Latest iOS update bricks iPhones repaired using unofficial components

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



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.

9. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 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

13. Predator-X

Posts: 44; Member since: Jan 07, 2016

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

15. marorun

Posts: 5029; Member since: Mar 30, 2015

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

17. Ordinary

Posts: 2454; Member since: Apr 23, 2015

Yea PA banned him, lmao.

28. GoGoGalaxyNexus

Posts: 80; Member since: Nov 01, 2013

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

31. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

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

30. catze86

Posts: 731; Member since: Dec 07, 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.

33. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3951; Member since: Oct 03, 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.

25. janis

Posts: 397; Member since: Mar 10, 2014

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

27. Brewski

Posts: 672; Member since: Jun 05, 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.

3. flavius22

Posts: 218; Member since: Aug 23, 2015

That's a crime

4. Finalflash

Posts: 4063; Member since: Jul 23, 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.

5. submar

Posts: 713; Member since: Sep 19, 2014

apple really think they are god

6. Baracus

Posts: 223; Member since: Sep 15, 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.

29. nodes

Posts: 1158; Member since: Mar 06, 2014

what is unofficial upgrade?

43. elitewolverine

Posts: 5192; Member since: Oct 28, 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.

7. realjjj

Posts: 375; Member since: Jan 28, 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.

11. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

lets see how far sheeps will stay worshiping apple, lol

8. andynaija

Posts: 1255; Member since: Sep 08, 2012

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

10. MichiGo

Posts: 173; Member since: Sep 09, 2014


12. rob5150

Posts: 183; Member since: Oct 31, 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

14. RoboticEngi

Posts: 1251; Member since: Dec 03, 2014

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

16. Droids-R-us

Posts: 35; Member since: Sep 17, 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.

19. VZWuser76

Posts: 4974; Member since: Mar 04, 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.

18. Droids-R-us

Posts: 35; Member since: Sep 17, 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?

20. _PHug_

Posts: 482; Member since: Oct 11, 2011

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

22. Sakeem

Posts: 857; Member since: Sep 05, 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.

24. darkkjedii

Posts: 30969; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Keep official my dudes.

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.

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit for samples and additional information.