For those who aren’t familiar with the Temu app, it’s a trending destination to shop for all sorts of things, from fitness gear and home decor to clothing and beauty supplies. But like some other large-scale online marketplaces, Temu sells knock-offs of iconic tech devices. To put it bluntly, you can find fake Apple products — most for less than $15 — available on Temu.
While none of the products in question are explicitly listed using Apple’s product names, they did come up when I searched for things like “AirPods” and “Apple Watch.” In many cases, there are multiple versions of these err, inspired items. What’s more, the product listings state that the products have been purchased through Temu customers thousands of times.
Curious to see how fake Apple products compare to the real thing, I bought four different items from Temu that looked like they belong on shelves at the Apple Store. Two weeks later, an orange package with the Temu app logo arrived. Here’s what was inside.
Clear MagSafe iPhone 14 Case
The best iPhone 14 cases sold from Apple are usually great quality, though they can be pricey compared to what you’ll find on Amazon or even from reputable third-party casemakers. Yet on Temu, iPhone cases can be purchased for less than $1 — take the Magsafe Magnetic Wireless Charging Clear Phone Case ($0.98 at Temu), for example.
From the image, this case appeared identical to the Apple iPhone 14 Clear Case with MagSafe ($39 at Walmart) I use. But in person, the product isn’t quite as similar. Rather than one large cutout on the bottom like Apple’s case, the Temu case features cut-outs for the speakers and charging port. The MagSafe icon is also printed onto the back of the case, which looks a bit cheap. When I held the case up in the light, I could see the individual magnets, too.
Still, if aesthetic details don’t usually bother you, you might not find fault with this case. The case seems protective enough, though I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s prone to yellowing (here’s how to clean a clear phone case just in case). For a mere $0.98, it’s not the worst thing you could buy, I guess.
I’ve seen dozens of fake AirPods over the years, and over time, they’ve improved in terms of appearance. In fact, the Wireless 5.0 Headphones With Wireless Mini Charging Case ($7.18 at Temu) look like they could’ve been sold from Apple. The product seemed to be inspired by the Apple AirPods 3, although I had the Apple AirPods 2nd Gen ($99 at Amazon) on hand to compare performance.
Pairing the fake AirPods to my iPhone was simple enough, though I did get a notification that my phone could not verify that they’re true AirPods. This is a message I assume Apple put in place to dissuade people from peddling phony AirPods as the real thing.
Even without the warning, I would be able to distinguish the Temu earbuds due to their terrible audio quality. They don’t stand a chance against any of the best wireless earbuds, and truthfully, I don’t think anyone’s ears deserve to be subjected to the hollow cacophony. The disservice they did to Billie Eilish’s crooning is outright offensive.
I noticed that the case’s lid seemed easy to snap off, too. One hard drop and the case would certainly break, whereas Apple’s charging cases can handle being roughed around a bit. Unless you plan to wear these in earbuds like jewelry — as in, just for show — I would get any of these best cheap earbuds under $25 instead.
While some budget smartwatch companies have borrowed design inspiration from the Apple Watch’s iconic squircle design, I hadn’t seen a true knock-off until the “Smart Watch” ($13.98 on Temu). It didn’t come packaged in an elongated rectangular box like the Apple Watch Series 8, but inside, the product had a lot of similarities in terms of looks. Plus, the included strap wasn’t horrible, and the overall feel was surprisingly comfortable.
The interface featured preset watch faces that mimic actual watchOS 9 faces for Apple Watch. I didn’t struggle to navigate the watch as much as I thought I would, and could even test out a few apps. The watch has SpO2 and heart rate sensors, and while neither were accurate, I appreciated the attempt.
That said, unlocking certain features required that I download an app onto my smartphone through a QR code on the box. I’ve always been wary of sketchy apps, and I wouldn’t be making any exceptions for this smartwatch that comes from an unknown source.
Apple Watch Ultra
The Temu-sourced “Ultra” smartwatch ($19.98 at Temu) is one of the most insulting products I’ve ever seen. Sure, at a quick glance, you could mistake it for the rugged Apple Watch Ultra ($799 at Best Buy). But it doesn’t take a detective to see that the device is nothing more than a shoddy attempt. For one, the back details are entirely printed on, including the fake exposed screws. The words around the health sensor are hilarious, and I can only assume the word “campaign” is actually meant to say “camping,” which is an activity the Apple Watch Ultra is known for.
Getting the orange silicone straps on was a struggle, and misleading given the box displayed a band that looked like the Apple Watch Alpine Loop. Once I had it powered on and around my wrist, things only worsened. The display was pretty laggy and practically unusable, erratically switching screens and watch faces (several of which seem to have complications, but nothing happens when you tapped on them.)
I even tried tracking some steps around the office, and the data was entirely inaccurate. It appeared that more functionality could be offered by pairing the phone to my smartwatch and downloading a companion app, but I did not feel comfortable connecting this poor excuse for a smartwatch to my smartphone.
Should you buy fake Apple products on Temu?
After my experience, I cannot recommend buying fake Apple products on Temu. The tragedy of it is that there are excellent budget brands in these categories. Sure, you won’t have the Apple “look,” but there are wireless earbuds and smartwatch makers who excel at delivering important features at a fraction of the cost.
That’s not to say you shouldn’t buy anything on Temu. In fact, I spent $50 on Temu for some random items with no regrets. But the knock-off products came with few redeeming features, and lots of worry when it came to pairing them to my smartphone. So, if you are going to buy fake Apple products on the Temu app, I would stick to items that don’t pair with your phone, such as cases, lanyards and other accessories.