Inspect the packaging
The box must be made of thick coated cardboard with even corners and an embossed logo. On the bottom, there is always a sticker with the model name, serial number, IMEI and storage capacity.
There should be a charging cable in the package with your iPhone, inspect it. Original cords, unlike fakes, are much softer, and the plastic on their connectors is impeccably smooth and has no burrs or sagging.
Check serial number
This is the easiest and most efficient way. A fake cannot have a valid serial number that will be verified on the Apple website.
Tap Settings (gear icon) → General → About this device. Make sure the number there is identical to the one on the SIM card tray and box, then enter it into the verification form on this page.
If the iPhone is real, the site will display model information, warranty balance, and other information. Otherwise, the message “Sorry, this serial number is not correct” will be displayed.
Each phone has a unique IMEI. On your iPhone, tap Settings → General → About This Device. Another way to see your IMEI is to enter in the dialing field *#06#.
The combination you see must match the one on the box and receipt (if any).
You can check IMEI using services such as IMEI.info or IMEIpro.info. Enter the identifier there and click Check. The service will check your device against the database and provide detailed information about it. If it differs from the one indicated in the phone settings and on the box, you have a fake.
Examine the iPhone Case
Take the iPhone and inspect it. It should give the impression of a quality and weighty thing. Modern Apple smartphones are made of aluminum, except for Pro models – they are made of stainless steel. These materials add heaviness to the device and cool the hand when touched. In fakes, the body can be anything – most often it is plastic.
In a real iPhone, the parts are tightly fitted to each other and have minimal gaps. When squeezed in the hand, they do not make squeaks, clicks and other sounds. The buttons and the silent mode switch should clearly respond to pressing and have no backlash. On the back cover of the smartphone, there is always an IMEI, which matches the numbers on the box and the SIM card tray.
You should not be afraid of the inscriptions Assembled in China. It is completely legal, because the iPhone is only developed in the USA, but manufactured and assembled in China.
A frank fake with giblets will be given out by the following details:
- removable back cover and battery;
- support for two or more SIM cards;
- slot for memory cards;
- microUSB connector;
- telescopic antenna.
In the real iPhone, all this goodness simply cannot be.
Learn the operating system
It is impossible to install original iOS on a fake iPhone, so clones work on Android. So examining the operating system on a suspicious smartphone will finally dispel doubts.
The times of clumsy translations and hieroglyphs on the menu are long gone. Now replica manufacturers have learned to imitate the interface and exactly repeat the fonts. What they still don’t know how to do is fake functions: neither Siri nor Find My iPhone will work in a clone, of course.
Explore the app store
Another identification option is the App Store, shown in the screenshot below.
All clones run Android, which, as you understand, has its own Google Play app store. It is he who will open when you click on the App Store icon in a fake iPhone.
If in doubt and can’t figure out which store is in front of you, try looking for Apple branded apps like Keynote or GarageBand: of course, they are not and cannot be on Google Play.
Sync your device with iTunes for Windows or Finder for macOS
Another guaranteed express method for determining the authenticity of an iPhone is syncing with iTunes for Windows or Finder for macOS. At the same time, the computer automatically detects the connected device, showing all the information about it, and will figure out the fake.
You can download iTunes for Windows from the official Apple website. The Finder is built into macOS and can simply be launched from the Dock. How to sync your iPhone with your computer is described in the Apple guide. You will need a USB cable for this.
Just take a Macbook or a Windows laptop with iTunes installed to a meeting with the seller and take care of the Internet connection, and there will be no questions about the originality of the smartphone.
Have you ever dealt with iPhone clones and scammers? Be sure to share your experience in the comments.
The material was updated on September 23, 2022.