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.

‘Error 53’ plaintiffs claim Apple not living up to reimbursement promise

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touchid
"Error 53" problem bricked affected iPhones.
Photo: Apple

Apple may have fixed its disastrous Error 53 fault that disables iPhones which had a home button or cables related to Touch ID replaced by an unauthorized third-party.

However, a class action suit brought by a number of iPhone owners is claiming that Apple didn’t do enough — and yet not lived up to its promise to reimburse customers whose phones were bricked by the error.

Apple apologizes for Error 53, releases fix

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touchid

Photo: Apple

Apple is finally providing a solution for customers whose iPhones are bricked by the disastrous Error 53 issue that disables iPhones that had a home button or cables related to Touch ID replaced by an unauthorized third-party.

The company released iOS 9.2.1 this morning as an iTunes-only update that can restore devices that have been taken out by Error 53. Apple published a new support document detailing what causes Error 53 and how to repair iPhones effected.

An official statement was also released apologizing for Error 53, saying it was intended to only be used in factories to check hardware.

Is Apple doing too much? Catch the discussion on The CultCast

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Apple car truck
Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you: the Apple Car.
Photo: devastatormonstertruck.com

This week: Neighbors complain of “motor noises” emanating from Apple’s secret auto labs; the strange error that’s bricking iPhones everywhere (and how to avoid it); and, has Apple lost their way? Some pundits argue Cupertino needs to shape up and start shipping better products. We discuss!

Our thanks to FreshBooks for supporting this episode. FreshBooks is the easy-to-use invoicing software designed to help small business owners get organized, save time invoicing and get paid faster. Get started with a free trial at Freshbooks.com/cultcast.

Why new MacBooks will rock, why ‘Error 53’ sucks and how to make Siri Remote do more

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All the Apple info you need in one gorgeous place.
All the Apple info you need in one gorgeous place.
Cover Design: Stephen Smith/Cult of Mac

Your next MacBook will get more than just a speed bump, with Intel’s powerful new Skylake chips bringing intense performance (and maybe better battery life) to the new laptops we’ll all be drooling over soon.

Find out exactly how these new processors will make new MacBooks rock, plus what you need to know about iOS’ brick-inducing “Error 53,” how to make Siri work even harder for you on your Apple TV, and which are the best ergonomic accessories for your Mac in this week’s Cult of Mac Magazine.

Here are the week’s top stories.

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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touchid
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.