Bought a pair of AirPods from a shady source? Learn How To Check If Your AirPods Are Authentic in this guide.
If you’re the proud owner of a pair of authentic Apple AirPods, then congratulations! You have some of the most advanced pieces of consumer tech around. After all, Apple’s engineering and design are more than enough to justify its hefty price tag.
However, with the ingenuity of the Chinese copy industry, how can you be sure if your AirPods are indeed authentic? Read to find out How To Check If Your AirPods Are Authentic.
Related: How to Update AirPods Firmware
How to check if your AirPods Are Authentic? – Quick Answer
Here’s a simple way to check if your AirPods are authentic:
- Step 1: Before you check, charge your AirPods
- Step 2: Turn on the Bluetooth of your iPhone or iPad. Hold your AirPods next to the device. Open the case of the AirPods (but don’t remove the earbuds)
- Step 3: If the iPhone or iPad has already been set up with the AirPods, the battery screen on your device will pop up. This means that your AirPods are authentic.
- Step 4: If your device and AirPods have not been paired before, you should see a connection screen. If the connection screen pops up then your AirPods are authentic.
- Step 5: If you don’t see the battery screen or device screen pop up then your AirPods aren’t authentic.
AirPods clones are getting more and more difficult to discern from the originals, and unless you have a trained eye, you might not ever be able to tell whether or not your AirPods are fake or authentic until the day they finally break down on you (in Apple’s case, it won’t).
There’s an unbelievable amount of AirPods knock-offs out there that range from cheap $10 to $20 copies that might be able to fool your grandparents into thinking they’re authentic but nobody else, to pricey $80 to $100 super copies that even trained experts will have trouble differentiating from the real thing.
Even the software can be a clone based on Android instead of iOS.
In this guide, we’ll show you how to check if your AirPods are authentic so that you know that for the price you paid for them, you’re getting the original, ground-breaking pieces.
Apple AirPods definitely guarantee high-end quality and performance. That being said, if you’re into cheaper, budget-friendly clones that do a good job without burning a hole in your wallet, then more power to you.
This guide is primarily for those who bought and paid for authentic Apple AirPods and want to verify if they really did get what they paid for. You should ideally refer to this guide if you’ve purchased these earbuds through an E-commerce site. So with further ado, here’s How To Check If Your AirPods Are Authentic.
After having gone through various official documents from Apple and having put the AirPods through a series of tests to determine the methods to Authenticate it; My team and I zeroed in on 10 methods that are absolutely effective. We also found that:
The best method to authenticate your AirPods is to find the serial number of the device and run it through checkcoverage.apple.com. Once, the user runs this code, Apple will confirm if it’s their authentic product. This is the most effective method to authenticate AirPods.
How To Check If Your AirPods Are Authentic
Real AirPods vs Fake
Here’s the thing: with the hundreds of available AirPods clones available on the market today, it’s going to be hard to discern which AirPods are fake without having an authentic pair to compare them to.
Later on in this guide, we’ll show you the surefire way to check your AirPods’ authenticity, but before that, here are a few simple tricks.
Fake AirPods might be Cheaper
Of course, we acknowledge the existence of deals and promos across the board that could have possibly let you buy an authentic pair of AirPods for dirt-cheap. So just because you got your AirPods for $50 or less doesn’t necessarily mean they’re fake – although it’s likely.
- The original Apple AirPods launched at a list price of $159, and so did the AirPods 2 when they came out. The Apple AirPods Pro, on the other hand, launched at a retail price of $249.
- If you got your pair brand-new for under $100 from a Black Friday sale or some other super-low discount price, then either you’re lucky, or your AirPods, unfortunately, may not be authentic.
The same goes for the new “AirPods” that you got for under the $50 range. If you got a brand-new pair for $20 or less, then you can probably already tell that they’re fake since you most likely won’t be getting the best build quality at $20 or less.
Packaging of Fake AirPods might be Different
One of the easiest ways to spot a pair of fake AirPods would be to observe the packaging. Unless your AirPods are a pricey 1:1 super copy, then it’s most likely that a close look at the packaging would immediately let you know whether or not your AirPods are authentic. However, there are cases when packaging can be so well done it can seem authentic.
- Color: Packaging for the Apple AirPod comes in a nice, clean white, while knock-off brands usually look off-white or yellowish.
