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There’s no denying the fact that Apple’s iPhones are some of the best smartphones available in the market today. However, with full-glass back panels and protruding multi-lens camera arrays (design elements that are common to most smartphones these days), they are also more fragile than ever. Therefore, if you’re planning to get a new iPhone soon (or already have one!), it makes all the sense in the world to buy a case to protect it.
From slim-fitting covers to folding wallets, there are thousands of cases (across different styles) to choose from, so a little confusion is understandable. To make things easier, we’ve rounded up some of the best iPhone cases worth buying. While most of these are available for all the iPhone models currently on sale, compatibility may vary. Read on to check out our list of the best iPhone case.
Great fit and finish
Multiple color options
When it comes to smartphone accessories, Spigen is a name that needs no introduction. The company’s product line-up includes everything from cases to screen protectors, and the Neo Hybrid is arguably the best iPhone case you can get today. Its dual-layered design consists of a flexible and shock-absorbent body made of Thermoplastic Polyurethane (TPU), surrounded by a hard Polycarbonate (PC) bumper for maximum impact resistance.
The case’s matte-finished “Herringbone” pattern not only makes it resistant to fingerprints but enhances the grip as well. Fully compatible with wireless charging, it also comes with raised lips that allow for increased screen and camera lens protection. Spigen Neo Hybrid is available for iPhone 11 Pro Max, iPhone 11 Pro, iPhone 11, iPhone SE (2020), iPhone XS Max, iPhone XS, and iPhone XR.
Wireless charging compatibility
Dual lanyard attachment points
Flip cover isn’t magnetically secured
If you’re in the market for an elegant and durable wallet style case for your iPhone, look no further than Nomad’s Rugged Folio. The premium case is made using leather sourced from Chicago’s Horween Leather Company, which is one of the oldest tanneries in the US. Over time, the leather develops a patina (due to the natural aging process) that enhances its aesthetic appeal even further.
Featuring a full-rubber frame and a wrap-around Thermoplastic Elastomer (TPE) bumper, the case can protect your smartphone from drops up to 6 feet. It also features three card slots and a cash pocket (on the flip cover’s inner side), allowing you to carry all your credit/ID cards and bills conveniently. Nomad Rugged Folio is available for iPhone 11 Pro Max, iPhone 11 Pro, iPhone 11, iPhone XS Max, iPhone XS, and iPhone XR.
“Crafted from Horween leather sourced from one of the oldest tanneries in the US, Nomad’s Rugged Folio makes for a stylish accessory for your iPhone.” — Rajat Sharma, Tech Writer
Incredible battery backup
Works with all Lightning accessories
Adds a lot of heft to the smartphone
Perhaps one of the best smartphone accessories out there, Apple’s Smart Battery case not only protects your iPhone from damage but also gives it amazing battery life. It comes with a built-in rechargeable cell that complements the smartphone’s own battery, resulting in up to 50 percent (depending on phone model) longer battery life.
The case is fully compatible with wireless charging and can be charged with the smartphone simultaneously. Being an official accessory, it integrates with iOS quite well, allowing you to monitor the battery charge level from your iPhone’s lock screen or via the notification center widget. Other notable features include a soft-touch silicone exterior and a dedicated camera button. Apple Smart Battery case is available for iPhone 11 Pro Max, iPhone 11 Pro, iPhone 11, iPhone XS Max, iPhone XS, iPhone XR, and iPhone 7.
Not all models support wireless charging
Otterbox’s cases are renowned for their extreme toughness, and the Defender is no exception. Designed to protect your smartphone from just about everything, this rugged iPhone case comes with an inner hard Polycarbonate (PC) shell, enclosed by an outer slipcover made of synthetic rubber. It also features a Polycarbonate holster with a swiveling belt clip that can be used as a hands-free kickstand.
Furthermore, the case’s integrated port covers prevent dust and debris from getting into your smartphone’s ports and clogging them up. All these goodies make Otterbox Defender the perfect case for people who have to use their smartphones in challenging environments (e.g. construction sites). It’s available for iPhone 11 Pro Max, iPhone 11 Pro, iPhone 11, iPhone SE (2020), iPhone XS Max, iPhone XS, and iPhone XR.
“It may be a tad bulky, but Otterbox’s Defender is capable of guarding your iPhone against the harshest of conditions.” — Rajat Sharma, Tech Writer
Button covers are tactile
Having the right blend of style and functionality, Incipio’s Stash Back 2.0 is ideal for those who prefer to travel light. The sleek iPhone case comes with a durable hard shell, and its shock-dampening bumper uses “FortiCore” technology to reduce impact force, giving your smartphone military-grade drop protection. It also sports raised lips that allow for better screen and camera protection.
However, the headlining feature of the case has to be its built-in card holder compartment. Hidden behind an ergonomic sliding panel, it lets you carry up to three credit/ID cards or bills safely without compromising the overall seamless appearance. Incipio Stash Back 2.0 is available for iPhone 11 Pro Max, iPhone 11 Pro, iPhone 11, iPhone XS Max, iPhone XS, and iPhone XR.
Sustainable design with plant-based packaging
Tends to be slippery
On the hunt for a well-designed case to go with your premium smartphone? Tech21’s Studio Color is exactly what you need. The gorgeous iPhone case comes in a multitude of bright colors (depending on phone model), and is made using Thermoplastic Polyurethane (TPU) having a “self-healing” finish that automatically fixes scuff marks and other signs of wear. It’s worth mentioning that the case is quite sustainable, as it’s made from up to 40 percent plant-based materials. It also includes anti-microbial properties, thanks to a unique formula that can destroy up to 99 percent microbes in just 24 hours. Tech21 Studio Color can protect your smartphone from drops up to 8 feet. It’s available for iPhone 11 Pro Max, iPhone 11 Pro, iPhone 11, iPhone XS Max, iPhone XS, and iPhone XR.
The best thing about Tech21’s Studio Color case is its use of sustainable materials, which not only makes it good for your iPhone, but also for the environment. — Rajat Sharma, Tech Writer
All the iPhone cases detailed above have their distinct features and advantages. While some are rugged, others come with integrated batteries. That said, our overall pick is Spigen’s Neo Hybrid, as it offers quite a few useful features (e.g. dual-layered protection, wireless charging support) at an affordable price
We haven’t tested iPhone cases yet, but when our expert reviewers and testers get their hands on them, they’ll be judging them based on several key factors: design, fit, and protection offered. We will use the cases for each respective iPhone, and evaluate how well it fits into the case, if the case leaves ports and speakers accessible, and how the case stands up to drops and day to day use. We’ll also look at any extra features like military standard ratings, drop protection, and waterproofing. Finally, we’ll take a look at the price and how each case measures up against similar rivals in the same price range to make a value judgement. Lifewire purchases all review units; we don’t accept any from manufacturers.
Rajat Sharma is a technology journalist with over six years (and counting) of experience in the field. Having started off as a blogger, he has worked as a senior technology writer/editor with The Times Group and Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited, two of India’s biggest media houses.
Katie Dundas is a writer and journalist with a passion for technology, particularly in relation to cameras, drones, fitness, and travel. She splits her time between the US and Australia.
Size - Apple devices change their form factor slightly with every generation, so you'll likely need a new case whenever you get a new phone. However, some cases do have a little flexibility in terms of what phones they are compatible with.
Fit - Some cases will add some considerable heft and size to your phone, changing a normally slim phone into an ungainly piece of technology in a hurry.
Protection - Some cases are just for show, others will make your phone nigh indestructible. But protection often comes at the cost of making your phone larger. Another important consideration is a screen protector which isn't standard with all phone cases.