How to avoid Android iPhone 15 clones and buy the real thing

It’s Black Friday season, and you’re probably looking for the best offers on some of the most sought-after technology available. You most likely already know that Apple isn’t the best option if the iPhone 15 is on your list. Instead, keep an eye out for deals from carriers and electronics stores.

For those looking for a less expensive iPhone 15, there is always the second-hand market, where you can get significantly better deals. Even if you are an expert, I wouldn’t advise taking this path. You may fall victim to a fraud, in which case you will either receive a bogus box or purchase an Android imitation that is completely unrecognizable from the original.

I’ll tell you what you have to do in the paragraphs that follow in order to prevent being a victim. When purchasing any model of iPhone from an unofficial source, the following rules apply. Additionally, a story that went viral on Reddit this week served as inspiration. An Android clone was sent to a UK citizen who had bought an iPhone 15 Pro Max directly from Apple in the UK.

The iPhone 15 Pro Max clone

The scenario I’ll be discussing following is a little different from RedditortheEdmard’s account. He placed a purchase with Apple for an iPhone 15 Pro Max, and he received email confirmations with shipment tracking information. As a result, we have a situation that will be handled. This iPhone 15 Pro Max was taken while it was in transit, and a clone was used in its stead.

Since most iPhone purchasers have had prior generations, they will be aware of what to anticipate from a new device.Among these purchasers is the Edmardi.

He spotted the warning indications of trouble right away. He noticed two strange features for an iPhone: a huge bottom bezel and a screen protector, even before the device powered on. The software experience then clarified everything. This was not the iPhone 15 Pro Max he ordered; rather, it was a cheap copy of Android.

However, novice iPhone users could fall for a ruse. They may believe that the awful software experience and clone are real.

In any event, I’ll outline the things you should look out for when purchasing a new iPhone 15 from someone else. I’ll support my points with screenshots that the Edmard uploaded to the internet.

theEdmard's iPhone 15 Pro Max retail box - notice the serial number and IMEIs on the bottom.
theEdmard s iPhone 15 Pro Max retail box notice the serial number and IMEIs on the bottom. Image source: Imgur

Don t fall for prices that are too good to be true

Particularly the iPhone 15 Pro, the iPhone is pricey. Never will you get a huge deal from someone on the illegal market. Incredibly low costs are a symptom of fraud. The aforementioned iPhone may be MDM-locked, stolen, or labeled as blacklisted. Perhaps it’s not even an iPhone. Your money is being attempted to be stolen. Additionally, they might try to sell you a knockoff iPhone 15 called the Edmardgot.

Meet in person if you can

Only place online orders with carriers, Apple, and other online merchants.Even then, as the Edmund story demonstrates, things can go awry. However, that situation will be resolved. Choose a local deal if you’re buying your iPhone 15 from someone else so you can meet in person.

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Pick a public location where assistance can be obtained promptly. Give the money only after you’ve given the device a test run.

Ask for the iPhone 15 serial number and check it at home

Before you can schedule a meeting, you should first request the iPhone 15 retail box’s serial number. It is a warning sign if they refuse to give it to you. It is located on the rear of the package, and when you check it out in person, it must match the serial number the iPhone displays in the Settings app. The IMEI numbers are in the same boat.

Every iPhone has a different set of these numbers. After obtaining your serial number, visit Apple’s website to verify if it is covered. The coverage tool can be accessed via this URL.

Checking <em>theEdmard's</em> iPhone 15 Pro Max serial number with Apple's coverage tool.
Checking theEdmard s iPhone 15 Pro Max serial number with Apple s coverage tool. Image source: Chris Smith, BGR

How to tell whether the iPhone is really new and unused

We are able to verify the serial number because the Edmund shared pictures of the iPhone 15 Pro Max that he purchased online. Apple claims that the device is an unactivated iPhone 15 Pro Max, as seen above. This indicates that the owner of the phone hasn’t used it in any way. Even if it has been stolen, the iPhone is brand-new and unopened as of this writing.

Let’s say someone is selling a brand-new, sealed iPhone 15. You will need to see a notice similar to the one above while verifying the serial numbers. Anything that tells you when your warranty expires is cause for concern. It denotes that the iPhone was turned on. It was maybe put to use. Or perhaps they’re attempting to con you.

However, a con artist might only have the right serial number on the package. It is crucial to keep this in mind. Because the iPhone’s software is where you must also search for the serial number.

Go to Settings, General, then About when you examine the iPhone. Verify that the IMEI and serial numbers on the package match. You can tell they don’t match if you compare the IMEIs (one for each SIM card) on the Edmardgot box (above) to the IMEIs in the software (below).