- Labeling: The original AirPods, AirPods 2, and AirPods Pro all come with distinct labeling that is uniform everywhere in the world. If you find that your box doesn’t have the same labels as the original ones, then it’s most likely fake. For example, if you find weird stickers or labels that refer to giveaways, then you’re dealing with a fake.
- Snug Fit: If you’ve ever bought an iPhone, iPad, or Mac, then you know how snug and tight Apple packages its products. If the packaging feels loose and comes off too easily, then it might not be an authentic Apple product.
- Information: Although we don’t actually read the technical specs or any of the information on the packaging. It might actually be extremely useful when it comes to figuring out if you have fake AirPods. Since the packaging is usually made in non-English speaking countries, there are bound to be a few spelling errors. In fact, if the text is in Chinese, then it’s a dead giveaway.
- Serial number: This is a huge one. If your packaging doesn’t have a serial number or if it’s been tampered with, then there is a good chance you’re dealing with fake AirPods. So be sure to inspect it thoroughly. Use apple AirPods serial number check to know if it is fake or not. Note that some fake AirPods Pro with real serial numbers. So read on to know how to check if AirPods are real by serial number.
According to the latest news, The manufacturers of the fake AirPods have gone all in to replicate the packaging. So, you’ll have to start looking for minor inconstancies. For example, the fake boxes tend to have a thicker font that the authentic packaging.
The San Francisco Font has become Apple’s universal typeface since 2017. So, if you see a box with any other type of font then, you should automatically assume it’s fake as Apple will not compromise its brand identity by using various fonts.
The authentic box also tends to have the text in a simple grey color. So, if you find weird colors or reflective style text, then you can expect it to be fake. The Fakes usually tend to have thicker text.
However, even if they’ve still done a terrific job with these, the majority of the manufacturers of fake AirPods will not take the time to change the color of “Designed by Apple in California” on the instruction manual. Apple’s authentic manual will be in grey text. So, if you find the above text in black then, you might need to check the serial number on Apple’s site
Inspect the AirPods for design differences
If ever doubt, you should simply open up a schematic or an image of the authentic AirPods on your computer and compare it to yours. 90% of the time the clone manufacturers tend to cut corners on the design.
You might find an extra vent, some form of misalignment, or even straight-up differences in the shape of the earbuds. Additionally, the clone makers aren’t careful with the color or even the design of the grills. So, it might be a weird shape when compared to the original or they might be missing the black portion next to the vents.
So, it’s always better to inspect it thoroughly before you contact the seller.
Check for differences between the Cases
The AirPods case itself is one of the biggest indicators when it comes to distinguishing between a real and a fake device. For example, fake AirPod cases are made from a cheaper plastic. So, it looks really white as opposed to the real AirPods case which looks a little duller. Although it may look comparatively dull, you can tell that it’s made from high-quality plastic.
Both AirPods and AirPods Pro always come in white. So, if you see it come in any other color then it’s definitely a fake. Of course, there are a ton of AirPods sleeves out there in various colors. However, the actual case should be white.
On the other hand, the AirPod Max shoes come in five colors: Space Grey, Silver, Green, Sky Blue, and Pink.
Of course, with the fake AirPods becoming increasingly similar to the real ones, the latest fake AirPods case is being constructed with the same type of plastic. However, due to the price constraint, there are certain things that cannot be replaced. For example, the hinges.
The hinges of the real AirPod case are extremely smooth and made from high-quality steel. You can tell the craftsmanship of the hinge as there is virtually no space when the lid is closed. It looks seamless and perfect. The manufacturers of the fake AirPods case on the other hand have not developed their process enough to incorporate this level of craftsmanship.
So, you easily find gaps between the hinge. Most importantly, you will find that the hinge has sharper edges and is made from poor-quality steel that can be easily distinguished. You can also find that the hinge on the fake AirPod is extremely reflective and polished.
Another telltale sign is the text. Unlike the original AirPod’s “Designed by Apple in California / Assembled in China” text, the fake ones have a much larger text with a lighter shade of grey that’s bordering on silver.
Sound Quality of Genuine AirPods is Better
Again, this might depend on the overall price and quality of AirPods clones, but as a general rule (it would be embarrassing to Apple if it wasn’t) the original Apple AirPods should have superior sound quality over any fakes.
