iPhone 6 owners whose phones were permanently disabled by the Error 53' glitch could sue Apple for damages, it has been claimed.
Widely reported this week, Error 53 results in iPhone 6 handsets that have been repaired by independent stores, instead of in an official Apple Store, being rendered inoperable. And leaving owners with what tech wags call a 'brick'.
The issue is restricted to iPhone 6 handsets on which the screen and/or fingerprint security-enabled home button has been repaired. But it seems the problem only became apparent once users upgraded their phones to Apple's iOS 9 software.
In news that sparked a major furore, Apple has apparently told those affected that their only option is to buy a new phone.
Now US law firm PCVA has raised the prospect of a class action lawsuit against Apple and is looking for iPhone owners to come forward. A class action is when a single person or a few people file a lawsuit on behalf of many people, who can number in the thousands.
PCVA said: “We believe Apple may be intentionally forcing users to use their repair services, which cost much more than most third-party repair shops.
"There is incentive for Apple to keep end users from finding alternative methods to fix their products.
“Think of it this way: let’s say you bought a car, and had your alternator replaced by a local mechanic.
"Under Apple’s strategy, your car would no longer start because you didn’t bring it to an official dealership. They intentionally disable your car because you tried to fix it yourself.”
Apple has found itself under growing pressure after it was revealed that the company was essentially disabling, or ‘bricking’, phones where the Touch ID fingerprint was either faulty or had been replaced by a third party after it was damaged.
Apple charges £236 to replace a Touch ID button, around three times as much as independent phone shops.
Apple claims that replacing the Touch ID unit using a third party can lead to security breaches.
Users who had done so and then installed the latest iOS 9 software saw an ‘Error 53’ message before their device switched off permanently.
Here in the UK, one lawyer has also suggested Apple could be guilty of criminal damage, as the policy destroys property that it does not own.
Apple has maintained its line that Error 53 is designed to protect customers.
Want more about Error 53? Read our guide.