How You Can Spot Fake AirPods (Updated 2023)

Ch Daniel
Proven expertise, not self-claimed. Get checked by the industry's top experts.
Get Authenticated

Looking to learn how to spot fake AirPods? Scared of getting scammed? Look no further, as we’ve compiled the most complete legit check guide for Apple AirPods.

Remember, fake AirPods will always compromise on quality. To highlight the most common places where these compromises are made, we’ve put together the comparisons you’ll find below.

Without any further ado, let’s jump into the fake vs real Apple AirPods legit check guide.

How to spot fake vs real AirPods (All Generations)

To put it shortly, the quickest way to spot fake AirPods is to scan the serial number found on the inside of the case (see pictures below on how to find that serial number). Once you get that code, pop it through 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!

Step 1: Check whether the serial number matches Apple’s official records

This is absolutely the most reliable tell in our guide on how to spot fake AirPods. It makes sense why real AirPods will come with a serial number that would be confirmed by Apple on their official website.

I understand this sign can only be checked in a face-to-face meeting or once the AirPods are with you, thus this is why we’ll continue the guide with more steps below so we can teach you how to spot fake AirPods just by looking at them.

Coming back to this guide, you will want to find this unique Apple AirPods serial number once you open the case like so:

AirPods serial number fake check

Not sure where’s the serial number of your AirPods? Here you can see Apple’s tutorial for all of the spots where you can find the serial number.

Want some bigger headphones, but you want to stay loyal to Apple? Then you might want to see how to authenticate the Apple AirPods Max.

Over there in the highlighted area, you will find a code that’s unique to every AirPods case.

Have a look at the picture below with an authentic Apple serial number so we can make it clear for you to find this code:

How to spot fake AirPods by serial number

Once you get that code written down, you will have to go to

Over there, simply pop in the serial number and this is how we’ll find if your AirPods are fake or real.

Checking authenticity for Apple AirPods

As you can see, an authentic pair of Apple headphones will come with confirmation points from their official website.

This should clear out 99% of AirPods legit checks — however, it’s not impossible that someone might switch the case and put in fake AirPods. Very unlikely, but not impossible.

Therefore, this is why we’re not stopping this AirPods legit check guide here.

🚀 Buy your favourite items online safely.

We have compiled an ultimate list with over 80 places online where you can buy genuine items. Streetwear, designer, bags, watches, you name it!

Step 2: Closely analyse the diffuser found at the top

Moving on with our “how to legit check AirPods” guide, we’ll closely inspect the top area of the headphones.

fake airpods

The diffuser found here must never ever be misaligned. The fake example we’ve attached above seems to not be properly aligned with the circle that sits next to it.

Besides that, if you closely inspect the grille, you will notice a difference in quality.

Are you an Apple fan? Then you might want to check out how to spot fake AirPods Pro, iPhone 11s or maybe iPhone 12s.

Step 3: Analyse the bottom side of the AirPod

Having a look at the actual headphone, you will notice a grilled area — that’s what we’ll refer to as the diffuser.

Have a look at the real vs fake AirPods comparison below:

real vs fake airpods

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 at the bottom.

Not only is there a difference in colour, but the fake AirPods have these strips placed at significantly deeper levels as well.

Step 4: 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.

How to authenticate AirPods

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 also point out there’s a difference in colour.

Check out our guide on how to authenticate Apple watches as well. This tutorial might be useful to you since you’re an Apple fan!

The steps we’ve written so far are the best ways to authenticate this item.

The next few steps are still reliable signs of authenticity but are for non-top-versions of replicas available for this item. We recommend sticking to the steps we’ve explained above to make sure you’re not drawing the wrong conclusions.

Step 5: Real vs fake AirPods case

Having a look at the rear side of the case, we’ve found three main flaws.

airpods fake vs real

For starters, the circle button is placed higher than it’s meant to be on the fake AirPods case.

Next up, the “Designed by Apple in California / Assembled in China” text is not only thicker on the fake AirPods case, but also printed in a different shade of grey.

As a consequence, the spacing between the hinges and the text is different. We’ve highlighted the difference in the grey boxes.

Last but not least, we’ll address the difference found in the hinge area. Here’s a closer picture comparison:

how to spot fake airpods

As you can see, the way the hinge is segmented is significantly sharper on the fake AirPods case. That, once again, shows a lack of craftsmanship and quality, since fake manufacturers are compromising for the sake of a cheaper price.

