Apple Fixes iPhone ‘Error 53’ with New iOS 9.2.1 Release

The controversy around “Error 53” code may end today: alongside issuing a software update (iOS 9.2.1, build 13D20), Apple has publicly apologized for the inconvenience caused by this “factory test” that bricked the iPhones, as first reported by the Guardian.

Unlocked iPhone 6

You may recall from earlier reports that the error was caused by a third-party repair shop fixing faulty home buttons, including the fingerprint sensor. Following that “unauthorized repair,” users reported the appearance of the “Error 53,” which rendered their iPhone units useless. Apple replied by saying it was for their own security, but law firms didn’t buy that, so a class-action lawsuit was filed against Apple.

Today’s software update fixes that error, but with a twist: while it will restore previously bricked devices disabled by the error code and prevent future iPhones that undergo third-party “surgery” to fix the faulty home button from being disabled, it will not re-enable Touch ID. By the way, the software update is only for Apple customers who have updated their devices using iTunes. If you have used OTA software updates, you shouldn’t experience the error, says TechCrunch.

Here is the statement Apple sent to TechCrunch today:

Some customers’ devices are showing ‘Connect to iTunes’ after attempting an iOS update or a restore from iTunes on a Mac or PC. This reports as an Error 53 in iTunes and appears when a device fails a security test. This test was designed to check whether Touch ID works properly before the device leaves the factory.

Today, Apple released a software update that allows customers who have encountered this error message to successfully restore their device using iTunes on a Mac or PC.

We apologize for any inconvenience, this was designed to be a factory test and was not intended to affect customers. Customers who paid for an out-of-warranty replacement of their device based on this issue should contact AppleCare about a reimbursement.

So if you want your iPhone’s Touch ID to work again, you will still have to visit an Apple Store and ask for a Touch ID repair there.

Technology enthusiast, rocker, biker and writer of iPhoneinCanada.ca. Follow me on Twitter or contact me via email: istvan@iphoneincanada.ca

  • hub2

    “while it will restore previously bricked devices disabled by the error code and prevent future iPhones that undergo third-party “surgery” to fix the faulty home button from being disabled, it will not re-enable Touch ID”

    Which is *exactly* what I was saying Apple should have done in the first place. Tamper with TouchID sensor, disable it (at least until user gets it to an authorized Apple service centre), but let users keep using it with their passcode, since the passcode is still the actual final say for authenticating access to an iOS device, not TouchID.

  • Rob Raymond

    Kudos to Apple for admitting they were wrong and fixing it and I’m glad they erred on the side of caution in the first place… I don’t know if I would’ve taken the same stance if I were affected by the error though 🙂