Real vs. Fake Apple Power Adapters: 4 Signs of a Fake

Apple power adapters might be more expensive than other brands you can buy, but buying the real deal can protect both your own safety and your Apple computer.


Jesse Sumrak
Updated 3 June 2021
Real vs. Fake Apple Power Adapters: 4 Signs of a Fake
Share to

United States Counterfeit Goods Statistics


$1.3 billion in counterfeit items seized each year
$200 billion yearly loss to businesses

$959 billion (estimated value of the counterfeit market by 2022)

Source: Library of U.S. Congress

Sections on this page
  1. 4 Ways to Spot Apple Adapter Originals vs Fakes
  2. How to Spot Fake Apple Charger Adapter Listings
  3. What Are Fake Apple Power Adapters?
  4. Where Are Fake Apple Power Adapters Sold?
  5. What to Do If You Purchased a Fake Apple Power Adapter
  6. Where to Buy Real Apple Power Adapters?
  7. Frequently Asked Questions

Apple sells more than 18 million Mac computers every year. Each of those Macs needs a robust power adapter to charge these devices—but scammers are introducing fakes into the market. With Apple power adapters costing as much as $79, it's no wonder buyers are jumping at cheaper price tags whenever they see them.

However, fake Apple power adapters aren't just cheaper—they put your expensive Mac device at risk. Below, we'll walk you through everything you need to know about fake Apple power adapters and how to avoid them at all costs (literally).

4 Ways to Spot Apple Adapter Originals vs Fakes

Scammers have fine-tuned their counterfeiting craft, but they're far from perfect. If you know what to evaluate, you'll be able to spot Apple adapter originals vs fakes without a problem.

Here's what to do:

  1. Check the Price Tag
  2. Check the text printed on the charger
  3. Verify the Apple Logo on the Adapter
  4. Test the Metal Prong Spring

1. Check the Price Tag

Depending on the strength of the power adapter, you're likely going to need to pay anywhere from $50 to $79 for a genuine product. From time to time, you may find legitimate discounted products for less than that, but always be on high alert when you see large price discrepancies.

However, keep in mind that scammers will sell counterfeits at market price, too. That's why it's crucial to use price as an alert trigger and then progress to a more detailed product analysis.

Fake MacBook charger
The price of this fake MacBook adapter is half the cost of a genuine Apple adapter. (Source: Amazon)

2. Check the Text on the Adapter

The text on genuine Macbook chargers is a light grey, while counterfeits use a darker font. This may be difficult to spot at first, but if you have something to compare it to, it might make a fake more obvious. 

Real vs fake Apple power adapter

3. Verify the Apple Logo on the Adapter

Genuine Apple power adapters will have the Apple logo engraved on the product. It's not a sticker or a printing—it's a tangible engraving. Fakes will mimic this branding, too, but sometimes they'll get details wrong with the logo sizing and minutiae. Look at the Apple logo and the product logo side by side to discover any discrepancies.

4. Test the Metal Prong Spring

The metal prongs have a powerful spring that'll feel as you pull them down for charging or as you push them up for storage. Fakes often use a poor spring mechanic or fail to use a spring at all, causing the prongs just to fall out or require manual pulling through the entire range of motion. 

How to Spot Fake Apple Charger Adapter Listings

Unfortunately, you're not going to be able to do all of the above product testings if you're purchasing your charger adapter online. You'll need to be able to distinguish the fake listings from the real ones to avoid buying a counterfeit product in the first place.

Below, we'll walk you through our favorite tell-tale methods for identifying scam listings online:

  • Price: Again, check the price tag. You'll often see fakes discounted at outrageously low prices price. If the price seems too good to be true, then it probably is.
  • Seller: Double-check the seller's contact information to ensure everything aligns. For example, if your seller's name is Jamie Jones, it should be a red flag if their email address is [email protected]
  • Reviews: Look at the listing's reviews to find fake reviews and poor feedback. If it's obvious the top reviews are all fake, then be on high alert moving forward. Also, look at the 1-star reviews to see if other buyers have reported fraud.
  • Typos: Scammers often sell products in multiple languages across various websites—this makes it easy for them to slip up and make typos or basic grammar mistakes. Legitimate listings usually take the time to guarantee their copy is error-free.
  • Images: Don't purchase from listings that use stock photos of the product that they didn't take themselves. If the seller doesn't provide any real-life photos, ask them to send over pictures of the product before making a purchase. This not only guarantees they have the product in question, but it also allows you to take a closer look for the tell-tale signs we mentioned above.
  • Source: Some websites are more notorious for hosting scams than others. When in doubt, always buy from a secure seller that you know or one with a solid reputation.

