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Apple issues apology, fix for Error 53 controversy

iPhone 6S Touch ID

After months of mounting fury over Error 53, Apple has finally acknowledged its mistake and issued an apology to all the users affected by the problem. It’s also sent out a fix, though the solution comes with a catch.

To recap, an increasing number of iPhone owners who had gotten their device repaired through a third-party retailer found that it would get bricked if they tried to update it. Most of the people hit by this problem had either fixed their screen or home button, both of which affect the handset’s Touch ID feature.

At the time, Apple had clarified that Error 53 shows up as a security measure when the iPhone senses that Touch ID has been compromised due to a non-Apple part being fitted in. Now it’s told TechCrunch that the message was designed to be a factory test to check whether the tool is working properly and not meant to affect consumers.

Anyone who’s been forced to get a new device due to Error 53 can now get a reimbursement courtesy AppleCare. As for people who have a dead iPhone or iPad in their hands, Apple has rolled out an update to iOS 9.2.1 which allows them to restore it. This method only works via iTunes and further prevents the issue from occurring in the future.

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Apple has put up a list of steps to follow to revive an iPhone or iPad on its website. A user simply has to force restart their device and then try to restore it. Unfortunately, even if they do manage to bring it to life again, they won’t be able to access Touch ID. It’ll be permanently disabled since the device won’t be able to establish a secure connection due to the non-Apple hardware.

The only way to get Touch ID back is to hand over the iPhone to Apple and pay for a genuine part. The company is currently in the midst of a class action lawsuit over Error 53, so this new apology and fix may help it defend itself against the allegations.