AirPods 3: How To Know If It’s Original (2024)

Written by
Ch David
AirPods 3 - Real VS Fake
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Last Updated on February 5, 2024 by Ch David

You’re likely here because you:

  • Are looking at a pair of AirPods 3
  • Aren’t sure if they’re fakes
  • So you want to test their authenticity

This guide teaches you how to spot fake AirPods 3rd Generation.

Useful guides: AirPods 1 & 2, AirPods Pro 1 & 2, AirPods Max.

Comparison: Real vs Latest Fakes (AirPods 3)

You’ll know 100% if your AirPods 3 are original if their serial number shows a Valid Purchase Date on the Apple CheckCoverage website.

Fakes never have valid serial numbers.

1. Price check

Remember: Retail for AirPods 3 is $169.00 & $179.00.

  • $169 → Lighting Charging Case.
  • $179 → MagSafe Charging Case.
AirPods 3 Price Comparison - Real VS Fake
  • Authentic: Used in great condition, yet still $30 under MSRP.
  • Fake: New, but only for $50 — that is $120 under retail.

Chances are low to find cheap and working AirPods.

Our AirPods Experts have seen +860 pairs of all generations to look perfect but not work properly.


Finding it too hard? Reach out to our Apple experts:

2. Serial number

Comparison: Real VS Fake AirPods 3 Serial Number On The Box

You can find the serial number in a couple of places:

  • AirPods: Right below the part that goes in your ear.
  • Charging case: Inside, at the top.
  • Box: On the bottom side.
  • Settings: Connect the AirPods > Bluetooth > Tap them > Find at the bottom.

Let’s see the results.

2.1. Authentic

Original AirPods 3 Serial Number

This serial number is original because:

  • Purchase Date: Validated (January 2024)
  • Serial Number: Matches the one we’ve introduced
  • Coverage: Warranty and other benefits are included, which further prove authenticity.

2.2. Replica

Fake AirPods 3 Serial Number

Fake because:

  • Serial number is not validated
  • “Replaced serial number” is just yet another sign of a fake

This serial number can’t get past this page so we can see further benefits — e.g. Warranty, Apple Care +, Coverage and others.

2.3. Replaced Serial Number

If your serial number is replaced, we suggest checking in with Apple by going in your local store:

“We’re sorry, but this is a serial number for a product that has been replaced.”

Apple, Check Coverage

Replica manufacturers often use replaced legit serial numbers:

  • Seeing this message makes you think there’s still hope, right?
  • But realistically, there are less chances for the AirPods to be legit after

Hence, you’re best checking in store if you see this message.

3. Bluetooth icon

For this test, you need to connect your AirPods to any Apple device.

If using an iPhone: Swipe up to reveal the Control Center and the volume settings.

Comparison: Real VS Fake AirPods 3 Bluetooth
  • Authentic: Volume slider has an icon of the AirPods 3.
  • Fake: Sound + Bluetooth icon instead of the earbuds.

An original pair of AirPods 3 must have the volume icon of the earbuds, never the Bluetooth logo.

This is an instant call-out for fake AirPods.

A quick mention:

  • The steps we’ve written so far are the BEST ways to authenticate this item
  • The next few steps are still reliable methods…
  • … but they apply to non-top-versions of replicas available for this item

If in doubt, we recommend double-checking the steps we’ve explained above this line.

4. Charging case

Comparison: Real VS Fake AirPods 3 Charging Case
  • Authentic: Consistent fitment — same amount of space between all parts.
  • Fake: Not enough space between the metal parts.

5. Connection

When connecting, there’s a pop-up on the screen on your iPhone.

Comparison: Real VS Fake AirPods 3 Connection
  • Authentic: Shows a pop-up with the charge for AirPods + Case
  • Fake: Cannot verify AirPods — “Don’t connect”.

If they cannot be verified, test the serial number or contact Apple and explain the situation.

6. Speakers

Comparison: Real VS Fake AirPods 3 Speakers
  • Authentic: Detailed speaker with many small lines.
  • Fake: Smooth surface.

