Back in February of this year, it was revealed that putting unauthorized parts inside of an iPhone, like a new Home button from third-party repair shops, would result in an “Error 53” message, which essentially locked a device.
When the news initially broke, it didn’t take long before lawyers stepped in with efforts to jump-start a class-action lawsuit against Apple. At the time, an Apple spokesperson said that Apple’s focus on security is what caused the error, making it so that someone couldn’t simply replace the Home button on an iPhone and gain access to its secure contents:
“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.”
That didn’t sit well with many people who oftentimes need to have a third-party repair shop fix their device, so the motion did indeed pick up enough steam for a class-action lawsuit to head to court. However, by the time May rolled around Apple had already released new software to fix the bricked devices, and had offered a reimbursement to those who had paid for repairs — essentially voiding the lawsuit’s intentions. Plaintiffs tried to keep the lawsuit going, though.
Now, a US District Court judge has officially dismissed the Error 53 lawsuit altogether, ultimately in favor of Apple. The judge went through all of the plaintiff’s complaints, and said that they were all unsuitable to force the case against Apple to move forward:
“With regard to Apple’s alleged omissions, the plaintiffs’ position seems to be that Apple should have “disclosed that their devices would be destroyed by imbedded features if they had repaired devices using an independent service and then updated to certain iOS versions.” But the plaintiffs haven’t plausibly alleged that Apple actually knew of this alleged risk. […]
But the mere fact that a company has designed a product doesn’t mean it automatically knows about all of that product’s potential design flaws.”
As it stands now, Apple seems to be out of the woods in regards to this specific lawsuit.