Don’t Fall for These Fake AirTags – A Guide to Spotting Counterfeits

February 13, 2024

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AirTags have been one of the most anticipated Apple products in recent years. Rumors started swirling about these Tile-like tracking devices back in 2019, and tech enthusiasts have been eagerly awaiting their release ever since.

Unfortunately, where there is hype, there are also scammers trying to cash in. That means you need to be aware of fake AirTags so you don’t get duped. This comprehensive guide will teach you how to spot counterfeit AirTags.

How to Identify Fake AirTags

While Apple has not officially announced or released AirTags, some key design elements have been revealed through patents and leaks. This gives us insight into what authentic AirTags will likely look like. Here are the telltale signs that an AirTag is fake:

Apple Airtag

Poor Build Quality

Genuine Apple products are known for their meticulous construction with high-quality materials. Fakes tend to look and feel cheap in comparison.

  • The leather on counterfeit cases often appears dull, thin, and flimsy. Real leather cases have a rich, premium look and feel.
  • Fake metal rings may have jagged edges, uneven finishes, and lack precision. Authentic Apple rings should be smoothly polished.
  • Misalignments, crooked logos, and uneven gaps point to an unauthorized copy. Apple’s quality control is far superior.

Clumsy Branding

Apple keeps logo placement and text subtle and discreet. Fakes tend to have prominent, awkward branding that makes them easier to spot. For tips on more discreet AirTag placement, see this guide on how to hide AirTags in a backpack.

  • Watch for logos that are too large, centered, or evenly spaced. Apple designs are artfully asymmetric.
  • Text on real AirTags will be precisely engraved with clean lines. Fakes may have uneven, crooked, or poorly defined text.

Wrong Colors

While we don’t know the exact colors Apple will release, we can compare fakes to existing shades.

  • Leather colors on counterfeits often don’t match Apple’s current palette. Compare to saddle brown iPhone cases to spot poor color accuracy.
  • Metal finishes differ wildly as well. Silver, space gray, and gold are likely AirTags colors, but expect variation in fakes.

Don’t Be Fooled by Lookalike Listings

Scammers often list fake AirTags using titles like “AirTag case” or “AirTag holder” to get around copyright laws. They rely on buyers not looking closely at photos. Don’t be fooled – always scrutinize pictures for the signs outlined above.

Third party cases for as-yet-unreleased products are almost guaranteed to be knockoffs. Don’t take claims about “exclusive early access” at face value. Wait for Apple’s official release.

Shop Smart to Avoid Counterfeits

Buy Airtag

When AirTags finally launch, only buy directly from Apple or authorized resellers like Amazon, Verizon, etc. Never purchase an AirTag on an auction site, resale marketplace, or random website. Learn more about whether AirTags can be stolen and how to buy safely. Here are some pro tips:

  • Search model numbers + Apple to confirm listing matches legit configurations
  • Inspect packaging for authentic serial numbers, barcodes, and branding
  • Verify certification logos like FCC ID and CE marks
  • Check listings for broken English, dubious claims, and sketchy return policies

Stay patient, only shop from trusted sources, and apply the authentication tips in this guide to avoid fake AirTags. Apple’s long-awaited trackers will be worth the wait – and worth paying for genuine quality you can rely on.

For more on safely finding lost items, see this comparison of AirTags vs GPS trackers.

Shop AirTag on Amazon

FAQ About Fake AirTags

What do fake AirTags look like?

Fake AirTags often have cheap leather, flimsy metal rings, uneven finishes, clumsy branding, and incorrect colors. They lack Apple’s typical high-quality polished finishes.

How can you tell if an AirTag is real?

Genuine AirTags will have precise, clean engraving, correctly colored leather and metals, artful asymmetry, and premium build quality. Fake AirTags appear poorly constructed and cloned.

Where are people buying fake AirTags?

Counterfeit AirTags are being sold through auction sites, online marketplaces like Wish, and random websites advertising early access or exclusive deals. Only buy from Apple or authorized sellers.

Are leaked AirTag photos real or fake?

Unless leaked by a highly reputable source like Bloomberg or The Wall Street Journal, leaked photos are likely fakes. Blurry images also tend to be counterfeit mockups.

Can you get in trouble for buying a fake AirTag?

Purchasing counterfeit products technically violates trademark law. Owners may confiscate fakes or report infringements. Support legit brands by only buying authentic AirTags.

For more on Apple AirTags, see this comparison of AirTags vs other trackers.

The Key Takeaway on Fake AirTags

With Apple’s AirTags expected to be hugely popular, counterfeiters will be eager to cash in on demand. Be vigilant, know the warning signs, stick to trusted sellers, and take time to authenticate before purchase.

This will ensure you get the real deal and can avoid being scammed by convincingly-designed fakes. Exercising a bit of skepticism and patience will pay off with genuine AirTags that work seamlessly as promised.