How to Spot Fake Apple Headphones

By Micah McDunnigan

It can be hard to spot fake Apple earbuds.
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Fake Apple earbuds can look remarkably similar to the real thing -- particularly at first glance -- and can even come in boxes that look almost identical to the packaging that Apple uses. Therefore, distinguishing genuine Apple headphones from counterfeits comes down the small details on the headphones themselves.

Where They're From

One of the surest signs of whether a pair of Apple headphones is real or fake is where you get them from. Of course, if you buy them from an Apple store, you can be sure you're getting the genuine article. You can be similarly confident in the authenticity of your headphones if you buy them from a major retailer like Best Buy, Target or Walmart. However, buying them from an independent seller online dramatically increases the chances of getting a counterfeit pair of headphones.

Case and Fit

When you open your headphones' packaging, turn over the plastic case with the headphones inside and look for the Apple logo etched into the back. In addition, the individual earpods should fit snugly into each ear cavity, and should pop out with light force. If the logo is missing or the earpods slip in and out of the cavities without resistance, then the headphones are likely fake.

Wiring and Mesh

Look into the individual earpods. You should see solid wire mesh if the headphones are genuine; fakes often use cheaper materials, such as cloth. The cord itself should be flexible but solid. If the cord feels flimsy and bends onto itself rather than making loops, then it's probably a fake.

Other Details

Quality assurance processes aren't perfect, and defective Apple products do make it out of the factory from time to time. However, on the whole, Apple makes a great deal of effort to get the small details right. The rubber beneath both earpods should be the same length, for example, and the groove across the sides of the microphone and remote should be even the entire way across, and should click when you press down on it. Finally, drops of dried glue anywhere on the earbuds can also indicate a fake product.