Date Change & 3rd Party Repairs Can Kill Your iPhone
Many consumers have recently learned the hard way that doing either of these two things is a great way to render your iPhone useless.
Changing Your iPhone’s Date Back To 1970 Or Earlier Will NOT Load A Retro Apple Theme…
…but it will kill your iPhone. Wired had this to say about it:
The following image, which reportedly first surfaced on troll haven 4Chan on Thursday, encourages users to seek out an iOS “easter egg” that puts a retro Apple logo theme on your display.
Do not do this! Firstly because it makes no sense, Apple didn’t even exist until 1976…it will turn your iPhone into a very expensive rock until you’re able to finagle a Genius Bar appointment. Restoring through iTunes won’t help. You’ll need an actual physical fix, or possibly a new phone.
The bug appears to only affect 64-bit iOS devices, meaning iPhone 5S, iPad Air, and iPad Mini 2 and newer are affected.
Apple is aware of the problem and says a patch is on the way. In the meantime, don’t fall for it.
An Unexpected, Ugly Surprise Comes With iOS 9
This second way to turn your iPhone into a useless brick only affects devices running iOS 9, and will crop up when a consumer whose iPhone runs iOS 9 gets a home button repair or screen replacement from anyone other than Apple support.
**UPDATE 12:41pm PST** Hours after the problem was originally reported on Wired, The Guardian and elsewhere, TechCrunch published this report:
Today, Apple is issuing an updated version of iOS 9.2.1 for users that update their iPhones via iTunes only. This update will restore phones ‘bricked’ or disabled by Error 53 and will prevent future iPhones that have had their home button (or the cable) replaced by third-party repair centers from being disabled. Note that this is a patched version of iOS 9.2.1, previously issued, not a brand-new version of iOS.
Later in the same article, an Apple representative is quoted as saying:
We apologize for any inconvenience, this was designed to be a factory test and was not intended to affect customers. Customers who paid for an out-of-warranty replacement of their device based on this issue should contact AppleCare about a reimbursement.
Read on if you’d like to learn more about the original problem, and the risks of not updating to the new 9.2.1 patch.
From The Guardian:
…Apple’s latest operating system permanently disables the handset if it detects that a repair has been carried out by a non-Apple technician…And according to one specialist journalist, it “will kill your iPhone”.
A spokeswoman for Apple [says]: “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…Without this unique pairing, a malicious touch ID sensor could be substituted…When iOS detects that the pairing fails, touch ID, including Apple Pay, is disabled so the device remains secure.”
She adds: “When an iPhone is serviced by an unauthorised repair provider, faulty screens or other invalid components that affect the touch ID sensor could cause the check to fail if the pairing cannot be validated. With a subsequent update or restore, additional security checks result in an ‘error 53’ being displayed…If a customer encounters an unrecoverable error 53, we recommend contacting Apple support.”
Unfortunately, Apple’s really good at forcing those updates so even if you’re not currently running iOS 9 on your recent-model iPhone, you will be soon.
Apple’s position seems to be that this is not a bug, it’s a purposeful security feature. Their customers argue Apple should’ve issued a warning about the change when iOS 9 was released. Either way, at least the word on this is getting out there now.
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Last week Amazon announced that the ecobee3 Smarter Wi-Fi Thermostat is the first smart thermostat to get full integration with Amazon’s Alexa voice control software—the new smart home software that’s available in Amazon’s Echo and Fire TV devices. With or without Alexa control, the Ecobee is giving NEST a run for its money. This item currently (as of 2/18/16) has an average review rating of 4.5/5 stars across over 690 reviews, and is currently priced at $243.95.
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