Apple’s routine iOS updates are apparently quite sneaky. Thousands of iPhone 6 users have reported completely disabled headsets after having their phones repaired by “non-official” companies, which refers to any company that charges less than Apple. The message that arrives on their ex-smartphone is called Error 53, and it happens upon installation of iOS 9 on an iPhone 6, any time following a non-official repair.
The logistics of Error 53 are confusing and specific. First of all, the error has only occurred on iPhone 6 devices with a home button that was previously repaired by one of these so-called non-official companies. In addition, it has also affected those who have previously damaged iPhones but who have been able to carry on using them without the need for a repair. The phone may have been working fine previous to iOS 9 installation, but the phone will apparently be “bricked” — or rendered completely useless — once the new software is installed.
Even people who are not familiar with tech issues will be well aware when Error 53 has seized their phone. After iOS 9 is installed on an iPhone 6 that has undergone repairs by a non-official company, Error 53 dictates that all the data on the phone will be promptly erased. Now, it’s important to note that this is not a guaranteed occurrence: it’s possible that you will not experience Error 53 if your iPhone 6 has been repaired by a non-official company. But everyone who has experienced Error 53 has provided the identical context that their phone underwent non-Apple repairs.
The Guardian’s report on Error 53 relates the story of freelance photographer Antonio Olmos who had his phone repaired in Macedonia, where there are no Apple stores. Later when he updated his phone to iOS 9, the device, which had been working perfectly, completely broke. That’s Error 53 for ya.
The best part of it all? Apple apparently knows perfectly well about the cluster-fuck that is Error 53, yet they’ve done nothing to warn iPhone 6 users about the potential problem. That’s probably because they’re more down with you dropping another $500 on a new iPhone and because they don’t want you soliciting non-Apple companies for repairs at low prices. The moral of the story? Well, first, try to be as careful as possible with your iPhone so you can avoid this all together. If you’re already past that point, don’t upgrade your iPhone 6 to iOS 9 if it has been repaired by a non-Apple company. You’ve been warned.