Decoder: 17 Ways To Spot A Fake iPhone In Botswana


iPhones have blown up in popularity in Botswana over the last few years mainly because of how easy it has gotten to acquire one from social media resellers claiming to sell legitimate brand-new and/or refurbished devices. 

Unfortunately, most resellers of these iPhones are not honest with consumers and instead sell them fake devices from the black market, causing them emotional and financial distress in the process.

In this week's Decoder article, we look at 17 ways you can spot and be able to differentiate a fake iPhone from an original one and save yourself a couple of bucks and emotional distress.

Part 1: Physical Characteristics

1. Packaging

Original iPhone packaging is very clean and compact. Fake iPhone manufacturers normally try their best to emulate them, but the packaging is, at most times, made of cheap material. Even if it isn't, carefully inspecting the package will reveal foreign characters that you do not recognize. This is a dead giveaway.

Sometimes, the box will also miss the Apple logo, so be on the lookout for that. If the color palette of the box doesn't match that of the original iPhone, that should be a big indicator of a fake iPhone.

2. Apple Logo

Apple takes pride in their products, so it's not surprising that they slap their logo on everything they produce, including their iPhones. However, iPhone clone manufacturers are getting more adept at copying this iconic logo. To distinguish a real iPhone from a fake one, hold up your phone to bright light. If you notice a mirror finish, then you have a fake iPhone.

You can also try and run your hand over the logo, making sure to pay attention to the texture. A texture change between the back of the phone and the logo indicates a fake iPhone.

A recessed (slightly sunken) logo is also a clear indication of a fake iPhone.

3. Charging Port

Next up is the charging port. Most fake iPhone manufacturers have evolved past the need to put fake charging ports in their products. However, one way to tell the difference between a real iPhone and a fake one is the border around the port. Fake ones will have a plastic border, or just an engraved line to emulate the styling that Apple gives their real iPhones.

4. Screws

This is one of the best ways of telling the difference between an original iPhone and a knockoff. Original iPhones ship with special PentaLobe screws (they look like stars with 5 points). So, if your supposed iPhone has the normal cross screws instead, then it is definitely fake.

5. Button Placement

Some knock-off iPhones are so well done that it's hard to tell the difference between a real one and a fake one. Sometimes, however, if you feel around your phone and notice that some buttons are not where they're supposed to be, then the iPhone is a fake.

An example would be the sleep/wake button that is usually on the top right corner of your iPhone. If it is on the top left corner instead, the iPhone is fake.

6. External Memory Card Slots

Apple, in the entirety of their iPhone production run, has never considered the option of putting an external memory card slot in any of their iPhones. They instead opt to offer their product users their cloud storage, which they consider to be safer and more secure.

So if your device has an external memory card slot, that is not an iPhone.

7. Camera Build

Original iPhone cameras are distinct in their design, and you can tell even from far away. Deceitful phone manufacturers try to emulate this but fail, so you will be able to know if your phone is fake by inspecting the camera build. Fake phones normally have less height than the real thing.

If your iPhone has passed all of the tests above and you're still unsure as to whether it is a real or a fake one, then it's time to switch on the device.

Part 2: Software Anomalies

8. Welcome Screen

One of the reasons why iPhones are so widely sought-after is that they have amazing software. The gateway to the magic is usually locked behind - you guessed it - the Apple logo. So if your device starts and shows you anything but the Apple logo, then that is a knock-off iPhone.

9. Serial Number

The serial number and IMEI of an iPhone are usually printed on the back of the sim card slot. In older versions of iPhone (before the 6s) it's printed on the back of the phone. It's easy enough for fake iPhone manufacturers to replicate that, so it's not usually a good tell. However, if you go to Settings > General >About and look for your IMEI number, it should match the one printed on the back of the phone. If it doesn't, it's a fake iPhone.

New models don't have their serial numbers printed on their back. You can use Apple's website to check for their IMEI.

  • Visit on your computer.
  • Log in with your Apple ID.
  • Go to the Devices Section. Select your device to see its Serial and IMEI number.
  • If it is a genuine iPhone, your phone will show up on their records. If not, then it is a fake iPhone.
Alternatively, you can also use the following method to verify the legitimacy of an iPhone's IMEI number

  • Dial *#06# to see your device's IMEI number.
  • Enter the IMEI number on .
  • Get information about your device.

10. Camera App

Apart from Apple iPhone cameras being top of the line in terms of quality, the app provides a plethora of tools you can use to operate the said cameras. If you open your camera app on your iPhone, the resulting image coming through the lenses should be clear and crisp. Knock-off iPhones will have a very blurry and indistinct image.

11. Apple App Store

It’s well-known that Apple has its own iPhone Store, where they publish their own apps and approved third-party applications. If you click the Apple Store icon and it fails to open, that should be a serious indicator of the inauthenticity of your phone.

12. iTunes

You will need to connect your iPhone to your computer to be able to check this.

iTunes is used by Apple to allow their device users to be able to connect their devices to the cloud, so as to back up or restore their data. It also allows them to access their phone's storage via their computers.

Original iPhones will have no issue whatsoever with connection to iTunes unless there is a problem with Apple's servers (which rarely happens), or there is a bad WiFi connection. Fake Apple devices on the other hand will not even be recognized by iTunes. This is because fake iPhones run on Android instead of Apple's official operating system, iOS.

13. Color Vibrancy

iPhones are famous for their quality devices, including their displays. Unless a new iPhone has a broken screen, the display will be vibrant and the colors will pop. If instead, the colors seem like they've been diluted, so to speak, or washed out, then that's a fake iPhone.

14. Siri

Siri is Apple's flagship device assistant that comes in every Apple device. So it stands to reason that Siri should work on any iPhone, regardless of whether it's new or in a state of disrepair.

First go to Settings > Siri & Search > and enable "Listen to Hey Siri"

If you try to activate Siri by saying 'Hey Siri' on a fake iPhone, there will be no response, and that should be your indicator as to your phone's authenticity.

15. Face ID

Apple was one of the first device manufacturing brands to introduce face recognition in their devices, and though it is included as an option, it works if you try it out. Most fake iPhones usually have a fake or non-functioning Face ID setting, so you'll be able to tell straight away.

To check if your phone has a functioning Face ID:

  • Go to Settings.
  • Scroll to Security.
  • Try to select the Face ID setting.

Part 3: Other Methods

If your phone passes all the above tests and you're still unsure about its authenticity, then there are still a few options you can try.

16. Pricing

iPhones are expensive, and for good reason too - it's not cheap to put all those good quality goodies in one phone!

So it stands to reason that you should be able to buy an original iPhone for around the regular iPhone's suggested price, if not a bit less. However, if you're offered outrageously low prices, think twice. That is not a genuine iPhone product.

17. Apple Dealer Store

You can use the official Apple website to locate the nearest Apple dealer near you to take your device for a diagnostic test. Most of the time, if your phone passed all the tests above, then it will pass the diagnosis test. Otherwise, consider yourself unlucky - you were scammed into buying a fake iPhone.

Article first appeared on Converged Devices

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