Six Colors
Six Colors

by Jason Snell & Dan Moren

This Week's Sponsor

Kolide ensures only secure devices can access your cloud apps. It's Device Trust for Okta. Watch the demo today!

By Dan Moren

Apple issues iOS update to fix phones bricked by Error 53

Note: This story has not been updated for several years.

TechCrunch reports that Apple has released a patched version of iOS 9.2.1 specifically for phones disabled by Error 53. It’s only available for updates via iTunes, not over-the-air, and it will not restore the functionality of Touch ID–that’s still a security issue. But it will unbrick your phone, so there’s that.

Apple also told TechCrunch that the bricking was apparently a bug, saying that Error 53 “was designed to be a factory test and was not intended to affect customers.” So perhaps we can dispense with the “Apple doesn’t want you to get your phone fixed anywhere else!” narrative.1 Because if they did let you swap in a new Touch ID sensor instead, well, the FBI–and anybody else who cared to–would have a pretty easy time unlocking any iOS device they want.

  1. Wishful thinking there, I know. 

[Dan Moren is the East Coast Bureau Chief of Six Colors. You can find him on Mastodon at or reach him by email at His latest novel, the supernatural detective story All Souls Lost, is now available for pre-order.]

If you appreciate articles like this one, support us by becoming a Six Colors subscriber. Subscribers get access to an exclusive podcast, members-only stories, and a special community.

Search Six Colors