Apple AirPods are wireless Bluetooth earbuds specially designed for Apple devices. Since the release of AirPods in 2016, they have become one of the most popular Apple products. With millions of AirPods sold, some unscrupulous merchants sniffed a fresh opportunity – fake AirPods. Unfortunately, fake AirPods and real AirPods are mixed in many online retailers, such as Amazon, Best Buy, eBay, etc. A report estimates that fake AirPods cost Apple about $3.2 billion, while the amount of fake AirPods is still climbing. If you are not careful, you may end up with fake AirPods. In this tutorial, we will introduce some methods to spot fake Airpods.

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Method 1: How to Tell If AirPods Are Fake in Price?

AirPods have become a firm favorite with people due to their stylish appearance and good experience. But AirPods aren’t cheap. Some searches on Amazon will bring up dozens of fake AirPods listing, which cost about $40. They looks almost the same as real AirPods, with the same wireless charging case, and a stylish appearance. However, it should be noted that the starting price for regular AirPods is $129, and AirPods Pro is $249. If you pay a price much lower than that, they may not be real AirPods.


Method 2: How to Spot Fake AirPods via Serial Number?

This is the first way you should try to tell if AirPods are fake. Because you don’t even have to unpack the AirPods. The serial number is the fingerprint of a product. Every real AirPods have a unique serial number, and Apple provides a platform to verify the authenticity of their products. If you find them on the website, they are real. If not, they are fake AirPods. Plus, we found that some fake AirPods may have different serial numbers on the box and the earbuds.



  1. Open the web browser, and go to Apple’s coverage checking tool.
  2. Find the serial number on the side of packaging, or the lid of the charging case. Alternatively, if it is connected to your iPhone, find it by heading to Settings > Bluetooth, and tap i next to the AirPods name.
  3. Enter the serial number and verification code, then click Continue.
  4. If your AirPods are real, you will see the service scope of authentic AirPods.

Unfortunately, according to reports, some fake AirPods have been obtaining and using serial numbers approved by Apple. It means that this method is not a foolproof method anymore. Therefore, it is necessary to open the box to spot fake AirPods via some other methods.

Method 3: How to Spot Fake AirPods via Packing Box & Accessories?

At first glance, most fake AirPods look perfect, and the accessories are complete, including a lightning cable, a manual, etc. But for the cost reason, the print quality of fake AirPods manual is average. If you find that there are:


  • Spelling mistakes
  • Double spaces
  • Pixelated photos
  • Blurry text
  • San Francisco font is not used

Then, the AirPods aren’t real. In addition, we found that the real AirPods would have three more documents outside the instruction – the safety sheet, the warranty card, and the Apple stickers. Plus, if you are not buying the China version of AirPods, but there is Chinese on the box, then they are possibly fake AirPods.

Method 4: How to Spot Fake AirPods via Fake AirPods Themselves?

Actually, the design of AirPods also helps to spot fake AirPods. If you have bought any color than white, they are fake AirPods. Currently, AirPods are only sold in white version. Plus, due to quality reasons and processing defects, we notice that there are further indicators that the AirPods are fake by inspecting the AirPods themselves.

The charging case

Similarly, if you find that the text – “Designed by Apple in California” and “Assembled in China” in the back of the charging case is not in San Francisco font, then they are fake AirPods. Moreover, if you notice errors listed below, then the AirPods should be fake.

  • The LED light is a hole in the front of the fake AirPods charging case, while the real is flush with the case and covered by a transparent plastic layer
  • how-to-spot-fake-airpods-by-charging-case-3
  • The button in the back of the charging case is not completely flush with the rest of the case, and there is obvious space between the button and the case
  • The hinge is clearly split because of the craftsmanship and quality
  • The material hinge is mirror-like
  • A loose lid, even if it’s closed
  • how-to-spot-fake-airpods-by-charging-case-2
  • There is no a serial number printed inside the lid of charging case
  • how-to-spot-fake-airpods-by-charging-case-1

The AirPods themselves

Now, back to the AirPods themselves. Unlike the packaging, the differences between real AirPods and fake AirPods are much more subtle. However, Apple does show their attention to detail through their products, and the manufacturers of fake AirPods may miss something, or give up some hard-to-detect details because of the cost constraints. Spot the fake AirPods flaws by some aspects listed below:

  • The grille of real AirPods is referred to as the diffuser, while the “grille” in fake AirPods is just a printed pattern.
  • how-to-spot-fake-airpods-by-airpods-themselves-2
  • If you have bought a pair of more expensive fake AirPods, then there may also be a grille. But you can still see the outline of two round speakers with real AirPods, while you can’t see in the fake ones.
  • how-to-spot-fake-airpods-by-airpods-themselves-1
  • It is opposite for the infrared sensor. The infrared sensor of the real AirPods is almost dark, and you should see nothing from through it, while it may be a hollow perspective hold or even a printed circle in the fake AirPods.
  • how-to-spot-fake-airpods-by-airpods-themselves-3
  • Real AirPods contain magnetized parts. If you put two earbuds closer, they should repel each other.

Method 5: How to Spot Fake AirPods via Functionality?

