To put it shortly, the quickest way to spot fake AirPods is to scan the serial number found on the inside of the case. Once you get that code, pop it through checkcoverage.apple.com and see whether Apple confirms it for you. If you can’t get ahold of this code, we’ve added fake vs real comparisons for the actual AirPods below!
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 an behave exactly like the real thing. So how to check if AirPods are real or fake.
Follow these 7 different steps to check if your AirPods are authentic.
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 sort 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.
Also read: Can Someone Use Your Stolen AirPods?
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 one) compare them and see the differences. Here’re what we 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 one 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).
How to Spot Fake AirPods
The icons on the fake AirPods manual are obviously not Apple’s real icon. Just take a look at them and you’ll instantly see the difference.
Check Out the Lightning Port
Flip the case over and have a look at the lightning port, the port through which you would charge the case.
As you can see here, this metal outline that wraps this port is thicker on the fakes, thus having a different shape.
Besides that, even though the light angle in the fake vs real AirPods comparison is different, we can point out there’s a difference in color.
The steps we’ve written so far are the best ways on how to authenticate this item.
The tells listed below this point are still reliable signs of authenticity, but for non-top-versions of replicas available for this item. We recommend sticking to the top tells we’ve explained above this point to make sure you’re not drawing the wrong conclusions.
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.
Having a look at the actual headphone, you will notice a grilled area — that’s what we’ll refer to as the diffuser.
Analyse the bottom side of the AirPod
Have a look at the real vs fake AirPods comparison below:
As you can see, the shape of this diffuser is different. The shapes vary on authentic AirPods as well, but they should always come in an oval shape.
Fakes, on the other hand, seem to get this diffuser shape closer to a circle, rather than an oval.
Besides, highlighted in a square you will notice the difference in the two white strips that can be noticed at the bottom.
Not only there’s a difference in colors, but the fake AirPods have these strips placed at significantly deeper levels.
Also read: Apple AirPods (2019) Vs Bose SoundSport Free
Quickly Scan the Light-Up Indicator
One very important detail for how to spot a fake AirPods case can be noticed by opening it up and inspecting the light-up indicator.
As we’ve highlighted in the picture above, it looks like the light-up indicator on the AirPods case is misplaced.
This flaw is not always found on the replica AirPods, since it’s obviously a blatant mistake, but we felt like adding it to our guide just so that you will be reminded to have a quick check of this detail as well.
Comparing the Charging Cases
Continuing with our how to spot fake AirPods guide by examining both real and fake charging cases.
There’s not a whole lot difference when taking a glance at the charging cases. The hinges on the fake charging case is loose when it’s open. Once again, the fonts are different on the replica case. Did you notice that unusual extra space between “in” in “Assembled in China”?
Authentic AirPods were never released in any colorway other than white (for the time being) and authentic AirPods connect faster to your phone. It’s estimated that it shouldn’t take longer than 10 seconds to connect the headphones to your device.
We will finish this authentication guide by mentioning there are technical differences on the counterfeit AirPods.
It almost goes without saying that this happens since replica manufacturers don’t plan on perfectly replicating the Apple chips that are found inside the original AirPods — and most likely, nor do they have access to what Apple has developed.
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 replica 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.