How to distinguish a real iPhone from a fake one

Updated: April 13, 2023
6 min read
How to distinguish a real iPhone from a fake one
by Christine Tomas
Tech Expert & Writer
Checked by
Quality Control team

Proven ways not to fall for the bait of fraudsters when buying Apple devices.

Before we start

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Examine the packaging

The box should be made of thick coated cardboard with even corners and an embossed logo. On the bottom, there must be 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 immaculately smooth and has no burrs or bumps.

Check the serial number

This is the easiest and most effective way. A fake can not have a valid serial number, which will pass the verification on the Apple website.

Press "Settings" (gear icon) → "Basic" → "About this device." Make sure that the number there is identical to the one on the sim card tray -and box, then enter it in the verification form on this page.

If the iPhone is genuine, the site will display the model information, remaining warranty, and other information. Otherwise, the message "Sorry, this serial number is not correct” will appear.

Check IMEI

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Each phone has a unique IMEI. On your iPhone, press SettingsBasicAbout This Device. Another way to see your IMEI is to type *#06# in the dialing field.

The combination you see should match the one on the box and the receipt (if any).

You can check IMEI using services like or Enter the ID there and click Check. The service will check your device in the database and provide detailed information about it. If it differs from what is specified in the phone settings and on the box - you have a fake device.

Inspect the iPhone case

Take your iPhone and examine it. It should give the impression of quality and weight. Modern Apple smartphones are made of aluminum, except for the Rgomodels, which are made of stainless steel. These materials add weight to the device and cool your hand when you touch it. In the fakes, the case can be anything - most often, it is plastic.

A real iPhone has parts that fit together tightly and have minimal gaps. When squeezed in hand, they do not make squeaks, clicks, or other sounds. The buttons and the silent mode switch should respond clearly and have no backlash. The back cover of the smartphone must have the IMEI, which coincides with the numbers on the box and SIM card tray.

There is no need to be afraid of the Assembled in China inscription. It is perfectly legal because the iPhone is only designed in the U.S. and manufactured and assembled in China.

The following details will give away an outright fake with guts:

  • removable back cover and battery;
  • memory card slot;
  • micro USB connector;
  • telescopic antenna.

Study the operating system

It is impossible to install the original iOS on a fake iPhone, so the clones run on Android. So an inspection of the operating system on a suspicious smartphone will finally dispel any doubts.

The days of sloppy translations and hieroglyphs in menus are long gone. Now the manufacturers of replicas have learned how to imitate the interface and accurately replicate fonts. They are not yet able to do fake functions: neither Siri nor Find iPhone will work in a clone, of course.

Explore the App Store

How to distinguish a real iPhone from a fake

All clones run Android, which, as you understand, has its own Google Play app store. This is what will open when you click on the App Store icon in the fake iPhone.

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If in doubt and can't figure out which store it is, try searching for Apple-branded apps like Keynote or GarageBand; of course, they don't and can't be on Google Play.

Synchronize your device with iTunes for Windows or with the Finder in macOS

Another guaranteed fast method to determine the authenticity of an iPhone is to synchronize it with iTunes for Windows or with the Finder in macOS. The computer automatically detects the connected device, showing all the information about it, and will unmask the counterfeit.

You can download iTunes for Windows from the official Apple website. On the other hand, 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 manual. To do this, you will need a USB cable.

Just take a Macbook or Windows laptop with iTunes installed and take care to connect to the Internet to meet the salesperson, and there will be no questions about the originality of the smartphone.

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Cora Fitzpatrick
Invalid Date
I already knew most of this information, but it's a good refresher.
Invalid Date
Solid advice for avoiding counterfeit iPhones! 📱👍
Jaxon Caldwell
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It's an average guide. Could be better.
Sienna Warren
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This article is decent, but it could go into more detail on some of the features.
Invalid Date
Thanks for the tips! 🙌 No more fakes for me!
Invalid Date
This article is a must-read for iPhone buyers. It provides a clear and concise list of the differences between real iPhones and fake ones, making it easy for users to identify genuine devices. The use of images to highlight the distinctions is particularly helpful.
Invalid Date
Very helpful! 📱😃 I can spot fakes now!

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