Error 53: Apple's new security checks killing iPhones
IF A mysterious error code called "Error 53" pops up on your iPhone 6 or 6 Plus, brace yourself.
This message has been occurring on iPhones since the emergence of iOS 9 updates.
For devices that have undergone third-party repairs, the error message could mean imminent death.
Apple says that the error appears to protect customers, but thousands of users are claiming that it has rendered their iPhones useless, and any data kept within is lost without hope of retrieval.
The focal point of the issue lies in the security measures of the Touch ID sensor.
Apple released its latest statement on the issue to AppleInsider, explaining the security purposes behind the move.
The statement said: "We take our 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."
The touch ID sensor records fingerprints, and keeps that data protected with a "secure enclave", an Apple spokeswoman explained in an earlier statement to The Guardian.
Any third-party repairs that affect this area, like the home-button or the screen, can spur the messages, and thus, the death-sentence, for an iPhone.
The Apple spokeswoman explains that "faulty screens or other invalid components", can disrupt the unique pairing methods of the touch ID, disabling the phone so it remains secure.
The company has recommended users contact Apple Support for help.
But, once Error 53 comes up, contacting Apple Support may not be of much help.
As the Wall Street Journal points out, some customers have gone to the Apple Store only to be turned away as the error message was like "the plague", and the unauthorized repairs had voided the device's warranty.
Many have criticized this move, including Kyle Wiens, head of the electronics-repair site iFixit.com.
Weins told WSJ that many of these third-parties use recycled Apple parts, and that the policy is harsh, and ridiculous.
He even likened the Error-53 related crashes to "Ford saying we're not going to let any mechanics work on our cars because they'll change the key".
The error message has also popped up for users who had damaged their phones, and gone on using them without seeking repair.
Apple has recommended taking the phone to an Apple Store, but not all iPhone users have official Apple repair centres in their areas.
For many, the only solution has been to scrap the bricked phone, and buy a new one.