Apple is locking people out of their iPhones but it’s for their own good
Apple has acknowledged "Error 53" – and explained why the feature exists
Apple has been accused of locking iPhones that have been repaired by unofficial companies.
According to the head of iFixit, the iPhone will lock itself when the Home Button – with its Touch ID fingerprint sensor – has been repaired or replaced by a team not authorised by Apple.
Dubbed "Error 53", the feature deadlocks the iPhone 6 when the owner attempts to update the iOS their device.
CEO of iFixit, Kyle Wiens told The Guardian that "Error 53" is causing a major problem for iPhone owners.
Mr Wiens said thousands of angry iPhone owners have visited the "Error 53" help page on iFixIt's website.
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Apple explains why Error 53 might have occurred
"The problem occurs if the repairer changes the home button or the cable." He said.
"Following the software upgrade the phone checks to make sure it is still using the original components, and if it isn't, it simply locks out the phone.
"There is no warning, and there’s no way that I know of to bring it back to life."
Apple has acknowledged "Error 53" – and explained why the feature exists.
If your Touch ID home button was not been repaired by Apple or one of its official partners, the technology firm cannot guarantee the fingerprint sensor was not tampered with.
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Error 53 deadlocks the iPhone when it believes the Touch ID could have been tampered with
Apple uses your fingerprint to secure the smartphone, authenticate purchases in the iTunes store, and approve your Apple Pay contactless transactions.
Unsurprisingly, the Cupertino company is pretty keen to make sure your biometric data – stored in a secure partition of the A9 chip, dubbed secure enclave – is kept under lock and key.
A spokesperson for Apple told Express.co.uk, “We protect fingerprint data using a secure enclave, which is uniquely paired to the Touch ID sensor.
"When iPhone is serviced by an authorised Apple Service Provider or Apple Retail Store for changes that affect the Touch ID sensor, the pairing is re-validated.
"This check ensures the device and the iOS features related to Touch ID remain secure. Without this unique pairing, a malicious Touch ID sensor could be substituted, thereby gaining access to the secure enclave.
"When iOS detects that the pairing fails, Touch ID including Apple Pay is disabled so the device remains secure."
Apple regards its Touch ID and Apple Pay service as one of the most secure in the world and is clearly concerned about third party unofficial repairs leaving iPhone users vulnerable to cybercrime or identity theft.
Locking down iPhones might seem a little extreme, but it is the only way Apple can ensure its users personal details and credit card information is totally secure.
Apple is not forcing smartphone owners to only repair devices at an Apple Store. There are a number of authorised high street shops that will not cause the issue.
The US firm adds: "The best way for customers to obtain a repair or service for iPhone is to call Apple, or visit an Apple Retail Store or an Apple Authorised Service Provider."