What Are Fake Apple Power Adapters?

Fake Apple power adapters are counterfeit chargers for Mac laptops and desktops that scammers sell at discount prices. These budget-friendly charging solutions may carry a low price, but they can significantly damage (and even outright) destroy your device.

Apple launched a lawsuit in 2016 that claimed as much as 90% of Apple power adapters and chargers marked as "genuine" on Amazon are counterfeit.

These knock-off power products aren't subject to industry-standard consumer safety testing. They're often constructed with inferior, cheap components, flawed designs, and insufficient electrical insulation. These risks could cause your product (and device) to overheat, catch fire, and send fatal electrical shocks to consumers.

Where Are Fake Apple Power Adapters Sold?

Unfortunately, counterfeit Apple power adapters have made their way across the internet. Before 2016, even Amazon (direct-through Amazon—not 3rd-party sellers on Amazon) thought they were selling legitimate Apple power products to consumers until Apple did some investigating.

While buyers and suppliers are a bit more aware now, there are still a few well-known sites that scammers like to sell fake Apple power adapters:

  • Wish
  • Amazon
  • eBay
  • Craigslist
  • Facebook Marketplace
  • Walmart
  • Alibaba
  • Fake websites

What to Do If You Purchased a Fake Apple Power Adapter

If you discover you purchased a fake Apple power adapter, you can still get your money back. Where and when you bought the product will determine if that's a possibility. Here a few popular online platforms and their money-back guarantees:

  • Amazon: Contact Amazon customer support to file an A-to-Z Guarantee.
  • eBay: Contact eBay customer support to ask about their money-back guarantee.
  • Facebook Marketplace: Facebook Marketplace has no money-back guarantees.
  • Walmart Marketplace: Contact Walmart about their Walmart Marketplace Promise to track your purchases and request refunds.
  • Craigslist: Craigslist has no protection for buyers and sellers. Contact Craigslist to report the scam to protect yourself and others from future harm.

Contact the FBI's digital division to report the crime. If you just recently made the purchase, contact your bank or credit card company to attempt to cancel the transaction—there's a chance you can do this before it finishes processing.

If the transaction has completed processing, you can request a chargeback from your credit card company—however, wait to get a response from the platform you made the purchase on before initiating this process.

Where to Buy Real Apple Power Adapters?

Apple has several authorized sellers. You can trust these sites to sell authentic Apple products. Here are a few of the most popular:

  • Best Buy
  • B&H Photo
  • Sam's Club
  • Office Depot
  • Target
  • Staples
  • T-Mobile
  • Verizon
  • Walmart

Frequently Asked Questions

How are fake Apple power adapters different from real ones?

Fake power adapters are manufactured with cheap components, imperfect designs, and inadequate electrical insulation. When the counterfeit chargers do work (and that's not a guarantee), they often take significantly longer to charge products, and they'll usually overheat quickly. This can be a fire and safety hazard for you and your device.

Where is the best place to buy legit Apple adapters?

You can find legit Apple adapters all over the internet and at local retailers. Apple's website sells these products, but usually at a higher price. You can find authentic Apple adapters at popular sites/stores like Sam's Club, Walmart, Target, Best Buy, and more. 

Can I buy real Apple products on Amazon?

Yes, you can. Despite the counterfeit scam back in 2016, Amazon has removed (and sued) the scamming manufacturers and replaced them with legitimate distributors. You can now find authentic Apple products on Amazon. However, scammers and other third-party sellers can use the Amazon marketplace, too, so you'll always have a bit of risk when buying from an unknown seller on this platform. When in doubt, buy from an authorized seller, even if the price tag is slightly higher.

Comments