How to Know if AirPods Are Real

How to spot fake AirPods

What to Know

  • Check AirPods's serial number in Apple's coverage checking tool. If they show up there, your AirPods are authentic.
  • Open the case next to an iPhone or iPad and press the button on the case. Only real AirPods open a window to connect/show battery life.

Worried you have fake AirPods, or you may be about to buy some? This article provides some foolproof tips and tricks to help you spot fake AirPods.

How to Tell If AirPods Are Fake: Check the Serial Number

The most foolproof way to tell if AirPods are fake is to go directly to the source: Apple. Apple has an online to check a product's warranty status. Just enter the AirPods' serial number and, if you find them there, they're the real deal. If you don't, you've spotted fake AirPods. Here's what to do:

  1. In your web browser, go to Apple's coverage checking tool.

  2. Find your AirPods' serial number on the box or, if you've already connected them to your iPhone, by going to Settings > Bluetooth > tapping the i next to the AirPods name.

  3. Enter the serial number, the CAPTCHA, and click Continue.

    Screenshot of the Apple Warranty coverage website tool
  4. If the tool returns information for that serial number (especially a valid purchased date), the AirPods are real.

    Screenshot of the Apple Warranty coverage website tool showing data

How to Tell If AirPods Are Fake: Try to Pair Them or Check Battery Life

Another reliable way to tell if AirPods are fake is by doing something only authentic AirPods can do.

When you try to pair AirPods to an iPhone or iPad, or open already-paired AirPods near those devices, a window pops up on the device's screen. That can only happen with genuine AirPods because that feature relies on the W1 chip, a communications chip Apple created for the AirPods. It's extremely unlikely fake AirPods could mimic that feature.

So, to spot fake AirPods using this trick, follow these steps:

  1. Make sure the AirPods are charged.

  2. Hold the AirPods next to an iPhone or iPad, which has Bluetooth turned on. Open the AirPods case (while leaving the earbuds in the case).

  3. If the AirPods have already been set up with this device, the battery screen will appear. That means your AirPods are genuine.

    apple air pods battery
  4. If the AirPods haven't been set up with this device, wait for the connection screen to appear. If it does, your AirPods are the real thing.

    Screenshot of being prompted to hold AirPods button for setup

If you follow these steps but don't see the images from steps 3 or 4 on your device's screen, we're sorry to tell you, but your AirPods are probably fake.

Sometimes genuine AirPods have problems connecting or don't work properly. In that case, check out our tips on how to fix them by reading How to Fix It When AirPods Won't Connect and How to Fix AirPods When They're Not Working.

How to Spot Fake AirPods: Packaging, Manufacturing, and More

Checking the serial number and AirPods-only features is the most reliable way to spot fake AirPods, but you can use some other methods. These options include some guessing, so we recommend the options from earlier in the article, but you can try these, too:

  • Price: Apple products aren't cheap. The starting retail price for regular AirPods is $159, and AirPods Pro is $249. If you paid much less than that—say, $50 for AirPods Pro—they might not be real.
  • Wireless Charging Case: The charging case included with the second-generation AirPods and AirPods Pro supports Qi wireless charging. It's unlikely copycats would throw in this expensive feature. Try putting your AirPods case on a Qi charging mat. If it doesn't get any power, it might be a fake.
  • Build Quality: Apple is famous for the very high quality of its devices. You shouldn't see any seams in the plastic, the ports and connectors are tight and sturdy, and the color of white products (like AirPods) is clean and bright. If your AirPods seem a little low quality, the pieces are loose, or the color isn't perfect, you might have knock-off AirPods.
  • Packaging: Just like the build quality of Apple products is high, so is the packaging quality. The boxes' fit is tight, the quality of the printing high, the placement of stickers perfect. Apple's quality control for its products is exacting, so if your AirPods don't meet that mark, they could be fake.
  • How do you reset AirPods?

    To reset your AirPods, on your iOS device, open Settings > Bluetooth. Next, under Devices, tap the i icon next to AirPods. Select Forget This Device > Forget Device. Next, put your AirPods in the charging case, wait 30 seconds, open the lid, and hold the button on the back of the AirPods until the status light flashes yellow, then white.

  • How do you connect AirPods to an iPhone?

    To connect your AirPods, first make sure Bluetooth is activated on your iPhone. Hold your AirPods close to the phone in their charging case, ensuring the lid is open. Tap Connect and follow the on-screen instructions.

  • How do you clean AirPods?

    To clean your AirPods, Apple recommends cleaning your AirPods with a slightly dampened, lint-free cloth, a dry lint-free cloth, and cotton swabs. Use a toothpick and Fun-Tak to remove earwax from speaker ports.

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