- One of the Apple AirPods’ best selling points is that they can produce high-quality sound worthy of the Apple brand.
If you find that your AirPods are constantly missing out on any highs, lows, or mids in sound quality, then they might not be authentic.
Fake AirPods might have Poor Connectivity
Apple, Inc. designed the AirPods to provide a one-of-a-kind wireless earphone experience. Powered by the revolutionary W1 chip, Apple-made AirPods pair quickly and seamlessly with your iPhone.
- Thanks to the power of Bluetooth, they’re also capable of long-range connectivity up to forty feet for the AirPods and exceeding 100 feet for the AirPods Pro.
If your AirPods have trouble connecting over short to medium distances, they might not be authentic.
Fake AirPods will have fewer Functions
Apple Airpods have certain unique functions that Replica manufacturers would find it hard under their budget to incorporate into their fakes.
- For example, AirPod Pros come with a wireless charging capability. However, the cheap fake charging cases would not be compatible and would not function on a wireless charger. So, try placing your AirPod Pros on a wireless charger if you have any doubts you might be dealing with a fake.
- Most importantly, fake AirPods almost always tend to not have a wireless charging feature.
- Fake AirPods also tend to not have the instant connect feature when the case is opened. And this feature is usually missing from the fakes. Additionally, the instant connects animation would be subpar.
- There have also been cases where the AirPods icon next to the device name is missing. This icon should appear under paired devices in the Bluetooth settings on the iPhone or MacBook.
So, checking to see if the functions are working is a great way of telling if the AirPods are authentic.
Fake AirPods might use micro-USB Charging port
One of the easiest methods of AirPod authentication is to simply look at the port on the charging case. Most of the time you will find a micro-USB or a Type-C USB port instead of a lightning port. Manufacturers tend to incorporate a micro-USB port to cut costs.
If they equipped the fake AirPods with an original lighting port that would also mean they would have to incorporate a battery compatible with that charge and even upgrade some of the internal components. So, it really isn’t profitable.
This is precisely why the lack of a lightning port on the charging case is one of the best ways to check if your AirPod is authentic.
If you’re wondering how to differentiate between the two, then all you need to do is look for these two things:
- Color: When manufacturers include the Micro-USB port in the charging case, they usually forget to change the color. This is a huge indicator as you can tell just by glancing at the port.
2. Shape: The shape is the second factor. The metallic outline on the micro-USB port is thicker than the Lightning port.
Difference in LED light between Fake and Original
Fake Apple AirPods manufacturers have been doing an amazing job. The most recent fake AirPods are absolutely brilliant when it comes to the exterior design. You can barely tell the difference. However, there are certain obvious tell-tale signs.
For example, the light-up Indicator. The light Indicator is where a lot of fake AirPods Manufacturers messed up. They either placed it at the wrong location on the charging case or they downright forgot to add it. Of course, there were even renegades who went with a different color. So, instead of green, orange, and red, you would find a blue light.
Of course, the latest 2022 fake AirPods are close to perfect. So, you won’t be able to find obvious errors like these. However, there are always cases of old AirPods coming back into circulation via e-bay. So, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Differences between the 1:1 Supercopy and Original AirPods
While most of the time, it’s easy enough to spot a fake pair of AirPods from an authentic one, some of the latest AirPods clones blur the line between fake and authentic almost completely.
- In a video from EverythingApplePro on YouTube, the creator shows us how the latest 1:1 AirPods SuperCopy matches the original in terms of both build quality and hardware performance.
- The SuperCopy is so well-done that even seasoned Apple users will have trouble determining its authenticity, even when compared side-by-side to an original pair of AirPods.
The 1:1 SuperCopy is reportedly available at around half the price (~$70 – $80), of course without Apple’s quality guarantee and warranty. While some may opt for the cheaper, but still well-made knockoff, everyone should still be wary of paying full price for a potentially fake AirPod.
Fortunately, despite the quality of the clone, there are still ways to determine whether or not it’s authentic.
Tips & Tricks to Checking Your AirPods’ Authenticity
#1 — Apple AirPods Serial Number Check
Here is the number one, surefire way to check whether or not your AirPods are authentic. This method will work on just about any variant of the Apple AirPods, whether it’s the 1st Gen, the 2nd Gen, or the AirPods Pro. In fact, this method will work on any Apple product.
