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By Dan Moren

Apple issues iOS update to fix phones bricked by Error 53

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.  ↩

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[Dan Moren is a tech writer, novelist, podcaster, and the Official Dan of Six Colors. You can email him at or find him on Twitter at @dmoren.]