comscore Apple Error 53 myth busters: Everything you should know about the iPhone bricking error

Apple Error 53 myth busters: Everything you should know about the iPhone bricking error


Error 53 broke the Internet over the weekend, ever since a report brought attention to an error that brick iPhones after they are repaired at unauthorized service centers. The error essentially bricks the iOS device when the user installs any iOS update. Error 53 is related to Touch ID and can affect all iPhones with a Touch ID sensor, which means the iPhone 5s, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus. Also Read - Apple AR headset to launch in late 2022 with mac-level computing power: Kuo

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The error essentially occurs when an unauthorized person repairs the iOS device and tinkers with the Touch ID sensor or the cable that connects it with the device’s logic board or replaces the logic board itself. In order to keep data secure, every Touch ID sensor is paired with an individual logic board. So if any of the components change, it is likely to result in Error 53, effectively bricking your device.

“We take customer security very seriously and Error 53 is the result of security checks designed to protect our customers. iOS checks that the Touch ID sensor in your iPhone or iPad correctly matches your device s other components. If iOS finds a mismatch, the check fails and Touch ID, including for Apple Pay use, is disabled. This security measure is necessary to protect your device and prevent a fraudulent Touch ID sensor from being used. If a customer encounters Error 53, we encourage them to contact Apple Support,” Apple said in an emailed statement to BGR India.

BGR India got in touch with Harsha PJ, who runs iRepair — a popular third-party chain for repairing Apple gadgets in Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad — to understand what is Error 53 and how it creeps in when the device is repaired by an unauthorized service center.

What causes Error 53?

Harsha claims he has come across devices with Error 53 and even managed to fix a few of them. The main reason for Error 53 to crop up is when the Touch ID sensor doesn’t match with the rest of the paired components, which is essentially the logic board. The Touch ID sensor is fitted in the home button and connects with the logic board via a flex cable.

The pairing mismatch can happen in multiple ways. One of the most common ways is when the user breaks the iPhone’s display and gets that replaced. In India, Apple doesn’t replace displays and insists on replacing the entire device. If you break your iPhone 6’s display, for instance, Apple will offer to replace the entire phone for Rs 23,166, BGR India found out. Meanwhile, third-party repair stores, replace the display for less than half of that.

However, many repair centers use the complete front panel kit for the iPhone, which comes with a new home button, and hence, a new Touch ID sensor. These kits, which come from China, are preferred by repair stores because they are easier to install. However, once these kits are installed, the user is likely to get Error 53 since the Touch ID sensor has been replaced and no longer matches with the one paired with the logic board. Harsha insists that care should be taken while replacing broken displays, ensuring that the home button is no changed.

The same can also happen if the logic board of the device is changed. In that case also, the Touch ID sensor won’t be paired with the logic board, which will also cause Error 53.

What doesn’t cause Error 53?

According to Harsha, getting a broken display replaced does not result in Error 53, if it is done properly. If the home button and by extension Touch ID sensor is not replaced along with the display, it won’t cause Error 53. Till the time the pairing of the Touch ID sensor is not changed, things will remain fine.

He also mentions that changing the flex cable that connects the Touch ID sensor to the logic board does not cause Error 53. He claims to have repaired Error 53 cases where the connecting cable was damaged by replacing the cable.

But what is pairing?

In simpler words, pairing is basically a link between the Touch ID and main logic board. Consider the Touch ID as the key and logic board board as the lock. So any of these components is changed, the key will not fit in a new lock and vice versa.

So what should I take care of?

The logic board and touch ID sensor come in pairs, with a connecting cable. Make sure whenever you are getting the screen replaced or fixed, in any circumstances logic board and Touch ID sensor are not individually replaced on an iPhone.

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  • Published Date: February 8, 2016 5:26 PM IST
  • Updated Date: February 8, 2016 5:28 PM IST

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