Error 53: iPhone-killing software update, explained

Some iPhone and iPad users have watched in horror as their costly device is rendered useless after upgrading the operating system.

See Full Article

Apple users are reporting that their iPhones and iPads are disabled and display an "error 53" message after upgrading to the latest version of iOS 9.

The problem affects devices that feature its Touch ID fingerprint recognition, Apple says, and can occur after an "unauthorized" or faulty screen replacement. In other words, if an iPhone user has their device repaired somewhere other than an Apple Store or Apple service centre, they could run into smartphone-crippling problems when they update it.

The company says, when a system check during a software update reveals the iPhone or iPad Touch ID sensor doesn't match the device's other components, the update fails.

Technology experts say it "bricks" the devices – meaning they are rendered as useful as a brick.

"If the check on Touch ID fails, your update won't finish," Apple says on its support website. "You'll see a Connect to iTunes screen on your device or a message like this in iTunes on your computer: The iPhone [device name] could not be restored. An unknown error occurred (53)."

Apple suggests that users who encounter an error 53 message should force a restart of their device. If that doesn’t work, they should contact Apple Support.

The company suggests that if the screen or any other part of the iPhone or iPad was replaced somewhere other than an authorized Apple dealer, users should contact Apple Support about "pricing information for out-of-warranty repairs."

Some iPhone and iPad users have reported that they've lost all of their data after the error 53 message popped up on their device and they were told there's no way to fix the problem. Some users say they've either brought their disabled device into an Apple store, where they've received a new one, or have simply gone out and purchased a new one.

"After an hour and 15 minute phone call, the ‘senior’ technician told me to take it back to the store and get another one. I guess 53 = DEAD," one iPhone user wrote on an Apple support website.

In a statement to The Guardian, Apple said: "This security measure is necessary to protect your device and prevent a fraudulent Touch ID sensor from being used. If a customer encounters Error 53, we encourage them to contact Apple Support."

As anger over the disabling of iPhones and iPads grows, lawyers in the U.S. and the U.K. have reportedly said they're considering bringing forward a class action lawsuit against the technology giant, claiming that the company may be acting illegally.



Advertisements

Latest Tech & Science News

  • Climate change scientists fight for funding to save High Arctic lab

    Tech & Science CBC News
    Some of Canada's leading climate change scientists are fighting to keep the country's northernmost research station in operation. The Polar Environment Atmospheric Research Laboratory (PEARL) in Eureka, Nunavut, tracks atmospheric data that no other research station can, given its High Arctic latitude, only 1,110 kilometres from the North Pole. Source
  • Right whale skeleton, DNA headed to Canada's largest museum

    Tech & Science CBC News
    Scientists at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto are hoping that some good can come from three dead North Atlantic right whales, towed to a beach on P.E.I. this summer. Final report on right whale deaths still weeks away, say AVC pathologistsRight whale necropsy underway on P.E.I. Source
  • Asteroid mining could support space economies, colonies

    Tech & Science CBC News
    A team of researchers are planning to send robotic spacecraft into outer space, land near asteroids hurtling through the abyss and mine them for water, metals and other elements that will make colonizing space that much easier. Source
  • Algae on river flowing into Lake Erie prompts warning

    Tech & Science CTV News
    TOLEDO, Ohio -- Health officials in Ohio are telling children, pregnant women and people with certain medical conditions not to swim in the river that flows through Toledo because of an algae outbreak. The Maumee River along the city's downtown waterfront has turned unsightly shades of green the past few days, leading local health officials to issue a recreational advisory Thursday. Source
  • #BugsR4Girls: How 8-year-old Sophia Spencer co-authored a scientific paper on bugs

    Tech & Science CBC News
    Sophia Spencer hated it when classmates taunted her for her love of insects, but seeing them kill her pet grasshoppers for fun was even worse. Her first-grade peers couldn't understand what she found so fascinating about bugs of all sorts or why she'd devoted spare time to catching them, reading about them and generally carrying on like a budding entomologist. Source
  • Tech firms and lawmakers celebrate new trans-Atlantic cable

    Tech & Science CTV News
    WILLIAMSBURG, Va. -- Lawmakers and tech industry leaders have announced the completion of a new high-speed data cable that stretches across the Atlantic Ocean. Representatives from Facebook and Microsoft joined with Virginia's governor and two senators in Williamsburg to celebrate the cable's completion on Friday morning. Source
  • Ont. girl who was teased for love of bugs gets name in science journal

    Tech & Science CTV News
    Sophia Spencer hated it when classmates taunted her for her love of insects, but seeing them kill her pet grasshoppers for fun was even worse. Her first-grade peers couldn't understand what she found so fascinating about bugs of all sorts or why she'd devote spare time to catching them, reading about them, and generally carrying on like a budding entomologist. Source
  • Help from above: Canadian satellite assists with hurricane recovery, other natural disasters

    Tech & Science CBC News
    When Hurricane Irma cut a path of destruction through the Caribbean this month, authorities on the ground found themselves in the dark, scrambling for information. High above the storm, satellites from several nations, including Canada, were called into action to track the hurricane's progress, measure the damage and provide vital information to plan rescue and recovery efforts. Source
  • Indonesia raises Bali volcano alert to highest level

    Tech & Science CTV News
    JAKARTA, Indonesia -- Indonesian authorities have raised the alert level for the Mount Agung volcano on the tourist island of Bali to the highest level, and more than 11,000 villagers have left their homes around the mountain, officials said Friday. Source
  • Plenty of rain and thriving plants made it a 'crazy great summer' for monarchs and other insects

    Tech & Science CBC News
    One of Canada's most cherished species seems to be making a comeback in Toronto gardens — at least for a few more days. Monarch butterfly watchers in Canada and in the United States say it's been a good year for the iconic orange-and-black pollinators, who leave for winter habitats in Mexico from Canada and the U.S. Source