back to article Reminder: iPhones commit suicide if you repair them on the cheap

An iPhone owner says his handset bricked itself after it was repaired and updated to the latest version of iOS. Freelance journalist Antonio Olmos reports that after having his iPhone repaired by a shop in Macedonia, his handset was working fine until he recently attempted to update the iPhone's software. The update triggered …

  1. MiguelC Silver badge

    Isn't that against consumer rights laws in most European countries? If it isn't it should be!

    1. Bill M

      Bricked iPhones make great door wedges

      Bricked iPhones make great door wedges.

      1. NoneSuch

        Re: Bricked iPhones make great door wedges

        Why this surprises anyone is beyond me.

        Apple = Closed Garden = Monopoly

        40% more expensive for 100% less choice.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Bricked iPhones make great door wedges

          40% more because not just a phone, but a working class status symbol.

      2. Tromos

        Re: Bricked iPhones make great door wedges

        Actually, the combination of shiny and rounded corners makes for a really crappy door wedge.

    2. WolfFan Silver badge

      If you don't want to have your iThing bricked, then:

      1 use the Official Apple Repair System

      2 if you don't use the OARS, don't update the firmware

      1. JLV Silver badge
        Facepalm

        WolfFanBoi much?

        Seriously, they do something like that to a product we bought, just so they can gauge us on repairs and you think it's a great idea? Why do you think Apple owners have the rep of being morons here? Precisely because some of us do act like uncritical gullible suckers.

        In almost no other product would people make a statement defending a vendor who screws them.

        You like OARS so much? Great, you stick with them - your decision, doesn't require bricking my system, does it?

        But let me have the choice on my hardware. I just got my MBP fixed by a non-auth dealer and it was a great deal. Fast and cheap swap of a used keyboard & install of an aftermarket SSD. Choice is good, being brainwashed not.

        And, for the record, when I got my iphone serviced, I wiped and disconnected my email account beforehand, because that's the only really confidential bit on it. Not using OARS <> stupid.

      2. Patrician

        Or, don't buy Apple devices.....

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Isn't that against consumer rights laws in most European countries? If it isn't it should be!

      I'm in two minds on this one. On the one hand, there is a valid case for preventing unknown components affect the security container in Apple devices, because that manes that even a hardware hack won't expose data. I would agree that this may have more to do with keeping the walled garden intact, but it is a fact that that walled garden has been doing quite well keeping most of the nasties out too.

      On the other hand, I think Apple should have devised some graceful degradation of device security, so anything with an unknown component would have downgraded the device, maybe with a big red flag that says "this device is no longer secure". That would allow for emergency repairs without completely bricking the device, and maybe still run apps but, for instance, no longer permit payment functions. However, that would also require a second support strand (although you could consider this a warranty void" situation), and I'm not sure that Apple should be made to carry the support burden of unauthorised repair jobs (not to mention the risk of unauthorised parts failing or causing hazards - batteries are a good example of a risky problem area).

      It's not entirely black & white in my opinion, but what is not good is that this fully bricks the device, I think that's too extreme.

      1. Grifter

        >>On the one hand, there is a valid case for preventing

        >>unknown components affect the security container in

        >>Apple devices, because that manes that even a

        >>hardware hack won't expose data.

        If you put in a hardware hack that could expose all the data, this bricking won't help save you, it only bricks the phone if you try to update the firmware, which if you're the one trying to get at the data, I presume you won't be doing. You really think that sounds like security?

        1. DougS Silver badge

          Graceful degradation

          It could have disabled the secure element and what it provides - so no Touch ID, Apple Pay and iCloud keyring. Your phone would continue to work, but using an unknown bit of hardware wouldn't be a potential way around device security.

          Is that picture in the article real - does the iPhone really display a sad Mac when it fails to boot?

      2. Tessier-Ashpool

        Saying "this device is no longer secure" would be too late if all your iData on your iThingy had already winged its merry way to Russia, China or the NSA. It sounds like a good security feature to me.

      3. Walmo

        I don't buy the argument that it's protecting users security. If I choose to have my iThing fixed by a non authorised repairer then I assume the risk if my device fails or security is compromised. This is simply an excuse to force consumers to pay through the nose for their services. I'm sure will blow up in their face as consumers and regulators start to call them out for this anti-competitive move.

        Hell hath no fury than an iSheep denied their social media fix

      4. heyrick Silver badge
        Stop

        "On the one hand, there is a valid case for preventing unknown components affect the security container in Apple devices, because that manes that even a hardware hack won't expose data."

        Which all sounds very nice and cosy, but it is complete bollocks.

        If iOS bricked itself the moment you powered up with unofficial hardware installed, then all this "privacy" theatre would make sense. That it waits for an update (which could be months, or longer) shows that this is just plain old fashioned protectionism wrapped in nice words designed to placate people who don't want to think too hard. You are "vulnerable" from the time of modification until the time of update, and then your "security" is suddenly important enough to require the update process to intentionally kill the device's functionality? I can't believe people believe such rubbish.

      5. big_D Silver badge

        @AC

        I know it is a Mac thread, but please don't shoot me.

        Me to, although I would say, that if Apple brick the device for security reasons, they should unbrick it, if it is taken to an official Apple dealer or repair center and proof of ownership is shown. They can charge a "small" handling fee for re-pairing the TouchID and cable, for example, then the device works again.

        This sounds like a car manufacture saying, that because you replaced the brake pads yourself, you need to junk your car and buy a new one - it wouldn't fly.

        I could understand that they would refuse to repair or replace under warranty, if the device had already been repaired by a third party, but to make it irrevocably "dead" is dispicable.

      6. Gareth Morgan

        The Police and Justice Act 2006 amended the Computer Misuse Act 1990 as below.

        36 Unauthorised acts with intent to impair operation of computer, etc

        For section 3 of the 1990 Act (unauthorised modification of computer material) there is substituted—

        “3 Unauthorised acts with intent to impair, or with recklessness as to impairing, operation of computer, etc.

        (1)A person is guilty of an offence if—

        (a)he does any unauthorised act in relation to a computer;

        (b)at the time when he does the act he knows that it is unauthorised; and

        (c)either subsection (2) or subsection (3) below applies.

        (2)This subsection applies if the person intends by doing the act—

        (a)to impair the operation of any computer;

        (b)to prevent or hinder access to any program or data held in any computer;

        (c)to impair the operation of any such program or the reliability of any such data; or

        (d)to enable any of the things mentioned in paragraphs (a) to (c) above to be done.

        (3)This subsection applies if the person is reckless as to whether the act will do any of the things mentioned in paragraphs (a) to (d) of subsection (2) above.

        (4)...

        (6)A person guilty of an offence under this section shall be liable—

        (a)on summary conviction in England and Wales, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months or to a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum or to both;

        (b)on summary conviction in Scotland, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or to a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum or to both;

        (c)on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years or to a fine or to both.”

        The question may be whether the phones owner or user authorised Apple to carry out such acts.

    4. TeeCee Gold badge

      A car analogy is always good.

      Once upon a time, car manufacturers would keep their diagnostic codes and such a closely guarded secret. In addition, the secondhand car trade would mark down a vehicle that had been serviced outside the manufacturer's dealership network and all manufacturers "approved used car" scheme would refuse to accept such. Finally, the manufacturers would refuse to supply manuals and service bulletins to third parties.

      Then the EU ruled all the above as anticompetitive and illegal.

      The end.

      1. Phil Kingston Silver badge

        I think this is more like car owner breaks his diesel engine. He then has a third party swap it for a petrol one. Then he takes it for a service at the manufacturer's dealership and they offer to fill it up with fuel for him as part of their customer service. So they put the diesel in and the engine goes bang.

        1. NotBob

          Nope. Owner breaks his windshield and has it replaced at one of those shops that fixes windshields and does little else. (I assume other places have those, too.) Owner then goes to the dealer for the next regular service appointment and the service tech boots all four wheels and removes the transmission.

          1. tony
            Happy

            Nope it's more like owner has car stolen, thieves replace ignition and door locks with mocks and happily drive around.

            With a phone connected to Apple Pay (and I'm guessing Google & Samsung pay...) this mocked phone has a link to your bank account.

            Releasing a tool that any body can authenticate replacement parts means that anybody can also authenticate bogus parts.

            The security procedure doesn't go far enough as its not checked regularly enough, if a mismatch disabled touch functionality that may be better but afaik replacing the touch sensor with a mock means Mr & Mrs Dodgy have already got your passcode.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              No, it's like the owner steals a car, steals another car, welds them both together, gets drunk, drives into a brick wall that causes a house to fall down, traumatising a child by crushing her favourite teddy bear, then the owner gets back in his car, still drunk, drives the car into a river, gets carried along the river for 100 miles, gets pneumonia, and then takes the car back to the manufacturer of the teddy bear, and sues the child because the river was wet and the teddy wouldn't go on a date with him.

            2. Andus McCoatover
              Windows

              Another analogy.

              How about this:

              I lose my bank card. I phone bank.

              They immediately lock the bank card. Fair enough.

              Then, they confiscate all the money in my account - never to be returned - to protect me against 'fraudulent use of the money'.

              Simples!

              1. Woodnag

                Paypal did that...

                ...and the lawsuit has just settled

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            It's quite like this:

            You have a Cisco switch and use generic SFPs. Cisco's next software release makes "compturer says no" and your generic SFP devices no longer work....

            1. Mr Tumnus

              Except that doesn't happen ...

        2. Suricou Raven

          Car engine breaks, so the owner takes it to the nearest convenient garage. They charge him a fortune (of course) and find the problem is a break in one of the ignition wires and replace it. Two months later he takes it to the dealer for a routine service - the dealer identifies the cable as an unauthorised modification, drops the car into their car-crushing machine, and explains to the owner that they were only acting to protect him from a possible accident should the third-party cable have failed while travelling at speed. They will not cover the cost of a replacement car, and he should be thankful that they are so concerned for his safety. He may, however, keep the mangled cube.

