Apple has been accused of ‘killing' thousands of iPhone 6 devices, leaving the handset permanently disabled and worthless.
The ‘error 53' problem appears to affect handsets which run on Apple's latest operating system, iOS 9, and on handsets that have had its Touch ID home button repaired by a non-Apple Technician. It has also reportedly affected customers whose phone has been damaged but have not repaired it.
When the message appears, the expensive handset is rendered useless, or in tech speak, their iPhone 6 will be ‘bricked', resulting in any photos or data on the handset is lost and irretrievable.
The Guardian reported that freelance photographer, Antonio Olmos came across the problem when on assignment in Macedonia. He repaired his damaged phone locally and later installed the latest software, however within seconds the iPhone displayed ‘error 53'.
He told the Guardian: "The whole thing is extraordinary. How can a company deliberately make their own products useless with an upgrade and not warn their own customers about it? Outside of the big industrialised nations, Apple stores are few and far between, and damaged phones can only be brought back to life by small third-party repairers.
"I am not even sure these third-party outfits even know this is a potential problem."
In light of this, Apple has responded to the criticism and claims ‘error 53' is to protect customers' security and it is not penalising users for using third-party repairers.
In a statement, Apple said: We take customer security very seriously and Error 53 is the result of security checks designed to protect our customers. iOS checks that the Touch ID sensor in your iPhone or iPad correctly matches your device's other components.
"If iOS finds a mismatch, the check fails and Touch ID, including for Apple Pay use, is disabled. This security measure is necessary to protect your device and prevent a fraudulent Touch ID sensor from being used. If a customer encounters Error 53, we encourage them to contact Apple Support."
Despite Apple's statement, it is safe to say iPhone 6 users should not consider taking a faulty phone to a non-Apple technicians, as Apple will not replace a device where the warranty has expired.