It’s long been known that getting an iPhone repaired by a non-Apple technician invalidates your warranty. But now it seems there’s another price to pay for leaving the company’s hermetic hug.
According to what reports suggest are 'thousands' of user testimonies, the latest iOS 9 version of Apple’s operating system is capable of determining if a third-party shop has carried out repairs to an iPhone in the past.
If it has, the software renders the phone useless. Or ‘bricks it’, to use the parlance of tech fans.
Worse still, images, videos, contacts and music stored on the phone are erased too, without hope of retrieval unless you backed up the data or use Apple's iCloud cloud storage service.
The problem, which has been dubbed Error 53, appears to be restricted to iPhones equipped with TouchID fingerprint recognition technology in the home button.
But it’s seemingly only come to light once users have updated their phones to the latest iOS 9 version of Apple’s iPhone operating system.
As is the way of such things, some have speculated that Apple has installed the ‘bricking’ mechanism in iOS 9 as a cash cow, effectively forcing customers into an official Apple Store. Where, of course, repairs are usually much more costly than at your friendly, neighbourhood phone repair shop.
The really bad news is that customers affected are being told by Apple that there’s nothing that can be done with the damaged phones. And that the only solution is buy a new one.
Apple has responded to the reports with a statement that acknowledges that third-party repairs can cause problems and advised those affected to contact Apple Support.
So what do we think? Well for what it’s worth, Apple is many things and it's fair to say its reputation isn’t anything like as lily-white as its shiny gadgets. But we don’t think it’s guilty this time, not least because it’d be a terrible PR own goal.
But maybe we’re wrong? Maybe you think this exactly the kind of stunt Apple would pull? Let us know in the comments section below.