Fake Apple In-Ear Headphones on eBay! How to spot them

Like if this guide is helpful

This is a guide to distinguish between the real and the fake versions of the Apple MA850G/A In-Ear Headphones with Remote & Mic.
The full spec can be seen here on the Apple website: https://www.apple.com/uk/ipod/inearheadphones/     

There are many sellers on eBay for these headphones but most are fakes. Apple In Ear Headphones with Remote and mic Search results

Please vote a YES for this guide below so that more people can have a fighting chance against fraud.

Now these headphones have not been out for long, but already companies have pounced on the opportunity to replicate and scam all buyers interested in avoiding the £50-£60 retail price of these headphones. However they cost this much for a reason, if you follow the link above (or visit the Apple website and search for the In Ear Headphones) you will see all the unique features that make these headphones so good - and so expensive. These features are difficult to mass produce cheaply and so the cheap fakes cut corners - cutting quality in the process.

Now here's the part you're looking for, there are some minor and major differences between the real and the fakes but unfortunately I returned my fake pair (off eBay)  for a full refund immediately, forgetting to take pictures in the process. However I've found a picture of a typical fake model; notice the differences in the remote and the silicone tips: (https://img526.imageshack.us/img526/4401/fakeheadphones2.jpg ), here are things to look out for:

(Confidence Level indicates how much weight you should place on a judgement based on the specific evidence. E.g. having 'Apfel' on the box instead of 'Apple' would be a 100% way to tell the difference)

• The quality of the triangular plastic headphone holder - this should be of extremely high quality (as all genuine Apple products are), look out for tell tale signs of poor finishing (e.g. not perfectly smooth, not clean cut, plastic raised 'bobbles' where the plastic has been cut by a cheap machine etc)     -     Confidence Level - 60%

• Each earpiece of the Apple In-Ear Headphones contains two separate high-performance drivers — a woofer to handle bass and mid-range sounds and a tweeter for high-frequency audio. These dedicated drivers help ensure accurate, detailed sound across the entire sonic spectrum.  - So listen to high quality music with your headphones. Preferably music off your computer which is over 256kbps in uncompressed formats if you don't have good ears. With the genuine product you should hear a deep bass response and clear crisp highs and an overall natural high quality sound. The fake replica headphones will not impress you (although they may be slightly better than off-the-mill poor quality earphones). They will sound average, muffled and hollow but it may be hard to compare if these are your first in ear headpones. The best way to compare is to have another pair of normal headphones, which dont have to be Apple In ears, but which have a good quality or average quality sound. The real Apple Headphones are a BIG improvement on any standard headphones and are a BIG improvement on nearly all headphones for under £50 ($80).    -    Confidence Level - 95%

• Inside each earpiece is a stainless steel mesh cap that protects the precision acoustic components from dust and debris. You can remove the caps for cleaning or replace them with an extra set that’s included in the box. So firstly, you should have mesh caps, if you don't then it's immediately fake. This is a pretty sure fire indicator, hence the 98%. These meshcaps should be of high quality and should be easily changeable. If they are stuck on, the headphones are fake. View the picture near the bottom of the Apple page (link above) for a front-on view of an earphone with the silicone earpiece removed, showing the meshcaps.    -    Confidence Level - 98%

• The remote control with mic should be exactly like the one shown on the Apple site with three buttons. +, - and 'call answer'. The fakes cannot afford this and simply have a grey rectangular button which is very cheaply made. It has no volume controls and is not white and shiny. This is another sure-fire indicator. If you don't have this Apple essential, get your money back straight away. It should be of exactly the same look and quality as the one on the Apple site. Please note however that just because your headphones DO have the genuine looking remote, it doesn't prove them genuine, its just a way to prove that fakes are fakes. - Confidence Level - 100%

• The build quality of each earpiece - the headphone plastic (white) should be perfectly flushed against the grey plastic which links the headphone to the cables. If this is not the case, or if they come apart after a day or so then you've got a fake. Apple do not produce poor quality headphones.    -    Confidence Level - 90%

• The cable quality - the genuine product has anti-tangling cables which have a rubbery feel to them and are really flexible. The fakes usually have a cheap plastic which, although slightly flexible, transmit a lot of sound to your ears when the cables rub against your clothing. Also they feel smooth and plastic(ky).  - Confidence Level - 80%

There may be more to come but these are the ones I know so far. Please note that many fakes now come in the genuine retail packaging so it is impossible to tell from just the packaging.  Some helpful hints:

1. If you want a 100% way of getting the genuine product, buy it from the Apple shop or a recognised retailer. This way not only can you buy with confidence but you have up to 2 years guarantee and warranty. It is definitely worth the £54
2. Be wary of non-power sellers who have several for sale, these are very likely to be the cheap replicas.
3. Be wary of headphones which don't come with the full box (which includes extra earbud sizes). You have no way of knowing they are from Apple otherwise. (But even many with the Apple retail packaging are fake - mine was)
4. Be wary of sellers with low feedback (of course)
5. These headphones cost a lot, if you see one with a Buy It Now price for less than £30 you've got yourself a fake.
6. I recommend buying second hand Apple headphones, at least this way you can ask the seller about the mesh caps, build quality and sound performance. Headphones don't lose quality with age, especially not these as they are quite new.
Please note, that these are consumer led guides so I cannot guarantee that an item is definitely genuine/not genuine, but they are still very good indicators. If you have bought a pair recently and cannot decide whether they are the real deal please eBay message me so that pictures may be exchanged.

Current eBay sellers with fake stock:
ryanthedon2008 iphonefix1

More will be added to the list. Message me for an updated list.


Please vote a YES for this guide below so that more people can have a fighting chance against fraud.

Explore more guides