Third Party iPhone Home Button Repairs May Brick Your Smartphone

iOS / Mobile / Tech
brick iPhones

So you’ve dropped your iPhone or iPad and now your home button or touch ID doesn’t work. Dreading the Apple Store repair bill, you try to save a few bucks on your iPhone home button repairs and seek out a third party repair shop. You may want to rethink that choice before you do as numerous users are complaining about an “error 53” which bricks their iPhone, rendering it useless, when they perform a restore or update to the newest iOS version.

As thousands of iPhone users have discovered, while your iPhone or iPad may continue functioning as normal after you’ve had the home button repaired, a restore or update to your phone’s software initiates a security check, and if it detects that it has been modified, your phone will display “error 53” and will be bricked. Any data is lost, the phone is locked, and there currently is no known way to recover from the error.

According to an Apple spokeswoman, the “error 53” occurs because:

“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.”

“When an iPhone is serviced by an unauthorised repair provider, faulty screens or other invalid components that affect the touch ID sensor could cause the check to fail if the pairing cannot be validated. With a subsequent update or restore, additional security checks result in an ‘error 53’ being displayed … If a customer encounters an unrecoverable error 53, we recommend contacting Apple support.”

It is perfectly understandable that Apple would check your iPhone for modified components when you restore or update your device considering the touch ID sensor is contained in the home button and is a big security feature of newer iPhones and iPads. However, the fact that there is no warning or indication that your phone is about to be bricked if you’ve had your home button repaired at a non-Apple authorized repair facility has outraged many users. A better course of action would perhaps be to notify the user that an invalid pairing has been detected and the phone or tablet cannot be updated. At least that way users would still have a functioning phone and have access to their data.

In the meantime, if you do drop your iPhone and your home button or touch ID stops working, it sounds like you’re better off taking it to your nearest Apple Store or authorized Apple repair facility and paying the extra money to avoid having an expensive paperweight down the road because you had your iPhone home button repairs done somewhere else.

Have you encountered the dreaded “error 53” and had your iPhone or iPad bricked? Let us know in the comments below, or on Google+, Facebook, or Twitter.

  Source: The Guardian
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