The fake iPhone 15 Pro Max has different IMEI numbers than the ones on the retail box.
The fake iPhone 15 Pro Max has different IMEI numbers than the ones on the retail box. Image source: Imgur

In addition, the top and bottom seals on the box should be intact if you are purchasing a sealed iPhone. Scammers have, nevertheless, managed to print their own seals.

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Inspect the iPhone

When you purchase a used iPhone 15, the device will already be configured, allowing you to verify the serial number as soon as the vendor meets you. On the other hand, you will have to go through the setup procedure if the device was not activated.

The moment the Edmund started the setup procedure, he knew something was suspicious. Initially, there were tears inside the box, indicating that someone had tampered with the seal before reapplying fictitious seals. This raises an alarm.

The iPhone doesn't come with a screen protector.
The iPhone doesn t come with a screen protector. Image source: Imgur

More significantly, a screen protector was on the iPhone. It’s a serious red flag. Something Apple never does. Protectors are only applied to devices by a select few Android vendors. You must purchase a screen protector because the majority won’t.

The largest actual flag in the Edmund case is located at the bottom of the display. Unlike any other iPhone—especially the iPhone 15 Pro Max, which boasts even narrower bezels than its predecessors—it has a massive bezel.

This is the point at which you should cut off communication and walk away from anyone attempting to sell you such a gadget. If you feel like it, maybe give the police a call.

No iPhone has such a big bottom bezel, especially the iPhone 15 Pro Max.
No iPhone has such a big bottom bezel, especially the iPhone 15 Pro Max. Image source: Imgur

Make sure to check the other components of the phone if the screen appears to be an iPhone screen. It is imperative that the sides, rear panel, and USB-C port remain in excellent shape, particularly if you are purchasing a brand-new iPhone 15.

The set up process

If you’re purchasing a sealed iPhone 15, you should bargain with the vendor to have the device configured before you pay for it. There is no other way to confirm that this is a real unit. If you’ve been using an iPhone for a while, you know what to anticipate. Complete it quickly and without providing any personal information. To check the serial number, navigate to the Settings app.

You won’t encounter any difficulty using the Settings app if the iPhone has previously been activated and used.

Please wait until you own the phone before entering your Apple ID or other login information.

You’ll be able to tell if you’re dealing with the actual thing or a fake in either case.

The fake Settings app on the iPhone 15 Pro Max Android clone.
The fake Settings app on the iPhone 15 Pro Max Android clone. Image source: Imgur

If it’s an Android phone, you should probably head for the hills. This is how the Edmund’s iPhone 15 configuration appeared.

Once I turned it on, I was greeted with a very poor setup process, and I immediately clocked that it was an Android device in a skin. It may have convinced my Grandad, but I could tell very quickly (especially when I saw actual Android toasts popping up in some cases)

I managed to skip all the setup screens and get into the phone. It has Facebook, YouTube, and TikTok installed already, the OS is glitchy and horrible, the camera is like a slideshow and crashes if you try to use any UI element on screen.

There are no installed third-party apps on brand-new iPhones. Let’s imagine the phony Android clone setup mislead you because this is your first time using an iPhone. It’s suspicious if the smartphone has Facebook, YouTube, and TikTok on it.

Check for repairs

You can get a better deal on a brand-new iPhone 15 by using the aforementioned procedures to purchase it from the black market. As soon as you first set up the iPhone, you’ll be able to detect whether the seller is speaking the truth or not. In the event that it is new, there is no need for concern. It is covered for a normal year even if you did not purchase it from Apple.

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If it s a used device, you ll want to pay attention to theAboutsection I mentioned above. In it, look for aParts and Service History. If it appears, it ll tell you whether the iPhone hadany repair workdone and whether it involved genuine parts from Apple or components that might give you errors.

I wouldn t buy an iPhone giving any Unknown Part errors in this section.

A warning on the iPhone 13 Pro informing you the display isn't a genuine part.
A warning on the iPhone 13 Pro informing you the display isn t a genuine part. Image source: Apple

One more thing

You can apply the same process to buying any sort of Apple gear from the second-hand market, whether it s an iPad, MacBook, or Apple Watch.

You will want to pay extra attention to AirPods. Clones might be even more convincing when it comes to AirPods, as there s no screen for this device that involves a software experience.

Back to the iPhone 15, your best bet is getting the handset from Apple or one of its retail partners, especially if any of the steps above make you uncomfortable.

If you re buying an iPhone on a budget, you can look at older options, as Apple still stocks the iPhone 13 and iPhone 14 models. The iPhone 15 will get its price cut only next September when the iPhone 16 arrives.

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