Lawyers threaten to sue Apple over ‘Error 53’ codes disabling iPhones

After reports that iOS 9 updates have disabled iPhone 6 and 6s devices that had third-party repairs done to their Touch ID sensors, law firms in the U.S. and U.K. are considering legal action against Apple, The Guardian reports. Users with iPhones that have been repaired by someone other than Apple or that have unrepaired damage have reported receiving an “Error 53” message when updating their device’s software, leaving the phone locked and completely unusable. Seattle-based law firm PCVA is preparing a class action lawsuit, saying it believes Apple’s stance violates several consumer protection laws, and the firm has offered to represent victims for free.
London-based barrister Richard Colbey said Apple’s policy of deactivating the phones may also violate the U.K.‘s Criminal Damage Act 1971, which bars intentionally destroying the property of another person. Apple has issued a statement saying, “This security measure is necessary to protect your device and prevent a fraudulent Touch ID sensor from being used,” but critics suggest the policy simply serves to drive up the company’s revenue by forcing customers to pay Apple for any repairs to their device. Apple’s statement urges users who encounter the error to contact customer support, but those who have done so report being told their only alternative is to buy an entirely new phone.

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