      2. partypop69

        Anticompetitive analogy

        I disagree, the EU ruling on diagnostic codes for cars doesn't apply here. And anyway who said they were right?

        The car manufacturer built the car, they should have the right to do anything they want, give away diagnostic codes? no friggen way. if you don't like it, don't buy it. Plain and simple. As long as you make the consumer aware (sign on the dotted line) you should be able to do anything you want.

        Apple has every right to protect its revenues from repairs (even if security was not the underlying reason). weather you like it or not, again, if you don't like it, don't buy it.

        The only thing I see, is how Apple went about it. No notice to consumers and bricking the phone is NOT right. I would have had the error 53 pop up, with a notice to take the phone into an Apple Store and get it property repaired. Destroying the whole phone is NOT ok.

      3. Mike Shepherd
        Meh

        Car analogy

        Unfortunately, the computer industry is about 50 years behind the automobile industry, in legislation and in quality.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        A car analogy is always good

        But then bought in Type Approval etc so BMW effectively killed off OEM manufactured parts for Rover, Mini, Morris and loads of other companies helping keep older cars on the road

        Hurrah for the euroc*nts

    5. John Savard Silver badge

      It should be against antitrust laws in the United States.

      1. Rasslin ' in the mud

        Apple is a single company. Antitrust laws are in place to prevent multiple companies from colluding to limit competition. You will find a suitably simplified description here: http://www.investopedia.com/ask/answers/09/antitrust-law.asp

    6. joed

      I believe this may not even be legit in states. It's not for cars.

    7. Phil Kingston Silver badge

      Probably.

      It's more likely that the upgrade process designers simply didn't think that third-party repairs of this type happened.

      1. KeithR

        "It's more likely that the upgrade process designers simply didn't think that third-party repairs of this type happened."

        So - what? - They built in a phone killer to deal with something that they didn't think or knew would even happen?

        Seriously?

        There aren't enough downvotes in the world to deal with that kind of apologism.

        1. Phil Kingston Silver badge

          Downvote schmownvote.

          But exiting an upgrade because required security hardware isn't responding correctly is a valid process design decision.

          Any other action is stupid.

          However, the exiting action could be more graceful. And possibly the user could be warned. But I don't think it's unrealistic to consider that when designing their upgrade process, they simply overlooked the idea that a user might have approved removal of the fingerprint sensor.

          People look too hard for conspiracies.

          1. Danny 14 Silver badge

            Security? So you chsnge a screen and firmware update borks your phone? Riiiiight.

            What do you think the person will do? Buy another apple device or bad mouth the company to all who will listen?

            1. Alan Denman

              re badmouthing - this is a different universe mate

              anyone who bad mouths Apple gets run out of town!

          2. big_D Silver badge

            @Phil Kingston

            Sorry, no.

            It shouldn't wait until an upgrade. It should check at the next start, after it has been repaired, not wait a few months for the next upgrade.

            If this is something that came in with iOS 9, then they should have warned users first. By the time the user comes to do the upgrade to iOS 9, if the phone has already been compromised, then it is too late to bother bricking the phone.

            And if Apple do disable the phone, they should have an in-store review process already in place to check the components and re-certify them, if there is nothing malicious. For that, a service fee of $10 would be acceptable, I think. Certainly better than $700 for a new phone.

    8. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The only way this makes sense as security precaution is to have the iPhone brick itself immediately. Otherwise, this is just a way of ensuring that no one gets to play with "their(?)" device and, of course, keeps the cash flowing directly to Apple, which is the real point.

    9. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Crapple should just go die in a fire...

      but then again, just don't allow yourself to become a sheeple in the first place.

      Any fenced garden will eventually turn into a walled ghetto.

      Just like any 'democracy' will turn into a totalitarian oligarchy if it allows its money to be controlled by private bankers.

    10. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Just try setting your date on your iPhone to January 1 1970, and rebooting!

  2. choleric

    News angle?

    Apple have taken a fairly unenlightened attitude towards third party repairs and hardware for most of their existence.

    This is why stuff like open source matters so much. If you want something to "just work" then buy iDevices and pay Apple and wait for Apple when they break. If you want a bit more freedom and a better price and more flexibility when things go wrong then look elsewhere. There are plenty of alternatives.

    It's just that most people can't be bothered or have gotten themselves so busy that they "don't have the time".

    The next step will be asking to have Apple nationalised to provide a regulated fondle service for the people by the people. Only it will turn out to be even more expensive...

    1. Stretch

      Re: News angle?

      They don't "work", that's the issue. I am loving telling the crapple users at work how Windows "just works" when they have their constant issues with their crapbooks. "Oh, I am on Windows and I have no issues..."

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @Stretch - Re: News angle?

        Yeah, me too I'm trying to remove RC4 encryption from Windows Server 2008 and it's far from "it just works!". It breaks a lot of other things. Onto the other hand, on my favorite OS it is simply child's play.

        Oh, well! That's life!

        1. Mage Silver badge

          Re: Favorite OS, removing RC4

          AC?

          You talking Linux is your favourite OS? Because while OS X Server edition still exists (Only for Apple stuff), Apple stopped selling real Server Hardware and dropped "Computer" from their name. Also Apple's intention is that OS X should only run on Apple HW. Unlike BSD, Linux, Windows etc.

          Apple is purely a Consumer Gadget company that still happens to make some laptops and workstations, a tiny part of their profits.

          Maybe Apple stuff "just works" because it's a closed ecosystem? If I buy a TV, DVD player or MP3 player, compared to evil horrible Windows 10, they just work.

          I last installed a Windows Server for WSUS to manage updates to XP workstations and Laptops. Since that requirement is now gone, we just use Linux for our servers, it just works.

      2. This post has been deleted by its author

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: News angle?

        '.. "Oh, I am on Windows and I have no issues..."'

        Lets see..just a representative sample of the last week's worth@work..

        Monday: Win7 CAD machine - Printer driver issues,

        Tuesday: Win7 CNC controller machine - RS-232 starts acting up.

        Wednesday: no issues (yaaay!, I can actually do some real work for a change)

        Thursday: The return of DLL hell...Win7 design machine starts acting up.

        Friday: DLL hell spreads to applications running on the Remote Desktop machine (in cupboard, several miles away at the other end of the leased fibre..road trip), return of Monday's printer driver weirdness.

        @home?, I've not booted into any Windows OS on any of the machines since last weekend, and that was only to check the status of updates (prior to that, it was a couple of months ago), so I can honestly say that I have no issues with MS Windows at home.

        1. Graham Dawson

          Re: News angle?

          I think the conclusion to be drawn from this is that all computers are a bit site.

        2. JLV Silver badge
          Joke

          >a representative sample of the last week's worth@work

          Tssk, tssk, sounds like you had a great Windows week.

          Thinks could be much worse...

          s/Win7/Win8.1/

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: >a representative sample of the last week's worth@work

            'Tssk, tssk, sounds like you had a great Windows week.'

            Worst it's been for about a month. I reckon an applied software update has gone south, probably only tried against a standard 'office machine' image and deemed stable before deployment across the board..

            Thinks could be much worse...

            s/Win7/Win8.1/

            Try s/Win7/Win10/g..that's the next braindead plan (despite the writers of one of the packages we use clearly stating their software doesn't work properly if run on Win10, they've no immediate plans to release a Win10 version, and they'll not be supporting any Win10 related issues that do show up.)

            Interesting times ahead...and thankfully they're SEP.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: News angle?

          That sounds like you've installed at least one piece of hacked software, let me guess, it's either Photoshop, or Visual Studio?

        4. BenR

          Re: News angle?@AC "Lets see..just a representative sample of the last week's worth@work.."

          None of which sounds like a Windows issue to my (admittedly unenlightened) eyes.

          Every single issue listed sounds like shitty vendor software or drivers.

          Perhaps the reason Apple stuff "just works" is because only proper software gets developed for it - you know, stuff like Photoshop and the like. All the stuff that is used by hundreds upon hundreds of millions of people across the globe.

          Some CNC software / bespoke plotter drivers / whatever - that is possibly only used by a number in the low thousands of people - not a lot of call or scope to maintain / update / patch / whatever the application code.

          Just sayin'.

          And no - I'm not an Apple product owner. Never bought anything from them, and probably never will.

      4. alexbird
        Mushroom

        Re: News angle?

        The only way this is true is if you have infrastructure that only works properly for windows users, and there are significant stats from IBM to back this up:

        http://uk.businessinsider.com/apple-macbook-needs-help-desk-less-windows-pc-ibm-2015-10?r=US&IR=T

        "Only 5% of IBM employees with MacBooks need help desk support from the IT department, versus 40% of PC users."

        "IBM is supporting over 130,000 combined iPhone, iPad, and MacBook users with just 24 dedicated help desk staff."

        Sorry, but compared to this data, you're just noise ;p

    2. KeithR

      Re: News angle?

      "This is why stuff like open source matters so much"

      Why cite Open Source? You need look no further than Windows for an ecosystem that doesn't intentionally fuck your kit up just because someone other than Bill Gates has added some RAM to it...

      1. Rasslin ' in the mud

        Re: News angle?

        So, you're OK with the malware named Windows 10 being forced onto your computer(s)? Without your consent?

        Kool-Aid comes in many flavours because not all people like only one flavour.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Good to know

    Yet another reason to stick with Android - my phone won't brick itself if I need to swap out the screen.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Good to know

      It wouldn't brick itself until the next system update which if its an Android phone more than a year old would be safe anyway (except for the unpatched security issues of course).

      1. d3vy Silver badge

        Re: Good to know

        "It wouldn't brick itself until the next system update which if its an Android phone more than a year old would be safe anyway (except for the unpatched security issues of course)."

        Really? My 2012 nexus7 is getting updates still and my 2 and a bit year old htcone just got marshmallow...

        1. Adam T

          Re: Good to know

          Same with my Nexus 7.

          I swear it's the best device I've owned for value and shelf life. Actually performs much better now than four years ago (laggy, unresponsive).

