Airpods super copy?

AirPods 3 Release

Confirmed In New Report Apple is preparing its AirPods 3 wireless earbuds to launch this year, according to a new report from Bloomberg. 

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Airpods super copy?

While the exact AirPods 3 release date remains unknown, this report seems to confirm two oft-rumored details about Apple’s next big AirPods product: that it will go on sale this year, and will feature a new design inspired by the AirPods Pro.


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Airpods super copy?
                     Bloomberg’s report mainly covered the AirPods Pro 2, a more premium and apparently fitness-focused set of buds slated for launch in 2022. Still, it backed up what we’ve heard in rumors and seen in various photo leaks regarding the AirPods 3 design, with shorter stems replacing the long stalks of the current-gen AirPods.         
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Airpods super copy?

As the purported photo leaks (like the one above) show, this has produced an AirPods 3 design which isn’t an exact copy of the AirPods Pro — note the lack of removable ear tips, for instance — but does look classier and more compact. It should allow for a smaller charging case, something the Bloomberg's report also notes. 

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As for the release window, various sources have pointed to the AirPods 3 arriving in the second half of 2021, other than one dubious claim that Apple would reveal the buds as part of its recent Apple Music lossless announcement. This new report is one of the more reputable sources to claim the AirPods 3 will come later this year. So the AirPods 3 could very feasibly become the annual AirPods launch for this year, following 2020’s AirPods Max and, allegedly, now the 2022 AirPods Pro 2. 

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All that said, one thing we’re still waiting on is a solid indication of the AirPods 3 feature set. Spatial audio seems likely, especially since it’s also coming to Apple Music, but active noise cancellation may be more of a distant hope. With the Sony WF-1000XM4 coming soon and the Google Pixel Buds 2 reportedly supporting ANC, the AirPods 3 will need a few tricks of its own to challenge rival earbuds. 

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Your AirPods Aren’t ‘Magically Connecting’? Here Are Some Things To Try. 

 Apple’s website touts the AirPods’ ability to “connect magically” to iPhones and “move seamlessly” between iPhones, Apple Watches, iPads and Macs. For many, the popular Bluetooth earbuds work as billed. But for others—including me—AirPods have become AirProblems. 

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 Last September, I wrote a one-year review of the AirPods Pro, praising their top-notch noise-cancellation, new spatial audio feature and even their ease of pairing. After that column, colleagues and readers flooded my inbox with emails detailing various connection and switching mishaps.
This year, I started experiencing a frustration of my own. When there’s an incoming call and I put the Pros in my ears, “Nic Pods connected” appears on screen, but when I answer the call, I can’t hear anyone on the other end, because the audio source is set to the phone’s speaker.
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 Melissa Jean Clark is a Toronto-based web designer who uses AirPods Pro to listen to Spotify on her MacBook Pro while she works. When Ms. Clark reviews projects on her iPhone, the earbuds switch to that device instead. “I lose my focus. Every time I pick up my phone, they’ll connect to it, and it goes back and forth over and over,” she said.

David Tyler, of Norwich, Vt., was midsentence on a Zoom call when his AirPods Pro connected to his iPad unexpectedly. He now closes his iPad’s case and puts his phone face down to avoid the automatic switching.
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 Apple's $249 AirPods Pro produce superb noise canceling in a compact design. But lately, our columnist's earbuds haven't connected automatically during calls. Photo: Nicole Nguyen/The Wall Street Journal

Some I spoke to have put AirPods in their case for good and opted instead for traditional wired headphones, after deciding that the fuss of wireless isn’t worth the freedom.
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Airpods super copy?
 Airpods super copy?

Apple’s latest software, including updates released last week, acknowledges that there are issues in need of fixing. The updates—iOS 14.6 for iPhones and Big Sur 11.4 for Macs—provide solutions for AirPods disconnecting, sending audio to a different device during a call, sending audio to the wrong device, and showing too many prompts to connect. An Apple spokesman said users should install the updates for all devices for the best experience and interoperability, and the software should provide a remedy to the bugs outlined above.

Apple is investigating additional problems I sent over on behalf of readers, which include a set of AirPods Pro with only one bud that connects, another that takes about a minute to pair with the iPhone, and AirPods that appear in the audio source menu but aren’t automatically selected.

Still, the current fixes don’t address the bigger issue: Automatic device switching, which came to Apple devices last fall, is working as intended—and it’s annoying.

AirPods can automatically switch to nearby devices connected to the same iCloud account—a feature that might create havoc for an unsuspecting user. Photo: Nicole Nguyen/The Wall Street Journal

Here’s how it’s supposed to play out: You’re listening to a podcast on your AirPods via iPhone. When the episode ends, you pick up an iPad connected to the same iCloud account and start watching a movie. The audio switch happens without you touching Bluetooth settings. With Macs, it’s a bit different: Macs can handle multiple audio streams—a FaceTime call and a YouTube video, for instance—so you’ll see an “AirPods nearby” notification on your Mac screen. Click the pop-up to shift the AirPods connection to the Mac.

