There’s a whole new universe of cases out there.
You’ve pre-ordered your new iPhone 12 Pro and now all you can do is wait until next week for it to arrive. Well, almost all you can do. Despite the fact that the iPhone 12 sports some of the most durable glass ever used in an iPhone display, the fact remains that the back of the iPhone 12 Pro is still normal iPhone glass and the stainless steel that adorns the sides is just begging to get scratched or dented in a fall (Fun fact, the iPhone 4 from which the iPhone 12 borrows is design queues was the first iPhone I ever shattered, twice).
Suffice to say, you’re going to want to protect your new iPhone 12 Pro. The good news is that there are already tons of awesome cases that are either available for pre-order or are shipping soon.
Oh, and if you happen to be getting an iPhone 12, these cases will work for the non-Pro model as well.
Best MagSafe Cases
Let’s start with the cases that everyone is talking about. With Apple’s new MagSafe connector, they’ve created a whole new way to easily protect and customize your iPhone 12 Pro. Rather than twisting and bending your iPhone and the case to the breaking point, you simply pop the cases on and off using magnets embedded in the iPhone itself.
Apple Silicone Case with MagSafe
Of course, Apple is first out the gate with a new collection of MagSafe cases in a wide assortment of colors. I especially like the Kumquat paired with the new Pacific Blue iPhone 12 Pro. Apple’s clean design aesthetic really shines in their cases. And in-hand, the soft-touch silicone just feels nicer than other cases. The micro-fiber interior keeps your iPhone safe from errant grit that might find its way into the case.
Otterbox Figura Series
If you’re looking for something a little different, then check out the Otterbox Figura series. These painterly cases are eye catching and remind me more of Impressionistic paintings than cases. They pop on and off just like Apple’s MagSafe cases and offer the protection that Otterbox is known for. The slim profile fits the iPhone 12 Pro perfectly and feels great in hand. The buttons on Otterbox’s cases are always just a little more prominent than the official cases, which makes them easy to find without looking. I also like that the raised edge of the case keeps your iPhone from falling flat on its screen.
Otterbox Aneu Series
If you’re looking for something that’s a little more standard, Otterbox has also launched their Aneu cases. Like the Figura, these are slim, MagSafe cases, but they come in single or two-tone colors. The edges are a little grippier for better handholds and the raised edge of the case protects the screen.
Otterbox Symmetry Series+
If you’re looking for the ultimate protection in a MagSafe case, then you’ll want to check out the Symmetry Series+ cases. These are rated to three times military drop standards and have long-wear antimicrobial coatings. The case itself is infused with a silver-based additive to inhibit microbial growth. It’s more expensive than Otterbox’s other offerings, but it’s also going to keep you and your iPhone more protected.
Best Clear Cases
Especially if you’ve picked up one of the new colors, you might be hesitant to cover up your new iPhone 12 Pro. That’s why these clear cases are perfect for adding drop protection (and maybe a bit more), while keeping your new device safe.
Apple Clear Case with MagSafe
Apple’s official clear case is a bit blingier than expected, with the MagSafe magnet that makes popping the case on and off prominently on display. Of course, clear magnets aren’t a thing, so that’s to be expected. But it makes for a bit of visual pop in what’s usually one of the more staid case choices.
Otterbox Symmetry Series Clear
This easy to install one-piece case from Otterbox is completely clear, so your color of choice can shine through! While it doesn’t have the antimicrobial protection of the Series+ cases, it still has the three-times military drop protection and is compatible with their full line of Alpha and Amplify glass protectors. It also comes in glittery and more opaque varieties if you want “clear, but with some style”
Nimble Disc Case
If you’re looking for a clear case made from a truly unique material, then you’ll want to check out these crystal-clear cases from Nimble. Nimble cases are made from post-consumer compact discs (which are mostly made out of polycarbonate). The plastic is treated so that it resist scratches and yellowing, making sure it looks just as clear in a year as it does when you pop it out of the (plastic free) packaging. It also has a permanent antimicrobial treatment so that your iPhone stays germ-free. Nimble has done edge-test drops of up to 6-feet, so you can feel confident that your iPhone 12 is protected from drops. I especially like that in every package there’s an e-waste recycling bag so that you can properly dispose of your old case (or earbuds or batteries). Doing so will get you 15% off your next Nimble purchase.
