iPhone 6 Touch IDApple's fight against an ongoing "error 53" lawsuit came to an end today when a U.S. district court judge dismissed the case and declared that the plaintiffs "lack standing to pursue injunctive relief" and have not been able to prove permanent data loss.

Apple's error 53 woes began in February, when the media picked up a story about an ongoing "error 53" message that was permanently bricking iPhones. As it turned out, Apple had implemented a feature that disabled the iPhones of customers who had unauthorized repairs on the home buttons of their devices.

Non-matching repair components or damage that affected the Touch ID fingerprint sensor caused an iOS device to fail a Touch ID validation check because the mismatched parts were unable to properly sync. The validation check occurred during an iOS update or restore, and when failed, Apple disabled the iPhone, effectively "bricking" it in an effort to protect Touch ID and the related Secure Enclave that stores customer fingerprint information. Apple eventually said the error 53 bricking issue was meant to be a factory test that should not have affected customers.

Just days after the error 53 news began circulating, Apple was hit with a lawsuit seeking $5 million in damages and a repair program for affected devices. Plaintiffs accused Apple of false advertising and failing to warn consumers about the security features that ultimately rendered their iPhones inoperable and caused data loss.

Following the lawsuit, Apple released an updated version of iOS that restored iPhones and iPads affected by error 53 to working condition and prevented it from happening to additional devices. Apple also reimbursed customers who paid for out-of-warranty replacements for their devices and ensured all affected customers had working devices.

In May, Apple filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit based on its fix and reimbursement efforts, but the plaintiffs continued to argue that Apple hadn't done enough to warn customers and hadn't made it easy enough to get their devices fixed.

Those arguments fell on deaf ears, as the judge did indeed grant Apple's dismissal motion, dissecting all of the plaintiffs' claims and rendering them unsuitable for the continuation of the lawsuit. One of the main claims was data loss, but the plaintiffs were not able to prove data loss separate from the error 53 malfunction, nor were they able to prove Apple was aware of the error 53 defect to support claims of false advertising.

With regard to Apple's alleged omissions, the plaintiffs' position seems to be that Apple should have "disclosed that their devices would be destroyed by imbedded features if they had repaired devices using an independent service and then updated to certain iOS versions." But the plaintiffs haven't plausibly alleged that Apple actually knew of this alleged risk. [...]

But the mere fact that a company has designed a product doesn't mean it automatically knows about all of that product's potential design flaws.

The plaintiffs in the case will be able to amend their claims to address the issues raised by the judge, so the lawsuit may be reconsidered in the future.

Top Rated Comments

ravenstar Avatar
87 months ago
Purely a greedy lawsuit. Apple repaired the software problem restoring the devices to working order with no data loss, and reimbursed affected customers for the cost of repairs. And they want more? If all software had that kind of support, we'd be in tech heaven!
Score: 22 Votes (Like | Disagree)
dannyyankou Avatar
87 months ago
"Why is my phone not working? All I did was install a screen that was probably manufactured by a third party in China! Let's all sue Apple!"
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
dannyyankou Avatar
87 months ago
Why should that stop the phone from working at all, in particular when it was working fine prior to an iOS update?
I don't know, same reason why anything can go wrong when you install something 3rd party and not certified. It's not like Apple engineers sat in a room and said "let's punish these people who install 3rd party screens".
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Zirel Avatar
87 months ago
Apple shouldn't "fix" error 53.

That's what you should get when you go to unauthorized repair centers, that's where stolen iCloud locked "for parts" iPhones sink.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Kroo Avatar
87 months ago
Heh. Other people are not so willing to give up their consumer rights.

In the US, at least, warranty law allows you to use third party parts and not be punished for it by the original manufacturer.

That's whey we can add memory to our laptop, or different wheels on our car, without voiding the warranty.

Obviously the manufacturer does not have to cover those third party parts, but neither can they disable them or tell you that you cannot use them.
Another hate rant on Apple using a ridiculously flawed arguement, again.

So if I get a fuel pump for my brand new Toyota from a third party, installed by a third party, and the car doesn't start, its Toyotas fault? Yeah, not one of your best attempts at having a veiled swipe at Apple, again. What is your beef with them anyway? Hating on Apple won't help you have a happier life you know.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
EricTheHalfBee Avatar
87 months ago
Oh no. What will all the people who said Apple should pay up for this huge issue they created do now?

