USE PACKAGING TO SPOT
Fake AirPods Pro
A few weeks ago I got duped into purchasing fake AirPods Pro on OfferUp and wow it's amazing how good these fakes are now. After purchasing a legit pair from Amazon, I was able to compare them side by side and found some easy to spot details in the packaging to help identify fakes. Basic common sense, your best bet is always to buy from established, trusted vendors and if the price seems too good to be true... bail. But if you're considering buying private party or maybe already bought a pair, this info can help.
Outer Packaging Differences
When I saw the fake item in person, it was factory sealed and even had the little helper tear-away strip to make opening the plastic wrap easier. The image of the AirPods was also embossed/raised just like the real ones, I had no idea it was a fake. You have to know what to look for.
- On one side there are 2 stickers side by side and on the fake they're vertically centered, but on the real they are bottom aligned sitting closer to the bottom of the box.
- On the fake the text color on both stickers is the same black tone. On the real one the left sticker is a lighter, dark grey color, while the right sticker has darker black text.
- Some of the characters on the left sticker of the fake seem bolder than other words. On the real one the text is uniform throughout, no bolder ones.
- On the right side label (I've purposely blanked out my serial no. info), the fake has no bolder fonts, the real item bolds the first line "MWP22AM/A... Charging Case"
- The "SA" energy verified icon at lower right of the real item is bigger and aligned closely to the right bottom edge of the label. On the fake it sits a ways off from the right edge.
Inner Packaging Differences
Hopefully you spotted the fake just from the outer packaging. But if you already opened it, there are extremely obvious differences in the internal materials.
- The outside tear-away strip on the fake had really weak adhesive and just yanked right off without helping to peel the outer plastic wrap off with it.
- When you try to remove the box lid, the fake will get stuck and not easily slide all the way off by it's own weight. The real deal should smoothly slide off without having to shake the box.
- On the instructions sleeve, the "Designed by Apple in California" is a grey color on the fake, but a clear, black font on the real one. And the inner materials line up almost perfectly to the top of the sleeve on the real one. While on the fake one they're a bit shorter and leave a noticeable gap up top.
- The little pamphlets inside the sleeve had staples on the fake, no staples on the real ones.
- The rounded edges of the pamphlets are cut cleanly and uniformly on the real ones. They're jagged and different shaped on some edges of the fake one.
- The outer protective wrapping on the real ones is precisely oriented so there's a longer piece sticking up at the top to grab and there's a light grey horizontal bar printed on it. The fake one doesn't have either of these details and the material is noticeably thinner.
There are many posts on other details to look for on the earbuds themselves, so I won't repeat them. However, I did find that my fakes passed all the serial number authenticity, serial number locations and other minute details. It was in the actual functionality and software interaction that I saw clear issues.
- When connected to an iPhone, you should be able to go to "Settings > General > About" and see the AirPods listed there. Tapping the AirPods text should bring up additional info like firmware version etc. My fakes would not show up at all.
- With the AirPods connected to a MacBook, click the Apple icon at the upper left and select "About this Mac > System report > Hardware > Bluetooth" and look in the list for the AirPods, my fakes ones firmware would be something like "0x4648" while the real ones had no "x" and updated themselves to "3A283". The fakes will not be able to update their firmware as far as I know.
- The mic was horrible, on calls other people could barely make out what I was saying. However the listening output of the headphones was fine and it supported the toggling between the different noise canceling modes or calling up Siri just fine.
I hope this info helps people avoid getting scammed and was helpful to you.