Casetify Ultra Impact
Made from 50% recycled materials, the Casetify Ultra Impact cases also have an antimicrobial coating to keep your iPhone 12 Pro germ free. The bigger bumpers on the Impact case will protect against drops of up to 9.8 feet. And like all of Casetify’s products, it’s fully customizable. If clear isn’t your thing, There are hundreds of designs and customization options on the Casetify site.
Best Traditional Cases
If you don’t care about magnets and clear cases aren’t your thing, don’t worry. There are plenty of traditional cases out there for your new iPhone 12 Pro.
Totallee Thin Case
Totallee cases buck the overengineering trend and do something that could be called, well, “underengineered.” Their Thin Case for the iPhone 12 Pro is .02 inches thick. It barely adds any bulk to the iPhone and yet it still protects the back glass and sides from drops and scratches. The raised lip around the camera keeps it protected as well. There’s even a clear version if you want to get more minimalist.
Zagg Gear4 Holborn Slim
Made from recycled bottles, the Holborn Slim is a great case from Zagg. It has 10-foot drop protection and their proprietary antimicrobial technology.
Made from 85% recycled plastic the Lifeproof Wake is one of the most environmentally friendly ways to protect your device. Lifeproof works with commercial fishermen to reclaim fishing nets at the end of their useful life. Usually these nets end up in landfills or worse, cut loose and drifting on the bottom of the ocean. Instead, Lifeproof breaks them down into black, dark green, or light green pellets, then turns that plastic into ultra-thin, drop-proof, one piece cases. There’s a nice wave design on the back of the case that makes it easy to grip as well. Even better, when you can send the case back to Lifeproof when you’re done with it so that they can recycle it and use it in a new case (they’re even working on accepting non-Wake cases). For every purchase or registered case, they’ll donate a dollar to a water-focused charity.
Otter + Pop Symmetry
If you’re looking for a case with a Pop Socket built right in, then you have to check out the Otter + Pop Symmetry series from Otterbox. They have the three-times drop protection of the other Symmetry cases (but not the antimicrobial coating). The only caveat is that you might need to remove the Pop Socket when you wirelessly charge your iPhone. If you’re a plug-in charging type, then don’t worry about it.
Best Protective Cases
While clear is nice, you know that you need the most rugged protection available for your new iPhone 11. These cases are for you.
If you’re looking for full waterproof protection, but want a recycled materials case, you’re in luck. The Fre from Lifeproof offers full wraparound waterproof protection and uses 60% recycled plastic. Fre features an integrated screen cover and can keep water away from your iPhone 12 for up to an hour in 2 m. of water. It also has closed speaker grates and a sealed (but still accessible) bottom port so that you don’t have to worry about gunking up your charging port. Lifeproof will donate $1 to a water-minded charity for every Fre purchased or registered.
Otterbox Defender Series Pro
Built like a tank and easy to grip, the Defender Series Pro is a chunky screenless case that’s rigid and solid. It will protect your iPhone from drops (four-times military standard) and the port covers keep your charging port and mute switch free of debris. The soft microfiber backing will keep the glass back of your iPhone scratch free as well. It comes with a belt holster that can double as a kickstand. As with most of Otterbox’s cases, the Defender Series Pro has an antimicrobial coating and is infused with a silver-additive to inhibit microbial growth.
Razer Arctech Pro
All that extra RAM in the iPhone 12 Pro is perfect for next-gen mobile gaming (like the new mobile League of Legends title). Or maybe you took my advice and got a Razer Kishi controller. Either way, turning your iPhone into a gaming machine means one thing—heat. Add a case to a hot iPhone and that can mean disaster. That’s why I’m thrilled that Razer has released a new series of Arctech cases for the iPhone 12 Pro. Gone are the confusing variations of the previous cases, now Razer’s thrown everything they’ve learned at a single next-gen case. The case has a layer of Thermapene inside that traps and directs heat out of the back of the case. That should keep your phone cool and protected. This year’s Arctech Pro line is also antimicrobial to keep germs from growing on your iPhone. I also noticed that the interior bumpers are slightly thinner right around the areas where the 5G antennas are on the iPhone 12. It’s a nice touch and shows how dedicated Razer is to performance.
Best Leather Cases
There’s something about leather cases. They feel nicer in-hand, they look great, and the best ones develop a patina over time that’s completely unique to the user. Usually Apple has a leather case available right away, in fact there was a peek-a-boo folio-style case seen during the keynote, but it hasn’t materialized yet. In the meantime, you’ve still got great leather options.