[doublepost=1466538920][/doublepost]
Why should that stop the phone from working at all, in particular when it was working fine prior to an iOS update?
This was all explained in detail last time around. When iOS installs it checks the hardware to make sure everything is OK and secure. The screens were replaced with a Touch ID sensor that wasn't properly paired to the iPhone which caused the bricking.

All Apple is guilty of is being extra careful when installing iOS software updates.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

iOS 16

iOS 16.3 Now Available for Your iPhone With These 4 New Features

Friday February 3, 2023 1:13 pm PST by
Apple released iOS 16.3 in late January following nearly six weeks of beta testing. The software update is available for the iPhone 8 and newer, and while it is a relatively minor update, it still includes a handful of new features, changes, and bug fixes. Below, we've recapped new features in iOS 16.3, including support for physical security keys as a two-factor authentication option for...
ipad air purple

Deals: M1 iPad Air Hits Record-Low Prices at TigerDirect, Starting at $313.99 (48% Off)

Saturday February 4, 2023 10:05 am PST by
Online retailer TigerDirect has slashed pricing on the M1 iPad Air in several colors, offering the base 64GB configuration for just $313.99 in Purple and Pink. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with TigerDirect. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running. That's a savings of 48% compared to Apple's normal $599.00...
Apple Silicon Teal Feature

The Next Big Apple Silicon Device May Not Be a Mac or iPad

Wednesday February 1, 2023 3:57 am PST by
Apple's next device with an Apple silicon chip may not be a Mac or an iPad, but rather an advanced external display, according to recent reports. The display, which is rumored to arrive this year, is expected to sit somewhere between the $1,599 Studio Display and the $4,999 Pro Display XDR – but more exact information about the device's positioning and price point is as yet unknown. While ...
iPhone 14 Pro Purple Side Perspective Feature Purple

Gurman: Apple Considering New High-End iPhone Alongside Pro and Pro Max

Sunday February 5, 2023 6:07 am PST by
Apple has discussed selling a new top-of-the-line iPhone alongside the Pro and Pro Max models in 2024 at the earliest, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. Based on this timeframe, the device would be part of the iPhone 16 lineup or later. In a September 2022 edition of his weekly "Power On" newsletter, Gurman said there was "potential" for an iPhone 15 Ultra to replace the iPhone 15 Pro...
HomePod 2 White and Midnight Feature Purple Blue

Apple Explains Why HomePod Was Released Again, Wi-Fi 4 Limitation, and More

Thursday February 2, 2023 7:57 am PST by
Apple's VP of hardware engineering Matthew Costello and product marketing employee Alice Chan recently spoke with Men's Journal and TechCrunch about the new second-generation HomePod in wide-ranging interviews about the smart speaker. Apple discontinued the original full-size HomePod in March 2021 after multiple reports indicated that sales of the speaker were lackluster, but Chan told Men's ...
webkit vs chromium feature

Google Working on Browser for iOS That Would Break Apple's App Store Rules

Saturday February 4, 2023 1:30 am PST by
Google's Chromium developers are working on an experimental web browser for iOS that would break Apple's browser engine restrictions, The Register reports. The experimental browser, which is being actively pursued by developers, uses Google's Blink engine. Yet if Google attempted to release it on the App Store, it would not pass Apple's App Review process. Apple's App Store rules dictate...
iOS 16

Apple Preparing iOS 16.3.1 Update for iPhone as Wait for iOS 16.4 Beta Continues

Thursday February 2, 2023 6:41 am PST by
Apple appears to be preparing an iOS 16.3.1 update for the iPhone, based on evidence of the software in our website's analytics logs this week. It's unclear when the update will be released, but it will likely be available at some point in February. The same logs have accurately foreshadowed the release of several previous updates, including iOS 16.0.3 and iOS 16.1.1 most recently, so they...
maxresdefault

Hands-On With Apple's Second-Generation HomePod

Friday February 3, 2023 1:28 pm PST by
Today is the official launch day for the second-generation HomePod that was introduced in January, and we picked one up to compare it to the original HomePod that Apple discontinued in 2021. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Design wise, the second-generation HomePod looks a lot like the first-generation model, featuring the same rounded design and acoustic mesh...