Monday, February 29, 2016

Apple blinks on Error 53

Earlier this month, I shared the story of Apple's Error 53 problem, where thousands of iPhone and iPad owners had their devices "bricked" - in other words, turned into useless doorstoppers - after they had their broken screens replaced at non-Apple-authorized repair shops, and then upgraded to iOS9. Disgruntled owners were considering legal action against the tech giant in both the U.S. and UK.

Well, those lawsuits may have to wait a while, because Apple has had a change of heart. Following a wave of online anger over the company's position. Apple introduced an update to iOS - version 9.2.1 - that fixes the affected devices. It also released a statement to the influential tech blog, TechCrunch:
"Some customers’ devices are showing ‘Connect to iTunes’ after attempting an iOS update or a restore from iTunes on a Mac or PC. This reports as an Error 53 in iTunes and appears when a device fails a security test. This test was designed to check whether Touch ID works properly before the device leaves the factory. 
Today, 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. 
We apologize for any inconvenience, this was designed to be a factory test and was not intended to affect customers. Customers who paid for an out-of-warranty replacement of their device based on this issue should contact AppleCare about a reimbursement."
The company says affected users must apply the iOS 9.2.1 update by physically connecting it to a computer with iTunes. Wireless updates will not work in this case. So if you don't normally tether your device to a computer, you'll have to grab a cable and find a library.

The only other caveat is the TouchID login-with-your-fingerprint capability will not be re-enabled on devices that have third-party screens/home buttons. But at least Apple's offering users a way out, which is light-years ahead of where it was when this story first broke.

Now, if only it could extricate itself from the FBI/privacy/San Bernardino investigation mess just as easily. I'll keep following that one. Watch this space for more.

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