iPhone smashed? Don't let Apple 'brick' it!

The next time your iPhone gets smashed, make sure you take it to Apple or any of its authorized repair stores if you do not want it to turn into a dud.

Apple is reportedly 'bricking' iPhones whose Touch ID functions have been repaired or interfered with by any unauthorized phone repair shop. This includes changing an iPhone's display or replacing the home button.

Those iPhones that have been 'bricked' by Apple will show an Error 53 on their display and will refuse to boot or work in any way apart from asking you to connect them to iTunes. The bricking process usually occurs when users are updating their repaired iPhones with new versions of iOS.

The temptation to take iPhones to the next-door repair shops is usually high because you get to save quite a few pounds in the process. If you aren't enrolled in AppleCare+, a damaged iPhone 6s screen will cost £106.44 to be repaired and a damaged iPhone 6 screen will cost £86.44 to be replaced through Apple. Repairing screens of older devices like iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c and iPhone 5 will also cost you upwards of £100.

On the other hand, your next-door repair shop will do the same job for much less, letting you save a bulk of your cash for other pressing matters. However, Apple's point behind bricking such iPhones isn't because it wants to take up the entire repairing mantle, but because getting the Touch ID repaired by unauthorized shops may compromise the security of your iPhone's Touch ID.

"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," said an Apple spokesperson to The Guardian.

But what has angered most users is that Apple never cared to inform users that their iPhones may get 'bricked' if they get them repaired in unauthorized shops.

"I have replaced my iPhone 6 screen by a third party one, and have learned my lesson. After receiving the phone, the touch sensor did not work. I returned to the shop, and the repairer put in my original home button. However, it still did not work after that. I then tried updating my iPhone via iTunes, and the unpleasant message of an Error 53 came across my screen, and now my phone only shows the connect to iTunes logo," said an unsuspecting iPhone user on Reddit.


  1. Guest
    Guest6th Feb 2016

    Will Apple reinstate it if you get it repaired afterwards?

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