iOS 16 Alerts iPhone Users When Trying to Pair Counterfeit AirPods, But Doesn't Block Them

iOS 16 will warn users who try to pair counterfeit AirPods with their iPhone or iPad, according to code found in the release candidate beta released to developers on Wednesday.

airpods lineup apple
Apple can already tell users when a non-genuine part is detected in an ‌iPhone‌ or ‌iPad‌, but it looks as if the company is ready to extend this warning to fake Apple accessories, too.

First spotted by 9to5Mac, the code indicates that when a user attempts to pair non-genuine AirPods with their Apple device, the upcoming version of ‌iOS 16‌ and iPadOS 16 will throw up a message on the screen, which reads: "These headphones could not be verified as genuine AirPods and may not behave as expected."

A "Learn More" button will then redirect users to a support article on Apple's website explaining how to identify genuine AirPods. Notably, Apple doesn't appear to want to stop users from pairing the fake AirPods, but instead displays a "Don't Connect" option.

The surging popularity of AirPods has resulted in record numbers of counterfeit wireless headphones being seized at the U.S. border. According to a 2021 report, roughly 360,000 counterfeit wireless headphones with a retail value of $62.2 million were confiscated in the first nine months of the U.S. government's fiscal year, based on data from U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

U.S. Customs said that 80% of all counterfeit products coming into the U.S. were from mainland China or Hong Kong. While it's unclear how many of the seized counterfeit headphones were AirPods, U.S. Customs said seizures have increased 50% in the previous five years as products such as Apple's earbuds have gained popularity.


Counterfeit AirPods can use genuine Apple serial numbers and usually look physically indistinguishable from legitimate AirPods Pro. Many will even have functional active noise cancellation and Transparency mode features.

Related Roundups: AirPods 3, iOS 16, iPadOS 16
Buyer's Guide: AirPods (Neutral)
Related Forums: AirPods, iOS 16

Top Rated Comments

alpi123 Avatar
4 weeks ago
That's very useful.

There are a lot of places that sell knockoff Airpods and because they're practically indistinguishable from the real ones, a lot of people get scammed.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
_Spinn_ Avatar
4 weeks ago
This is a great change!
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
wanha Avatar
4 weeks ago
Curious to hear how those of you - who are convinced Apple only ever does something to make a buck - explain the fact that Apple only notifies and doesn't block counterfeit AirPods?
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Shanghaichica Avatar
4 weeks ago
Very useful feature. Much needed.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
gixxerfool Avatar
4 weeks ago
Well implemented. Warns a user of the issue, but let’s them proceed either way. Makes sense really since there is likely any damage to be done from them allowing to connect.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
svish Avatar
4 weeks ago
Very good. Happy to see this implemented.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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