7. Show in Find My

Comparison: Real VS Fake AirPods 3 Settings
  • Authentic: AirPods will be visible and working in Find My.
  • Fake: Will not work at all.

Some AirPods have a *sort of* working Find My system — they will show up on Find My, but cannot be found anywhere past ~10 meters (or 11 yards).

8. L & R

Comparison: Real VS Fake AirPods 3 L + R
  • Authentic: Small, thick and boxy letter “R” — same goes for “L”.
  • Fake: Bigger, thinner “R”.

9. Charging port

Comparison: Real VS Fake AirPods 3 Charging Hole
  • Authentic: Shorter and larger hole.
  • Fake: Thinner, longer charging hole.

10. Green light

Comparison: Real VS Fake AirPods 3 Lights
  • Authentic: Green is of a darker shade — very subtle, harder to spot.
  • Fake: Light’s more intense.

11. Box

Comparison: Real VS Fake AirPods 3 Boxes
  • Authentic: No typos. Every text also has the same thickness.
  • Fake: Typos — it says “Airpods” instead of “AirPods”.

12. No-no’s

Below is a 100% sign of fakes. Stuff you never see on real AirPods.

12.1. Lights

Fake AirPods 3 Lights

Never on the real ones.

12.2. Safety hazard

Make sure you always buy AirPods from reputable sources.

Fakes can always end up like this:

Fake AirPods 3 - Broken

And you don’t want them to be in your ears.

Wearing fake sneakers doesn’t imply any safety hazards. Though, fake electronics, especially those that go in your ears, are 100% dangerous.

  • Safety Hazards: Fake AirPods can overheat, potentially causing fires or explosions.
  • Poor Quality: The sound and build might not be as good as the real deal.
  • Discomfort: They may not fit as comfortably in your ears.
  • Hearing Risk: If the volume isn’t controlled well, it could hurt your ears.

Explained: AirPods serial number

In this section, we’re explaining this official Apple guide.

Essentially, we’re making everything easier to understand, with tables.

1. AirPods

Here’s a table that summarizes the information about AirPods models based on their model numbers and year introduced:

AirPods ModelModel NumbersYear Introduced
AirPods Pro (2nd gen) with MagSafe Charging Case (USB-C)A3047, A3048, A30492023
AirPods Pro (2nd gen) with MagSafe Charging Case (Lightning)A2931, A2699, A26982022
AirPods (3rd generation)A2565, A25642021
AirPods MaxA20962020
AirPods ProA2084, A20832019
AirPods (2nd generation)A2032, A20312019
AirPods (1st generation)A1523, A17222016

This table should help you quickly identify your AirPods using the model number.

2. Charging case

Case TypeModel NumberYear IntroducedFeatures
MagSafe Charging Case (USB-C) for AirPods Pro (2nd gen)A29682023USB-C port, compatible with Qi and MagSafe, external speaker, lanyard loop, front status light
MagSafe Charging Case (Lightning) for AirPods Pro (2nd gen)A27002022Lightning port, compatible with Qi and MagSafe, external speaker, lanyard loop, front status light
Lightning Charging Case for AirPods (3rd gen)A28972022Lightning port, front status light
MagSafe Charging Case for AirPods (3rd gen)A25662021Lightning port, compatible with Qi and MagSafe, front status light
MagSafe Charging Case for AirPods ProA21902021Lightning port, compatible with Qi and MagSafe, front status light, specific serial number formats
AirPods Pro Charging CaseA21902019Lightning port, Qi compatible, front status light, specific serial number formats
Wireless Charging CaseA19382019Lightning port, Qi compatible, front status light
Lightning Charging CaseA16022016Lightning port, inside status light

This table should help you identify which AirPods charging case you have based on its features and model number.

Expert Service: AirPods Authentication

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Alternatively, use our free resources: written guides and video tutorials.

Thank you for reading this,

Ch Daniel and Ch David

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About the Author

David is the co-founder and co-CEO of Legit Check By Ch. David's experience: 5+ years of creating educational content in the fashion industry. 6+ years of authenticating luxury items. Currently, David is the Head Editor of the LCBC Library, where 1,000,000+ words have been published, in free guides, for over 1,000 items.
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