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While there are a lot of sophisticated and specialized cases for your iPad, most iPad users just need something fairly simple that provides reasonable everyday protection and won’t break the bank.
ESR’s cases continue to check these boxes quite well, making them an easy overall pick for most casual iPad users. A soft, TPU back cover has crack-proof edges, and paired with a hard polyurethane front cover, provides a nice, ergonomic design. This lets you keep a firm grip on your iPad when you’re carrying it, while also providing protection from minor drops, bumps, and scratches.
Building on the design pioneered by Apple’s own Smart Cover, the trifold cover includes sleep/wake magnets for your iPad and also wraps around the back to fold into a triangular stand, either for upright movie watching or a flatter 20-degree typing and drawing angle. The back is also made of flexible material that makes it easy to remove when you prefer to use your iPad case-less, and it’s available in your choice of five different colors.
While it’s not a "case" per se, if you’re looking for something ultra-minimalist that will cover and protect your screen without adding any real bulk, Apple’s own Smart Cover is hard to beat.
While it doesn’t offer any protection on the back, most ultra-slim cases don’t give you anything more than scratch protection anyway, and if you carry your iPad in a bag, it doesn’t matter too much. What the Smart Cover does offer, however, is elegant protection for the front screen that keeps it covered and smudge-free, along with built-in magnets that will put your iPad to sleep when you close it and wake it back up when you open the cover.
The cover itself magnetically attaches to the side of the iPad, so it’s easy to remove when it gets in the way, but pops right back on when you’re ready to go out. There are also other magnets hidden in convenient places that allow the cover to fold around behind the iPad to be used as a triangular stand to prop it up for watching videos or lay it down at a 20-degree angle for drawing or typing on the screen.
Urban Armor Gear is known for its attractive and rugged cases, so if you’re looking for something that will protect your iPad in demanding situations without looking clunky, look no further than the UAG Metropolis.
The Metropolis uses composite materials for feather-light construction, yet it meets military-drop-test standards—enduring 26 drops from four feet in the air with zero noticeable damage. The detachable front folio cover also doubles as a stand and clips around its Apple Pencil holder to keep your stylus in place, as well as secure the cover closed so you don’t need to worry about it accidentally coming open.
A durable and grippy exterior also means it won’t slip out of your hands while you’re using it on the go, even in wet conditions, thanks to the water-resistant tactile grip material. That said, it’s also designed to be friction-free, so you can easily slip it in and out of your bag.
If you only need basic everyday protection for your iPad and don’t want to spend a lot of money, it’s hard to go wrong with Fintie’s SlimShell, a one-piece wraparound case that provides both front and back protection and even features a place to store your Apple Pencil.
The soft exterior TPU shell protects your iPad from scratches, as well as minor drops and impacts, while a microfibre lining on the inside protects it from scratches. The cover also includes magnets to automatically sleep and wake the iPad and folds around the back to convert into a stand either for standing upright to watch videos or laying it down flat for typing directly on the touchscreen.
It also clips on and off the iPad easily enough that you can simply take it off when you’re at home and want to use the iPad naked, yet easily snap it back on when you need it. In a world of mono-colored cases, Fintie also offers SlimShell in a refreshing selection of unique artistic designs and patterns.
Apple’s entry-level iPads are great educational tools for kids, but let’s face it, they’re also super-fragile, and if you plan on letting your youngster toddle around with an iPad, you’ll want to ensure it’s in a case that’s both highly protective and easy for them to hold onto.
Enter Fintie’s "Kiddie Series" cases, which provides rugged protection, a solid carrying handle, and also coms in six fun colors.
This case is made with super heavy duty EVA foam like you’ll find in high-end sneakers, meaning it provides great shock protection and can handle the kind of everyday wear and tear kids are likely to put it through. It’s also BPA-free, so you don’t need to worry about young kids sticking it in their curious little mouths.
The carrying handle is large and wide enough to allow young kids to easily grab onto it, and it also converts into a stand for propping the iPad upright to watch videos or play games.
If you’re a busy professional on the go, you probably need to tote around more than just your iPad, but may not want to go all the way to an actual briefcase or shoulder bag. In this case, tomtoc’s Portfolio Case provides a great middle option.
