A few days ago I wrote about a certain error 53 that renders an iPhone 6 totally useless if you get it repaired from some place other than an Apple Store and then you upgrade your operating system to iOS 9, your iPhone simply stops working. In the mobile phone parlance, they say that your phone is “bricked”. No amount of repairing or reinstalling can get you your phone back. People have had to purchase new devices just because they got their iPhones repaired from someplace else and then upgraded their operating systems to iOS 9. Users were complaining that Apple is so arrogant that the company isn’t even replying to people’s complaints.
Now the company has been hit by a class-action lawsuit over the phone-bricking error 53. A Seattle-based law firm Pfau Cochran Vertetsi Amala has brought a class action lawsuit against Apple according to this MacRumors update.
As more and more news is surfacing, the problem might not be just with the Apple devices. Sources say that Apple has issued a warning that if you get your Home Button replaced from someplace else (other than an authorized Apple Store) this will brick your phone and render it useless. Despite the warning, some owners have gone ahead and gotten their home button repaired from somewhere else.
According to an official statement from Apple
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.
But the law firm that has filed the class-action lawsuit says that Apple’s policy may violate consumer protection laws in the US.
We believe Apple may be intentionally forcing users to use their repair services, which cost much more than most 3rd-party repair shops. There is incentive for Apple to keep end users from finding alternative methods to fix their products.
According to UK barrister Richard Colbey, Apple may even face problems in the UK, guilty of causing criminal damage. He says
It is hard to see how something which ceases to work in this way could be said to be of reasonable quality, one of the determinants of which is durability. The law states: ‘A person who without lawful excuse destroys or damages any property belonging to another intending to destroy or damage any such property or being reckless as to whether any such property would be destroyed or damaged shall be guilty of an offence.’
Personally I feel both the parties make sense. The security and safety of the device may be at stake if the home button, on which the access to the device depends, is repaired from a third-party. Suppose someone steals your iPhone 6 and then gets your Home Button “repaired” from another place without checking your credentials? All your confidential details will be available to the person. So what would you prefer? Risking your identity and confidential information or purchasing a new iPhone? I think you would go for the latter.
Having said that, Apple has a history of trapping people into its own commercial ecosystem so that whether they need to purchase something new or get something repaired, they cannot get it done outside of Apple’s ecosystem.