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AC power adapter for MacBook, MacBook Pro, and MacBook Air. Uses a self-aligning magnetic connector that disconnects safely when tugged. First-generation (2006-2012) MagSafe chargers have a slightly thicker, L-shaped connector. Available in 45 W, 60 W, and 85 W versions.

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How can I spot a fake online?

I know the only way to get a new one that isn’t fake is to buy it through Apple, but the machine I am getting is on the older side and I’d prefer to not spend $79 for an older but years newer system then my first attempt. This is why I am strictly looking at used adapters unless I keep getting unlucky and go to an Apple store. I got a 2011 13” this time.

In a previous attempt at a cheap Mac, I got a 2006 C2D MB and it was fried due to a knockoff (see this post: Why is the laptop shutting down?) and the machine was a total loss unless I see life with a different charger from a different notebook. I’m going much newer this time to reduce the risks (and avoiding the rMBP), but I need to find a genuine adapter. The last time I did this, the adapter I bought was a high grade fake that I was weary of because the cord didn’t feel right knowing what a real Apple power brick feels like.

Other then the manufacturer, is there any other red flags I can trust in photos to avoid these?

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Sadly the knock offs are so close you just can’t tell photographically that well.

The only way I can tell is side by side comparison with a known real unit and the second test is the way the MagSafe LED fires off. OEM MagSafe Chargers vs Cheap Imposters: Teardown for Truth

As hard as you might it will likely take you two to three attempts to get a real unit as ther’re just too many out there. Don’t forget Apple is no longer aggressively fighting the importation of chargers anymore as they’ve moved to USB-C chargers.

So the bottom line: Add up the shipping costs and they will likely hit you with a restocking fee its it worth the aggravation trying to save a few bucks and the delay.

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The problem I have with Apple's pricing is it's $79 for the 1st generation MagSafe adapters when the notebooks they go to (other than the 2012 Pro) are stupidly inexpensive on the secondhand market. That's absurd they keep that price to this very day. If I have to go through Apple, I want the 85W so it's less of a ripoff.

I understand your argument here as well. My plan is to give eBay another chance and if it happens again, I'm probably going to Apple for the 3rd one. Normally I go with 3 strikes, but this problem is beyond annoying and borders on being insane. These knockoffs ground the chassis if the anodizing is worn, so it's a safety issue for the user and system.


Thats because they are not real Apple chargers!


I'm going with used ones that look right at this point. I'm watching a few while I wait for my new machine to show up. I'm already on attempt #2. If I get another used one and this one also turns out to be fake and I've spent about half on fakes I'll just pay the Apple tax.


I think you've already payed more than the cost to the real charger directly from Apple. Remember your system was also damaged! Add up all the costs and if you zap your new logic board what then? Sometimes going cheap doesn't pay!


The seller included one of those stupid knockoffs too, so I need to decide how to move forward when it ships. The problem with fakes is as you said they're good and used is known to be safe but since they got good even used isn't as safe as it used to be so you need to watch for those now as well even if it's established to be safer.

I wish these sellers would discount the machine by $79+ and tell the user to go to Apple and buy one - I would be okay with that compromise. The problem is they make less money that way so they include the board killer chargers. Without revealing too much, I'm $21.26 short of being near an Apple charger in damaged laptops and knockoffs if I don't count the 2nd laptop since it shouldn't count yet.

As far as going to Apple is concerned... It's a 29-31 minute drive to the closest Apple store. You might be right - once I have a tracking number, just get a new one from Apple even though the price disgusts me. That said, I was able to refund my first one, but I can't do that with the notebook. With used it seems like I need to ask who manufactured it. I shouldn't need to ask about the printed manufacturer name to avoid these things used (and explain myself), yet I have to.


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This one has a lifetime warranty:

Apple MagSafe 1 AC Adapter

Immagine Apple MagSafe 1 AC Adapter


Apple MagSafe 1 AC Adapter


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visually in photos, its hard to tell. But the following physical tests can be done:

  • Check EEE codes (serial numbers on Apple’s GSX database).
  • Check if duck head alignment peg is metal or plastic (it should be grounded, so needs to be metal).
  • Check LED delay when plugged in. (the IC should check if charger is genuine when first plugged into a Mac. if the LED isn’t delayed by a second before it goes green, its not got the correct IC chip).
  • Check IC chip ID and serial number (in system information panel of Mac).
  • Check power output and curve with an oscilloscope. (compare with Apple original, as we do. cheap ones will fluctuate a lot and will have a lot of ‘noise’)
  • Crack open the charger (or a few from a batch if ordering in bulk) and inspect build quality, and look for properly grounding.

Obviously these tests are not all viable for an individual consumer buying a single charger, although you could do a few of the basic checks. This is the sort of testing that is required of a supplier in the Apple market, such as us, when checking for original chargers.

You can tell, it just takes a lot of experience and hands on tests to tell for sure.

Spelling or grammatical errors are quite common on really bad knock offs.

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It's a little late since I already bought one from a trusted source (Best Buy) because I got tired of having to try and authenticate used ones since I need usable photos. Good to know if I get one from someone in person I need to authenticate.


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Nick sarà eternamente grato.
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