Apple debuted the HomePod in 2018 and it wasn’t long before scammers flooded the market with cheap knockoffs. With a hefty price tag of $349, it’s no wonder fake HomePod became a hot counterfeit item so quickly.
Now, it’s harder than ever to know the difference. Without a bit of know-how and background info, it’s easy to get duped into a scam. We’re here to help make sure that doesn’t happen.
Below, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about fake HomePod so that you can avoid scams and find good deals on authentic Apple’s smart speaker.
HomePod delivers impressive sound, works seamlessly with iPhone, features the intelligence of Siri, and is the foundation for any smart home. Unfortunately, counterfeit HomePods and knock-offs have been profiting from this initiative as well. And, distinguishing the copycats from real ones has become noticeably harder.
Fake HomePod Manufacturers have become so clever — even nailing the software aspect of the HomePod. In fact, even actual HomePod owners have been scratching their heads when identifying the real ones from the fakes.
The burden of checking for authenticity falls on the buyer. And if that someone is you, then you’re lucky because we’ll show you five ways to spot fake HomePod.
Without further ado, here’s your ultimate guide on how to tell if HomePod is fake.
How to Identify Fake HomePod or HomePod mini
1. How to Tell if HomePod is Fake via the Serial Number
The serial number is the fingerprint of a product. It is a combination of numbers and letters assigned only to a specific unit produced.
This allows Apple to track specific units during inventory. Aside from that, Apple also uses serial numbers to identify defective batches. For users, the serial number is proof that the product actually came from Apple and not any other manufacturer.
The serial number can also be used to identify stolen or lost HomePod. Every HomePod has a one-of-a-kind serial number so you can verify whether a unit is yours or not. For example, if you suspect that another person is using your lost HomePod, check the serial number.
If you’ve casually picked up your HomePod and looked for the serial number, you might not have noticed it, but Apple does print the numbers on each and every smart speaker.
Flip the HomePod upside down and take a closer look at the writing at the bottom. You’ll find that the serial number is stated along with the Designed by Apple in California writing that surrounds the Apple logo.
If you can’t read the serial number on the HomePod, you can also find it on the original packaging. The serial number is located next to a barcode on the sticker. Check each side of the packaging to find this sticker. Make sure you read the serial number and not the UPC, which is next to a different barcode.
Apple has a dedicated website to check the authenticity of its products. To check whether the HomePod mini is original or not, visit Apple’s official https://checkcoverage.apple.com page. Enter the serial number and check the validity of the purchase date along with other details.
Checking the serial numbers to identify fakes used to be a foolproof method. Unfortunately, that’s not the case nowadays. Manufacturers of fake HomePod have been taking serial numbers from real HomePods to use in batches of fakes
We also noticed that counterfeit HomePods have different serial numbers on the box and the smart speakers themselves.
2. Price Difference of Real vs. Fake HomePod
The price difference between fake and real HomePod is the most significant source of temptation for counterfeit buyers. After all, why spend almost a hundred bucks on authentic HomePod if you can buy a pair that looks like it for a third of the price?
Currently, the HomePod mini cost $99. We saw quite a few discounts on the HomePod mini over the 2021 holiday season, but right now there isn’t currently a notable deal on the speaker. In contrast, counterfeit HomePod mini only costs around $10-$40, depending on their quality.
Some high-quality counterfeit HomePods are sold at a higher price — closer to the original’s price range. Some sellers raise the prices of their counterfeit HomePods to make it seem like they’re the real deal.
The best way to ensure that you’re buying originals is to buy from Apple Stores of Apple Authorized Resellers. You can check Apple’s locate page to find the nearest legit sellers near you. If you’re buying through online platforms such as Amazon, make sure that you’re buying from their official Apple Store.
3. How to Spot Fake HomePod via the Packaging
Minimalist, intelligent, and clean — these are the perfect words to describe the boxes that come with Apple products. Anyone who knows a thing or two about tech brands also knows how much Apple pays attention to the details, even when it comes to the packaging.
Because of this, counterfeit manufacturers seem to have a harder time producing high-quality packaging than the smart speaker itself.
Different counterfeit HomePods come from different manufacturers. This means that some manufacturers could have gotten parts of packaging right that other manufacturers haven’t.
The packaging for an original HomePod minis is exquisite. Each of the real HomePod minis come in a matching box. They’re absolutely gorgeous and the colors are eye popping. Each box has a unique “mini” word mark with a different sound-related effect applied to it. The top of each box shows off the colors that appear on the top of the new HomePod minis as well.
Check for misspellings and wrong information. A company like Apple would not have typographical errors on the box itself and even on the manuals. These materials go through multiple rounds of proofreaders and copywriters before printing. If you spot any errors on your HomePod’s packaging, then you’re probably holding a counterfeit one.
You’ll also notice that the labels for original boxes are separated whereas fake ones simply have one whole strip of paper attached.
You can also authenticate your HomePod by checking what’s inside the box. Oftentimes, counterfeit HomePods would only have the manual. However, authentic HomePod would have two more items outside of the manual — the 20W power adapter and the warranty card.
Who knew that even the suction you feel when you open the box of an Apple product was intentionally put there?
