“Deep Fake” is one of the latest buzzwords of the modern world. It seems like everything from video to politics is getting easier to fake. So, why shouldn’t products also be getting more fake-able? The unfortunate truth is that they are.
On the one hand, if fakes are getting so much better, a fake pair of AirPods might work just as well as real ones. But, if you ever run into a problem and you need to send them back to Apple for maintenance or repair, guess what? They’ll know and won’t fix them for you.
So, to prove that they’re not fake, should AirPods have the same serial number? Well, not exactly.
Talking ‘Bout Those Generations
The short answer is that Generation 1 AirPods did have matching serial numbers on the two pods. But the Generation 2 and 3 models, plus the AirPods Pro and AirPods Max, have unique serial numbers on the two pods.
Ironically, but unless you have Gen 1 Airpods, matching serial numbers could actually be PROOF of a fake pair of AirPods. So, why did Apple change from having matching serial numbers for the two earpieces to having different ones?
The simple answer is that new generations of products are supposed to include improvements. And while having different serial numbers might not seem like an improvement to you – they’re a pair – it makes things easier for Apple.
Why is that?
For one thing, the left and right AirPods are not the same. They’re mirror images, and this means that they need to be produced differently and also repaired differently as well.
Unique serial numbers let Apple keep track of every single product that they produce. And yes, that means your charging case, too. Nowadays, when you buy a pair of AirPods with a case, you get three unique items, each with its own serial number.
How to Find your Serial Numbers
There are a whole bunch of reasons why you might want to find the serial numbers on AirPods. It could be that you’re trying to figure out if they’re fakes or not. Or, you could be registering them with Apple.
You might also need to record the serial numbers if you’re going to send the products back to Apple for repairs or replacement. Whatever the reason, there are three ways to find the serial numbers, and none of them is very tricky.
It just all depends what’s the most convenient way to find AirPod serial numbers for you. You can either read the tiny print on the products themselves, have a Bluetooth-compatible device tell you, or read them from the original packaging. Here’s how.
1 – Read the Serial Numbers from the Products
No matter which version of Airpods you’ve picked up, Apple has been really nice. They’ve printed the unique serial numbers in the same place on every model. The place to go looking is where the stem curves up to meet the actual earbud on the inside surface of your pods.
As for the charging case, just flip up the lid. You’ll see the serial number printed on the inside rim of the lid of the case. But unless your name is Eagle Eyes, let me recommend a couple of things to make your life easier.
Grab yourself a magnifying lens or a hand lens if you have one. If not, use your camera to take a picture that you can then zoom in on. These numbers are tiny! And have a pen and paper ready so that you won’t have to strain your eyes again a few minutes later.
2 – Let a Bluetooth Compatible Device Tell you
Make sure that your AirPods are turned on and connected to your phone or tablet. Go into your device’s settings and select Bluetooth. On the list of Bluetooth items, you should see your AirPods on the list.
When you select the information icon next to them, you’ll get to see all the information you’re looking for, such as Model Number and Serial Number.
Unfortunately, this method doesn’t work with the charging case since it doesn’t use Bluetooth. If you need the case’s number, you’ll have to either read it or follow the final method.
3 – Read the Original Packaging
When you buy yourself an authentic pair of Apple Airpods, you should get an authentic Apple box with them. Yep, it’s just cardboard, but it’s still really well designed – enough for many people to keep the box hanging around for a long time.
If this is you, you’re lucky…
The original box will have barcodes and serial numbers written on one side for all three products, the two AirPods and the charging case. As long as they’re authentic, anyway. This printing is also significantly bigger and easier to read than on the products themselves, so it may be your best bet.
How to Spot a Fake
Like I said earlier, everything is getting easier to fake. Or maybe it’s better to say that fakers are getting better at their job. Counterfeit Apple AirPods can look, feel, and even sound exactly like the real things.
Even if counterfeiters have taken the time and energy to reverse engineer AirPods so that they’re as good as the real thing, this still leaves you with complications.