          My iPhone 4S and iPad 2 running iOS 9 however, horrible - laggy, unresponsive. The 4S can barely unlock itself in time to answer incoming calls. How the tables have turned.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Good to know

          >My 2012 nexus7 is getting updates still

          Nexus are the safest bet for decent security support in the Android world. Are they usuable without a Google account? Got to give props to spyware that makes you login.

    2. John Sanders
      Holmes

      Re: Good to know

      And if the phone bricked itself, you can buy really good selection of budget phones for £180 (SIM unlocked)

      And the best thing is that they are not bad at all.

      1. Brad Ackerman
        Alert

        Re: Good to know

        And if the phone bricked itself, you can buy really good selection of budget phones for £180 (SIM unlocked)

        And those would be the ones that will never get any security patches, no?

  4. Marcus Fil

    Halfway

    What Apple is doing is rooted in a sensible position of wanting to maintain device, and hence the user's, security. It is part of what you are paying for after all. If you can bypass the finger print reader you might gain unauthorised access. Trouble is that a) random, but not catastrophic, damage can have the same symptoms as an unauthorised repair b) some parts of the world are a long way from an Apple authorised repair. Apple stores (apparently) say the error is irreparable - so buy a new phone and restore from back-up. For the hard of thinking, or a resource starved remote traveller, it is that last word that may be the true crux of the problem. If you have not backed up since leaving for your three month back-packing tour of the far east and then you drop your phone - oops! So Apple, meet the legit user halfway - on discovering an error lock the phone with a one-time key generated from what only you can know. For a fee, and presentation of appropriate purchase history, Apple account details etc. - let the real users get their data back. For those who were genuiely trying to bypass the sensor, or bought their idevice in the back of back-alley pub - cough and die.

    1. d3vy Silver badge

      Re: Halfway

      So no second hand phone sales then?

      One of the arguments I've heard for buying apple is the hold their value for resale when you upgrade... What youre suggesting stops that.

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Second Hand Sales

        Yes, I've always used iPhones purchased dirt cheap, second hand and broken which I then repair, use for a while and sell for a profit, then do it all again. If this stops me then I will drop out of the Apple world.

        Problem is the choice of alternatives. Android or Windows, that's like being offered cowshit or pigshit.

        I suppose out of those two the Windows Phone would be the least obnoxious, oh how I wish there was a decent option out there.

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Halfway

      Why not just disable the fingerprint reader and go back to a PIN?

    3. KeithR

      Re: Halfway

      "What Apple is doing is rooted in a sensible position of wanting to maintain device, and hence the user's, security"

      Oh, just STOP! This is sweet FA to do with "user security" and everything to do with protectionism.

      Put it another way: where is there ANY evidence that third party repairs to Apple kit result in security breached?

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Halfway

        >Put it another way: where is there ANY evidence that third party repairs to Apple kit result in security breached?

        No, because of this very safeguard:

        The fingerprint module is a self-contained enclave that tells the phone that the a thumbprint belongs to the owner. Clearly, a safeguard is needed to stop a bad guy from swapping the fingerprint module in the target phone for a fingerprint module already trained to the bad guy's own thumb. This is done by by iOS comparing the hardware ID of the fingerprint module to the value it is has stored. If it finds an anomaly, it shuts down the Apple

        Now, a competent 3rd party repair shop can replace a broken screen without disturbing the fingerprint module. However, a shady repair shop who haven't practised on their own phones before messing around with their customers' phones might mess it up. Hence the Apple support notes that say the error *can* occur from an 3rd party screen repair.

        Apple have dropped the ball in communication, policy, and implementation, though.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Halfway

          But, yet again, this only happens when the firmware is updated! So unless the bad guy has some kind of OCD for up-to-date software and always flashes a phone right after swapping out the fingerprint reader, he's not going to have great difficulty accessing the device.

          I think you should accept the truth that this is a thinly disguised attempt to maximise repair revenue streams by a company that has an illustrious history of such practices. Go on, you can do it, take the red pill.

    4. Patrician

      Re: Halfway

      I would accept the "security" reason a little more if the phone bricked it self as soon as it detected 3rd party hardware; but it does it only after a firmware update which could be months after the hardware was changed. Time enough for any "security" breaches to be exploited completely.

  5. Jemma Silver badge

    This is one of the many reasons I won't touch or have anything to do with Apple kit. Back in the day it was beige macs with cases made out of finest razor blades, actually designed to do support people injuries, then it was the lock down Nazi's - you will have our system as we like it and if it serves up porn to your 7 year old, hard cheese.

    It beggars belief that Apple customers let them charge three times what the device is worth, spec for spec, then screw them on software updates and app store mind control, then try and lock them into authorised repair places - and the in-duh-viduals still go out and buy another.

    I'm going to get alot of hassle for this but I think the smartphone should not be a democratic device - if you can't use Android, Sailfish or any of the others without having brain wibbles, it would be better if you didn't use them - back in the day we had all sorts of innovative designs for phones, with reasonable amounts of memory and 3-4 day battery life, multiple folders, flips, slides, twists, the Nokia N Series for example.. What do we have now? Oversized slabs, with sloppy software, memory guzzling, palm frying tat - because apple told us to, all hail apple, serving the lowest common denominator for too long - and worse, dragging everyone else down with it. Samsung to be fair aren't any better, but at least they just copied Apple, they weren't guilty of killing innovation in the smartphone world.

    As far as I can tell this is also illegal under EU law but since when has legality stopped Apple - interesting that they've pulled and replaced 2 pin chargers recently - I suspect paying off the families of the people they electrocuted was getting too expensive..

    1. Havin_it

      >What do we have now? Oversized slabs, with sloppy software, memory guzzling, palm frying tat - because apple told us to, all hail apple, serving the lowest common denominator for too long - and worse, dragging everyone else down with it.

      There's a good point in here but you've got it a bit arseways. Apple orchestrated this hardware monoculture, yet at the same time they were serving the lowest common denominator?

      Not sure how much you can blame them for going where the (most) money is, or being "democratic" as you politely put it above. You see this in all retail sectors: niche products, awesomely innovative and appealing as they may be to a few people (maybe the clued-up ones, maybe not), are just that: niche. So they'll never sell as many units, which means a maker/retailer will only do them if they reckon they can get away with a "luxury" price-tag due to the economies of scale not being available in production. FWIW I too was in awe of Nokia's ambitious hardware designs (some of the pre-smartphone ones were truly loopy) but they were never gonna sell as many, and sad to say it was this ambition (along with a lot of stupidity in the software divisions) that kicked them in the nuts. TL;DR, the market gets the product it wants (democratically speaking).

      Having said all that, bear in mind that there wasn't really anything like the iPhone before it came along (nothing much good, anyway) so they weren't blindly pandering to the majority at that point: they just had a strong intuition that the product was going to satisfy the majority, and enough of a war-chest to survive being wrong. That last part is especially rare (although being *right* with the first part is kinda uncommon too these days, seems like.)

    2. KeithR

      "I'm going to get alot of hassle for this"

      You deserve SOME for using the made-up word "alot" - it's "A LOT" - but otherwise, spot-on, Jemma...

      1. Danny 14 Silver badge

        I remember needing to knock two resistors off the mac plus when you upgraded the memory.

  6. djstardust Silver badge

    Hardly a surprise

    Just another excuse to keep things in the walled garden and increase profits.

    My son (typical 13 year old) has had multiple repairs to Android devices, some by me with official parts and some by 3rd parties and it has saved a lot of money replacing devices.

    A lot of kids at school break their iphone screens and it costs hundreds for replacement devices.

    No thanks Apple.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hardly a surprise

      WTF

      I'm not going to replace the screen on my Panasonic telly with a Polaroid one from Asda.

      I'm not going to change the engine in my car with one from an old skoda.

      I'm not going to replace my OEM tyres with the cheapest tat from the web

      You must be like that guy from the VW adds that gets the cheapest parachute as it comes with some free crap!!

      Why would you spend a fortune on an iPhone and then skimp on replacing the screen with a sub par after market piece of crap with no warranty. Apple did not design their phones to use sub par materials, that's why they cost so much.

      1. AJ MacLeod

        Re: Hardly a surprise

        "Apple did not design their phones to use sub par materials, that's why they cost so much."

        Rubbish. Apple don't manufacture anything of any significance, they just get other companies to make stuff for them from the same Chinese made components that everyone else uses. The reason the devices are so expensive is that nobody would feel "special" owning one if they weren't and hence wouldn't buy one. Standard marketing stuff.

        By the way, have you ever seen a cracked iPhone screen? Of course you have, every second one is broken. This is because Apple use sub-par materials for the application.

        1. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Re: Hardly a surprise

          >Rubbish. Apple don't manufacture anything of any significance, they just get other companies to make stuff for them from the same Chinese made components that everyone else uses.

          That's true of many companies these days. What you haven't acknowledged though is that 'he who pays the piper calls the tune'. By that I mean the customer (Apple, Samsung, whoever), negotiates with the OEMs as to which manufacturing processes are used, the tolerances, yields, materials. Now, just because several companies use the same factory, doesn't mean all parts are made to the same tolerance or QA process - everything is negotiable.

          That said, high tolerance parts are cheaper to make (and check) today than they ever have been.

        2. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Re: Hardly a surprise

          >every second one is broken. This is because Apple use sub-par materials for the application.

          The 'application' varies by user.

          And that is true of most Android phones, too. My Sony has a cracked screen because I bought the wrong case (also, the screen bezel was thin and made from ABS, not aluminium). If you work on a building site, buy a beefier case - or a 'toughened' model from Motorola or Samsung. If you work in a carpeted office, a slimmer case might be fine. If you buy a Galaxy Edge, you'll struggle to find a case with protective bezels that allows you to use the curved edges of the screen.

