How to Spot Fake AirPods Pro: a complete guide

How to Spot Fake AirPods Pro: a complete guide
Apple's AirPods Pro are among the best wireless earbuds money can buy and are definitely the best AirPods Apple has to offer. These tiny earbuds offer amazing audio quality, with clear highs, mids, and clean bass, and pack great active noise cancellation.
Probably because they are so popular among Apple users, you can find many replicas of them on the market. Some shady sellers may even try to sell you fake AirPods Pros, and if you can't tell the difference between real and fake Apple AirPods, you could be tricked into buying them.
To prevent this from happening, we will explain how to tell if AirPods Pro are fake. For this article, we have used a pair of TWS i500 Pro earbuds, which look almost like real AirPods Pros and can easily be sold as such. You probably won't find them listed as AirPods Pro on any reputable website like Amazon or Best Buy, but someone could try to sell them as AirPods Pros on sites like Craigslist and eBay.

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How to spot fake AirPods Pro

Before we begin, we want to note that it's important to take a good look at the photos of your potential new AirPods Pro and — if needed — request more from the seller. This will save you the headache of refunds and wasted time early on. Plus, if the seller seems unwilling to provide quality closeups that weren't taken with a potato camera, you will know that these AirPods are probably fake and that the seller is most likely trying to scam you.

Now that we have that out of the way, let's show you how to spot fake AirPods.

Check and compare the AirPods Pro's packaging

The materials of the retail box

The first thing you can do to check whether a pair of AirPods Pro is fake is to examine its retail box. The real AirPods Pro are packaged in a sturdy, high-quality white box with a picture of the AirPods on the front. Fake AirPods Pro, on the other hand, will probably be shipped in a box made of lower-quality materials.

While the shape and the flap contours are usually spot on, there’s a small detail on the front of AirPods cases that copycats have a hard time replicating. That’s the LED light and — more specifically — its opening.

Look for typos in the printed text

You won't find any typos on an official retail box made by Apple. But you may see different typing errors on a fake Apple retail box. There might also be some inconsistencies in the font size and style of the text.

Look for the AirPods serial number printed on the box

The retail box of real AirPods Pro also has the serial number of the earbuds printed on it, which can be checked in Apple's system. So if the retail box of an AirPods Pro doesn't have a serial number, or if it does, but Apple's website can't recognize it, then you’re definitely looking at fake AirPods.

Inspect the case

Front of the case

While the front of fake AirPods charging cases may look similar to the genuine product at first glance, copycats have a hard time replicating the LED light opening. The LED light on authentic AirPods Pro cases is flush with the case and covered by a thin, transparent layer. Conversely, counterfeit AirPods Pro cases typically have a pinhole in that spot instead. Granted, you probably won’t be able to notice it at first glance, but if you view the case from an angle, you will be able to spot it.

Also, there is a difference in the LED light itself between the original AirPods and their fake counterparts. The light is more focused and contained on the original AirPods. On the copycats, however, the LED light bleeds into the case plastic.

Left case - fake AirPods Pro, right case - real AirPods Pro

Back of the case

There are three things to look for here. Firstly, you should inspect the hinge of the case, as counterfeit cases often have hinges that appear slightly different. The hinge should be completely flat, and all joints should be evenly spaced.
However, don't be disheartened if the joint lines don't align perfectly with the lines of the flap — as you can see, this isn't a perfect match even on our original AirPods Pro case.

Left case - fake AirPods Pro, right case - real AirPods Pro

The second thing you can check is the text, "Designed by Apple in California, Assembled in China." Some fake cases may not have this phrase, while others may have it placed incorrectly. You will need a nice photo of an original AirPods Pro case to compare against, so here you go:
Proper text positioning on original AirPods Case

Lastly, it can be difficult to spot in photos, but it is worth looking for evidence of low-quality work around the button located at the back of the case. In real AirPods Pro cases, the button is flush with the rest of the case, fitting the circular opening perfectly. In contrast, counterfeit cases often have a slightly wobbly button with some curvature where the plastic was cut and processed to fit.

Bottom of the case

It's interesting to note that counterfeit AirPods come with fake Lightning ports and USB-to-Lightning cables. Although these fake AirPods can be charged using either the counterfeit cable or authentic Apple cables, the fake cable will not function with genuine Apple devices.

By inspecting the bottom of an original AirPods Pro case, you will definitely notice that the Lightning port has been installed very securely. The metal ring is slightly protruding from the case, but there is no visible hole or ring in the plastic. It's just as if the port has been tightly inserted into the case.
Left case - fake AirPods Pro, right case - real AirPods Pro

In contrast, the Lightning port on a counterfeit AirPods Pro case looks like it has been "sunk in" the plastic a bit. Furthermore, the metal collar at the top of the port is much deeper on genuine AirPods Pro cases than on fake ones. If you examine the inside of the fake Lightning port, you will notice plastic at a much earlier stage than you would on the authentic product.