Obviously, fake AirPods can’t receive the firmware update from Apple. However, the firmware of AirPods is not update frequently, which may cause you to miss the best return time. Actually, apart from the firmware update, you can also check:

  • Easy pairing experience – To pair real AirPods to your Apple device, all you need to do is open up the lid of the charging case, and put it close to the device you want to pair with. Real AirPods should have a pop-up window to display the battery of AirPods and the charging case. While the fake AirPods may not have a pop-up window, or if there is, the battery in the pop-up window is fixed.
  • how-to-spot-fake-airpods-via-pairing
  • Find My feature – Find My is a platform created by Apple to allow users to track the location of their devices. The fake AirPods may not be added to your Find My account and be used with some functions like Play Sound and Directions.
  • how-to-spot-fake-airpods-via-find-my.jpg
  • Noise cancellation – The real AirPods Pro are featured with noise cancellation, while for fake AirPods, there may be no difference between turning on and off of this feature.
  • how-to-spot-fake-airpods-via-noise-cancellation

Nevertheless, with the development of technology, some fake AirPods have cracked the above functions. Although it doesn’t provide a complete experience of real AirPods, it looks like the real ones in the eyes of layman. If this is your first time to buy AirPods, then you are possibly to be cheated by these highly imitation AirPods.

Method 6: How to Spot Fake AirPods via Sound Quality?

Sound is the most subjective, so we put this as the final method. The real AirPods have been tuned by acoustic experts for a long time, so at least, they should sound comfortable. Actually, compared to the craftsmanship, the cost of a diaphragm is minimal. Although some fake AirPods sound middy, tinny, or even offensive, most of fake AirPods sound like the real ones at first listen. To spot fake AirPods via sound quality, make sure that you have high-quality sound source. While the overall sound quality of fake AirPods is decent, it’s a big mess when you listen to some songs with abundant details, especially the music files are in WAV format. Below steps will introduce how to download high quality music for free to tell if AirPods are fake.

Step 1: Download Leawo Music Recorder

Leawo Music Recorder is able to download audio from any online source for free. Click the download button below according to your computer system to download and install this software on your computer.

  • music-recorder
  • Leawo Music Recorder

    - Record any sound from computer stream audio and built-in input audio.
    - Record music from 1000+ music sites like YouTube, Facebook, Veoh, VEVO, etc.
    - Schedule music recording via the internal recording task scheduler.
    - Automatically/manually add and complete music tags like artist, album, cover, genre, etc.
    - Save recorded musicfiles into either WAV or MP3 format for wide uses.

Step 2: Set audio source and audio quality

On the main interface, click the microphone icon in the bottom-left corner. A Settings panel will pop up, where you need to check the circle next to Record Computer Audio to record online music. Then, click Format to switch to Format tab, and you need to click WAV as the output format.


Step 3: Start to download music to spot fake AirPods

To start the recording, hit the red Start button in the top-left corner, and play online audio source at the same time. When the source is finished, click the button again to stop recording.


Step 4: Sync music to iPhone to spot fake AirPods

Click Media tab in the bottom, right-click the downloaded music and choose to add music to iTunes. Then, launch iTunes, connect your iPhone to computer, and sync music to your iPhone. For detailed steps, see: How to Transfer Music from Computer to iPhone?


Method 7: How to Spot Fake AirPods via Latency?

If the AirPods you bought passed all the above verifications and survived, then your AirPods are most likely genuine, or very close to real. But there's one thing the fake AirPods can't do, that's the audio latency -- because the fake AirPods can't use Apple's proprietary chip. For example, the real AirPods typically have latency around 200ms, while the AirPods Pro's is only 150ms. However, the latency of fake AirPods tend to be 500ms or more. This is especially noticeable when you're watching a video - sound and picture will be out of sync. Of course, if you have a good internet connection, you can watch video online to test. But we still recommend downloading a high-quality video for testing, and the following are detailed steps.

Step 1: Download CleverGet Video Downloader

Choose the appropriate version of CleverGet and click the "Download" button to download and install it on your computer.

  • cleverget
  • CleverGet Video Downloader

    - Download videos up to 8K resolution
    - Support 1000+ sites
    - Support live video M3U8 link downloading
    - Multi-task and playlist download
    - Built-in browser and player
    - Advanced hardware acceleration
    - Easy-to-use interface

Step 2: Find a video for testing

For convenience, you can directly click the YouTube icon on the homepage to search and download test videos from YouTube. Or, if you have another video, you can access it by copying its link into the address bar.


Step 3: Download video to spot fake AirPods via latency

After the video starts playing, the program will automatically detect and parse. Then, in the pop-up window, there will be several options for downloading. Choose the one with the highest quality and click the "Download" button.


After the video is downloaded, you can transfer the video to iPhone using iTunes or a third-party tool. If you find that the sound and picture are noticeably out of sync, then this may be a fake AirPods. Fortunately, if you ordered a pair of AirPods at a low price, and it is still hard to tell if they are fake, then congratulations. Because you don’t need to entangle whether it is real AirPods or fake AirPods – you get almost the same experience as AirPods at low price.