Apple apologizes for ‘Error 53’, restores disabled iPhones through iOS patch

Touch ID on iPhone

Earlier in February, “Error 53” grabbed plenty of attention, with an impending fix waiting in the wings for those affected by the issue.

A fix is coming sooner than expected, though, as initially reported by TechCrunch. Beginning today, Apple has issued an update to iOS 9.2.1 (build 13D20, the previous build was 13D15) for users that update their device through iTunes only. This update is meant to directly restore phones that were previously bricked, or otherwise made unusable, by Error 53. While it fixes currently bricked devices, it will also prevent devices that are repaired by third-party sites from getting disabled as well.

This is not a new version of iOS, but rather just a patch to the already available iOS 9.2.1. Apple plans on issuing an updated support page for Error 53 at some point today, which will articulate repair methods and causes for Error 53.

In a statement to the publication, Apple apologized for the inconvenience that the error caused:

“Some customers’ devices are showing ‘Connect to iTunes’ after attempting an iOS update or a restore from iTunes on a Mac or PC. This reports as an Error 53 in iTunes and appears when a device fails a security test. This test was designed to check whether Touch ID works properly before the device leaves the factory.

Today, Apple released a software update that allows customers who have encountered this error message to successfully restore their device using iTunes on a Mac or PC.

We apologize for any inconvenience, this was designed to be a factory test and was not intended to affect customers. Customers who paid for an out-of-warranty replacement of their device based on this issue should contact AppleCare about a reimbursement.”

This update will not re-enable Touch ID, as that information is stored within the secure enclave, which works as a private key to keep that information safe, and inaccessible from even Apple. If Apple were to allow that piece of functionality to get repaired by third-parties, it would be a security risk that Apple is, clearly, not willing to take.

If Touch ID is something that you need/want, then you’ll need to get the device repaired at Apple.

This is a step in the right direction, especially with a fix being delivered so promptly. Apple was hit with a class-action lawsuit over Error 53, with that case still in the system, even with Apple’s fix now available.

Update 1:

This article was updated to include the new build number.

Update 2:

Apple has released iOS 9.2.1 build 13D20 update only for the following iOS devices:

  • iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus
  • iPad Air 2, iPad mini 3

You can download iOS 9.2.1 build 13D20 IPSW firmware file from our download page:

If you need help, you can check our step-by-step guide on how to fix your bricked iPhone due to Error 53:

[via TechCrunch]

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