contains 3rd party components. They may have right to do whatever they want with theirs softwares, but they do not have any rights to brick peoples phones and than leave them out of the cold without any help. Until now: "after mass-media attention and a potential class-action lawsuit coming against the company. But no official listing of stores doing repairs was available."

44. Finalflash

Posts: 4063; Member since: Jul 23, 2013

Bricking the phone is a side effect of the software being shutdown which the user agreed they can do. You can use the rest of the phone in any way you want but you can't use the software. So use it as a paperweight, install something else on it, whatever you want to do, just not with iOS.

40. marorun

Posts: 5029; Member since: Mar 30, 2015

They should just block Apple pay and stuff linked to the scanner not delete all the phone data thats just wrong.

43. darkkjedii

Posts: 31624; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Yep, I agree.

45. Finalflash

Posts: 4063; Member since: Jul 23, 2013

They aren't wiping the internals, they're just not letting you get to it through iOS or Apple software. You are more than welcome to decrypt the hardware on your own and retrieve the data though. Apple will not be touched on this, they have pretty good lawyers that probably made sure this was legal for them to do before doing it.

12. cheetah2k

Posts: 2300; Member since: Jan 16, 2011

In Australia a screen repair on a 6S is almost half the price of the phone if you're not covered by any insurance or repair plans - vs getting the screen repaired by a third party which costs substantially less (less than a third of the cost) Most people have purchased these phones under contract, and cannot afford the repair cost.. Forcing people to pay a premium on the repair via Apple is not only Anti-competitive, but Anti-trust as you give the consumer no option but to pony up the cash to Apple.. I hope this blows up into something much bigger than it is. Apple should have been hit with an Anti-competitive, Anti-trust case long ago for their past and present actions.

22. NoToFanboys

Posts: 3231; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

What's wrong with this is that they are only asking for $5mil

25. roscuthiii

Posts: 2383; Member since: Jul 18, 2010

Nah... you're good. You'd need another paragraph or two. Back to the topic at hand, since there only going after $5M instead of something more substantial I kinda feel like they may be doing the right thing for the wrong reason. Like the firm will just keep the 5 mil for themselves. Nothing whatsoever to do with effected Apple customers. Lawyers wouldn't do that though, would they?

38. darkkjedii

Posts: 31624; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

I think the amounts too small too.

48. NexusKoolaid

Posts: 493; Member since: Oct 24, 2011

@Jedi - regarding what you said: "If people want to compromise their data Apple, just remember....they paid for that right. Damn" - I highly suspect the real situation is not all that cut and dry. I'm not going to explain things in detail here, but do a little research on trusted computing. The financial institutions that got behind Apple Pay probably did so only under the requirement that iOS devices would be designed and operate as a trusted platform. An unregistered/unexpected piece of hardware connected to the phone's data bus compromises trust, plain and simple. And it's not just the user's data involved here - Big Money wants to protect their cash and profits as well (one of the tenets of trusted computing). I'm not saying Apple is in the right, but OTOH I'm not saying they're in the wrong. Until this plays out a bit more no one has enough information to be pointing fingers or spout off on what Apple could have or should have done instead.

50. darkkjedii

Posts: 31624; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Damn good post bro, I didn't think about the other parties involved. That makes a lot of sense. +1

5. S.R.K.

Posts: 678; Member since: Feb 11, 2016

It should've been $50 million instead. Patent trolls.

6. AlikMalix unregistered

5mil? That's it? That's not going to change anything... Feel the burn Apple, not!


Posts: 654; Member since: Jun 28, 2014

Apple may have some of the best attorneys money can buy, but as we all know the law - if your name is Chochran you automatically win in court. Case adjourned.

11. cncrim

Posts: 1590; Member since: Aug 15, 2011

I see this one is legit. Come on, if it original part then just brick the Touch ID and permanent VOID message in notification, no no I'm going to brick the whole device. Typical greed Apple.

14. Trakker

Posts: 283; Member since: Feb 11, 2016

$5m is nothing to Apple, I mean it's what... 1300 Foxconn employees annual wages.

16. nautiyalspandan

Posts: 20; Member since: Jan 22, 2015

I had done this type of thing on my motorola moto g.. After unlocking bootloader and flashing ota update , the phone just went dead . recognised on pc as 'qhusb.hulk' and it never woke up again.. :( Can't blame motorola because unlocked bootloader doesn't fall under their 'policies' ...

19. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

unlocking bootloader or using customROM is user decision and done at his own risk.. but here, apple just decide to bricking and permanent deleting user data, lol

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