          All engineering is compromise. A plastic screen will not shatter, but it will scratch and dent. A mineral glass screen won't scratch as easily, but it will shatter. You can pay more money and engineering another compromise: a laminate of mineral glass atop a plastic substrate. Or you could take a hit on the pixel-to-surface distance and make the screen thicker. You can supply the phone with a replaceable plastic screen guard, to nudge the user into replacing it periodically. Sony chose to attach a thin layer atop their screen to reduce shattering, in addition to the normal replaceable plastic. And so on...

      2. d3vy Silver badge

        Re: Hardly a surprise

        Want to know why people use "sub par cheap screens)?

        Cost

        Ease

        Not actually sub par

        I have some clumbsy siblings.. I can swap an iPhone 5(& its variants) screen for about £20 the replacement screens are not noticeably lower quality than the apple ones.

        IPhone 6 screens are currently around £70 - same deal, no noticible quality difference.

        Now I'll grant you the glas won't be the same toughened variety that apple use but for the savings no one cares.

        Next reason? Next day delivery (included in above prices) a screen sourced from eBay can be here and fitted more quickly than we can get an appointment at the nearest apple store (which is a 40 minute drive away)

        Finally... Apple won't replace the screens on older models.

      3. Simon 15

        Re: Hardly a surprise

        But the thing is that you are free to do all of these things if you so wish as your property should be yours to do with as you please.

        For example when I change the oil filter on my car I'll use the cheapest 'decent' brand I can find. It might not be the same brand as the one I'm replacing but it does the job as they are all built to a minimum specification. The car is my property and it's my decision to do what I like with it, heck I could even use cheap crappy filters from China if I wanted to. It would be a poor decision but it would be *my* decision and I'd be responsible for the consequences when the engine inevitably overheats. What would be unacceptable to me is if the car would completely refuse to start unless I used a specific filter dictated by the manufacturer or, even worse the very act of changing the filter myself caused the car to initiate a self-destruct routine and exploded on the driveway this depriving me of its use.

        To me it seems that Apple are once again screwing their customers over. It's bad enough that the product is sold at such a markup to begin with (I'll ignore the child labour) but if you dare to use non-authorised parts then they'll destroy your device under the guise of security. I'm quite certain this constitutes a deliberate act of depriving the owner from both the utility and value of their property which could therefore be argued in court. A warning message such as "your device may have been compromised by performing unauthorised repairs" would be perfectly reasonable however.

        The underlying problem with Apple is that they are brilliant at business and this is usually bad news for their customers. They certainly have the money to fight off any legal action in court and make bringing a case against them prohibitively expensive for even a Korean multinational let alone a regular individual. They do sell (admittedly) good quality products but way above their natural market value by creating desire, restricting supply and so on. Sadly half the population are below median average intelligence and lap this up in exactly the same way they do for SUVs, 4x4s, red wine, gym membership, curved TVs, audiophile equipment, gold plated HDMI cables etc. And of course once you've shelled out for a 24 month contract at £50 a month for an iPhone you'll then naturally feel the need to defend your poor decision making when challenged by someone who's purchased a comparable Android device directly from China for a fifth of the price. I think most people are also inherently insecure and want to be popular; follow the latest trends; look cool/hip; demonstrate their perceived wealth/status to others and so on. There also seems to be a sense of security/reassurance in buying something that is expensive just because you can, Stella Artois (aka wife-beating juice) for example...

        Sadly the proportion of the population who can grasp these concepts is somewhat limited and diminishing on a daily basis. The majority are happy being to be told what to do and will accept this in the same way they always do - "War is peace, freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength."

        1. John Arthur
          Stop

          Re: Hardly a surprise

          'Sadly half the population are below median average intelligence and lap this up in exactly the same way they do for SUVs, 4x4s, red wine, gym membership, curved TVs, audiophile equipment, gold plated HDMI cables etc.'

          Sorry, including red wine in this list is taking it too far. I'm off to open a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon.

      4. KeithR

        Re: Hardly a surprise

        " Apple did not design their phones to use sub par materials, that's why they cost so much."

        No, they cost so much because gullible fashion-victim muppets like you actually believe this shite.

      5. 20legend

        Re: Hardly a surprise

        Most people don't pay outright for their iPhone - they get it 'free' on contract.

        If you did replace your TV screen or tyres or engine with non original or even genuine used parts, the item would still function...

    2. DougS Silver badge

      Increase profits?

      Oh yeah, Apple is making bank on replacing screens I'm sure.

      Please, you may not agree with their reasons, which aren't just security (but that's a big one) but also being able to guarantee a consistent experience. If you replace the screen with one that can only handle two simultaneous touches (like cheap Android phones have) then gestures like three fingered swipes won't work. You later sell it, and the buyer brings it in to an Apple Store for help in what's wrong.

      Android OEMs don't have to worry about that because they wash their hands of you five minutes after they have your money. If you have problems most phones probably can't/won't be repaired by the OEM - third party is your only choice. If the third party replacement isn't quite compatible, well that's on you to take up with the third party.

      As I posted elsewhere here I think refusing to boot is taking it too far, I think graceful degradation of some sort would be better. Not only disable touch ID and Apple Pay but the user should be able to easily find out if non-Apple hardware is detected. Maybe something that shows up in the General screen in Settings so buyers of used phones can know to check.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Increase profits?

        Whilst I don't own an iPhone myself my Android phone a Samsung Xcover 3* will handle being dropped dunked etc. far better than a more expensive iPhone. I know this because I've watched someone knock their iPhone off the same table that I did a few days later. The floor is polished concrete there and whilst my tough phone survived their idevice would more than likely have been bricked with an error 53 message given the damage to the screen. If Apple are going to be producing a device that will brick itself after damage, even before any non apple repairs are attempted maybe they should make a more resilient product. Or at least tell people that damaging their phone/a non Apple repair will brick it. And as for the journalist in the article he was in Macedonia where there are no Apple authorised repair centres so what was he supposed to do?

        * I know that this isn't a top of the line phone but if Samsung had released the S6/5 Active in this country I would have had that instead.

      2. The Real SteveP

        Re: Increase profits?

        "Android OEMs don't have to worry about that because they wash their hands of you five minutes after they have your money. If you have problems most phones probably can't/won't be repaired by the OEM - third party is your only choice."

        More iFanboy drivel... The retailer is responsible for after-sales service whether you have an i-meme device or Android or Windows. I've only once in many years had an issue with a faulty Android device and the retailer lent me a replacement and had mine repaired properly, and at no cost.

        Apple bricking your device intentionally IS illegal - and criminal, - and no amount of made-up 'justifications' can alter that - it is corporate theft by stealing your use of your device permanently, and it is certainly contrary to the misuse of computers act, at least in the UK.

        As others have said, if security really IS Apple's intention (and I don't believe it is) then as soon as the device is turned on after the non-Apple repair then it should be locked, not bricked, until proof of ownership is given.

        I certainly would never contemplate buying a car from them!

    3. ElsmarMarc

      Re: Hardly a surprise

      Apple user since 1986. MS OS user since 1987. Websites on freeBSD and CentOS. I don't log in here often but was sort of bored - Late at night. Logged in just to say it never ceases to amaze me how many people, and not only here, are so hostile against Apple. Not to mention how often Apple and its products are mischaracterized.

      In this discussion, stuff like cracked screens and such - I see people with phones in their back pockets, hanging from their side, etc. I cringe because if you buy something like a "smart phone" it's a simple matter of buying for intended use. If I was a carpenter and need a "tough" phone that would get banged up because I hang it on my belt when I work, I'd buy a phone for that use - Android or whatever. Maybe just a cheap "burner".

      I still have a perfectly good iPhone 4. One battery replacement about 2 months ago which I did do myself. Have never dropped it or abused it. If I had a child, I'd buy a cheap phone for the child knowing how some kids can be hard on anything. After I replaced the battery in my old iPhone 4 I decided to by an iPhone 6s+ (I'm in my 60's and my eyesight is not so good these days) and now use my old iPhone 4 as a desk clock, timer, etc. It's essentially an iPod now.

      There isn't a person here who isn't technically savvy enough to be able to determine their use scenario and buy accordingly.

      As to the article, I don't see anything except that it was repaired by a shop in Macedonia. Was it an authorized repair shop? Or Joe Schmo's Repair Shop? If it was an authorized repair shop there shouldn't have been a problem - Take it back to them and have them make good on it. If they won't, it was probably repaired by Joe Schmo's Repair Shop.

      As to stuff like complaints about Apple's "walled garden" - Just don't buy from them. Flaming Apple over their business practices is just silly. If you are offended by Apple's profit model, don't buy from them.

      I visit The Reg every day. I very rarely log in and comment very, very seldom. I like reading the stuff here. The biggest downer is the totally unnecessary flaming in threads like this. I have never owned an Android phone, but I have seen plenty of complaining about them so nothing is perfect. I can say I don't flame them. They are what they are, and I'm sure they are good for what they do.

      1. JohnMurray

        Re: Hardly a surprise

        It would be nice if they had informed people that it would happen, obviously APPLE knew, they just failed to inform the CUSTOMER that his/her device could only be repaired at their overpriced glossy repair shops. If they can get an appointment at a time suitable to them. No doubt after connecting the brick to iTunes the data on the host is also deleted, or the account bricked. Security: Of income to Apple (falling sales? This isn't going to help is it?)

      2. Super Fast Jellyfish

        Re: Hardly a surprise

        @ElsmarMarc : here's the Guardian story http://www.theguardian.com/money/2016/feb/05/error-53-apple-iphone-software-update-handset-worthless-third-party-repair which states that Antonio Olmos had his phone repaired in Macedonia, where there are no Apple stores. So are you suggesting he should have had his screen replaced again when he got back to the UK?

        And as others have said the secuity angle doesn't ring true as the error only happened after an OS update with no warning.

      3. Solmyr ibn Wali Barad

        Re: Hardly a surprise

        "After I replaced the battery in my old iPhone 4 I decided to by an iPhone 6s"

        Would be worthwhile to know if you can replace 6s battery just as easily, and does it survive next firmware update. Until then it's a comparison of apples and...different apples.

