Aussie court fines Apple for refusing to fix iPhones bricked by ‘Error 53’

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touchid
Remember Error 53 that bricked so many iPhones because the Home button had an unauthorized repair? It's still haunting Apple.
Photo: Apple

An Australian court levied a A$9M ($6.7M) fine against Apple for refusing to fix iPhones and iPads because they’d had third-party repairs. That’s against the law in that country.

The refusals happened in the midst of the “Error 53” mess, in which iPhone units became permanently disabled after having their Home button replaced by non-Apple repair techs.

Installing iOS 9 onto a device whose Touch ID gear had been modified by an unauthorized technician resulted in Error 53, a terminal condition.

Apple ended up apologizing for the fault and promising to compensate those who were affected.  

How dare you look for a cheaper option

In Australia, hundreds or possibly thousands of people with Error 53 were told by Apple that their iPhone or iPad wouldn’t be fixed because they’d violated the warranty by using third-party repair services, according to the BBC.

This sometimes occurred even if the repair had nothing to do with Touch ID. Apple even refused to fix some devices with Error 53 because the screen was replaced by someone other than Apple.

Court rules against Apple

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) took Apple to court just over a year ago, and today it won its case.

“The court declared the mere fact that an iPhone or iPad had been repaired by someone other than Apple did not, and could not, result in the consumer guarantees ceasing to apply,” Commissioner Sarah Court told the BBC.

About 5,000 Australian iOS users should expect to hear from Apple soon, as they are potentially due compensation.