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All The Signs to Immediately Spot Fake AirPods Pro 2 (With Images)

Last updated: 2 months ago
11 min read

We bought fake and real Apple AirPods Pro 2 with our own money. Then we examined all the differences to show you so you don’t get scammed. Learn how to spot fake AirPods (without opening the box).

In comparison images below, the fake AirPods are ALWAYS on the left side.

Apple AirPods Pro 2 fake vs real on a rock

Apple AirPods are one of the most popular Bluetooth accessories in the world. Therefore, it’s no wonder that scammers want to take advantage of the hype.

The problem with counterfeit AirPods is how well they’re made and how quickly they can deceive a potential buyer. New tactics involve fake receipts from known retailers and the use of official serial numbers.

However, scammers still leave clues around the packaging and on the AirPods themselves that should help you spot the fakes and save you a lot of money.

Recommendation: When buying second-hand or new Apple AirPods Pro 2, always meet the buyer in person so you can inspect the packaging.


  • Apple AirPods are among the most faked wireless gadgets, so be extra careful when buying them second-hand or “brand-new” from a person online.
  • Fake AirPods image on the box has washed-out colors.
  • Fake silver Apple logo on the box has visible printing lines, and the “AirPods” text is very slim (original text is thicker (bold)).
  • The counterfeit top cover of the box has visible “flaps” under the upper paper layer.
  • Text and images inside fake booklets are choppy and poorly printed.
  • Original ear tip packaging has an image with muted colors and is fully made of cardboard, whereas fake packaging has a plastic plate and hard-to-see letter sizes.
  • Authentic AirPods have a smoother black microphone mesh and the ear tips detach by pulling, not twisting like on fakes.
  • Checking the serial number is no longer a safe way to know if a product is genuine. Even getting a receipt from a seller could be fake.
  • iOS devices recognize counterfeit AirPods as real ones, will give you pairing animations, and let you tweak their setting as if everything is normal.
  • See all examples below
CONTENTS (show more)

    AirPods Image on the Box

    Apple AirPods Pro 2 box images
    The print on the fake AirPods Pro 2 box (left) is noticeably more washed out, and the box has a bluish tint.

    The packaging comes with an image of the AirPods inside. In this case, the image should show Apple AirPods Pro 2.

    • The packaging of the real AirPods has more contrast and details, while the image of fake AirPods appears washed out and not thick (lesser 3D effect).
    • The microphone grill (mesh) in the real packaging is very detailed, but it’s softer and blurred on the fakes.
    Apple AirPods Pro 2 images on box
    The box image on the counterfeit box (left) is less detailed.

    These are crucial clues on how to spot a fake without opening the box. It seems that scammers don’t have the best printers when recreating the original packaging.

    Text and Symbols on the Packaging

    The quality of the text and symbols is quite different between the real and fake AirPods. We’ll list all possible clues you should be aware of.

    Silver Apple logo

    Apple AirPods Pro 2 case Apple logo
    You can see the printing lines on the left (fake) vs. the smooth, uniform print on the right (genuine).

    The box has 2 silver Apple logos on the right and left side.

    • Logo on the genuine packaging is shiny with a uniform color, as if it is a sticker.
    • Logo on the fake packaging is also shiny but lacks uniform color. You can see the printing lines.

    “AirPods” text

    Apple AirPods Pro 2 boxes
    Fake (left) vs. genuine (right) vs. genuine AirPods 3 box (on top).

    There’s an “AirPods Pro” text printed on the upper side of the box.

    • Text on the official box is noticeably thicker as if Apple is using a “bold” font setting.
    • Text on the fake box is slimmer, which gives it a cheaper look.

    Note that Apple is using slightly different text thicknesses depending on the product. For example, the text on the original AirPods 3 is thicker than on the original AirPods Pro 2.

    Apple also made a few changes with the new USB-C version, like making the flaps that you need to peel to open the box slightly different.

    Apple AirPods Pro 2 opening the box
    Fake box uses an older opening technique compared to the new AirPods Pro 2 (right).

    “Compatible with…” text

    Apple AirPods Pro 2 text compatible with
    The text on the genuine box (right) is thinner yet clearer to read.

    The bottom side of the box contains “compatible with…” text, serial number information, and information regarding where AirPods were being distributed.

    • Text on the original AirPods is always printed with higher quality. It is sharp and without smears.
    • Text on the fake AirPods is printed with lower-quality printers, which you can see from unsharp letters and smearing. The text also appears darker compared to the original.