On Macs, when audio is playing and AirPods are within Bluetooth range, a pop-up will appear; click to pair. Photo: Nicole Nguyen/The Wall Street Journal The problem? It can be a huge pain when you don’t want to switch devices. Ms. Clark would leave the feature enabled, if only Apple could read her mind. “I don’t know how Apple could understand when I want to switch devices. I’d rather just control it,” she said.

A better solution would be a quick way to disable switching temporarily, something like the iPhone’s screen-rotation lock. Currently, you can only choose between automatic switching and the confusing, word-jumbled “Connect to iPhone/iPad/Mac... When Last Connected to This iPhone/iPad/Mac” option. (Don’t worry, I’ll explain that in a second.)

I’ve reviewed a lot of wireless earbuds, and Bluetooth connectivity is a challenge for all of them. So it isn’t a complete surprise that AirPods don’t work perfectly all the time. But when you pay a premium and become accustomed to a certain level of “magical” Apple seamlessness, there’s more room for disappointment.


What headphones do you use? Join the conversation below.

I still prefer AirPods over competitors from Jabra, Amazon, Bose and others. Most of the time, the pairing is as simple as putting the buds in my ears. As for the other occasions—the maybe one in five times they don’t connect—I’m waiting for my update.

Meanwhile, here are a few steps you can take to troubleshoot your ’Pods:

Update your Apple devices

Make sure your device is backed up before you update. On your iPhone or iPad, open the Settings app, go to General and tap Software Update. On your Mac, open System Preferences and select Software Update. The latest for iOS and iPadOS is 14.6; the latest for MacOS is 11.4.

Your iPhone, iPad and Mac will, of course, need to be compatible with the latest operating system versions to update. (And if the device belongs to your company, your IT department will have to be OK with you updating software.)

Your AirPods have their own firmware as well. They update automatically when AirPods are in the charging case, plugged into a power source and near a paired iOS device. You can verify your earbuds are running the most recent firmware by going to iPhone’s Settings, then Bluetooth, then tapping the “i” next to your AirPods. The most current version for AirPods Pro and second-gen AirPods is 3E751.

Turn off automatic device switching

If you’d rather your AirPods not decide by themselves when to switch, turn off automatic device switching on all your Apple devices. If you'd rather control what your AirPods are connected to, disable automatic device switching by going into Bluetooth settings and selecting "Connect to This iPhone/iPad/Mac... When Last Connected to This iPhone/iPad/Mac." Photo: Nicole Nguyen/The Wall Street Journal On the iPhone and iPad, with your AirPods connected, open Settings, go to Bluetooth, then tap the “i” next to your AirPods. Select the setting Connect to This iPhone/iPad and tap When Last Connected to This iPhone/iPad. Repeat on the Mac: Open System Preferences, go to Bluetooth, and click Options next to your AirPods. Under Connect to This Mac, select When Last Connected to This Mac.

This means your AirPods will only automatically connect if they were previously paired with that device. If you switch from iPhone to iPad, then the next time you open your AirPods, they’ll connect to your iPad (if it’s nearby).

Reset your AirPods

If AirPods wonkiness persists, reset your AirPods. (Just note that this will reset your connection and touch-control settings, too.) Put the earbuds back in the case and close the lid, then open the lid. On your iPhone or iPad, open Settings, go to Bluetooth, and tap “i” next to your AirPods. Select Forget This Device. Do the same on your Mac: Open System Preferences, then Bluetooth. Hover the mouse over your AirPods and select the “X” next to it.

Next, press and hold the small button on the back of the case, until you see the front-facing status light flashing orange. This can take up to 15 seconds. Place the AirPods close to your iOS device, and a connection pop-up will appear. Follow the steps on the screen.

Make sure two-factor authentication is enabled If you want your AirPods to switch automatically, make sure you’re signed into iCloud on all devices, and have two-factor authentication turned on. Open Settings, select your name, then tap Password & Security. You’ll see an option to enable it, if it isn’t already on.

Restart your device

If all else fails, even after re-pairing, power your device off, then on again. I don’t know why this works, but it does!

—For more WSJ Technology analysis, reviews, advice and headlines, sign up for our weekly newsletter.

How To Tell If Your AirPods Pro Are Fake

Apple's AirPods are very popular, but unfortunately also expensive. In the Apple Store the cheapest AirPods are £159/$159, while you can pay £249/$249 for the AirPods Pro (not to mention the AirPods Max at £549/$549).

It's no wonder that many people are on the look out for a bargain, and luckily you can often find the popular white headphones much cheaper, for example on Amazon has almost £60 off the price of the AirPods Pro right now (here), check our round up of the best AirPods deals for more. But what if you find an even better deal somewhere like Ebay? Can you be sure that the supposedly brand new in the original packaging AirPods are the real deal?

More and more often, the supposed bargain turns out to be a counterfeit product that deceptively resembles the expensive original. Counterfeit products are not a new problem, but fake AirPods Pro are often found on sales platforms. The high price and great demand for this product makes the AirPods Pro ideal for product counterfeiters thanks to the good profit margin even after high counterfeiting expenses.

One of our German readers fell for such an offer and only noticed the fraud too late. The fake AirPods were an excellent copy and we have been able to take a closer look at them.

