Startlingly good iPhone 15 Pro Max fake is hard to spot

Posted:
in iPhone

A new video teardown of a fake iPhone 15 Pro shows just how incredibly well the counterfeiters are making them -- and just how few ways you can tell you're being ripped off.

A remarkably convincing fake iPhone 15 Pro Max
A remarkably convincing fake iPhone 15 Pro Max



A fake iPhone 15 Pro Max was not good enough to fool a Redditor who got one in place of a real model he'd ordered from Apple. In that case, the customer knew enough to recognize that what he'd received featured a "chin" at the bottom of the screen, which the real iPhone 15 Pro Max does not have.

That chin is also one of the clues shown in a new video that tears down a fake that was bought intentionally. YouTuber "iPhone Repair Guru" has pointed out the chin, differences in the packaging, how very much poorer the cameras are, and what else buyers lose out on.

"We got the fake iPhone 15 Pro Max in and we want to show you guys what it looks like and how you can avoid getting scammed by one of these third party phones," says iPhone Repair Guru. "It's amazing how quickly the fake manufactures can make these replicas!"


There is a difference in the packaging, with the real one having an Apple logo that is only visible under UV light. But otherwise, the fake packaging is astonishingly convincing.

So is the build quality and the feel of the phone.

"It actually feels like a pretty good phone, I mean we have the curved edges, they rounded the edges just like the real iPhone 15 Pro Max," continues the report. "They left no details out of this fake iPhone 15 Pro Max."

The exterior is a copy of the real iPhone 15 Pro Max, and the software it runs is a very well done copy of iOS 17. There are options that do nothing when tapped on, but at first, it all looks exactly like Apple's real iOS.

Regarding the cameras, the video says "the colors on the fake 15 Pro Max are not accurate and it's extremely hazy," when shooting still images. For video, it... "looks really grainy."

The final test the fake iPhone was put through was having a blowtorch aimed at the chassis. "If this was real titanium, it would have a bluish hue at around 500 degrees," says iPhone Repair Guru.

The better images on the left are of course from the real iPhone 15 Pro Max
The better images on the left are of course from the real iPhone 15 Pro Max



But instead, the fake soon began "starting to melt."

So it's possible to detect a fake iPhone when you have a blowtorch and a UV light. Without those, you have to go by the image quality if you're able to get to use the fake before buying, or from that chin at the bottom of the display.

Most of the time, though, you may be able to spot a fake because it could be being sold at much lower price than the real one.

Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 8
    How would these clones connect to iCloud? You'd think their deception would become obvious the moment you actually tried to use the phone.
    Alex1Nwatto_cobraAfarstar
  • Reply 2 of 8
    XedXed Posts: 2,460member
    I would've been duped after having gone into the Settings.
    Alex1Nwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 8
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 6,086member
    Some company (or person) went through a huge amount of expense (and risk) to develop this knockoff.  What market does this serve to warrant such resources?  

    I wonder if it's for the asian market for those that don't want to pay iPhone prices, but want to "look" like they one for vanity?  Is it to intercept authentic iPhones and swap with this fake one?  Is it to advertise as a real iPhone and essentially steal the person's money?  It would be fascinating to get more info about those making these imposters.

    I'm sure this is on Apple's radar so I hope they shut this company down promptly.  While imitation may be a form of flattery, this is just wrong on every level.
    chasmAnilu_777byronlAlex1Nwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 8
    As they saying goes, if something seems too good to be true, then it probably is (crap fakes). Fine for anyone who knows it but wants to be "seen" to have the real thing and can't afford it but they can't be making much from these devices for all the time and effort involved. 

    It is going to get harder and harder to identify the real from the fake. 
    Anilu_777Alex1Nwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 8
    Alex1NAlex1N Posts: 127member
    How are they going to produce the SoCs? That would be they very first hurdle that they would fall at - unless there’s a backdoor at TSMC… 
    edited December 2023 watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 8
    Is being able to connect to iCloud evidence enough that your iPhone is not a fake?
  • Reply 7 of 8
    dewmedewme Posts: 5,259member
    sflocal said:
    Some company (or person) went through a huge amount of expense (and risk) to develop this knockoff.  What market does this serve to warrant such resources?  

    I wonder if it's for the asian market for those that don't want to pay iPhone prices, but want to "look" like they one for vanity?  Is it to intercept authentic iPhones and swap with this fake one?  Is it to advertise as a real iPhone and essentially steal the person's money?  It would be fascinating to get more info about those making these imposters.

    I'm sure this is on Apple's radar so I hope they shut this company down promptly.  While imitation may be a form of flattery, this is just wrong on every level.
    I totally agree. If they can produce a device that actually works, even at a level far below Apple’s product, why not go legit and sell it on the open market under their own brand name? Of course they’d have to back away from making it look exactly like an iPhone too. I imagine the OS is a skinned version of Android made to look like iOS. This too is a nontrivial task.

    They must have access to skilled workers and manufacturing capabilities to pull this off. But if you shop around on Amazon I think you’ll find a number of tech product knockoffs that look strikingly similar to name brand products, work well enough to provide utility, but sell for a fraction of the price of the name brand product they copy. Look at all the Apple Pencil knockoffs popping up lately.

    When I was in China I visited a couple of the “electronics marts” that were filled with all kinds counterfeit and copied hardware and software products plus a ton of entertainment media. The level of detail that went into the packaging of these products was amazing. They even had DVDs of movies that had not yet been released.
  • Reply 8 of 8
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 3,823moderator
    Alex1N said:
    How are they going to produce the SoCs? That would be they very first hurdle that they would fall at - unless there’s a backdoor at TSMC… 
    Why would they need to produce Apple SoCs?  It's an Android phone skinned to appear to run iOS.  These folks aren't worried about benchmark test results or even that the phone runs smoothly.  They are gone as soon as the sale is made. 
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