    If you’re buying in Europe and the seller has a receipt from a European retailer, check for the Apple Distribution information. You should see:

    Apple Distribution International Ltd.
    Hollyhill Industrial Estate
    Cork, Ireland

    Furthermore, you should also see the date of manufacturing (like 10/2023 or 01/2022), which is also absent from the fake box.

    Quality of the Top Cover

    Apple AirPods Pro 2 visible flaps layer
    The fake box has visible “flaps” under the top paper layer, which are absent in the genuine box (on top).

    To earn money, scammers need to make counterfeit AirPods boxes as cheaply as possible. Apart from the washed-out colors of the AirPods’ image and low-quality text prints, you can also see how the top cover was glued together.

    • On the fake box, looking at the sides with the silver Apple logo, you can see “flaps” underneath the white paper. If you can’t see them through a shrink wrap, you can feel them under your finger.

    Visible edge

    Apple AirPods Pro 2 box edge
    The paper layer on the fake box (left) isn’t glued precisely on the edge as on the original box (right).

    The genuine packaging is made with high precision. If there’s something that needs to be glued or bent, is always done precisely.

    • The fake box is filled with paper glue and cardboard bending that’s unprecise and doesn’t go right to the edge. You can see that next to the flaps, the paper isn’t glued right to the edge, but it’s instead a bit shorter.

    Opening the Box

    Boxes for Apple products are carefully designed to open in a specific way. The cover has to slide off evenly and just fast enough to fuel the owner with anticipation. 

    • When opening the genuine top cover, it evenly slides off in a second, max two.
    • The top cover on the fake box is opening much slower and needs some help to fully slide off.

    That’s because the fake box uses rather plain cardboard, whereas the genuine box has a slightly smoother, almost waxed surface. 

    User Guide & Safety Information Booklets

    The first obvious giveaway is how the cardboard booklet holders (with “Designed by Apple in California” text) are glued together.

    Apple AirPods Pro 2 booklet holders
    the fake booklet holder (left) is put together incredibly sloppy.
    • The original holder is glued together with high precision, from edge to edge, and without opened gaps. It might be off by a hair, but that rarely happens (our original AirPods Pro 2 are slightly off, whereas the holder in the original AirPods 3 is spot on.
    • The fake booklet holder is glued hastily, a few millimeters off the edge and with gaps in between.

    Another dead giveaway is that the original paper is slightly yellowish, whereas the fakes use standard white paper. However, that’s a bit hard to notice without a side-by-side comparison.

    Print quality

    The next obvious difference is in the printing quality.

    Apple AirPods Pro 2 booklet comparison iphone
    Print quality is noticeably worse in the fake booklet (left). Do you see the difference in the pink color?
    • Original booklets have sharp text and contrasty images (the notch in the iPhone image is uniformly black).
    • Fake booklets have choppy text with lots of smearing. Images also appear slightly washed out and undetailed, and you can see clear printing lines inside the black notch.
    Apple AirPods Pro 2 booklet text comparison
    The text in the fake booklet (left) is incredibly choppy, as if it is flaking away.

    Protective Plastic Around AirPods

    True wireless earbuds come wrapped in plastic or paper, protecting them against scratches during shipping.

    Apple AirPods Pro 2 case plastic wrap
    The original plastic that protects the AirPods’ case is quite thick and holds its shape well (right).

    Look for two things in AirPods plastic: thickness and the text on the back.

    • Thickness: The plastic used in real AirPods is thick and stands on its own even if you unpeel it, whereas the fake plastic wrap is thin and is easily squashed.
    • Text: The text on the back of the paper is thinner and sharper on the original plastic. It’s also printed in light grey, whereas fake text appears in standard gray.

    AirPods “Cradle”

    Most charging cases for true wireless earbuds come wrapped in protective plastic/paper and placed in a “cradle” that fits their size. That is to prevent them from bouncing around the box during shipping.

    Apple AirPods Pro 2 case cradles
    You can see small circles under the fake charging case’s cradle (left).
    • To save money, scammers make this cradle from plastic, whereas the original one is made from cardboard.
    • Turning the cradle around reveals circular bumps where the plastic was squeezed into the mold, whereas the real cradle has a smooth surface.

    Ear Tips Packaging

    Proprietary AirPods Pro ear tips come stored in cardboard packaging that you unfold and open. The first clue is the image showing how ear tips detach from the AirPods.