- All Apple Products come with unique identifiers called serial numbers, which are located on the device itself. With the AirPods, you can find the serial number on the underside of the lid of your charging case.
- The serial number of the AirPods that are located on the box or the SKU label can tamper with AirPods. However, the one that’s located on the device itself is the most authentic and reliable serial number. As mentioned earlier it can be found on the underside of the lid. Specifically, the right-side grove of the AirPods.
- It should also be noted that the serial number will be something like: “Serial JCGTAH AH2TYTT”. So, the number will be preceded by the word Serial.
- Once you have your serial number, all you have to do is visit checkcoverage.apple.com, type in your serial number, type in the captcha code to verify that you’re a human, and if your AirPods are authentic, you should be able to view all of the details regarding your genuine Apple product.
- However, there’s still the very unlikely chance that your AirPods may not be authentic, even if they came with a genuine charging case.
- This is next to impossible if you bought your AirPods at retail, but it’s still a possibility to consider, especially if you bought your AirPods second-hand. For those special cases, we have a few more tricks up our sleeves.
Although the serial number check used to be the most reliable authentication method, it has now become quite useless. The majority of the clone manufacturers are now stamping a real serial number on the packaging and the devices themselves.
Especially since the AirPods market is so profitable. The high-profit margins have led them to double down on quality as well. So, it’s getting quite difficult to tell them apart.
As the serial numbers are taken from actual AirPods sold by Apple, the serial number will pass the official website validation. The website will state that the fake AirPods are real because the serial number is real.
However, the serial number validation is not completely useless. Since the majority of the cloners can get a little lazy, they might add the serial number of the wrong type of AirPod. For example, if you have a pair of AirPods Pro on your hands and type in the serial number and the website shows it as a pair of AirPods 2, then you have an obvious clone on your hands.
Most importantly, we still recommend you try this first before moving on to the other authentication methods.
How to Find the model number of AirPods
You can use the model number of your AirPods to find out which generation of AirPods you have. And if the model number found on your AirPods doesn’t match with the original model number, then they are fake. Follow these steps to find the model number of your AirPods,
In the Settings app
Step 1 Open the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad.
Step 2 Tap on Bluetooth.
Step 3 Tap on the More Info button next to your AirPods. You can see the model number now.
If you have an older iPhone or iPad with iOS and iPadOS 14 or earlier, then follow these steps to find the model number,
Step 1 Open the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad.
Step 2 Tap on General.
Step 3 Now, tap on About. Scroll down until you can see your AirPods, and tap on it. Here you can find the model number of the AirPods.
Check on your AirPods
The model number is printed on the underside of each AirPods and under the left cushion of AirPods Max.
Identify your AirPods with the model number
Now that you know the model number of your AirPods, you can verify if they match the official model numbers,
AirPods (1st generation)
- Model number: A1523, A1722
AirPods (2nd generation)
- Model number: A2032, A2031
- Model number: A2084, A2083
AirPods (3rd generation)
- Model number: A2565, A2564
- Model number: A2096
#2 — Check For Easy Pairing
One way to check your AirPod authenticity (although you might not experience this in higher-end copies) is to measure they’re pairing speed. Apple AirPods take pride in their super-fast pairing speed. All you have to do is flip up the lid on your AirPods charging case, and wait until you see the prompt on your iPhone that lets you connect to them.
If it takes too long, or if it doesn’t connect seamlessly even after several attempts, it’s either you have a faulty pair of authentic AirPods, or they’re not authentic at all.
However, Apple’s quality control is among the best in the world, so it’s far more likely to be the latter.
#3 — Use Find My App
Find My is an Apple service that lets users track and find the location of their devices. You can use the Find My app or iCloud website to access the features of the service.
Find My App can pinpoint the location of iPhones, AirPods, AirTag, and more. Since Find My is an Apple service, it can be hard for fake AirPods to pull off the feature.
Authentic AirPods will be added to the Find My app as soon as you pair them with an iPhone or iPad. So, if you are doubtful that your AirPods are fake, then you can try checking them with the Find My app.
