Error codes and pop-up warnings aren’t as scary in 2015 as they were decades ago. With Google at your fingertips, it’s hard to find a bug in your computer or smartphone that someone else has found a solution for. But if the error code on your iPhone screen reads ‘Error 53’, prepare yourself for the worst.

The Guardian among many major publications, report that the sinister ‘Error 53’ has been making the rounds ‘bricking’ the iPhone 6 which essentially means that the device is no more useful than a brick. It’s true, this particular error will render your superbly expensive smartphone-extraordinaire entirely useless. And as if that weren’t enough, while the error destroys your precious phone, you will also lose ALL the data on it with literally no chance at retrieval. *shudder*

And while the interwebs are filled with discussion about the error previously dismissed as an anomaly, Apple has until recently stayed mum on the issue.

Pay close attention to know exactly what this error means and who it is affecting. You need to fear ‘Error 53’ if:

1. You have an iPhone handset where the home button, which has touch ID fingerprint recognition built-in, has been repaired by a non-Apple company or individual.

In the case of a damaged screen, or a faulty home button, a lot of us have found authorised Apple repairs to be way too expensive considering how much money we’ve already spent on the phone. So from time to time, some of us have trusted that local technician who gets your phone back in action for a fraction of the price.

Turns out, though, this may cost you your iPhone. Apple states that the touch ID sensor is uniquely re-validated when an Apple technician makes the necessary repairs, but once an independent technician breaks the seal, they are unable to re-validate, therefore leaving your iPhone and Apple’s secure enclave of fingerprint data vulnerable.

2. AND you have recently installed the iOS 9 update on your device.

This new operating system was offered to all iPhone users without the warning that it detects the device for broken seals and sends the entire system into a never-ending boot loop in case it discovers that the post-repair re-validation has not been completed. The boot loop basically leaves you with an entirely non-operational iPhone.

Apple has hit back at criticism of this controversial and let’s face it, devastating security measure on the iPhone, claiming it is part of the steps to protect the customers’ sensitive information and it is not taking responsibility for devices that have had unauthorized repairs.

The best bet right now with an iPhone giving the ‘Error 53’ alert is to not try and fix or repair it on your own, and take it straight to Apple support. However, more realistically, the only solution for many has been to throw away the bricked phone, and buy a new one.

Who would’ve guessed that not reading those Terms & Conditions would actually get us in trouble?