    Apple AirPods Pro 2 ear tip packaging both
    Interestingly, fake ear tip packaging (left) uses more vivid colors than the original.

    Interestingly, this time around, the image on the original packaging appears pale and washed out compared to the more vivid colors on the fake packaging.

    However, the ear tip image on fakes is weirdly cut off, whereas it looks more accurate on the original image.

    Packaging edges

    Original packaging is slightly elevated and waves down towards the edge, whereas fake packaging is flat all around.

    Check the edges on the image above.

    Inside eartip packaging differences

    Opening the packaging reveals the most obvious differences.

    Apple AirPods Pro 2 ear tips packaging
    Fake ear tips have hard-to-see ear tip size markings and a plastic plate to hold the tips (left).
    Apple AirPods Pro 2 dents in tips packaging
    Original ear tip packaging has indentations to hold the ear tips in place (right).

    Visual differences overview:

    • Ear tips in the fake packaging are attached to the plastic plate, whereas the original uses cardboard holes.
    • Ear tip sizes in the original packaging are printed and black, whereas the size of the fakes is a part of the plastic plate and the same white color, which makes them hard to see.
    • The cardboard that covers the original ear tips has indentations to hold the tips in place, whereas there are no indentations in the fake packaging.
    • Protective mesh over the ear tip opening is more cheaply glued onto the ear tip, whereas the mesh looks integrated into the original ear tips.
    • On the original ear tips, the sizes are distinctly marked with a letter, without soft edges, whereas the letters on the fakes are slightly harder to see and look a bit “melted”.

    Other differences that we noticed by handling them in hand:

    • Original ear tips are a bit “sticky” when you brush them with a finger, whereas counterfeit ones are smooth, and your finger glides right off.

    Charging Cable

    Charging cable is a great replica, but you can still notice differences after a close inspection.

    Apple AirPods Pro 2 cable
    The original charging cable fits more snuggly into the box (right).
    • The fake Lightning cable doesn’t fit tightly in the box and has some room to wiggle around.

    Connector pin difference

    Close observation of the charging pins in the Lightning connector reveals that the genuine connector has silver pins, whereas the fake one has darker, gold-like pins.

    Apple AirPods Pro 2 Lightning connector
    The newest Lightning connectors have shiny silver pins (right), whereas the fake AirPods use older golden ones (left).

    Charging Case

    Surprisingly, the charging case is made quite well and could easily deceive any buyer. However, here are a few things that might help you pinpoint the fake.

    Apple AirPods Pro 2 under the lid
    The under-the-lid print looks cheaper on fake AirPods Pro 2 (left).
    • Fake charging case usually comes with a few scratches out of the box. Ours had scratches near the case’s button.
    • The lid on the fake AirPods has weaker magnets and closes with a “CLINK!” sound, whereas the original closes with a slightly fuller “CLANK!”.
    • Knocking on the fake charging case produces a somewhat hollow sound, whereas knocking on the original sound is noticeably more muted, as if the case is denser.
    • Open the lid and look underneath. The text on the fakes is a bit choppy and cheap-looking (as always), whereas the original text looks clearer and easier to read. Some markings are also missing, although those are also a regional thing (our original unit is from Europe, while the fake unit probably mimics the Asian unit).
    • Wireless charging works strangely on the fakes. You hear a strange buzzing noise from the case when you place it on a charging pad.

    AirPods Themselves

    AirPods themselves are even more challenging to recognize which are fake or not. Scammers really put a lot of effort into the looks. However, they’re far from perfect.

    Apple AirPods Pro 2 earbuds
    Microphone mesh on fake AirPods looks fake on its own (left).
    • You can take the fake AirPods out of the case with ease due to weaker magnets. It requires some effort to put out the original ones.
    • Looking at the grill on top of the stem, the mesh on the original grill is much finer and slightly less reflective. The same thing applies to the smaller microphone grill on top of the AirPods. The original grill is also smoother when you glide a finger on it, whereas it appears coarse on the fake AirPods.

    Detaching the ear tips, the black plastic on the real AirPods is less shiny and the protective mesh looks denser. This part seems much cheaper on the fake AirPods. In our case, one side had no mesh at all. Scammers didn’t even bother with details at this point.

    Apple AirPods Pro 2 fake vs. real nozzle
    One of the fake AirPods Pro 2 that we got came without the protective mesh (bottom).

