Tech giant Apple re-issued iOS 9.2.1 to fix the “Error 53” that had crippled iPhones. The new iOS 9.2.1 will only be served to users who update their iPhones through iTunes on a Mac or Windows PC. Most iPhone owners retrieve updates over the air using their cellular connection, and so will not receive the replacement.
The Error 53 appeared on iPhone 6, 6S, 6 Plus and 6S Plus devices after a do-it-yourself or third-party repair job replaced the Home button — which includes the Touch ID fingerprint-scanning authentication sensor — the connecting cable, and sometimes the screen. Once the error appeared, the iPhone was “bricked,” or rendered unusable.
Reports of Error 53 sparked indignation among some iPhone owners and was criticized by Kyle Wiens, the founder of iFixit.com, who saw it as a threat to do-it-yourself repairs. “Owners have the right to repair their products and get them repaired by technicians they trust,” Wiens said. It also caught the eyes of attorneys.
In a statement, Apple also apologized for bricking customers’ iPhones. “Apple released a software update that allows customers who have encountered this error message to successfully restore their device using iTunes on a Mac or PC,” an Apple spokesperson confirmed in an email. “We apologize for any inconvenience.”
However, Apple narrowed the definition of the test, asserting that it “was designed to check whether Touch ID works properly before the device leaves the factory.”