    4. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: Hardly a surprise

      "A lot of kids at school break their iphone screens and it costs hundreds for replacement devices."

      Or they could bring them to me and I'll put my reading glasses on an do it for a few quid.

      Before error 53 anyway.

  7. Bloodbeastterror

    "Apple says that the policy is designed to keep users safe"

    Cock. This isn't what it's designed for at all, and anyone with half a brain can see it. Apple continue to insult consumers with their condescension.

    1. Darryl

      Re: "Apple says that the policy is designed to keep users safe"

      And judging from a lot of the comments on here, their consumers are lapping up this latest justification.

  8. Novatone

    Tell Apple how you feel

    The apple support page (linked to in the article) has a 'Helpful?' question at the bottom perhaps a few hundred thousand No responses with a personal explanation of why this stinks, is probably illegal, may lead to lawsuits, and may make you choose a different brand for your next phone may improve the situation.

    Or at least ask them to clarify what parts must be kept original. Is it just the fingerprint sensor and cable that needs to be original? Can you unbrick by reattaching the original?

    1. Jemma Silver badge

      Re: Tell Apple how you feel

      In other news Apple finds a new use for the Dev_null command...

      Apple listening to customers is about as likely as Teresa May listening to reality.

      I honestly wonder how long Apple would have lasted if they hadn't used the "mind control" method of customer service? Remember they've imploded at least once before, under Sculley, God willing it'll happen again.. Sadly the new dark lord is doing fairly well..

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Tell Apple how you feel

        What is this Dev_null command you speak of? Such nonsense belongs in /dev/null!

        1. Jemma Silver badge

          Re: Tell Apple how you feel

          Sorry, UNIX not really my thing, although it's not the only mainframe command the iPhone series use - the other is halt and catch fire..

          1. Down not across Silver badge

            Re: Tell Apple how you feel

            My exposure to S/360 was fairly limited, but as I recall HCF was actually a myth, rather than a real instruction.

  9. Novatone

    Useless as a security feature.

    If the phone does not detect tampering immediately this is useless as a security feature, a fact that I'm sure will be a prominent part of the legal case against Apple at trial.

    1. petur

      Re: Useless as a security feature.

      This. Have a thousand upvotes.

    2. DougS Silver badge

      Re: Useless as a security feature.

      It DOES detect tampering immediately, by refusing to boot. Are you saying it should be able to detect tampering when you have it in pieces and it is powered off? How exactly is it supposed to do that?

      Now one can certainly argue that refusing to boot isn't the best way to respond to detection of tampering, but refusing to allow any use of the secure element is a reasonable precaution to take. There is no way to tell if hardware is going to get around that, unless you have a solution for the halting problem you haven't shared with the rest of us.

      1. Martin Summers Silver badge

        Re: Useless as a security feature.

        Doug, you might want to read the first paragraph again. I really can't be bothered to type it out again for you.

      2. KeithR

        Re: Useless as a security feature.

        "It DOES detect tampering immediately, by refusing to boot"

        Lordy...

        Clearly this isn't true - there's not a computer/gadget repairer ON THE PLANET that doesn't at least make sure that the device they've just mended fires up before handing it back to the customer...

        1. DougS Silver badge

          Re: Useless as a security feature.

          According to the article, iOS 9 added some checks that iOS 8 lacked. So if you hadn't upgraded your phone to iOS 9 and got it repaired, it would work fine. If you had upgraded it the repair guy would get the error when trying to power it back on (but would probably still charge you for his work even though he made things worse)

  10. Stuart Halliday

    Much the same with dodgy Lightening cables. They are supposed to have a unique id and if you buy a cheap counterfeit one, Apple just turns it off.

  11. Dieter Haussmann

    I support Apple preventing bogus fingerprint authentication, but this feature shouldn't have been slipped in during an update. It should have been in the firmware from the start so that when the shop repaired it they it wouldn't have worked and so put back how it was and customer not charged or fixed using a genuine part.

    1. psyq

      As far as I can recall, this error is nothing new - it just looks some journo found it out and decided to post about it.

      If you search for "Error 53" you will notice that this is nothing new.

      I even remember when 5S came out (first iPhone with the fingerprint sensor), that it was almost immediately known that would not be possible to replace the sensor outside of Apple service network.

      1. Shufflemoomin

        "As far as you can recall"? Even though the article you didn't read clearly states it's not new?

  12. Mage Silver badge
    Flame

    Apple says that the policy is designed to keep users safe.

    No, it is NOT about safety or security. It's for exactly the same reason chips added to Inkjet cartridges and coffee pods.

    It's about ensuring people buy a new iPhone or pay for overpriced Apple services and parts.

  13. Sleep deprived
    Big Brother

    How dare you pretend an iDevice broke?

    Just admit you broke it and be happy Apple deings repair it.

  14. sisk Silver badge

    I think it's fairly obvious that the policy in question has nothing to do with keeping users safe. This policy is, to my mind, quite obviously designed to ensure that Apple customers have no option other than to give their money to Apple if their device needs repairs. In other words, yet another layer of vendor lock-in. You know, Apple's favorite marketing tactic? Honestly, do they really expect that anyone will believe a replacement touchscreen poses a security risk?

    1. Alan Denman

      It can!

      But culling all the devices well after the repair event has nothing whatsoever to do with security.

  15. nilfs2

    If you want an Apple product, you have to play by their rules

    If you want an Apple device, you have to consider the following:

    - If you want the chewed apple on the back, you have to pay the Apple tax.

    - You pay a lot for the product, but remember that it doesn't belong to you, it's up to Apple's judgment "how" and "if" it should work.

    - Your device is not the latest technology, nor the best value for your money, but it has the chewed apple on the back, that's what everyone is using, so that's what you want since you are a sheep.

    - You are not allowed to spend your money anywhere else but on Apple products, if you want your iThingy working correctly for the whole 6 months of it's lifespan.

    - If your iThingy shows a malfunction, throw it away and buy a new one, fixing things is devil's works.

    - Be mean to anyone daring to not use Apple products, be meaner to those showing you the truth about Apple products.

  16. Someone Else Silver badge
    Coat

    Apple says that the policy is designed to keep usersApple's revenue stream safe.

    There, FTFY

  17. Walter Bishop Silver badge

    When iPhone is serviced by an authorised Apple service provider

    "We protect fingerprint data using a secure enclave, which is uniquely paired to the touch ID sensor. When iPhone is serviced by an authorised Apple service provider or Apple retail store for changes that affect the touch ID sensor, the pairing is re-validated,"

    "This check ensures the device and the iOS features related to touch ID remain secure. Without this unique pairing, a malicious touch ID sensor could be substituted, thereby gaining access to the secure enclave. When iOS detects that the pairing fails, touch ID, including Apple Pay, is disabled so the device remains secure."

    http://appleinsider.com/articles/16/02/05/apple-acknowledges-error-53-glitch-says-its-part-of-touch-id-security

    1. Someone Else Silver badge
      Facepalm

      @ Walter Bishop -- Re: When iPhone is serviced by an authorised Apple service provider

      All that is well and good (for rather small values of "well and good") Two problems:

      1) The "secure enclave" gibberish is by no means magic, and I'm sure that any decent 3rd-party repair operation can replicate this feat of derring-do .

      2) When iOS detects that the pairing fails, touch ID, including Apple Pay, is disabled so the device remains secure." Yeah? So Apple Pay is so wedded to the bowels of the operating system that "disabling" it borks the entire rest of the device?!? How Microsoft/IE6 of Apple. Shame on them! You'd have thought they (of all people) would have learned how not to do stuff like that by now. Perhaps Apple hired a bunch of old Windows 3 programmers? I guess the vaunted Apple Software isn't really as good as they would like their fanbois to think....

      1. gnasher729 Silver badge

        Re: @ Walter Bishop -- When iPhone is serviced by an authorised Apple service provider

        "1) The "secure enclave" gibberish is by no means magic, and I'm sure that any decent 3rd-party repair operation can replicate this feat of derring-do ."

        You are sure, but you are wrong. The thing is, Apple itself can't do it. If your fingerprint sensor breaks, the repair consists of taking the complete innards phone out of its case, and putting a complete new phone into the case. All the bits of the old phone are then just for creating refurbished phones.

        1. Bloodbeastterror

          Re: @ Walter Bishop -- When iPhone is serviced by an authorised Apple service provider

          @gnasher729

          "All the bits of the old phone are then just for creating refurbished phones."

          And so your specious argument crumbles to dust. If the other parts of the phone can be reused and must therefore by definition be in working order, why can't they be used to build ***the original phone***...?

          No, if everything works, and only one piece is "broken", then that one piece needs to be replaced, not the rest of the parts redistributed to create other phones.

          If I have a puncture I don't expect to have to buy a new car. Or even take it back to the manufacturer. No, this is simply indefensible, reprehensible, avaricious greed.

          Why do fanbois put up with being urinated on like this?

          1. Dave 126 Silver badge

            Re: @ Walter Bishop -- When iPhone is serviced by an authorised Apple service provider

            >If I have a puncture I don't expect to have to buy a new car.

            True. And if your clutch went wrong, you would choose to take your car to a 3rd party garage with a good reputation. Some cowboys might cause more problems. Similarly, a good phone shop can replace a phone screen without disturbing the fingerprint sensor.

            Unlike a tyre, if an ECU dies, the replacement would need to programmed with variables specific to that car's engine values, physical variations in the manufacture of engine components that the original ECU was programmed with and then made allowances for physical wear over time and use. It wouldn't be a straight swap out, swap in job.

            So yeah, Apple have messed up with the implementation*, but the principle of protecting the user's data from bad guys is sound enough. Otherwise, the bad guy could just swap out the fingerprint module to gain access. Law enforcement officers could of course just take your fingerprints.

