Today Apple has confirmed that there is, indeed, a trackable reason why some unique users are receiving an “error 53” on their iPhones. It is, apparently, people who have gone out and gotten their devices repaired by non-certified Apple technicians or have DIY’ed their device repairs at home. Not just any repairs, mind you – repairs to their home button. In this home button, a button with Touch ID, is a failsafe that can brick your whole device (or at least disable it) upon software discovery.

Here’s why Touch ID may not be working for you in the App Store

So you’ve gotten the error that’s dreaded. You see “An unknown error occurred (53)” on your iPhone. You’re lost and you don’t know what to do with yourself because your best buddy that knows all about iPhones doesn’t know where to begin.

There’s an answer out there.

According to an Apple spokesperson, Error 53 is a security measure. It’s not to much a “glitch”, as some have called it, as it is an anti-theft mechanism meant to deter criminals who’ve stolen your iPhone.

A spokesperson from Apple told SlashGear: “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.”

If you have an iPhone and it is stolen, the process might go like this:

1. iPhone is stolen
2. Thief finds you have a fingerprint lock
3. Thief attempts hardware bypass, removing Touch ID sensor
4. Phone detects tampering
5. Phone bricks with Error 53

Simple stuff. Some iPhone users are not especially pleased with the fact that their devices have been bricked after they’ve gotten repairs done to their devices. They are not pleased!


It may be true that Apple could have been more up front about requirements for repair once a user has their fingerprint attached to the lock of the device. It may also be true that, with all of the effort Apple has put in to making certain your iPhone cannot be accessed by a thief, that a user should have expected that they could only go to Apple to have any hardware repairs done at all.

What do you think?


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