Suppose one of the pods stops working or gets damaged, and you want to use your warranty. You send them back to Apple, and then – oops! – they tell you your AirPods are fake, and they can’t do warranty work on them.
Now you’re up the creek…
Unfortunately, the burden is on you as the consumer to buy the real product. The most reliable way to do this is to only buy products from Apple Stores and other registered dealers.
But that’s not always a possibility. You may lack mobility or simply live too far from an Apple store to make this a viable option. Well, thankfully, there are ways to spot fake AirPods.
Price – Too Good To Be True!
If the price seems too good to be true, as the old saying goes, it probably isn’t. Sure they’ll sell you some wireless earphones at a much lower price, but they won’t be AirPods, and that’s the problem.
AirPods do go on sale pretty regularly, so don’t feel like a dropped price is an automatic red flag. Instead, it just means you should take a closer look. Peek at other retailers because they tend to match each other’s prices. If they’re on sale in other places, you might just be in luck.
If you can get your hands on the physical object before you buy it, the packaging can be a big clue. Apple is a massive company that employs untold people to package and market its products.
They’re not going to have spelling errors on their packages. But fakes often do because they’re produced quickly and with a whole lot less quality control.
You may also be able to compare fonts and type sizes to an original, and you’ll see some differences. The color and even the gloss of the ink on the package might be enough to let you know you’re looking at a fake.
One other trick…
The drop test. No, don’t drop a new pair of AirPods you’ve just bought on the floor. AirPods are packaged in a set of nested, inverted boxes that are really well-designed. The fit is super-snug, and surprisingly this is some engineering that most counterfeiters can’t or don’t bother to copy.
So, if you hold the top box and suspend it over a table, the inner box of a real pair of AirPods will slide out very slowly. If the bottom box plops right out quickly, it’s a good indication of a fake.
AirPod Serial and Model Numbers
So, back to our original question, “Should AirPods have the same serial number?” As we’ve just seen, Apple now gives you three unique serial numbers for a pair of AirPods with a charging case.
If any of these numbers match, they could be fake. The other big red flag will be if you don’t find any serial numbers at all.
Model numbers are also a good indication. Some counterfeiters are really clever, but few are dedicated enough to get every last detail right. Each Apple product has a model number, so you’ll have one for your AirPods and one for the charging case.
Here’s a comprehensive list of all the model numbers for all different AirPods and cases:
|AirPods Generation 3
|AirPods Generation 2
|AirPods Generation 1
|MagSafe Charging Case for AirPods (3rd generation)
|MagSafe Charging Case for AirPods Pro
|AirPods Pro Charging Case
|Wireless Charging Case (2nd and 1st generation)
|Lightning Charging Case (2nd and 1st generation)
Need More Information About Apple AirPods?
Then take a look at our handy articles on Can Reset AirPods Be Tracked, Can Apple Air Pods Break If Dropped, Simple Tips to Keep AirPods From Falling Out, Do AirPods Work Well on Android Devices, and How to Clean your AirPods Pro for more useful information.
Also, check out our in-depth reviews of the Best Apple AirPods Pro Alternatives, the Best AirPods Alternative, the Best Neckband Headphones, the Best Wireless Earbuds For Small Ears, the Best Sound Quality Earbuds, as well as the Best Earbuds for Running you can buy in 2023.
Should AirPods Have the Same Serial Number? – Conclusion
First Generation AirPods should have matching serial numbers on the two earbuds. But, for all the following generations (Gen 2, Gen 3, Max, and Pro), no, they should not. Each of the AirPods and the charging case should have its own unique serial number.
Only authentic Apple products will have real serial numbers and the correct model numbers printed on them. You can also find the serial numbers printed on the original packaging the AirPods came in, or you can read them from a Bluetooth-compatible device.
But one thing is for sure – you should have serial numbers! If you don’t, you could be looking at a not-quite-crafty-enough fake.
Until next time, happy listening.