            *Especially for the journalist who originally promoted this story - he was on assignment in Macedonia, very far away from an official Apple store.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: @ Walter Bishop -- When iPhone is serviced by an authorised Apple service provider

              @Dave 126

              Haha, you obviously know a little about how an ecu works but not enought... So dont comment on things you have next to no knowalage about, ecu's can be swapped pretty easy. Assuming you reprogram the right info like dme's and transponders... No car ecu is made especially for that car only, its made for a specific engine code (type) and coded to x dme/transponder thats it. No car ecu accounts for wear over time, other than tell you your service period is due. As things wear yes it will adjust accordingly, but replace a stuffed air filter with a new one and shazam your fuel maps back to normal. How many ecu units you swapped, im guessing none, im guessing your an iphone owner who also got told a pack of lies when your audi went wrong and they shafted you for a new ecu.

              Actually swapping an ecu takes less time than a clutch, on some cars it takes more time to swap a tyre...

    2. LateAgain

      Re: When iPhone is serviced by an authorised Apple service provider

      Can't be a "unique" pairing if apple can replace the touch sensor.

    3. LateAgain

      Re: When iPhone is serviced by an authorised Apple service provider

      The sensible thing when the fingerprint sensor is replaced :

      1) different sensor ID - no access to secured data.

      2) factory reset - wipe secured data - look for sensor ID - add new fingerprints.

      Since this doesn't happen then the "factory reset" isn't

  18. chris 17 Bronze badge

    If I put petrol in my diesel car it'll screw the engine. If I had some kind of electronic sensor preventing the engine from running if it detected petrol it would save me loads in the long run. Same with the fuse in my plug preventing my gear from getting fried. When my credit card breaks I get the issuer to send a new one, there is no way I'd trust some talented Indy to fix it.

    This is a safeguard on my precious digital data.

    You guys would be frothing at the mouth if iOS security especially fingerprint security could be compremised by just changing the screen. Stolen iPhone with Apple Pay and 5 cards registered, hacked by changing screen or sensor, that'll close apple pay in a heartbeat and sink all mobile pay solutions.

    1. Someone Else Silver badge
      WTF?

      @ chris 17

      Oh, please, spare us!

      If you're going to use a metaphor, try to pick one that obliquely applies to the actual situation at hand. Putting diesel into a gasoline/petrol engine (or vice versa) is hardly the same as putting a 3rd-party touchscreen on an Apple device. A more apt metaphor might be that if you change your oil at home by yourself, you will get the little "engine warning" light to come on if you don't also reset the counter for it. Now if the engine warning light coming on were to also summarily kill the engine, lock all the doors of the car, engage the emergency brakes and fire the airbags, I think there would be some rather pissed off people (assuming they survived the inevitable crash that would result when that occurs on an Interstate), and those pissed off people would own GM from the proceeds of the lawsuits that would follow.

      (P.S. Putting sugar into the tank of either a gasoline or diesel car would equally screw the engine. If we had some kind of electronic sensor preventing the engine from running if it detected sugar....)

      1. Solmyr ibn Wali Barad

        Re: @ chris 17

        "P.S. Putting sugar into the tank of either a gasoline or diesel car would equally screw the engine."

        If it makes it past the fuel filter. Even then, not so certain.

        www.snopes.com/autos/grace/sugar.asp

  19. Planty Bronze badge
    Megaphone

    Apple owners:

    Quick , delete those FTDI comments, otherwise you will look like hypocritical...

  20. cmd1806

    Secure wipe

    Its patently obvious that their excuse is crap:

    They provide a way to erase the phone if you're planning on selling it (and the remote wipe functionality) so they admit that they have the capacity to render the device "safe" with no personal information on it but still fully functional.

    Yet for some reason they can't just use that if the phone detects that the hardware has been changed?

    Someone trying to get the data back from a phone they bought on eBay is much more likely than someone trying to swap out the fingerprint sensor to access the same data...

  21. Adam Jarvis

    Frankenstein iPhones

    It may be pressure from the likes of ebay/phone carrriers too, there are plenty of Frankenstein iPhones out there that get resold/refurbished/returned, causing claims.

    These Frankenstein 'iPhones' look, for all intensive purposes like an iPhone, but are made up of cheap copy parts/parts from other iPhones, cheap chinese copy headphone jacks, buttons, data cables, replacement cameras, digitisers, screens, batteries, its very difficult to tell without pulling the iPhone apart.

    Its a minefield, when you start to include the fact that a carrier can block the iPhone if a user fails to keep up the 2 year contract and sells the handset, a user fails to deregister their iPhone account password or the user marks/reports it as stolen, after its sold on.

    Anyone buying an iPhone secondhand from anyone other than a reputable source is playing with fire. Its just not worth the hassle.

    Its sounds a bit like early Windows Activation Problems. Early on, it was heavy handed - it prevented you logging on. Feedback to MS, changed it a nag/notification/black screen - much better.

    Something simple like showing iPad/iPhone in red in the corner rather than white would be reasonable, so its easy to see at a glance if an iPhone is 'genuine' internally, and doesn't distract too much, inconvenience the user, but shows you have a Genuine iPhone internally/

    1. Shufflemoomin

      Re: Frankenstein iPhones

      "for all intensive purposes..." Good god.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Adam Jarvis

        Re: Frankenstein iPhones

        @Shufflemoomin

        I think you'll find it is Good God, if we're been picky about intents and purposes. :)

        1. gotes

          Re: Frankenstein iPhones

          Personally I prefer to write "god" with a lower case g as I don't consider it a proper noun.

      3. Darryl

        Re: Frankenstein iPhones

        "for all intensive purposes..." Good god.

        Should be "intensive porpoises" obviously

    2. Stoneshop Silver badge
      FAIL

      for all intensive purposes

      That would be a Sonim, not an iPhone.

  22. Unicornpiss Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    How about..

    ..having the firmware ignore certain TYPES of hardware changes, such as a screen replacement, but brick the phone if something more significant is seen as "wrong", such as memory? Really, is someone going to tamper with your data by using a different screen?

    This is just one more way Apple screws its customers and a shameless attempt at more revenue from people that have already paid once. Let's make the iPhone 6 fragile as hell, then screw over anyone that cracks their screen and tries to get it fixed cheaply.

    1. Phil Kingston Silver badge

      Re: How about..

      Sounds sensible, but this particular issue is because screens are being replaced and the repairers aren't retaining the clever bit - the home button with the TouchID.

      By swapping the screen AND removing the fingerprint sensor the phone fails its own check.

      If the repairers knew what they were doing and only replaced the screen, no error 53.

    2. Andus McCoatover
      Windows

      Re: How about..

      ...but brick the phone if something more significant is seen as "wrong", such as memory?...

      One massive flaw in your argument.

      People buy Apple phones, not rent them. At least, at the moment.

      Bit like, if I sell you a car, and you decide to put a different engine in it. Do I have the right to drop a ton of bricks on it?

  23. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

    Timeline

    Somehow the timeline does not make sense. The phone is repaired with 3rd party hardware and some time later it is bricked by an OS upgrade. If the hardware was causing a security issue there is seems to decent time period for it do whatever nastiness is intended.

    The smell test is failing in a rather odoriferous manner.

  24. Stretch

    The weird thing is...

    All of these stories are the same. Device repaired by legitimate third party or never repaired at all. Device dies with Error 53. Taken to Crapple store, and told they have to buy another for £300... AND THEY PAY THEM!!! It just beggars belief! WTF has happened to these people and their ability to think?

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Don't buy in to the lock in

    Simple

  26. d3vy Silver badge

    If this was about security apple could simply stop the fingerprint sensor being used for authentication forcing icloud sign in to unlock the device.

  27. Nanners

    Once buy it

    You own it. End of story. Why would I pay 600$ to borrow a phone?

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: Once buy it

      Because you can use it for a while and then get $500 from someone else who will take over the lease.

  28. Number6

    Not Very Secure

    If it doesn't brick the device until the next firmware upgrade then it is about as effective as a chocolate fire-guard at preventing unauthorised access. If data security is the claimed reason for lock-down then it should happen immediately after a power-on scan by the existing firmware has revealed dodgy hardware.

  29. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

    Just

    don't worry your pretty little head and buy a new one.

    Who's a good consumer? Who's a good consumer?

    Yes, YOU are!

  30. wsm

    Bad kitty

    It's like having a cat, not a dog. The dog is your best friend and you own it. A cat owns you.

    Does anyone actually own an Apple device, or....?

    1. Tim99 Silver badge

      Re: Bad kitty

      Does anyone actually own an Apple device, or....?

      I guess you are singing to El Reg's tech choir. I am pretty sure that most people who have bought an upmarket Android do not have the desire or ability to do the stuff that we do. Are you going to tell them that Google own their phone as much as they do? It only looks at everywhere they go, everyone they contact, and everything they look at.

      Down-vote away...

      1. Bloodbeastterror

        Re: Bad kitty

        "Google own their phone"

        Sorry, I had to downvote you for missing the point. Google practically *encourage* you to change your phone, the Nexus line in particular, by allowing you to unlock the bootloader (stop me if I get too technical for you), root (though on that aspect they're becoming less cooperative), and providing images of new ROMs plus the SDK to install them.

        Apple, on the other hand, feel that they have the right to brick "your" phone if you unlock the bootloader ("jailbreak" is in this case a very appropriate term) and now if you dare to repair it outside their hallowed halls.

        Disgusting, disgraceful, reprehensible, foul.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. Tim99 Silver badge
          Flame

          Re: Bad kitty

          @Bloodbeastterror

          ... to unlock the bootlader (stop me if I get too technical for you) root ... I don't mind being patronized but, in your case, I will make an exception.

          I might not be a technical genius, but I have been around this stuff for a long time - Career highlights include writing FORTRAN programs in 1971 as part of my job; being on "the Internet" before 1979; writing software that ran on PDPs, VAXen, *NIX, RDOS, CP/M, DOS, Windows (including some shrink-wrap that is still in use); etc.; and Apple ][s onwards.

