Apple has come under fire for "bricking" iOS devices that have been fixed by third-party repair shops. After the repairs are done, iOS device users reported that they received an "Error 53" message which would lock up their iPhones or iPads. Apple has insisted that this is a "security feature" but the company has now done an about-face on this issue.
"Error 53" was first thought to be a security bug but was later revealed to be a mechanism put in place by Apple itself to prevent unauthorised repairers from fixing iOS devices. Considering Apple authorised repairers charge a lot more to fix devices than other repairers, customers were furious and "Error 53" was seen as a way for the company to squeeze more money out of users. Even the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission (ACCC) got involved.
Under mounting criticism, Apple has changed its (i)tune on "Error 53" and has removed the feature from iOS devices with its latest software update. Here's what Apple said to TechCrunch about the matter:
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 apologise 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.
So Apple's claim that it was a "security feature" wasn't exactly true. At least the company is owning up to its mistakes.