Lawyers considering class-action lawsuit against Apple over ‘Error 53’

iPhone 6s Plus

Apple has a thing for security, and, as is the case with anything with Apple, they’ve got their own outlook on what that means. Even if it means bricking devices.

Recently, it was discovered that Apple was “bricking,” or disabling, iPhones that had unauthorized retailers performing repairs on those handsets, and replacing authenticated parts with inauthentic pieces. Fore example, replacing the Home button from an unauthorized retailer, with parts not approved by Apple, would prompt an “Error 53” code, and essentially lock the device completely.

After the report, an Apple spokesperson said that it has to do with security, and primarily focused on parts needed for the Touch ID sensor in the iPhone 6 and newer models of iPhones. The effort is to keep the secure enclave, and the information stored therein, safe, and replacing that part with an inauthentic piece not approved by Apple would put the user at risk:

“We protect fingerprint data using a secure enclave, which is uniquely paired to the touch ID sensor. When iPhone is serviced by an authorised Apple service provider or Apple retail store for changes that affect the touch ID sensor, the pairing is re-validated. This check ensures the device and the iOS features related to touch ID remain secure. Without this unique pairing, a malicious touch ID sensor could be substituted, thereby gaining access to the secure enclave. When iOS detects that the pairing fails, touch ID, including Apple Pay, is disabled so the device remains secure.”

Now, according to The Guardian, a barrister in the United Kingdom said that disabling iPhones in this way “could potentially be viewed as an offense,” as seen under the Criminal Damage Act of 1971. Now, PVCA –a Seattle-based law firm– says that it wants to bring a class-action lawsuit against Apple because of this particular error. It is now calling out for iPhone customers that have been affected by the issue to get in touch, so they can move forward.

PVCA believes that Apple is violating consumer laws by essentially forcing its customers to use Apple-sactioned repairs services, and disabling phones that do not follow these unannounced rules.

“We believe that Apple may be intentionally forcing users to use their repair services, which cost much more than most third party repair shops. Where you could get your screen replaced by a neighborhood repair facility for $50-80, Apple charges $129 or more. There is incentive for Apple to keep end users from finding alternative methods to fix their products.”

This result is not all that surprising, considering how widely the reports have become since first cropping up. If you’ve suffered this error, do you think Apple should face a class-action lawsuit?

[via The Guardian]