    Serial Numbers

    Another way scammers give themselves away is by putting the same serial numbers on the AirPods and charging case.

    On authentic AirPods Pro 2nd generation, the charging case and the AirPods have different serial numbers.

    • Look under the AirPods and inside the case’s lid and read out the serial number. They should be different. Otherwise, you have a fake.

    Checking Serial Number Is No Longer Safe

    For a long time now, checking the serial number of an Apple product on the official website showed whether the product is genuine and if it’s still under warranty. Apple itself still recommends doing this to ensure your AirPods are genuine.

    However, scammers are now buying a few original AirPods and multiplying their serial numbers across multiple fake AirPods. Or at least, that’s the theory.

    • When checking Apple’s website, our counterfeit unit shows as the “genuine” AirPods Pro that are still under Apple’s warranty.
    Apple AirPods Pro 2 fake AirPods coverage
    Serial number of the counterfeit AirPods Pro 2 appears to be real, according to Apple’s official website.

    We purchased them in June 2023, and coverage “is valid” until June 2024, according to the check-coverage Apple website. But we know they’re fake.

    Getting a Receipt Doesn’t Guarantee AirPods are Real

    Sellers of the fake Apple AirPods Pro 2 even offer a receipt as proof of purchase. Receipt typically comes from a legitimate retailer (authorized reseller) and has an authentic serial number written on it.

    However, the receipt uses a fake name and postal information for a random place. The fake receipt that we got had the postage information of a smartphone shop.

    iOS Device Recognizes Fake AirPods as Real Ones

    Pairing fake Apple AirPods Pro 2 to our iPad is the same as when pairing the real ones. You even get the animation and a pop-up message asking to “Connect” the fake AirPods Pro.

    Furthermore, you can even access the Bluetooth settings app of the fake AirPods, change settings, select ANC modes, etc.

    Apple AirPods Pro 2 AirPods settings
    Bluetooth settings inside counterfeit AirPods Pro 2 seem perfectly okay, with all the features “working” normally.

    On the other hand, you can’t update the firmware of the fake AirPods Pro. However, since updates are made automatically and in the background, you’ll never notice that your AirPods aren’t updating.

    Of course, their biggest giveaway is their terrible ANC, transparency mode, and sound performance. But more on that in a separate article.

    FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions

    How do I know if my AirPods Pro 2 is original?

    Closely inspect the outside of the box. The image of the AirPods should be detailed and contrasty, “AirPods” text should be thick, all sides must be smooth, and paper needs to be glued precisely to the edges. Also, the box’s color should be warm white (fakes are neutral/blueish-white).

    Can fake AirPods have the same serial number?

    Fake AirPods have the same serial number as the charging case, whereas the original AirPods Pro 2 have different numbers for AirPods and the case.

    What features do fake AirPods Pro have?

    Fake AirPods Pro have features like active noise cancellation and transparency mode but lack Spatial Audio and other intelligent features that Apple added to AirPods Pro 2. Even if they do support all features, they work noticeably poorly.

    How do I verify my Apple AirPods Pro 2?

    You verify your Apple AirPods Pro 2 by inspecting all the clues presented in our article. Sadly, checking the serial number is no longer a viable option since scammers use authentic serials but multiply them across multiple fake Apple AirPods Pro 2.


    Purchasing popular products from unknown online sellers can be risky, especially when buying AirPods. Fakes have gotten really good, and tricks to deceive you are even more malicious.

    Hopefully, we gave you enough information to save you from purchasing fake Apple AirPods Pro 2. Remember to always meet in person with the seller and to closely inspect the box.

    • Check the image of the AirPods on the box – it has to be nice and contrasty.
    • Check the “AirPods” text on the sides – it should be thicker as if it uses “Bold” typing settings.
    • Check the shiny silver Apple logo – it has to be uniformly colored and without noticeable printing lines.
    • Check for unprecise construction of the box’s lid/top cover – you shouldn’t see or feel any flaps under the top white layer, and any paper layer should be glued to the edge without gaps.
    • If AirPods were bought in Europe, you should see “Apple Distribution International Ltd., Cork, Ireland” written next to the manufacturing date and serial number.

    Most importantly, avoid deals that sound too good to be true. Prices of the “new” AirPods can’t be $100 lower than their retail price.

    Furthermore, inspect for how much other people are selling their used AirPods and compare with the prices of new ones. There shouldn’t be significant price differences.

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