In this guide, you’ll learn how to spot fake AirPods and what to do to avoid getting scammed.
AirPods are one of Apple’s most successful products. So you can expect to see a lot of copycats out there. As a typical Apple product, AirPods are expensive. So if you’re in the market to buy a used or a discounted pair, you need to be careful otherwise you’d buy AirPods knockoffs.
It’s not rocket science to recognize a fake product when you see one. But with AirPods, it can be a little difficult to spot one. Because there’re some perfect fake AirPods circulating on the market. And we got our hands on a new pair of fake AirPods 2 that look and behave exactly like the real thing. So how to check if AirPods are real or fake.
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How to Spot Fake AirPods
Follow these 7 different steps to check if your AirPods are authentic.
- Serial number
- Original Packaging
- Bottom side of AirPods
- Speaker grill
- Charging case
- Light indicator
- Lightning port
1. Check Serial Number on Apple’s Official Website
The first thing and most reliable way to spot fake AirPods is to verify the serial number on Apple’s official website. You can find the serial number on the underside of the AirPods charging case lid (where the left AirPod sits). You can also find the serial number on the original packaging next to the barcode.
Once you get that code written down, enter it here https://checkcoverage.apple.com. If Apple is able to pull up the serial number, the AirPods are authentic. You’ll find all sorts of information about service coverage, date of purchase, and telephone support.
However, if Apple didn’t manufacture your AirPods, they’d not be able to pull up the serial number on their records. Therefore you’ll get an error message once you verified the code.
Keep in mind you may buy a fake AirPods with a legit charging case or retail box. In that case, you need to look for more clues to verify if they’re real.
2. Check Original Packaging for Inconsistencies
One of the things that make people fall in love with Apple products is those little details. From the product itself to the packaging, Apple never disappoints.
We’ll take a closer look at both retail boxes (the authentic and the fake ones) compare them and see the differences. Here’s what we’ve found:
On the side, the authentic box got two separate stickers while its fake counterpart only got one that runs the length of the box. On the authentic box, they used a San Francisco font, while they used a different font.
Moving on to the side with the Apple logo, as you can see on the fake box the Apple logo is curvy on the edges. The Apple logo on the legitimate box got sharp edges.
Checking another facet of the box cover, the fonts are clearly different. On the authentic box, the fonts are ticker and have less space in between. On the other hand, the fonts on the fake box are thinner.
Moving on to the backside of the box, the fonts again are different and the status light on the genuine box is brighter than the one on the fake AirPods box. We’ve also noticed the cover is tight on the genuine AirPods while it’s loose on the fake one.
Let’s take a look inside and check the manual. The texts of “Designed by Apple in California” are printed in grey on the covering cardboard of the legitimate AirPods while on the fake one they’re printed in black.
Besides the fonts that are different, the legitimate manual has four different languages (English, French, Spanish, and Japanese) while the fake one got three (English, French, and German).
The icons on the fake AirPods manual are obviously not Apple’s real icons. Just take a look at them and you’ll instantly see the difference.
3. Checking the Bottom Side of AirPods
Next, we’ll take a closer look at the real thing. We’ll start with the bottom of the AirPods where the charge contacts are. The bottom grills of the authentic AirPods have an oval shape while the fake ones are oval but they’re larger and close to a round shape.
The fake AirPods have the grills in silver, instead of the dark grey found on their authentic counterpart. Besides that, the charging contacts (the white stripe) on the fake AirPods are larger than the ones on the real AirPods.
4. Check AirPods Speaker Grill
Moving on to the next step to check if your AirPods are legit. We’ll take a look at the speaker grills.
On the real AirPods, you can clearly see the shape of the speakers through the grill while on the fake ones you can barely see-through.
The IR proximity sensors on the real AirPods are completely flush with the body of the AirPods. You can barely feel the black dots with the touch while they protrude on the fake AirPods.
There’s no gap between the grills beside the IR proximity sensors and the top of the AirPods (not shown on the image above) and the body of the real AirPods. On the fake ones, there’s a space in between indicating poor manufacturing quality.
5. Comparing the Charging Cases
Continuing with our how to spot fake AirPods guide by examining both real and fake charging cases.
There are not a whole lot of differences when taking a glance at the charging cases. The hinges on the fake charging case are loose when it’s open.
Once again, the fonts are different on the replica case. Did you notice that unusual extra space between the “in” in Assembled in China?
The small button on the back of the genuine AirPods charging case is completely flush. On its fake counterpart, the pairing button protrudes from the case. You can find the button without looking at it while it can be hard to do so on the legitimate charging case.
6. Checking Light Indicator
Another simple way to check if your AirPods are fake is by checking the light indicator on the front or the inside of the case. Look for any misplacement or changes in color.
We didn’t notice any irregularities in the unit that we had. However, the opening port of the light indicator is smaller on the authentic AirPods.
7. Checking Lightning Port
We’re moving on with this guide by checking the lightning ports on the charging cases.
We noticed there’s a small gap between the case and the lightning port on the fake AirPods charging case, which is nonexistent on the real one.
Besides that, the edges on the fake one are sharp while they’re rounded on the genuine one. That, once again, shows poor manufacturing quality. Well, that makes sense. They got to keep the cost low, that’s why they’re cheap.
As you can see even the most tech-savvy person would think this fake pair of AirPods are authentic. The manufacturers did a great job with these replicas in terms of similarity–they look and feel exactly the same.
They’ve even cloned Apple’s H1 chip, which allows these fake AirPods to connect seamlessly with other iOS and Mac devices. These were a perfect fake AirPods 2 with an H1 chip.
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