How can you tell fake AirPods 3 from the real thing? Are you perhaps using knock-off AirPods 3 without knowing? Here’s how to find out.
Apple’s hefty price tag on a set of AirPods 3 might send you in search of cheaper deals elsewhere. There are lots of lower prices to be found, but you need to be careful you don’t wind up with a pair of AirPods 3 clone instead.
Fake AirPods 3 range from obvious knock-offs to almost exact replicas, but if you look close enough you can always tell the difference. Before buying the 3rd generation AirPods, use these tips to find out if they’re real or not.
It’s often possible to spot fake AirPods 3 before you even open the packaging. In fact, it’s good to check first because you stand the best chance of getting a refund if you never open the box.
It is easy with some copies of Apple products: The packaging quality of AirPods 3 clone is often poor, typing errors such as “Dseigned by Apple” or translation errors are spotted in the labelling.
Carefully read all the text and inspect each of the images on your AirPods 3 box looking for mistakes. Any typos, double spaces, or low-quality pictures suggest you’ve got a fake AirPods 3 box.
Check serial number
You don’t even have to unpack the device, the first step is to check the serial number on Apple’s website. Apple uses serial numbers to identify each set of AirPods and the charging case they came with. This can be found on the side of the packaging and can be entered into the Apple’s Check Coverage website to see if they’re real or not. Fake AirPods 3 will immediately be identified as invalid exposing them as a copy.
Unfortunately, according to reports, this check is not full-prove, apparently some forgers from Apple use serial numbers that are recognised by Apple. Because of this it can be necessary to open the box and do a few tests.
The best knock-off AirPods 3 get the outside of the packaging exactly right—they might even be plastic wrapped as well. But don’t judge a book by its cover; just because the outside of the box looks right doesn’t mean the AirPods inside are real.
At first glance, the fake AirPods 3 look perfectly fine, and the accessories are complete. Some fake AirPods 3 devices have all the usual papers and instructions, along with real-looking 3rd generation AirPods including charging case and a lightning cable.
However, the enclosed instructions is sometimes suspicious: The print quality of the instructions is usually moderate and the type is normally blurred. Very unusual for Apple leaflets.
Check if they are recognised by an iPhone or Mac
The one thing a fake AirPod 3 won’t have is a W1 chip, which is a special chip from Apple. This chip ensures that AirPods are recognised by and synced immediately to an iPhone, iPad or Mac.
When you open the charging case, a nearby iPhone should immediately recognise and connect to the AirPods. Although some fake AirPods 3 copy this, none of them get the Bluetooth connection exactly right.
Most fake AirPods 3 require you to connect to them through the Bluetooth settings. For some of them, you even need to connect to each AirPod individually. This is never the case for real AirPods 3.
Even if your AirPods 3 connect using Apple’s setup animation, open the Bluetooth settings for your AirPods to make sure everything else looks right.
On your iPhone, go to Settings > Bluetooth. Tap the i button next to your AirPods.
Real AirPods 3 give you the options to rename them, change the controls, and turn Automatic Ear Detection on or off. Most replica AirPods 3 only give you the options to Disconnect or Forget This Device.
The most informative test is the functionality check. Original 3rd generation AirPods come with features that knock-off AirPods 3 cannot replicate. The third-generation AirPods have the force sensor tech from AirPods Pro. Test each of the features below to make sure your AirPods 3 are real.
While listening to music, tap the stem on your AirPods 3 to carry out one of the following actions:
- Play or pause audio: Press the force sensor on the stem of one of your AirPods once.
- Skip forward: Double-press the stem.
- Skip backward: Triple-press the stem.
AirPods 3 also work with “Hey Siri”, provided it’s turned on for your iPhone. Go to Settings > Siri & Search to check.
Fake AirPods 3 Battery Drain Faster Than Real Ones
Most counterfeit AirPods 3 battery drain much faster than the original ones. Genuine AirPods 3 deliver up to 6 hours of continuous listening time, or up to 5 hours when spatial audio is used. If someone’s using AirPods 3 to take a phone call, they’ll get up to 4 hours of talk time on a single charge. The charging case is improved as well. Combing AirPods 3 and their new MagSafe-compatible case, users get up to 30 hours of total listening time and up to 20 hours of talk time. Furthermore, placing AirPods 3 in the case delivers around 1 hour of listening/talk time within 5 minutes.
Fake AirPods 3 Weigh Less Than Real Ones
Most knock-off AirPods 3 use cheaper materials than the official Apple ones. That means they’re often much lighter. If possible, use a set of scales to weigh both AirPods and the charging case; compare the results to the weight listed on Apple’s Tech Specs page for the AirPods 3.
How to Spot a Fake AirPods 3 Charging Case
Fake AirPods 3 often come with an oversized charging case that looks nothing like the real deal. The real AirPods 3 case close magnetically with a satisfying snap, and the back of the lid has a metallic hinge while the rest of the case is white plastic.
The differences between the AirPods 3 and AirPods Pro cases are mostly cosmetic. The AirPods 3 case is a bit taller and narrower than the AirPods Pro case, making it look like a hybrid between the cases for the standard AirPods and AirPods Pro. It’s also lighter than the AirPods Pro case at 1.34 ounces versus 1.61 ounces. Both cases can be charged via Qi wireless charging, Apple MagSafe wireless charging or the company’s Lightning cable.
You should see a Setup button on the back and a single status light on the front (or under the lid for the original charging case).
Take a look at the bottom of the case and make sure it uses a Lightning port to charge. If possible, plug it in to check the status light turns green while charging.