Following the uproar over Error 53, Apple has finally introduced a fix, meaning you can get your device repaired anywhere you please (at your own risk).
In a statement to TechCrunch, the company said Error 53 was only designed “to check whether Touch ID [worked] properly before the device leaves the factory,” and not a deliberate security feature. With today’s update, which can be downloaded through iTunes, iPhones hit by Error 53 will be restored back to their original state.
The software is a patched version of iOS 9.2.1, according to TechCrunch, not a brand new version of iOS.
“We apologize for any inconvenience, this was designed to be a factory test and was not intended to affect customers,” Apple said. “Customers who paid for an out-of-warranty replacement of their device based on this issue should contact AppleCare about a reimbursement.”
If you do encounter Error 53, Apple has laid out steps on how to get your device up and running.
1. Make sure that you have the latest version of iTunes.
2. Force restart your device.
3. Try to restore your device again.
4. If you still see Error 53 when you try to restore your device, contact Apple Support. If the restore won’t finish and you see a different error code, learn what to do.
This update won’t re-enable Touch ID if you got your device fixed by a third-party, but at least you’ll no longer have an expensive brick.
Update: According to iFixit, Apple’s update works as promised.