Packaging and accessories

It is easy with some copies of Apple products: The packaging quality is often poor, typing errors such as "Dseigned by Apple" or translation errors are spotted in the labelling. However, in this we only found some inconsistencies in the packaging after a second glance. The packaging read: "Compatible with iOS device, iPadOS device, Apple Watch or Mac with the latest software Works with Qi-certified chargers." There is a missing full stop before Works (period in US English). In the German section there were missing umlauts.

Incidentally, you can get a photo of the original packaging without any problems on the web, for example here. Admittedly: Who reads such labels for no reason?

Check serial number
You don't even have to unpack the device, the first step is to check the serial number. This can be found on the side of the packaging and can be entered into the Apple website. In the case of our fake device, this was immediately identified as invalid exposing the device as a copy.

Unfortunately, according to reports, this check does not always work, apparently some forgers from Apple use serial numbers that are recognised by Apple. Because of this it can be necessary to open the box and do a few tests.

Check accessories
At first glance, most of the fake devices look perfectly fine, and the accessories are complete. Our test device has all the usual papers and instructions, along with real-looking AirPods Pro including housing, a lightning cable and alternative plugs.

However, the enclosed instructions would make some people suspicious: The print quality of the instructions was moderate and the type was blurred. Very unusual for Apple leaflets - but actually this is still not really proof.


The device's firmware was even stranger. On our device the Firmware is 0A2097, which is an ID that Apple never used. It would not even be possible to update the device.

Are they recognised by an iPhone or Mac?

The one thing a fake AirPod won't have is a W1 chip, which is a special chip from Apple. This chip ensures that AirPods are recognised by and synced immediately to an iPhone, iPad or Mac.

When you open the charging case, a nearby iPhone should immediately recognise and connect to the AirPods. (Excuse the German screen shot, 'Taste gedrückt halten' translates to 'Hold down the button' and 'Taste auf der Rückseite des Ladecase gedrückt halten' means 'Press and hold the button on the back of the charging case').

A window did open on our iPhone when we activated our AirPods, but the big difference was that we were instructed to press the button on the back of the case. Only then would the iOS earphones be integrated. If these were original AirPods this additional key press would be omitted.

We also found that due to the lack of a W1 chip use with a Mac mini was unreliable and switching between Mac and iPhone was only possible via the Bluetooth menu. There were also problems recognizing the microphone.

However the concerning thing is that, even in this case, the iPhone assumed that we had placed AirPods Pro in front of it and showed the usual instructions for use. And when we tapped on the info symbol next to the listed device under Bluetooth, the AirPods preferences opened.

Test functionality

The most informative test is the functionality check. The problem is that depending on the quality of the fake, the devices sometimes support more and sometimes fewer functions.

For example, we were able to carry out the fit test for ear inserts on our fake device. However, all was not as it seemed: the test always succeeded. Even when we were wearing just one of the earphones the optimal fit of both earphones was certified.

One of the most complex functions of the Pro models, however, is the Active Noise Cancelation, which is based on the high-quality microphones of the AirPods. To our surprise, we were able to activate this function and also switch on the Transparency mode. However, as we quickly found out, we couldn't hear the slightest difference with activated and deactivated noise cancellation - an obvious bluff.

Unfortunately, this test doesn't always work: some victims of fake AirPods have reported a functioning noise suppression, apparently there are some fakes with real microphones.

In general, however, the counterfeiters seem to save money on the microphones. In our test the fake AirPods delivered hair-raising sound quality - these earphones were not suitable for phone calls.

The audio quality was also very mediocre and not on the level of current Bluetooth headphones. When we listened to music there was a lack of clarity and bass.

Obviously the counterfeiters have installed components of poor quality, so it is hardly surprising that the new 3D audio function is not even displayed and that wireless charging does not work either.

Too bad: Such fakes are not even suitable as a second device and can actually only be returned or disposed of.

A look inside

There are further indications that these are fake: We quickly notice some processing defects. For example, the small plastic cover on the outside suddenly fell off after a few minutes of use. The cap at the bottom of the "stems" was also relatively easy to pull off to reveal the inside.

According to iFixit, we should actually come across a high-quality small microphone here. Instead, we see a circuit board with the label dxc-t18U8 - and no microphone, which explains the lack of recording option. These FakePods have no microphones and instead use the speaker as a microphone - which works in principle, but explains the horrific quality. For a further analysis you would need to break open the case, but we are postponing this for the time being.

How to get a refund

But what should you do if you have identified your new earbuds as rubbish? If the online shop or Ebay seller is still active, a return or refund should be attempted. Usually sellers can be persuaded to reimburse the purchase price with a bit of emphasis and repeated insistence on replacement. If the buyer only notices the counterfeit after the withdrawal period has expired, it becomes a little more difficult. However, in most cases it is an obvious defect that the seller needs to fix. A complaint is also possible, but you shouldn't expect too much here: the amount in dispute is usually quite low. An alternative is to notify Apple.

Our final advice is that with such bargains you should forego payment options without buyer protection, such as a cash payment.

Or pick up your bargain AirPods from our round up of the best AirPod deals.


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