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

AirPods (2 and 3), AirPods Max and AirPods Pro are great products for listening to music. But beware of the fakes that abound on the classified ads! These methods allow you to easily rinse them out.

With AirPods, Apple has established itself as a reference in nomadic music. Mocked at launch for their unusual shape, Apple’s wireless headphones were subsequently massively copied – the same for the AirPods Pro (our test), although their less easy-to-reproduce shape spares them a bit. AirPods Max (our test), on the other hand, are a little expensive for those who do not use all the helmet’s capabilities. Finally, the latest AirPods 3 (our test) can also be examined by the competition.

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

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


Check your AirPods serial number

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From the AirPods launched in 2019, the Cupertino brand has understood the concern of counterfeiting and has added a serial number to each of the headphones. It is located below the tip that enters the ear, between the rounding and the stem. Since AirPods can be replaced individually, it is naturally on both sides. You will also find it under the lid of the AirPods box – that mention is also on the first generation. On 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 ear piece, at the base of the stem. Provide a magnifying glass or look inside the charging case where a global serial number is written.

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The serial number of 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 in fine print, but it’s still legible. Note: another number appears below the right auricle. It is not does not the serial number.

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On AirPods Max, you 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!

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

The details to check on all AirPods

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

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

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

If the seller tells you to press a button or go to the Bluetooth settings, it’s a safe bet they’re 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.

AirPods Max have distinctive features: the control wheel similar to that of the Apple Watch, but also a carrying case sold together 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, in the Apple area of ​​Amazon (and nowhere else) and on Darty and Fnac (which also sell fakes on the Marketplace…). Same observation for AirPods Max.

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