Why can’t you repair an Apple iPhone
Since 2014, the world’s most profitable smartphone company has — without warning — permanently disabled some iPhones that had their home buttons replaced by repair shops in the course of fixing a shattered screen. Phones that underwent the same repair at Apple service centres, meanwhile, have continued working just fine. The message seems clear, at least to the multibillion-dollar independent repair industry: Your phone is yours until you decide to get it fixed. Then it’s Apple’s.
Apple says it was merely trying to keep the iPhones “secure,” and that “Error 53” — the code that pops up after the company bricks a unit — is meant to ensure that nobody messes with the phone’s fingerprint sensor. Whatever the intent, the company now finds itself amid a PRand legal debacle that could upend the lucrative business of servicing gadgets worldwide.
More to the point, if Apple’s executives don’t address the problem, lawmakers will do so for them. And that would be no bad thing: Apple’s service centres might suffer for it, but its customers — and their phones — will only benefit.