Apple boxes are composed of two parts — an inner box that houses the box contents and an outer box that has the image of the product. To open the box, you need to raise the outer box and wait for the inner box to naturally release itself. This is something that most counterfeit products cannot fabricate.
To check this, get yourself another box from an authentic Apple product. Familiarize yourself with the drag and suction from that box and compare it to your HomePod’s box. If the sensation isn’t the same, then you probably have counterfeit HomePod.
4. Physical Checks To Help Identify Real vs. Fake HomePod
Now, onto the HomePod itself.
Apple really showed their detail-oriented side with the HomePod so counterfeit manufacturers tend to miss the little things.
Unlike the packaging, though, the physical differences between real and fake HomePod are a lot more subtle. To an untrained eye, high-quality counterfeits can easily pass as originals so below are the key areas you can use to authenticate.
Different manufacturers make counterfeit HomePods differently. Some manufacturers can get some areas of the HomePod right so it’s important to check out the smart speaker from all angles and spot the mishaps.
To identify HomePod clone, look carefully at the device. The HomePod mini has a compact spherical design, while the original HomePod has a bulkier capsule-like design.
Both devices are covered in Apple’s audio-conductive mesh material. The HomePod and HomePod mini also share the Siri waveform that appears on the top display to indicate when Siri is engaged, and integrated touch controls for volume.
The HomePod mini features a long, non-detachable fabric cable. The cable sports a USB-C connector,, which makes it fairly versatile on that end. HomePod mini clone will sometimes have a detachable cable instead.
Although technically not meant to be removed, the power cable on the original HomePod could be detached and reattached with a bit of force. In addition, the original HomePod model requires a direct connection to a power outlet via a plug, rather than a power adapter.
HomePod mini comes in 5 colors: orange, yellow, blue, white and space gray. If the HomePod mini doesn’t have either of these colors, that’s a bad sign.
On the bottom of the HomePod is a hard plastic base. This is where the Apple logo is located. If you don’t see Apple Logo on the bottom of the HomePod, it’s likely counterfeit.
Also in typical Apple fashion, HomePod has no buttons (no real physical buttons, at least). There’s just a glass touchscreen (more like touchpad) on the top. If you spot physical buttons on HomePod, you are dealing with counterfeit.
5. Check if it can connect to your iPhone
You can’t connect your iPhone to the HomePod Mini through Bluetooth. However, the whole setup process is pretty simple with an iPhone. The HomePod and your iPhone see each other, and the iPhone tells the HomePod everything it needs to know about your home network, and your iCloud ID. It’s quite similar to pairing AirPods.
To set up your HomePod, plug it into an outlet and wait until you hear a chime and a white light appears on top. Then hold your unlocked iPhone next to it and tap Set Up. Follow the on-screen instructions, center the HomePod into your iPhone’s viewfinder, then wait for it to finish setting up.
If the HomePod is suddenly not working, make sure you’ve gone through the troubleshooting process first before calling the smart speaker a counterfeit.
What to Do If You Purchase Fake HomePod?
Mistakes happen. If you accidentally purchased fake HomePod, not all is lost. Depending on when you bought the smart speaker and where you bought it from, there’s still a lot you can do to recoup your money and right the wrong. The processes differ depending on the platform you purchased the product:
- Wish: Contact Wish’s customer service to take advantage of their 30-day return policy. Check their list of exceptions to make sure your purchase qualifies. Wish is notorious for selling fake products, so always be cautious buying on the platform.
- Craigslist: Craigslist won’t be able to protect you from scammers and counterfeits. You’ll need to do your due diligence to avoid getting scammed. However, if you believe you’ve been scammed, Craigslist still appreciates you reporting the fraud so that they can protect future buyers.
- Facebook Marketplace: Facebook Marketplace doesn’t provide protections for sellers and buyers.
- Walmart Marketplace: Request a refund via the Walmart Marketplace Promise to recover your funds.
- Amazon: Contact Amazon customer support to file an A-to-Z Guarantee to start your refund process.
- eBay: Contact eBay to ask for their money-back guarantee.
Contact the FBI’s digital division to submit a fraud report. They’ll provide additional advice, and this information will hopefully help them catch the bad guys.
Where Are Fake HomePods Sold?
Scammers sell fake HomePods all across the internet and local listings. So unless you’re buying from Apple, Best Buy, or another credible tech store, you’ll have to deal with fake products to some extent.
Here are the most common places scammers are selling fake Apple HomePods:
- Facebook Marketplace
Scammers operate on other e-commerce platforms, too, but these are often the most prevalent. And that’s because these sites sometimes have mind-blowingly low legitimate discounts on high-quality tech items.
Where to Buy original Apple HomePod
You can find authentic HomePod at various in-store and online retailers. Here’s a shortlist of the most reliable places you can buy real HomePod:
- Best Buy
You can find real HomePod on popular e-commerce sites like eBay and Amazon, but you’ll always run the slightest risk of getting scammed. That’s not the case with the authentic websites listed above.
Authenticating HomePod is as tricky as ever. With the things we discussed above, though, you should be properly armed to take on the challenge. Now, you won’t be easily fooled by those who want to take advantage of you. The only thing left for you to do is to go get that HomePod now!
What inspections worked for you? Do you have any other tricks under your sleeves? Tell us about it through the comments below!