          I have retired from paid work now, but still have Chartered Status in one of the "hard" sciences; am a volunteer technical assessor of ISO 17025 organizations; and I still enjoy writing software. People like me (only cleverer) devised most of the trivial things that make most of this stuff work - Like C based languages, UNIX, networking and the World Wide Web - Often as an unpaid part of ther "real work" and, usually, because it was interesting or helped them get the job done.

          Looking at one of your previous posts I see that you wrote "iDevices are bought by technical illiterates. How could they possibly know?", so you might be a tad biased, and are possibly "wrong".

          I know that a computer is a useful tool, a bit like many others that a professional uses to get work done, and am not particularly biased towards any of them. Having worked in some "interesting" areas of government. I suspect that Apple are probably not any worse than the rest of the technical Giants.

          Some people (including you?) tend not to give Google too much of a hard time because of the "Don't be Evil" thing, and Android and Google search. I find them to be genuinely frightening, because I know that the vast majority of their customer-base will not know, or care, about the ability to "unlock the bootloader". They think that Gmail, Android and Google search are "free"...

          1. Bloodbeastterror

            Re: Bad kitty

            @Tim99

            You're right, I was being deliberately provocative, and I apologise. Have an upvote... :-)

            I admit that I am biased against Apple, which I think is a vile supercilious manipulative company which preys with their clever marketing on people's stupidity and desire for shiny things. I don't think it's a case of right or wrong, it's purely a subjective opinion.

            And I entirely agree about Google - I grew out of their clever original marketing motto "Don't be evil" a very long time ago. Perhaps Sergey & Larry really meant it when they started, but now it's just another company. I've now transferred my allegiance to the motto "If you're not paying for the product, you *are* the product."

            Nevertheless, Google do not deliberately and maliciously brick phones. Incompetent users do that; Google just supply the tools. Apple, on the other hand, do *exactly* that - and to suggest that the fix for a phone bricked by their IOS9 update is a new phone... this is just so insulting that I can't summon a word to represent my loathing of their ethos.

            1. Tim99 Silver badge
              Pint

              Re: Bad kitty

              OK, have an Up-vote, and a beer >>=====>

              Cheers, Tim

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not the first time

    I had a similar fault on my 4S, changed the wifi/bluetooth chip and it seemed to work but obviously the wifi didn't because the chip was made by Chin G Knockoff (tm) not Apple.

    Did a firmware update hoping to fix it and the phone then went dead, black screen and everything.

    I could still see it on Itunes but it was basically unusable.

    Previously to this everything else worked so pretty sure my soldering-fu was adequate.

    The only interesting problem was two very small missing smd resistors which were just too small to solder back on, apparently they have to do with chip enable.

    There are rumors that aftermarket batteries will do this as well, one of the reasons Apple shops destroy their old ones is that the chips can and do get reused so the "knockoff" battery will work correctly despite having a potentially unsafe cell.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Also

    Error 53 can be caused by using the wrong length screw on some 'Phones (5c, etc) apparently it severs three key tracks inside the pcb helpfully put there by Apple to sabotage repair efforts.

    The fix is to make absolutely damn sure that one screw is right with a micrometer

    I actually applied for a job at a store once and this was one of the questions on the interview :-)

    Didn't get the job though because having a conscience and sense of fair play is worse than a criminal record for arse burglary and supplying arms to terrorists.

  33. T. F. M. Reader Silver badge

    Blow by blow analysis

    @article: "Apple says that the policy is designed to keep users safe."

    Why does it make no sense to me? Consider:

    1. A member of the public (MOP) repairs his iPhone.

    2. The iPhone works fine for quite a while after the repair. If there are any security issues because an unauthorized repair shop touched the device they are not noticed by the MOP. The firmware/OS does not tell him that there is unauthorized hardware in the device or anything of the kind. For all we know the MOP's personal information has been delivered to some volcano lair in Eastern Ukraine or wherever 3.5 seconds after the repair+boot, and the replaced fingerprint scanner recognizes the fingerprints of 11 well chosen henchmen with heavy accents.

    3. A long time later an OS update bricks the iPhone.

    How is item #3 a security feature exactly?

    1. John Bailey

      Re: Blow by blow analysis

      "3. A long time later an OS update bricks the iPhone.

      How is item #3 a security feature exactly?"

      It secures Apple's ability to suck every last penny from the gullible.

      Silly man, You thought they meant user securITY.. No.. Users securED!

      But hey.. It's an iTruth. Everything is for the glory of the fruity fuhrer, or for the protection of the pippinite experience. And look at how their protectors of the RDF are congregating on every forum, and commenting their little hearts out.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Apple. Purveyors of stuff I never knew...

    ...I really didn't want and didn't really need.

    Imagine the shame of pulling out a Jesus Phone and having to say 'well yes, Apple is really Cool isn't it?

    1. jason 7

      Re: Apple. Purveyors of stuff I never knew...

      Yes, I was always under the impression having the same as everyone else was the exact opposite of cool.

      1. Solmyr ibn Wali Barad

        Re: Apple. Purveyors of stuff I never knew...

        There's nothing more common than a need to feel special.

  35. Grease Monkey

    In europe car manufacturers have tried several times to outlaw the sale of pattern and other non-oem parts. On every occasion they were defeated. Their arguments that such parts were unreliable and even dangerous were rejected. Obviously legislators realized that what the manufacturers really meant was that such parts were dangerous to their income. Not only do the manufacturers fail to make a penny from the sale of these parts, but their availability prevents the manufacturers from charging whatever they wanted for OEM parts.

    Apple seem to have implemented this through technology rather than legislation, but surely the rulings against motor manufacturers mean that what Apple is doing is illegal in Europe. Will Apple be prosecuted or will european legislators simply ignore this as they have done with previous Apple transgressions? Don't think we really need to answer that question do we...

  36. jason 7

    I mention a similar trend a while back...

    ...that finding real support for Apple devices is next to impossible.

    What happens is the Apple store moves in and the local Apple Fix it guys with the real experience then lose 60% of their work. The other 40% is just too time consuming or slowly made impossible due to the all in one/fully soldered/restricted fixing practices. So they all quit and got jobs elsewhere. I know several people that bought Macs for their business and then had to go back to Windows machines because unless you've dropped it in the toilet or iTunes doesn't work that's all the support you can get from Apple.

    Customer - "Hello I need help getting my Mac to work with such and such software/hardware for my business?"

    Genius - "Oh that's not Apple software/hardware so we can't help you! Did you drop it in the toilet?"

    1. Andy Taylor

      Re: I mention a similar trend a while back...

      Why would a Genius ask if you had dropped a Mac in the toilet and why would you expect them to support non-Apple software? Does Microsoft provide support for Photoshop?*

      Having seen my fair share of liquid damaged iDevices, there were plenty of iPods and iPhones yet remarkably few iPads and Macs. Could this be because iPads and Macs won't fall all the way into the bottom of the pan?

      *No.

      1. jason 7

        Re: I mention a similar trend a while back...

        Oh boy...(facepalm)

        Found one!

  37. Zog_but_not_the_first Silver badge
    Gimp

    Apple's Mission Statement

    "Do it our way"

    "And nobody gets hurt".

  38. Dave Bell

    This doesn't make sense.

    The reporter got his iPhone repaired outside the Apple ecosystem. It worked, and was only bricked when, several months later. he updated iOS.

    First thought: where did the part come from?

    Second thought: if there is a security problem with using the part, why did things appear to work normally for so long.

    Third thought: While one should back up the data before an OS upgrade, do Apple ever warn the user that a non-standard part used for repair will brick the phone? It's possible that, by affecting a users access to their own data (not stuff downloaded from Apple, which might be licensed, but stuff they own and hold copyright on), Apple are in breach of the Computer Misuse Act in the UK.

    As usual, these laws seem only to have the purpose of scaring people like us. Capitalism, again, looks like government by the sociopathic.

    It doesn't help my feeling about this that the abusive behaviour patterns seem so commonplace in the world of computer software. I have met some of these people, and have to fight off the urge to back away slowly and carefully, without breaking eye contact. The civilisation that makes these wonders possible depends on people being able to work and live together, yet it is controlled too often by the sort of people who prefer to live in a "gated community".

    I am tempted to lock the gate from the outside.

    1. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: This doesn't make sense.

      I'd weld its shut and add several other gates too.

  39. G7mzh

    Save money

    And buy a Chinese imitation instead. Probably more reliable.

  40. Mystic Megabyte Silver badge
    Stop

    Advantages of a cheap phone

    My Moto G cost £99

    O2 wanted £5 p/m to insure it, so by not insuring it 20 months later I have saved £100

    If I get mugged I will gladly hand it over, I'm not going to put up a fight for that. I can remotely delete all my data.

    Last week at work an iPhone owner told me it would cost £150 to mend his phone, if my screen breaks I can just bin it and buy a new phone for that amount. I'm already £100 better off :)

    It has a standard micro USB connector, I can plug it in to anything.

    It does stuff* and makes phone calls quite nicely.

    *diagnose my car with Torque

    avoid ships with Marine Traffic

    Sat Nav

    photos

    video

    etc.

    I genuinely feel sorry for iPhone users, even the bumpers have a hole to display the rather lame Apple logo. Just stop thinking that they're somehow cool, it's an illusion.

    1. JLV Silver badge

      Re: Advantages of a cheap phone

      Retail insurance is almost always a bad deal and is in aggregate a terrible one. Some retailers make more profit off of it than of their sales.

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: Advantages of a cheap phone

        The problem with a cheap phone is that it will probably run Android and that in itself for me is far too high a price to pay.

        An iPhone costs me around minus £20 because £20 us usually what I make as a profit when I sell it after I've finished with it.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: £20 us usually what I make as a profit

          suuure it is

  41. Shufflemoomin

    It's to "protect users" and "stop unauthorised hardware from running"? But the new hardware DOES run, it just stops running if the user happens to upgrade the iOS version. This whole explanation smells of horseshit.

    1. JohnMurray

      Not horseshit. Appleshit.

  42. Alan Denman

    Good exact headline.

