According to a report in The Guardian this morning, thousands of Apple iPhone 6 users have had their handsets rendered useless by “error 53.”

The security measure known as “error 53” was released with iOS 9 last year. It effectively bricks iPhone handsets if the TouchID module is replaced by a technician outside of the official Apple Store network, writes Jay McGregor for Forbes.

iPhone 6 Controversy As "Error 53" Renders Handsets Useless

Third-party TouchID repairs make iPhone 6 useless

Officially the system is designed to secure user data by blocking access to the handset if the TouchID module is replaced by a third party. However it means that those who use third party technicians rather than Apple are also affected.

In addition the information was not made public when Apple started offering iOS 9 upgrades. Problems arose when consumers who replaced their screens later found that their iPhone had been rendered useless.

Consumer backlash is growing and popular forums have thousands of posts on the subject. The error 53 issue has been rumbling for months, growing in importance as more third-party repaired iPhones make the upgrade to Apple’s latest operating system.

Does Apple do enough to make users aware of the issue?

The main point here is how Apple does not make it clear that third-party repairs will void the warranty. The information is only found on the legal warranty webpage.

Concerning the iOS 9 error, matters are far more ambiguous. There is no mention of the fact that replacing the TouchID will turn your iPhone 6 into a brick.

Given the fact that the problem is made worse by upgrading to a new piece of software, it could be argued that Apple should have told users about the potential consequences of the update. Maybe the company wants to make sure users come to its in-house technicians, or perhaps they are truly concerned by security.

Either way Apple should have made things clearer. Second-hand buyers could be inordinately affected given the fact that it is sometimes difficult to know whether third-party repairs have been carried out.

Apple looks set to face significant opposition from consumers, and things could get worse in coming months if the company doesn’t take decisive action.