Nomad Rugged Leather Case
Nomad makes some of the best cases on the market today. The natural, vegetable-tanned Horween leather of the Rugged Leather case for the iPhone 12 Pro is a perfect example. It combines beautiful vegetable-tanned Horween leather with a rubber shock-absorbing bumper that can withstand up to a 10-foot drop. The leather of the case will age as you use it, darkening and developing the telltale scratches and imperfections of good leather. There are also two lanyard attachment points on the bottom of the case in case you’re the type that likes to use a wrist strap with their iPhone. The colors available are also available in Apple Watch straps. So if you’d like your iPhone and Apple Watch to match, you can make that magic happen.
Pipetto Magnetic Leather Case
Pipetto added magnets to their leather cases before Apple decided magnets were cool. Their slim, form-fitting leather cases come with a special metal plate in the case that interacts with the bundled magnetic mount. What’s neat is that, while most magnetic cases interfere with charging, Pipetto has engineered a solution to maintain Qi charging compatibility. I especially like that the buttons are anodized metal rather than the cheap plastic nubs you get on most cases. While the cases don’t work like the MagSafe cases do, I like that you get Pipetto’s entire magnetic mounting solution in one shot rather than having to buy additional accessories (or wait for them to be manufactured in the first place).
Best Folio Cases
The MagSafe Leather Wallet attachment highlighted the fact that there are plenty of folks out there that just aren’t interested in stuffing multiple things into their pockets every time they go out. And while a magnetic wallet sleeve is nice, we can do even better.
Nomad Rugged Leather Folio
The Nomad Rugged Folio is nearly the same as the Rugged Leather Case above, except in this case there’s an added cover that can hold up to six cards and some cash. The Rugged Leather Folio will also develop a patina over time and can absorb major falls and shocks. The only difference is that you might want to invest in a glass protector to make sure the cards don’t end up scratching your screen.
Pad & Quill Bella Fino Wallet Case
Each Pad & Quill Bella Fino Wallet case is handmade using a single piece of American full-grain leather. They’re stitched with parathread and have a lay-flat cover that can hold 5-7 cards and cash. You can also add an optional elastic cord in several different colors to secure the folio (or not, they easily detach via a hook system). The case is fully wireless charging compatible. The leather is guaranteed free from defects by Pad & Quill for 25 years. Which at first seems like overkill, but as long as your next iPhone isn’t larger than the case, you can easily remove the snap-in iPhone case and attach one to fit your next-gen iPhone. This is one folio case that you’ll be able to keep for a while.
Because every list needs a serious “WTF?” entry. Looking more like a prop from a science fiction movie or an anime, the Alter Ego cases from Gray are nothing like traditional cases. They’re more like titanium or aluminum sculptures that just happen to fit around your iPhone 12 Pro. With anodized coatings and handcrafted details, these are truly unique pieces. Each “case” is part of a limited batch and they have the high price tag to prove it. If you’re interested be prepared to spend $1,399 or more and wait until early next year when production is complete.
Toast Wood Cover
If wrapping your iPhone in a metal framework that costs more than the iPhone 12 itself doesn’t interest you, but you’re still not keen on getting a regular case, then check out Toast. Toast was the “case” of choice for my iPhone 11 Pro Max and I plan on applying one of their real wood covers to my iPhone 12 Pro once it arrives. They’re easy to use, make your iPhone look great, don’t interfere with heat dissipation or wireless charging, and are the slimmest way available to protect your device. Toast’s founder told me that he created Toast to provide “cases for people who don’t want cases” and this definitely fits the bill. With Toast my phone is protected, but isn’t any bulkier. The only issue is that Toast is a one-time solution. Taking it off your phone destroys the applique (but leaves no residue on your iPhone). If you’re the type that changes cases often, you’ll need to look elsewhere.
15:21 Cork Cases
OK, this one is a cheat, but I wanted to make sure 15:21 was on everyone’s radar. I had the opportunity to check out one of their natural cork cases for my iPhone 11 Pro Max and was deeply impressed. It pops on and off easily, has a super slim profile, and feels great in-hand (even if the cork does catch a bit on pants pockets). The wraparound case protects the edges of your iPhone but leaves the screen completely unencumbered. If you’ve ever tried to swipe in from the edge of your iPhone only to be blocked by the edge of a bulky case, you’ll understand why this is a good thing. Made in Stockholm using environmentally-friendly materials and production practices, you’ll want to bookmark the 15:21 page and grab one of their iPhone 12 cases as soon as they’re available.