How to recognize fake AirPods Pro, AirPods 3 or AirPods Max?

The AirPods (2 and 3), AirPods Max and AirPods Pro are great products for listening to music. But beware of the counterfeits that abound on the classifieds sites! These methods allow you to flush them out easily.

With the AirPods, Apple has established itself as a reference in nomadic music. Mocked at their launch for their unusual shape, Apple’s wireless headphones were subsequently massively copied – same thing for the AirPods Pro (our test), even if their less easy to reproduce shape spares them slightly. The AirPods Max (our test), for their part, are a bit expensive for those who do not take advantage of all the options of the helmet. Finally, the recent AirPods 3 (our test) may also be scrutinized by the competition.

If completely legitimate brands try to unlock the secret of the truly wireless earphone which would be at the same time light, thin, comfortable, easy to pair and autonomous, scammers relayed by shameless influencers redouble their pettiness to copy the originals. Some of these headphones a la AirPods even end up in social media ads. Only the AirPods Max, more difficult to copy, seem more or less spared.

For headphones, while the third generation AirPods are on the market (around 199 €), and the AirPods Pro have established themselves as a high-end reference (around 210 € on sale) the devices are beginning to be found on the second-hand market or on gray markets, marketplace and other platforms for connecting buyers and sellers internationally. Amazon, although very legitimate, is full of them. And as expected, scams abound. Here’s how to flush them out.

For further

Check your AirPods serial number

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From the AirPods launched in 2019, the Cupertino brand has understood the concern posed by counterfeiting and has added a serial number to each of the headphones. It is located under the tip that enters the ear, between the rounding and the stem. Since the AirPods can be replaced individually, it is obviously on both sides. You’ll also find it under the lid of the AirPods box – that mention is also on the first generation. On the AirPods Pro, it’s exactly the same: the serial number is on each earbud and inside the case.

On AirPods 3, same story: they are found under the earpiece, at the base of the stem. Provide a magnifying glass, or refer to the inside of the charging case where a global serial number is written.

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The serial number on the AirPods 3 // Source: Photo Numerama

On AirPods Max, it’s a little different: the serial number can be found under the left ear cup, by removing the magnetic pad. It’s written small, but it’s still readable. Attention: another number appears under the right auricle. It’s not not the serial number.

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On the AirPods Max, you’ll get a serial number by lifting the right ear cup. But it’s not the right one: you have to lift the left atrium to find it!

The AirPods and AirPods Pro one doesn’t work in the Apple Warranty and Service Validator, but you can use the case one to verify that the set is original. The AirPods Max one works. Just go to this address to check. Either way, the presence of a serial number on AirPods is something to check that can help separate real AirPods from a counterfeit one.

The details to check on all AirPods

Most copies of AirPods are easily detected: Apple’s prowess lies in miniaturization. The clones are therefore often much larger. The thickness of the upper should not be greater than that of your iPhone, for example.

Some clones, on the other hand, are better made and you could be deceived, especially if you are sold first generation AirPods which do not have a serial number in the original version. The easiest way to see if AirPods are real is to check the pairing system: take the box with the AirPods in it and open the lid. The iPhone should detect the AirPods and offer automatic pairing.

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This counterfeit sold on Amazon is a beautiful reproduction… but you can easily spot a button

If the seller tells you that you have to press a button or go to the Bluetooth settings, it’s a safe bet that they are fake: neither the AirPods nor the boxes have a pairing button. The button on the back of the case is used to pair AirPods with each other (for example, if you lose one and want to change them) or to pair them with an Android device.

The AirPods Max have distinctive features: the control wheel similar to that of the Apple Watch, but also a carrying pouch sold with the product. If it’s not in the seller’s box, it’s fishy.

New models

As for official sellers, you will find legitimate AirPods on Apple.fr, in the Apple space of Amazon (and nowhere else) and on Darty and Fnac (which also sell counterfeits in Marketplace…). Same observation for the AirPods Max.

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