Featuring a protective pocket for your iPad, there’s also enough room for USB cables, earphones, and other small accessories that can be secured in the four elastic straps, along with a card slot for storing credit cards, and a large mesh bag for other small gadgets and cables. There’s even a spot to tuck in a small A5-sized notebook.
The exterior of the portfolio also features a patented groove design that makes it comfortable to get a secure grip on when you’re carrying it, and there’s also a convenient wristband to make sure you don’t drop it when you’re on the go. An EVA hard shell, water-repellent fabric, and quality YKK zippers ensure everything remains protected and accessible inside, and the iPad pocket is also large enough to accommodate Apple’s Smart Keyboard or other slim cover or shell cases.
Twelve South makes some of the classiest Apple accessories on the market, and its BookBook iPad case is one of the most stylish folio cases you can get. This is a gorgeous handcrafted leather case that’s not only designed to hold and protect your iPad, but to look great while doing it.
Unlike many leather cases, the classic vintage book design of the BookBook is made to age gracefully, with a natural patina that will make it look even classier as time goes by. It’s one of the few cases you can buy that will actually look better after it’s been through some everyday wear and tear.
But there’s a lot more to BookBook than just its looks. Inside is a soft microfibre interior that protects the iPad's front and back, and it also offers multiple display mode angles inside to let you prop your iPad up either for typing directly on the screen or watching movies, and when you’re done, just lay it back down, fold the case closed and zip it up and your iPad is safely stored against the elements and everyday bumps and bruises.
If you’re someone who is always on the go with your iPad, this case has you covered. It’s a rugged iPad case that lets you easily carry it and set it up in just about any position.
A silicone outer shell provides solid drop protection, while a rotatable hand strap lets you hold the iPad in any orientation so you can tap away on the screen without worrying about dropping it. Behind the hand strap is also a rotatable kickstand for setting it up at any angle, making it just as great for FaceTime calls as it is for watching movies.
As if that’s not enough, there’s even a removable shoulder strap included, so you can tote your iPad around with you without needing to put it into a separate bag, and it can be attached to carry the iPad in either a traditional laptop bag style or vertically like a messenger bag. There’s also a slot on the back for storing your Apple Pencil, as well as a screen protector for front coverage.
Apple’s newest entry-level iPad now features the Smart Connector previously only found on the more expensive iPad Pro and iPad Air models, which makes it compatible with Apple’s Smart Keyboard cover.
Unlike most iPad keyboards, Apple’s Smart Keyboard physically connects to the iPad’s Smart Connector, meaning you don’t have to worry about the hassles of Bluetooth pairing or replacing or charging batteries—it just works, without the problems with lag, unresponsive keys, or missed keystrokes that many cheaper Bluetooth keyboards suffer from.
The other great thing is this is the most minimalist, yet versatile keyboard case you can get for the iPad. It’s got magnets in all of the right places, so the cover folds over the front of the iPad when not in use, protecting the screen.
When you want to type, it folds underneath to create a stand behind the iPad, using minimal space for the keyboard and keeping your fingers within easy reach of the touch screen; when you don’t want a keyboard in front of you, the magnetically-attached cover is easy to remove, or simply wrapped around the back of your iPad to keep it out of the way.
Compatibility - Today’s crop of iPads come in different sizes: The iPad Pro comes in 12.9-inch, 11-inch, and 10.5-inch models; the iPad measures 9.7 inches; and the iPad Mini 4 measures 7.9 inches. This can cause a bit of confusion when buying an iPad case, but above all, make sure it fits.
Design - Most iPad cases feature a kickstand that allows you to prop up the iPad in a variety of orientations, but design goes beyond that. Do you want pockets to store cables or documents? Do you need a hook to attach a stylus? Look for relevant features like these when scoping out the design. Also, make sure the case doesn’t cover up ports you may need to access!
Protection - If your main reason for buying an iPad case is to protect your device from inevitable bumps and bruises, look for one that has a soft microfiber interior to preserve the display, as well as solid corner coverage, which is where you'll likely find the most dents. As opposed to phone cases, some of the most protective iPad cases won’t add inconvenient bulk.