So you just scored an incredible deal on a new set of Apple AirPods, but did it seem too good to be true? Maybe the price was too low to pass up, or the seller took a little too long to ship. Did you buy real AirPods, or have you been sold an imposter?
If you suspect that your AirPods may not be legit, there are a few ways to check whether they’re a genuine Apple product or not. This can vary slightly based on the model of AirPods, but with these tips, you should be able to figure out whether you’ve got the real deal.
Check the Box
Apple is meticulous about its packaging, so if you still have the box your AirPods came in, check here first. The box may look legitimate at first glance, but there are a few areas to check.
The box itself should fit quite snug. If the inner box and its lid come apart very easily or don’t line up correctly, this is a sign that something may be amiss.
The lettering used for the AirPods name and the Apple logo on the box are another area to check. If these are reflective and not flat gray, for example, you may be dealing with a counterfeit.
Check Your Case
The most obvious thing to check on your charging case is the port at the bottom. On official Apple AirPods, this will be a Lightning port, but fake models will sometimes have a USB-C port at the bottom instead.
You’ll also want to make sure that the charging case has the status LED on the front and snaps shut magnetically. If your case doesn’t have either of these features, that’s a bad sign.
Closely Inspect Your AirPods
For some reason, the very ends of the AirPods seem to be difficult for counterfeit manufacturers to match. On the original AirPods, the bottom should be an oval-shaped vent. If this is circular, it’s likely counterfeit.
This varies from model to mode. The AirPods Pro, for example, don’t have any vent at the bottom. Check your specific model against official Apple images of the same product to make sure everything matches up.
Check the Serial Number
The most definitive method of making sure your AirPods are the genuine item is checking the serial number with Apple. If the company has never heard of the serial number, you’ve probably got a fake.
To check, open the lid of your AirPods case and look on the underside of the lid. It’s on the section that is closest to the charging status LED when the case is closed.
You can also check on the underside of the right earbud, even though the type is smaller, and it’s more difficult to see here.
Once you’ve found your number, head to https://checkcoverage.apple.com and enter the serial number.
What If You’ve Got a Knock Off?
If you’ve determined your AirPods aren’t a legitimate Apple product, what do you do now? This mostly depends on where you bought the illegitimate AirPods from.
Was your purchase from an Amazon seller? In many cases, you can return your product for a full refund as long as it is undamaged, and you’re not outside the return window. Other retailers like eBay offer some buyer protection, but it varies on many factors.
If you can’t get a refund, you’re probably out of luck. That said, if you’re reading this before buying a suspicious set of AirPods, hopefully you know enough to make sure you’re getting what you pay for.
On the other hand, if your AirPods are, in fact, genuine, but you’re having trouble with them, use our guide to troubleshoot your issues.
Kris Wouk is a writer, musician, and whatever it’s called when someone makes videos for the web. He’s an Apple nerd with a fondness for hi-res audio and home theater gear.