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Apple Confirms, Third-Party Touch ID Repairs Will Brick Your iPhone 6

Ali Salman
Posted Feb 5, 2016
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It’s always cheaper to repair your smartphone by a third-party repairer instead of getting it fixed from the Apple Store. In this regard, Apple is bricking devices running iOS 9 that contain unofficial repaired components. It has been confirmed by the Cupertino camp that any Touch ID repair on the iPhone 6 or 6 Plus can result in the device being bricked. However, it only comes into effect when users update their device. According to the company, it is an intentional feature put forward to protect users.

Repaired Devices Are Rendered Useless Once They Are Updated

If you have been a victim of ”error 53” after updating the device via iTunes, it is undoubtedly the result of a third-party Touch ID Home button repair. Moreover, there isn’t any fix for the issue. Apple shared its response to the Guardian saying that a code has been designed to protect the Secure Enclave:

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.

The update renders the device useless and shows an error 53. Before the update, the device seems to work perfectly fine. Moreover, Apple didn’t even warn users of their plan to brick devices followed by an unauthorized repair. Apple employees seem to carry very little know-how regarding the issue and there is no software that can reverse it to life. Since the device has been toyed by unauthorized repairers, Apple Store employees won’t even replace third-party components in exchange with official ones. Kyle Wiens of iFixit reveals that the issue arises when the repairer changes the cable or the Home button on the iPhone.

“Following the software upgrade the phone in effect checks to make sure it is still using the original components, and if it isn’t, it simply locks out the phone. There is no warning, and there’s no way that I know of to bring it back to life.”

Technically, the device is useless after it has been bricked. Although, Apple did tell the affected users to contact Apple support. Do you think that Apple will restore the affected devices? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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