On top of that, the replica case used this mirror-like material on the hinge — which reflects everything more than the material found on the authentic case.

Step 6: Quickly scan the light-up indicator

Last but not least, 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.

how to verify my airpods authenticity

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 you will be reminded to have a quick check of this detail as well.

🚀 Buy your favourite items online safely.

We have compiled an ultimate list with over 80 places online where you can buy genuine items. Streetwear, designer, bags, watches, you name it!

Step 7: Check for any inconsistency with the fake vs real AirPods box comparison

I understand people are concerned with the fake vs real AirPod headphone comparison, yet we’ve placed the box higher on this list since the flaws are easier to identify here.

For obvious reasons, the quality lacks on the box that comes with the headphones since fake manufacturers don’t care that much about the small details.

For starters, we’ll have a look at the bottom side of the enclosed box.

how to tell if airpods are fake

Over here we can notice three things:

  1. The space between the cover and the box is super tight on the authentic box. On the fake AirPods box, you can see there’s more space and that gap is fluctuating in width.
  2. The font on the fake box is thicker than its authentic counterpart.
  3. Last but not least, the lightning cable illustration on the fake box is truncated on the bottom part.
AirPods box real vs fake

Are you a fan of high-end headphones? Then you might care about authenticating the Louis Vuitton Horizon earbuds.

Moving on to the side, the AirPods text is significantly different. For one, the classic San Francisco font is not used on the fake AirPods box.

Besides that, the fake text has reflective properties, while the authentic box has this textbox simply printed in grey.

how can i spot fake airpods

On another facet of the box cover, you will notice a huge giveaway for the replica. As you can see, multiple separate stickers are attached to the authentic box.

Besides that, it seems like the fake AirPods come with Chinese text in the upper left corner. Whether there is or isn’t Chinese text anywhere on the box can vary based on the region where the Apple AirPods were purchased from.

However, it looks like regardless of the region, the text found on the fakes is slightly thicker.

how to tell fake airpods

Unsure whether you have fake AirPods?

Get our opinion

Our Apple authentication team is always here for you. 24/7, whenever you want

Moving on to the side with the Apple logo, it seems that once again the fakes have this area printed with a reflective material, rather than simply printing it in grey.

Last but not least, upon opening the box you will notice the covering cardboard with instruction papers.

Yet again, the properties of this text are different. The fake AirPods have “Designed by Apple in California” printed in black, instead of grey.

Do fake AirPods show up on Find My?

No, fake AirPods can’t enter the ‘Find My’ system. You can only use ‘Find My’ for genuine AirPods.

Real vs fake AirPods technical details

We will finish this authentication guide by mentioning there are technical differences in 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.

We will note here:

  1. Authentic AirPods were never released in any colourway other than white (for the time being).
  2. The 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.
  3. The battery life is significantly shorter on fake AirPods.
  4. Some fake AirPods have a female voice audio file playing when connecting to your device — authentic AirPods only play a sound that’s specific to Apple.
  5. Some fake AirPods come with the USB-C port instead of the classic Apple Lightning port.
  6. Naturally, find my AirPods under find my iPhone will not work with the counterfeit version.

Where can I get my Apple AirPods authenticated? The Apple authentication service

If you have read this guide and are still uncertain about whether your AirPods are real or fake, the Legit Check App offers an authentication service to put your mind at ease.

Should you either not be confident in your ability to follow this guide or are simply lacking time, all you have to do is send us high-quality pictures of your Apple AirPods and we will get back to you with the results within 24 to 48 hours.

The results will also come with a report on why we believe your AirPods are fake or authentic.

Need our opinion over your item’s authenticity? It’s a service we provide.

Get our opinion

Make sure you follow our Instagram, our YouTube Channel, or our other socials (check out the footer).

Thank you for reading this,

Ch Daniel and Ch David

Did our guide help you?

If you add your email below, we'll be able to send you more useful stuff in the future.
Hey! Thanks for telling us that! We'll keep you updated!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

About the Author

Ch Daniel is the co-founder and chairman of Legit Check By Ch. Daniel is leading the development of new products of Legit Check By Ch, as well as strategising how else the company can reach its main mission: building the infrastructure for safely buying luxury items.
Feel like our guide was helpful? Is what we're creating helping you?

Great 🥳

We can keep you updated with what other offers and new stuff we'll put out (no spam, we promise)