How to Check If an iPhone Is Original?

By Amanda Kondolojy

The iPhone, like other trendy electronics, has its share of impersonators. The original iPhone has three models: the iPhone, iPhone 3G and the iPhone 3GS. By knowing the attributes these official models have in common, you can spot unofficial products and avoid purchasing a product that is not originally manufactured by Apple. Here are a few ways to determine if you have an original iPhone.

Step 1

Turn your iPhone over and look at the back. There should be a small apple logo, and then the official name of the phone etched under the logo. In the case of a first-generation model, the name will simply read "iPhone." For the 3G and 3GS models, you will see the model extension after the "iPhone" text.

Step 2

Look at the buttons on the iPhone. All iPhone models contain the same button structure. There will be one button underneath the touchscreen, a volume button on the left side, a mute switch above that, and a sleep/wake button at the top of the phone. If you see another button configuration, the phone is a fake.

Step 3

Check for approved carriers. Although iPhones can be "unlocked" to work on other networks, iPhones sold sealed in the box should only work on the AT&T network in the United States. If you see a feature that indicates the device will work on other U.S.-based networks, the device is not genuine.

Step 4

Look for Apple-licensed apps. If you are able to get your hands on the iPhone, take a look at the application boxes. iPhones come with certain applications unique to its own operating system, including an iTunes app, the App store, and an iPod utility. No iPhones ship without these applications, and they cannot be deleted.

Step 5

Examine the design. All iPhones share certain design elements in common, including a rounded back, and black casing. The only exception is the iPhone 3GS, which also comes in white. However, if you see a supposed iPhone that is another color, you can be sure it is not genuine.

Tips & Warnings

  • iPhones are only sold in the United States by AT&T, Apple and select Best Buy stores. The best way to feel secure about your purchase is to buy an iPhone from one of these locations.