To check if your AirPods are authentic using the Find My app, follow these steps,
Step 1 Open the Find My app on your iPhone or iPad.
Step 2 Now, tap on the Devices tab.
Step 3 Select your AirPods and then check if all the features are working as expected.
If all the features work correctly, then your AirPods are probably authentic. However, if a feature like the play sound or get location doesn’t work, then your AirPods are probably fake. In any case, to be sure, you have to check with all our methods of determining if your AirPods are authentic or fake.
#4 — Try The Magnet Trick
This is one of the lesser-known tricks to determining whether or not your AirPods are authentic (we heard about it from BestAliProducts on YouTube!).
- It works especially well since it’s not very widely known, meaning the folks behind these AirPods clones most likely haven’t figured out a way around this.
- Known as the Magnet Trick, this hack works on the knowledge that every pair of authentic AirPods comes with a small but relatively strong magnet in each earpiece.
- The magnets in each earpiece have the same polarity, so if you remember your high-school physics class, then you know that these magnets will, without fail, repel each other.
To do the magnet trick, refer to the image shown below:
- All you have to do is take your AirPod out of its charging case, and put one of them in your hand and the other on a flat surface. Then, you have to try and push the earpiece in your hand onto the earpiece resting on the surface.
If you see that the earpiece moves, as in it’s being repelled by the one in your hand – then chances are your AirPods are indeed authentic. If they don’t, then you can be pretty sure that they’re fake.
#5 — Listen For Bluetooth Voice Notification
Again, this trick might only work for lower-end AirPods clones, but if you hear a voice notification letting you know that your “Bluetooth Device is Connected”, then your AirPods are 100% fake.
- Apple AirPods simply play a short notification beep when they successfully connect to your device.
#6 — Check Out The Lightning Port
Probably one of the first things you can easily do to check the authenticity of your AirPods would be to flip the charging case over and take a look at the lightning port.
- If the charging port is seamlessly fused to its surroundings then it’s a Real AirPod. Basically, if you see a thick metal edge around the AirPod or some type of gap between the lightning port and the charging case, then it’s highly likely you have a Fake Airpod.
- Sometimes they can be well disguised. However, check if the lightning port is rounded or sharp. If the port looks rectangular then it’s definitely a fake.
- The last thing you can check to see is if your AirPod actually uses a lightning port. Sometimes the charging cases of Fake AirPods have a Type-C charging port or a Micro-USB charging port instead of a Lightning port.
Most of the Fake Airpods out there are built with cheap materials to cut costs so they’ll definitely cut corners. Either in the design or the tech itself. Since the lightning port is proprietary to Apple, Fake AirPods are usually equipped with a USB-C or a Micro-USB port. Just check to see if you’re dealing with a trapezoidal port as opposed to Apple, oval/cylindrical port.
#7 — Closely analyse the diffuser found at the top
Fake AirPods, Especially, the really good ones like the Supercopy are Amazingly accurate. They easily pass through the packaging tests and even the serial number tests if it’s coming from a known source. However, as accurate as these devices are they invariably have an issue.
- One of the best yet lesser-known methods is to check the sound diffuser near the audio output on top. The sound diffuser is extremely important to the audio output and sound quality of the device. So, it needs to contain two things that the fake AirPods unfortunately lack.
- The first factor is alignment. The sound diffuser must be perfectly aligned with the circular structure. If it is misaligned it will drastically affect the overall experience of the AirPods. The manufacturers of fake AirPods tend to skip this bit. So, it is one of the best factors when authenticating your AirPods or AirPods Pro.
The second factor with respect to the diffuser is the grille. The quality and internal design of this grille are other major factors in the sound quality. And since Apple invests quite a bit in the materials it is always made from the finest steel. Fake AirPods on the other hand has a grille that’s made from extremely crappy material. So, it’s easy to tell if you’re dealing with a fake.
There you have it: our list of the best tips and tricks to check if your Apple AirPods are authentic. Do you have any other tips and tricks you’d like to share with us? If so, we’d like to hear it. Check back with us again soon for the best guides and reviews on the latest products.
How do you check if your AirPods are real?