    Ever seen a truer word said?

  43. Matt_payne666

    Hardly surprising...

    Changed a faulty hard drive from a 2013 imac - little did I realise that they need one with custom firmware or else it spins all fans at 100% - facilitating the need for a trip to apple and another WD Blue 56k drive...

    thankfully someone has programmed their way round this with a small app that fools the thermal sensors

  44. JLV Silver badge
    Mushroom

    As an Apple product owner? Totally unacceptable

    I like the HW and I like OSX, but I do not like, Apple, the company, much.

    The shop downstairs in my building will repair a next-to-last gen iPhone screen for 80-90$ (CAD), 40-50$ on Groupon. They do so in an hour, no waiting.

    In fact, screen repairs are one major reason to buy Apple - costs are very competitive and rarely go over $120. Contrast with Android or other phones which typically start @ $200. This isn't out of Apple goodness or anything, I've asked the shops, it's just that there is more volume and less models to deal with with Apple, so better prices.

    Living in a big urban center, yes, we do have an Apple store. Far as I know, while you can engage with a Genius (hah!) at the Bar, you need an appointment to do so and they do not repair onsite, your phone has to go away. The price? Not expecting 40-50$, no.

    Apple needs to extract its head from its posterior and stop giving people reasons to hate their greedy guts. This control freak-ery was extreme in the old days (<2000), when all the parts were Apple-specific. It gradually got better on their computers after OSX got in, parts were somewhat akin to PC parts, at least in some cases and you could, wonder of wonder, increase RAM and swap disks on YOUR computer. Apple was coming back from near death, had to be nice. Then it starting worsening again.

    Now, with glued-in parts, soldered in RAM, cables that essentially have DRM, and now this crap? Hopefully, this is an unforeseen glitch/temporary biz insanity that will be corrected, not future company policy. In which case, I would never buy an iPhone again - it's already not my current phone and would never be again.

    In fact, the best outcome, for Apple customers, would be for Apple not to climb down immediately, let this snowball all the way to hell into a major PR disaster and force them to revisit all their most egregious noncompetitive practices in one fell swoop when people finally push back. I think that is fully justified when you brick someone's phone. Won't happen, too many idiots, but still hoping.

    1. Solmyr ibn Wali Barad

      Re: As an Apple product owner? Totally unacceptable

      "screen repairs are one major reason to buy Apple - costs are very competitive and rarely go over $120. Contrast with Android or other phones which typically start @ $200"

      It has to be something big or special to cost over $200. I just had one replaced for €70 - and it was a bloody sandwich with 4 layers glued together. Other phone had LCD panel as a separable part, only €30. Labour included.

  45. Rusty 1
    Alien

    Suspicious

    Isn't it mighty suspicious that "error 53" is only two away from "Area 51"? Not one away, as that would be too obvious, but two away.

    And if you say it quickly, "error" could sound like "area".

    It's a signal! They are coming!

  46. Huns n Hoses

    BBC news just now - "Apple has advised users facing the problem to contact Apple support"

    They meant Sales of course :)

  47. Andus McCoatover
    Windows

    I seriously hope, with all this recent news coverage...

    ...that some really smart cookie is working on a fix for this. If they (anonymously, to avoid the inevitable lawsuit) published it, I'd jump for joy.

    I'd have no problem with said smart cookie making a gazillion dollars from it, either...

  48. Wisteela
    FAIL

    Typical Apple

  49. casaloco

    A short list of solutions

    Computer misuse act, prevention of terrorism act, arrest all the senior staff, bail denied due to flight risk to non extradition country....

  50. Martin-73 Silver badge

    I don't see how this is bad for consumers...

    It's actually good for consumers:

    Scenario, you break touch sensor. You replace touch sensor.

    Apple bricks your phone.

    Apple then legally has to replace your phone because THEY broke it.

  51. AceRimmer1980
    Coat

    The time has come.

    Execute order 53.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The time has come.

      So the problem is that the chip on the fingerprint sensor is cryptographically locked to the board, so change either and the game is up.

      This seems to me more like a ploy to make people crawl back to Apple when their expensive screen breaks and pay through the nose to get their data back rather than get it fixed for half that

      at a cheaper store or themselves via online reseller.

      Apparently some quite recent Android phones also sense knock-off screens (unless the OLED driver chips have also been swapped) and refuse to boot or display gibberish.

      I did find a workaround which is to simply install the salvaged bare chip elsewhere in the case and run a second ribbon cable in much the same way as the old Acorn machines sometimes had the 3 pin DSxxxx chips with a changeover switch to get around software program locks.

      Loses the fingerprint function but at least you can still use the phone until someone fixes this properly.

  52. We're all in it together

    Look to the future peoples

    I do enjoy a good Apple story and let's face it there have been a few...

    Mind you I replaced a cracked screen on a Lumia 920 recently and I do believe it was mentioned to only use genuine Nokia parts as the OS checked the hardware. But then again the complete screen with digitizer was around £40 delivered.

    So looking to the future we will shortly have the Apple iCar. It will be a hybrid with a full metal body (to stop any mobile signal). It will have ityres filled with iair and when you change them you best buy the correct brand or the icar won't 'boot'. I don't suppose anyone has patented tyres either so all the manufacturers will be taken to court.

    Servicing will be done at ikwikerfit centres by fully qualified itechnicians (who get their toolboxes checked when leaving the premises in their own itime of course).

    The car will never officially break down because Apple products don't but you will be able to phone the ibreakdown services. ubreakdown, webreakdown, and onnonotagainbreakdown won't be able to fix the car as they'll have old style 3.5mm headphones and a honda connector.

    The touchscreen will consist of Apple maps so you probably won't find the service centre anyway.

    The car's range will be similiar to the Apple watch so it'll be flat as soon as you leave your drive.

    And when you've finally had enough of the product you can rant about your Apple woes on the newly created igiveup website.

  53. Tromos

    iPhones commit suicide if you repair them on the cheap

    While it may ostensibly look like suicide, I suspect foul play.

  54. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Apple main repair centre finds parts unable to obtain...

    ...solution - send out IOS 10.

    Immediately they will have hundreds of bricks part exchanged for the latest model.

    They ain't called the Genuis Department for nothing.

  55. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Iphone growth slowing reported last month...

    Apples was in the news last month with record profits (no surprise there when your making 500% and more on each unit sold), but reports iphone growth/sales were slowing.

    What better way than to say brick 1% of all devices out there and bump the figures by selling them a new one.

    As others pointed out the most amazing thing about this story is the sheeple leaping to apples defence and after being told their ishiney, isocial status device was kaput and then put out for a new one to be stung again... They really dont like people to rock the apple cart do they (pun intended).

  56. whoseyourdaddy
    Mushroom

    Apple sold it to you with conditions. If you don't intend to follow those conditions, why should you be allowed to resell your shiny object to someone else? I can't change any electrical subsystem on my car without a mandatory trip to the dealer.

    I pay the dealer or I pay my car insurance company over a parts market driving an increase in theft rates. Pick one.

    So you broke your LCD. That's what happens when you carry around a $600 phone without a $40 tempered glass screen protector. Steve isn't going to come back and change your diaper. Grow up and take care of it and get an Otterbox while you're at it.

    Secondly, only an entitled pussy would whine because they are forced to go to an authorized service to get their thing opened up and fixed.

    If I owned apple, I'd squelch any risk of phones being stolen at gunpoint for replacement parts or risk the insertion of counterfeit parts or god forbid, the right screws in the wrong holes by having a huge black hole open up and take it far away from you.

    Your 6-month old iPhone is only worth $500 to me if you (or your unathorized mall kiosk) didn't pry it open and fuck with it.

    Duh?

  57. Questioner

    You have to love Apple

    No, seriously, it's in the Terms and Conditions.

  58. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Jesus!

    It is the Jesus phone after all........so all I have to say is "Jesus!"

  59. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Typical Apple

    Touch panel(not finger sensor) from other repair shop than Apple can compromise my security and Apple is saving me by bricking my ultra expensive iPhone. That's the kind of argument marketing thug Steve Jobs could make people believe.

  60. FreedomTX

    Stupid does as stupid is...

    If people are stupid enough to buy Apple products, the same people deserve what they get.

    Simple really.

  61. Fiddler on the roof

    big lol

    This surprises me about as much as the sun rising every single morning. Apple don't sell hardware, they lease it for a lot of money and tell you precisely how you may and much more importantly how you may not use it. If you want control over your device, buy something else. If your content to have your phone supplier be in total charge of your devices continue to buy Apple.

  62. DanceMan
    FAIL

    Apple's behaviour seems similar to that of HP and IBM who some years ago (and still?) installed code in the bios of their laptops that stopped them booting if they detected a non-HP or -IBM supplied wireless card installed. It was merely a way of charging 4x or 5x the price of a standard Intel or other wireless card with an added line of corporate id code in the firmware.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Grr

      I have one of those, it does suck that the card won't support 802.11n or dual band.

      I tried it with a USB dongle and it works, thats hardly the point now is it.

      In fact this problem is precisely why I am shortly going to be releasing a workaround in the form of a BIOS upgrade chip that also supports booting DoC directly allowing the machine to be used as a Linux b0xen without any hard drive installed.

      Turns out that an SD card only uses 20mA if you access it only when needed, with the screen off the whole machine only draws <500mA which is not that much more than an Intel Compute stick.

  63. cortland

    Apple

    May have violated US law by rendering once-functional instruments unable to call the national emergency number ( 9-1-1).

  64. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My wife gave me an Error 53 last night.

  65. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re. Apple

    Error 53 is like the "General Failure" of the iOS world.

    Sort of like a modern variant of the spinning beachball of death.

  66. FreedomTX

    Apple fan is and Apple fan does..

    You know, this is another reason why I have never bought an Apple product and never will.

    Of course, there are die hard Apple fans that just keep on keeping on and you know? I think I'm now ok with that because they are making for a great spectacle.

    Please, do continue providing me with some good entertainment.

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