PCVA, a law firm out of Seattle Washington, is the first to file a class action lawsuit over the Apple iPhone Error 53 debacle, and they want you to join them. The firm has filed the lawsuit in the Northern District of California. The issue at hand, if you haven’t been keeping up to pace on Apple news, is what Error 53 does to your iPhone should you encounter it. Apple has a built in security checker that will deny access to the phone if certain components have been replaced and repaired by third party repair shops. The specific part most people have gone to get repaired and then found themselves greeted with a bricked iPhone is the Touch ID sensor, Apple did give a response to the situation.
“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 unauthorized 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.”
PCVA accuses Apple of using Error 53 to force users into using their repair services instead of cheaper 3rd party shops and offers up an explanation of why Apple is wrong.
We hope to find out why Apple implements a policy where end users aren’t free to choose someone other than Apple to repair their devices. We believe that Apple may be intentionally forcing users to use their repair services, which cost much more than most third party repair shops.
Think of it this way: Let’s say you bought a car, and had your alternator replaced by a local mechanic. Under Apple’s strategy, your car would no longer start because you didn’t bring it to an official dealership. They intentionally disable your car because you tried to fix it yourself.
It’s important to note that the iPhone Error 53 won’t show up on your phone immediately after a repair, you have to update or restore the operating system to the next version for that to happen. This should be an interesting battle if the lawsuit takes off. Apple has an army of lawyers at their disposal but even so, this may be one lawsuit they might want to settle. Both sides of the argument are understandable and perhaps an addition to Apple’s purchasing terms would absolve the company of any responsibility if users choose to have repairs done at a 3rd party service. That allows users to do what they want while protecting Apple if a user’s secure data is compromised.
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