Opening the flap

Ever since the original AirPods, everyone has been obsessed with the nice, clicky flap. It opens decisively and stays open. It closes with a satisfying click.

Fake AirPods cases usually have a very loose flap, which you can wiggle around even when it's closed. When you open it up — it might not even stay open, with its springs gently pushing it back into the closed position.

There should be no extra lights inside the case

As you can see in our case here — the TWS i500 Pros proudly flaunt their Bluetooth connectivity by having lights installed in the earbuds themselves. They glow red and blue to signal when they are paired. Needless to say, there's no such light show on any of Apple's AirPods models.

So, if you open a case of AirPods Pro for sale and you see them glowing on the inside, just pass.

Look for a serial number inside the hatch

Left case - fake AirPods Pro, right case - real AirPods Pro

All AirPods have a serial number printed on the inside of the case flap. This serial number can be run through Apple's system here to check if it's a genuine Apple product. A fake will probably not have the serial number in there at all, and if there is one in there — it should return an error on the Apple website

Inspect the AirPods Pro

The AirPods Pro feature a set of black stripes on each earbud that incorporate a metal grille, serving either as microphones or for acoustic relief. The genuine AirPods Pro are designed in such a way that the metal grille's black color matches seamlessly with the surrounding black stripe, making them nearly indistinguishable. Contrarily, the fake AirPods can be identified by the lighter shade of black used for the grille.

Left - fake AirPods Pro, right - real AirPods Pro

Upon close examination, it appears that the TWS i500 Pro's grilles are merely painted for cosmetic purposes without any actual functionality. This would make sense, as these earbuds lack ANC.

Also, look for the optical sensors on the bottom of the AirPods Pro earbuds — these are used to “tell” the earbuds when they are in your ear. In our case, the TWS i500 Pros didn’t even have such equipped (since, you know, they drive the cost up).

Left - fake AirPods Pro, right - real AirPods Pro

Sound quality

Of course, you are probably wondering if fake AirPods Pro sound as good as the originals. The short answer to this question is no. The longer answer is that the fake AirPods Pro sound middy and tinny. There is no bottom end; there is no sparkle in the highs, and they don't offer much clarity. The fakes also lack perks like active noise cancellation. 

If you want to learn more about how fake AirPods sound compared to real ones, you can visit our fake vs. real AirPods comparison.

Fake AirPods Pro probably won't work well with your iPhone

Your iPhone will most likely recognize the fake AirPods when you open the flap. As we have found out, even these TWS i500 Pro earphones will tell the iPhone that they are AirPods Pro and start the pairing process.

However, even though we managed to pair the TWS i500 Pro to our iPhone without any hiccup, the phone itself refused to play any media — it just crashed. Everything from Apple Music to YouTube would just freeze when we pressed the play button. We managed to get them to work somehow, but it wasn't easy.

Ironically, these probably would've worked fine if they didn't try to imitate the AirPods connectivity. But nooo, they try to "lie" to the iPhone that they are real AirPods Pro and even have menu options for noise cancellation and transparency (features they do not support)! So, the iPhone goes haywire.

If a deal is too good to be true, it probably is

Have you heard the saying, "if it's too good to be true, it probably is"? Well, this definitely applies when shopping for Apple AirPods Pro earbuds online. Don't fall for those amazing deals that offer the earbuds at an unbelievably low price. More often than not, these deals are too good to be true, and the AirPods being sold are just cheap knockoffs.

To lower the chances of encountering such scams, we recommend that you only buy from reputable sources. Stick to purchasing from the manufacturers' official online stores or trusted retailers like Amazon, Best Buy, and Walmart. Yes, you still might find fishy deals there, but since these sites have good return policies, you will be able to receive a refund in case you buy a fake product.


To identify fake AirPods Pro, you should compare their case and the earbuds with an original pair of AirPods Pro. If you don't have any AirPods Pro available, feel free to come back to this article and compare the earbuds in your hands with the photos we have provided.

Our advice is to buy only genuine products. Genuine products meet specific safety standards and are often tested and verified by regulatory bodies. Counterfeit products don't undergo the same testing and could put your health at risk.

Also, genuine products are made with high-quality materials and are made to last a long time. Counterfeit products are usually made with cheap materials and break easily.

So, next time you see a tempting deal offering a pair of AirPods Pro for one-quarter of their original price, just pass that deal up and head to Apple's official store and get a new pair of AirPods Pro from there.

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