I worked at an Apple Store — these are the worst AirPods rip-offs I ever saw (and that you should avoid even if they’re cheap)

Throughout my time in college and beyond, I worked as a technician in my local Apple Store.

During that time, AirPods were probably the most popular Apple product and the bane of my existence when it came to providing tech support at the Genius Bar.

I’ll leave my stories about disgusting earwax and bodily fluid build-up in the speaker grills for another day and instead take you on a whistle-stop tour of rip-off AirPods you can find on Amazon.

Today is Amazon’s Prime Big Deal Days event so these cheap knockoffs are even cheaper. That said, I absolutely DO NOT recommend buying these products, instead pick up the brand-new USB-C AirPods Pro 2 for $189 before the deal runs out!


You’d be surprised the number of times I served customers at the Genius Bar with “faulty AirPods”, only when they would remove the “AirPods” from their pocket, they’d be far from original.

More often than not, the customer would say, “I bought them from Amazon, they must be real.” Now, don’t get me wrong, there are places out there that attempt to sell fake AirPods as genuine and I saw a lot of these as well, unfortunately. However, there are also people who spend $20 on a pair of earbuds on Amazon and think they’re genuine, the following three Prime Big Deals are products that I’ve seen inside an Apple Store and they look dreadful.

The Mahipey Earbuds not only show a Lightning port in their product images but offer customers a “Bluetoorh 5.1” experience with “Hi-fi sound quality.” While the images don’t look too bad for a $15 pair of earbuds, these probably sound like absolute garbage. Amazon reviews aren’t kind either, with 1 star reviews highlighting that the earbuds often don’t work. That said, some of the customer images and videos look pretty impressive, but don’t be fooled; DO NOT BUY THESE.

You know what? It’s commendable for a company like HIYDOO to steal the AirPods design and then add a display to wow its users. I’ve seen a pair of “AirPods” like this at the Genius Bar, and the customer was genuinely surprised when I told them they weren’t designed by Apple in California.

If you’re willing to sacrifice audio quality for a battery display on the front of your earbuds case, then you’re probably the kind of person to listen to music through the Mac mini speakers. Even then, don’t buy these. You can definitely find better budget earbuds for a little bit more, like the 1More Aero, and the best bit is they don’t look like fake AirPods.

For $11, you probably can’t go wrong. However, I’d go out on a limb to bet that these JOYWISE earbuds feel like the cheapest product you’ve ever held in your hands. Unlike real AirPods, they have a flat stem with a button, which makes them easily recognizable when you’re trying to spot dupes. Often, AirPods replicas look like the original AirPods meme with massive toothbrush heads in your ears. I can see the appeal for young children, but honestly, just buy basic wired earbuds, and they’ll be better long-term. 

Just buy the real deal

(Image credit: Gerald Lynch / Future)

With $60 off the latest AirPods Pro 2, now’s the time to cave and buy the AirPods you’ve always wanted. I know, I know, there’s a massive difference between $11 and $189, but there’s no point wasting your hard-earned cash on dud products that will stop working as soon as the Amazon return policy ends. If AirPods Pro 2 are far and beyond your budget, check out our best Bluetooth earbuds guide for some of the best budget options available.

Amazon Prime Big Deal Days has begun and will run until October 11. We’ll cover all the best deals, so stay tuned to iMore throughout the shopping event.



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