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 counterfeits that abound on ad sites! These methods allow you to get rid of them easily.

With the AirPods, Apple has established itself as a benchmark in nomadic music. Mock their launch for their unusual shape, Apple’s wireless headphones were later massively copied – same thing for the AirPods Pro (our test), although their less-easy-to-reproduce shape spares them slightly. The AirPods Max (our test), on the other hand, are a bit expensive for those who don’t take advantage of all the helmet options. Finally, the recent AirPods 3 (our test) could also be scrutinized by the competition.

If completely legitimate brands try to reveal the secret of the truly wireless headset who would be light, skinny, comfy, easy to match and self-contained at the same time, scammers flagged by shameless influencers double down on their pettiness to copy the originals. Some of these headphones to the AirPods they even end up in social media ads. Only the AirPods Max, which are more difficult to copy, seem more or less spared.

For headphones, while the third generation AirPods are on the market (about € 199), and the AirPods Pro have established themselves as a high-end reference (about € 210 on sale), the devices are starting to be found on the used market or on gray markets, marketplaces and other platforms to connect buyers and sellers internationally. Amazon, while very legitimate, is full of them. And as expected, scams abound. Here’s how to find them.

For further

Check the serial number of your AirPods


From the AirPods launched in 2019, the Cupertino brand has understood the concern posed by counterfeiting and added a serial number to each of the headphones. It is located under the tip that enters the ear, between the round 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 – this 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 located under the headset, at the base of the stem. Provide a magnifying glass or reference inside the charging case where a global serial number is written.

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

On AirPods Max, is a little different: the serial number is located under the left pavilion, removing the magnetic pad. It is in small print, but is still legible. Attention: another number appears under the right ear cup. It is not Not the serial number.

On AirPods Max, you will get a serial number by lifting the right earcup. But that’s not the right one – you have to turn up the left atrium to find it!

AirPods and AirPods Pro do not work with the Apple Warranty and Service Validator, but you can use the one with the case to verify that the set is genuine. The one in AirPods Max works. Just go to this address to check. Either way, having a serial number on AirPods is something to check that can help separate real AirPods from counterfeit ones.

The details to check on all AirPods

Most copies of AirPods are easily detectable – Apple’s skill 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 may be fooled, especially if first generation AirPods are sold that don’t 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 and open the lid. The iPhone should detect the AirPods and offer automatic pairing.

Screenshot 2019-07-01 at 14.48.00
This counterfeit sold on Amazon is a beautiful reproduction … but you can easily spot a button

If the vendor tells you you need to press a button or go to Bluetooth settings, it’s a safe bet that 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 the 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 case sold with the product. If it’s not in the seller’s box, it’s fish.

New models

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

Leave a Comment