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

  • Cassini sends back 1st images from new orbit around Saturn

    Tech & Science CBC News
    NASA's Cassini spacecraft has sent back stunning close-up images of Saturn from its new orbit. The spacecraft, which has been at Saturn since 2004, recently entered a new ring-grazing orbit around the planet. While in its new territory, Cassini will study the rings — which extend up to 282,000 kilometres from the planet and range in size from small grains to a few as big as mountains — in unprecedented detail. Source
  • Award-winning scientist says compromise needed on climate debate

    Tech & Science CBC News
    Canadians need to turn down the heat and start listening to each other when they discuss global warming, says the winner of a major scientific award for his work on Arctic ice and climate change. "I think we need to talk," said John England of the University of Alberta, who was awarded the $50,000 Weston Family prize for northern research Wednesday in Winnipeg. Source
  • Your brain registers more than you think you see, NYU researchers find

    Tech & Science CBC News
    Your brain is capable of retaining information about things you think you haven't noticed, according to a team of scientists in a study published in the journal Neuron on Wednesday. "Our results indicate that what is 'invisible' to the naked eye can, in fact, be encoded and briefly stored by our brain," said the study's lead author, Jean-Rémi King, a postdoctoral fellow at New York University's (NYU) department of psychology. Source
  • Do you hear what AI hear?

    Tech & Science CBC News
    This time of year, it's almost impossible to avoid holiday music, from old classics to contemporary pop renditions. But one day, you may find yourself singing new holiday songs…written by a computer. A group of computer scientists at the University of Toronto recently published a paper called "Song From PI: A Musically Plausible Network for Pop Music Generation. Source
  • Apple blames external damage for flaming China iPhones

    Tech & Science CTV News
    Apple has blamed "external physical damage" for causing a handful of iPhones to explode or catch fire in China and insisted that its handsets posed no safety problem. Fresh on the heels of Samsung's worldwide Galaxy Note 7 safety fiasco, a Shanghai consumer watchdog said last Friday it had received eight recent reports of iPhones that spontaneously combusted while being used or charged. Source
  • These were Apple's most popular apps of 2016

    Tech & Science CTV News
    Apple has released their list of the most downloaded apps of 2016, which is topped by none other than Snapchat. The self-deleting, image and video-sharing app beat out Messenger and Pokémon Go to become the most popular downloaded app this year. Source
  • Record 607 bears killed in New Jersey's hunt

    Tech & Science CTV News
    TRENTON, N.J. -- Hunters have killed a record 607 bears in New Jersey. The number was reached Tuesday when hunters bagged 18 bruins during the second day of the second part of this year's hunt. Source
  • Get ready to give up your online privacy to score the perfect rental

    Tech & Science CTV News
    Your next landlord might comb through your social media history before handing over the keys thanks to a Canadian company injecting big data and artificial intelligence into the age-old process of renting a place to live. Source
  • Solar power lights school in off-the-grid Vancouver Island alternative bastion

    Tech & Science CTV News
    LASQUETI ISLAND, B.C. -- The solar-power energy system that lights up False Bay School on Lasqueti Island passed a major test this fall when the tiny two-classroom building suddenly went dark. That was when Principal Reid Wilson discovered the school's back-up power source, a diesel generator, had broken down and the West Coast school had been running totally on solar energy during the dark, wet, dreary October days. Source
  • You can now use Twitter emojis to search on Google

    Tech & Science CTV News
    From Dec. 6, you can now use emojis on Twitter to search local results on Google. Google has revealed on Twitter that it is now able to interpret emojis via its Twitter handle. Typing an emoji followed by @Google is then responded to with a Google link to all the relevant results in the user's area. Source