There are various tips and tricks you can do in order to check the authenticity of your AirPods. Some of the basic things are:
- All genuine Apple products will burn a tiny hole in your wallet. Apple AirPods usually, retail for around 159$ to 249$. Of course, you can get it down to 100$ during Black Friday. However, if you ever see a deal where the AirPods are priced less than 50$ then there’s a high probability it’s a fake.
- Another indicator is the serial number. As obvious as this sounds, it’s actually the most accurate test. You’ll find the serial number of your device underneath your charging case. Head over to checkcoverage.apple.com and type that serial number and check the product details. This is the most surefire way.
Of course, there are other tests as well. So be sure to read our article thoroughly to find out How To Check If Your AirPods Are Authentic.
Fake AirPods on eBay and Amazon
While AirPods are widely available on Amazon, not all are authentic. There are third-party sellers out there that sell overpriced low-quality replicas. Sometimes they even price it extremely low. Usually at a discount price that is amazing when compared to the AirPods on the official Apple Store.
How to avoid fake AirPods
The best way to avoid fake AirPods is to buy them from the official Apple Store, Apple’s official store on Amazon, a trusted retailer, or a trusted friend. Now, while it can be tempting to buy the cheapest AirPods from Amazon. There is always the possibility of the time these third-party sellers just selling fake AirPods at an extremely high price.
If you really want to buy the Originals for a cheaper price, then the best method would be to get them from the Apple Refurbished store or from credible Tech Exchange websites or resellers. eBay, of course, also is a great platform where you can buy second-hand AirPods for dirt cheap.
However, you need to do your due diligence here. Because this space is actually filled with more scammers than platforms like Amazon.
We recommend you buy legitimate ones if you are planning on investing in AirPods. In case, you absolutely have no choice but to get second-hand earbuds, then you can start by checking the seller reviews.
They usually contain valuable information regarding authenticity and quality. We also recommend you to buy it from a seller with a lot of reviews as you can get more trustworthy information.
You can also check the photos uploaded by the reviewers for more details. These are usually the most credible photos.
If price is truly a concern, then the best way to look for cheap AirPods is by buying an alternative. Now, I’m not talking about a replica or fake AirPod. I’m talking about True Wireless Earbuds from a credible brand that is much cheaper than the AirPods.
Like AirPods, there are other True Wireless Earbuds from Samsung, JBL, Amazfit, Xiaomi, Mobvoi, and much more. Now, these more or less offer the same technology and features for a much cheaper price. But you will have to compromise accordingly. For example, they are definitely not the same in terms of audio quality as the AirPods.
However, these Alternatives do have their own pros. For example, the ZMI Purpods have 5 times the battery life of the AirPods.
How to check if AirPods are real by serial number?
Checking if your AirPods are real is simple if you have the serial number. All you have to do is to visit Apple’s warranty status checker. Just enter your AirPods’ serial number on the Check Coverage website and if you find them there then they are real, if not they are fake AirPods.
Is my AirPods Pro serial number real?
The AirPods serial number is used to check if they are real and for identification purposes as well. You can find them in the settings of your iPhone or iPad, from the original packaging, or even from the charging case. To check if these are real you have to enter the number into the Check Coverage website.
Do fake AirPods have serial numbers?
Serial numbers of AirPods are used to identify and to check if they are real. Fake AirPods can have serial numbers and sometimes these can match with real AirPods too.
Can fake AirPods be verified?
Apple’s warranty coverage website can be used to spot if they are fake. But in rare cases, the fake serial numbers can match and be verified as real. But check if the serial numbers on the packaging, charging case, and bill all match. If they match its original, if not they are fake.
Can fake AirPods Pro have a real serial number?
Fake AirPods have random serial numbers that mostly don’t get verified when you check on the Check Coverage website. But in rare cases, it can match with genuine AirPods’ serial number and can cause confusion. In such cases, there are other ways to tell if your AirPods are fake or not.
How can you tell if AirPods are fake?
Sometimes fakes can be hard to spot at first glance, but if you look closely using the methods below, you can spot a fake from a genuine AirPods.
We source most of the information from the sites below.
Alan Urban is the Editor-in-chief of Stupid Apple Rumours and often proclaims that he’s ” Apple’s number one fan.”
In addition to keeping up with the latest Apple news, he also reviews Apple products and creates user-friendly guides. When not subjecting Apple Devices to crazy stress tests, he’s usually playing games on Apple Arcade