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by Jason Snell & Dan Moren

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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 dan@sixcolors.com or find him on Twitter at @dmoren.]