Error 53 Will Brick Your iPhone If Just Anybody Repairs It
“What’s your best price?” Is a question I get all the time as an Apple repair guy…ALL THE TIME. I understand, folks work hard for their money and want to make sure they are getting the best deal. So I always have to pitch my value as a certified repair guy and it goes something like “I understand that there could be cheaper prices out there, but I’m certified and I only use OEM parts and they are backed by a lifetime warranty…(“womp womp womp womp” is what I assume they hear after I give them the price).
Not trying to scare the hell out of you, Well…maybe I am, but if you’ve busted up your phone and it needs repair, be careful who you let fix it. There is a new iOS 9 update that affects all iDevices with Touch ID “fingerprint” home buttons that your el cheapo average repair guy on craigslist or Yelp with a super low repair price may not know, or care about and could result in rendering your entire phone useless.
There is an “Error 53” message making its way around the web that’s reported to brick iPhones. Based on all “the world’s ending” tech articles published on the subject, Error 53 has been traced to devices where the ORIGINAL Touch ID home button has been replaced. Not a common procedure, but if your home button has been damaged beyond repair OR if you customize your device with pretty colors, there are situations where the original home button could have been replaced.
If the original Touch ID home button is replaced, that could also threaten the integrity of Apple’s security features. So what I’m assuming was a stop gap measure by Apple, it has released and confirmed a recent iOS 9 update that will cause major issues if your Touch ID-enabled device detects a foreign home button:
“We take customer security very seriously and Error 53 is the result of security checks designed to protect our customers. iOS checks that the Touch ID sensor in your iPhone or iPad correctly matches your device’s other components. If iOS finds a mismatch, the check fails and Touch ID, including for Apple Pay use, is disabled. 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.”
How can you avoid Error 53
The simple answer is “Don’t replace your home button”. Now here’s where repair guys like me come in. MOST if not all of my repairs are cracked screens. I’ve been in the game for quite sometime and already knew that putting in a foreign home button on a Touch ID-enabled device would render it useless. So when I get a Touch ID-enabled home button repair request I tell my clients “You will have to holla at Apple to get that fixed (paraphrasing)”.
Additionally, I test all devices before and after the repair and I’ve been CRAZY CAREFUL to not damage the home button during screen repair. MOST if not all iPhone repairs are of the cracked screen variety. Inside Baseball: During a cracked screen repair, the home button must be transplanted from one screen to another. So even if the home button is working fine there’s still a chance it can get damaged during an otherwise routine screen repair.
Not tooting my own horn (Can grown men use the word “toot?”), but my skill, experience and professionalism is why I command a higher price. But there are some folks who don’t care and opt to go with the “lowest bidder”, which boggles my mind – Why pay so much for an Apple device to only go the cheap route when something goes wrong? But I digress.
As the old saying goes “You get what you pay for”. There are some repair shops who will buy the cheapest parts, and do shoddy work, INCLUDING damage your Touch ID-enabled home button during repair and try to replace it on the sly. Before now it wasn’t a huge deal. Now Apple is forcing repair shops to step up their game in order to maintain its security features and protect your data.
So when (it’s not a matter of if) you crack the screen on your iPhone, you might want to rethink your repair budget and do a little more research before you let just anybody repair it. A cheap or half-ass repair could result in your entire phone getting bricked.
….You know my number