Everything you need to know about iOS’ crippling ‘Error 53’

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Error 53 makes gold iPhone  worth s***.
The dreaded "Error 53" can turn an iPhone into a shiny brick.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Apple is in the midst of an all-new controversy, thanks to the mysterious “Error 53” message that is bricking iPhones without warning.

The problem can hit DIY types or anybody who has ever had a Touch ID sensor (or other iPhone hardware) replaced by a repair shop not authorized by Apple. When they update iOS, the device locks down, displaying the cryptic Error 53 message and rendering the iPhone virtually worthless.

Apple says Error 53 is actually a security feature of iOS 9 that keeps your personal information secure, but customers aren’t convinced. Cult of Mac talked to iPhone repair and and parts experts to find out what exactly is going on. The truth is that Error 53 has plagued many iPhone owners, not just those who have replaced Touch ID — and it’s not totally clear why.

Apple could face class-action lawsuit over ‘Error 53’

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The Error 53 class-action lawsuit is now a thing.
Unauthorized repairs could brick your iPhone.
Photo: Apple

A U.S. law firm is considering filing a class-action lawsuit against Apple for the “Error 53” security measure that permanently disables iPhones that have been fixed by unauthorized repair shops instead of Apple’s Genius Bar.

Controversy surrounding the Error 53 message erupted last week after it was found that repairs involving Touch ID can potentially brick iPhones without any warning. Apple insists Error 53 is a feature of iOS, but many have pointed out that the company appears to be using it as a tool to keep iPhone users from getting their devices repaired by anyone but Apple Stores.

iOS 9 bricks iPhones with unauthorized Touch ID repairs

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The Error 53 class-action lawsuit is now a thing.
The Error 53 class-action lawsuit is now a thing.
Photo: Apple

Getting a broken home button on your iPhone 6 replaced may cause the entire device to become a worthless brick of metal and glass.

Thanks to a new feature in a software update recently pushed out by Apple, thousands of iPhone users who had their devices fixed by non-official repair shops have been greeted by a disastrous “error 53” message that locks the device — and even the Apple Store can’t bring it back from the dead.

Everything new (and exciting!) coming in iOS 9.3

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ios-9-3-banner
This is a bigger update than anyone anticipated.
Photo: Apple

Apple released the developer beta for iOS 9.3 today. To the surprise of many, it actually includes quite a few brand new and useful features whether you’re in the classroom or trying to sleep — or both. There are so many new features that we can actually dedicate an entire post to explaining all of them. So here we are doing exactly that.

Note that since today marks iOS 9.3’s release only for developers, it might be a while before the rest of us see the final version show up in the Settings app. But without further ado, here is everything you can look forward to in iOS 9.3.

Apple’s biggest wins (and most epic fails) of 2015

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It was the best of designs, it was the worst of designs. Apple  really went for it in 2015, with varying degrees of success.
It was the best of designs, it was the worst of designs. Apple really went for it in 2015, with varying degrees of success.
Image: Stephen Smith/Cult of Mac

Cult of Mac's Best of 2015 2015 was a bold year for Apple. The company jumped into new product categories, polished its existing hardware and software lines, and wowed us repeatedly.

Apple also made most of us throw up in our mouths a little bit now and then, due to some questionable (and some undeniably bad) choices.

These are Apple’s biggest wins and most epic fails of the past year, as remembered — fondly and otherwise — by Cult of Mac staffers.