The ‘Error 53’ class action lawsuit is now officially on like Donkey Kong



Photo: Apple

If you’ve had your iPhone bricked by Error 53, and were waiting for a class-action lawsuit to be filed… welp, now it has.

The lawsuit was filed today by Seattle-based law firm Pfau Cochran Vertetis Amala (PCVA) in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. If that name sounds familiar, it should: it’s the same law firm we reported was mulling over the possibility of filing a class-action lawsuit just two days ago. Now they’ve made good.

The suit, which can be read in its entirety here, alleges that the Error 53 furor – which essentially bricks iPhones that have their Touch ID buttons replace by unauthorized third-parties – is an example of Apple becoming drunk with power.

As is invariably true of power and control, too much of a good thing becomes problematic and, even, abusive. Apple’s Error 53 code, for which this lawsuit seeks redress, represents Apple’s control over the product gone too far. Error 53 is the result of an imbedded function within iOS, Apple’s operating system, that affects iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s, and iPhone 6s Plus smartphones… The code has rendered thousands of the Affected Models completely disabled or bricked after its users updated iOS or restored the device from a backup. After spending hundreds of dollars purchasing Affected Models, the Plaintiffs here had their phone rendered useless.

PVCA’s goal from the lawsuit is to attain more than $5 million in damages in “immediate relief” to consumers, as well as eliminate Error 53 for good by allowing third-parties to replace Touch ID buttons.

The Error 53 party seems like it’s heating up. Where do you think it will go from here?

  • This is not Apple being “drunk with power”. This is a bunch of ignorant greedy lawyers stirring up crap to make money. News flash…. Apple has standards that they want to enforce. If you install skank parts on your iPhone because you’re too stupid or too cheap to get the repair done right, then you deserve what you get. Apple has a right to do this because if they didn’t, they would be liable for the shitty part that you installed when you complained about something else that went wrong. I hope this lawsuit fails. If it’s successful, it sets a dangerous precedent that a manufacture cannot control the quality standards of its products. I buy Apple products because they’re the best. I take care of them, and I would never try to repair my iPhone myself. I don’t need to anyway since I paid for AppleCare Plus.

    • devnul0

      I agree in principle, but Apple should be disabling only the related, presumed-to-be-no-longer-secure, Touch ID functionality in these scenarios, not completely disabling the entire phone. Not to mention a failure to make this known in advance, if the news reports are accurate.

      • Can you imagine how huge the user manual would be if they had to let people know the meaning of every possible error code and how to avoid them? The codes are not for consumers and Apple has no obligation to let consumers know what they mean.

        However, I agree with you that bricking the phone is too harsh and simply disabling Touch ID would suffice. I think Apple’s biggest problem in this case will be that it doesn’t appear the phone is recoverable after getting ‘Code 53.’

    • DrMuggg

      Finally some sense is all the madness. Thanks.

  • DrMuggg

    What to call 100 000 lawyers on the bottom of the ocean?

    – a good start……

  • I really feel like this is the responsibility of the unauthorized repair techs who put in the bad button, but after reading a clearer description of the problem (Page 8, Section 17) I’m not sure why these phone aren’t fixable. It sounds like you can just have the repair done again, correctly, with a new button, and restore the phone. Seriously, the fact that Apple says they can’t fix a phone with Error 53 is going to be a big issue in this case.

  • Hammid

    Hey, FUCK third-party, unauthorized service providers!

    • User

      Not everyone has the luxury of accessing an Apple authorized service provider. In fact, some countries don’t have any.

  • Matthew Gill


    That’s an alternative headline, if Apple didn’t have this security feature.

    I work at a repair shop where we require passcodes for each device in order to perform the repair and test all functionality following the repair. First of all, in the several years I’ve been part of the business it has been extremely rare that anyone has a need to actually replace the home button itself. The only reason you’d have to replace it is if your phone got so incredibly destroyed that the button literally fell out and needed to be replaced. I think in the thousands of phones I’ve seen get repaired it’s had to happen maybe two or three times. So, it’s very rare.

    Secondly, Apple’s lock-down control of this situation is completely viable because if a third party were to manufacture a hacked home-button that automatically read each touch as an acceptable finger-print, you’d be giving the ability to transfer money from accounts from one to another to any repair shop working on a device. Due to the fact we obtain passcodes before service, there would be an opening for untrustworthy people to create a modified button, install it, and then proceed to open apps like Capital One’s app (which can be opened with a successful Touch ID print) and then theoretically be able to transfer funds from one account to another. With someones passcode and a modified home-button, this becomes an absolutely massive security issue.

    • Aniruddha Mukherjee

      Exactly,people would’ve been more pissed off if their hard earned money had gone down the drain just because of a cheap aftermarket repair.Even then those dicks would’ve blamed apple for not implementing proper security protocols.Error 53 completely makes sense and even the bricking part of it as in a way apple is protecting your data especially your payment info as soon as it finds something fishy with your phone.This lawsuit is just another way for dickhead lawyers to earn some dollars.

  • Giovanni Cardona

    If you don’t have the money for original parts, you should probably stick with low budget Androids.