Best cases for iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro – CNET

This is a design-change year for the iPhone, which means last year’s iPhone 11 cases won’t fit the new iPhone 12 models, which include the iPhone 12 and 12 Pro (out now), as well as the iPhone 12 Pro Max and 12 Mini (coming in November). Apple has returned to a square-edged design that harkens back to the iPhone 5 and 5S. If you’re trying to decide between the iPhone 12 and 12 Pro, the good news — from a case standpoint anyway — is that those models are identical in size and take the same case. The iPhone 12 Max and iPhone 12 Mini haven’t arrived yet, but cases are already available for those models.

Read more: iPhone 12 drop test result are in: Ceramic shield is as tough as it sounds

Note that all the new iPhone 12 models are equipped with Apple’s new MagSafe feature, which allows for faster wireless charging with a compatible charger. It also allows optional accessories — including a mini wallet — that adhere magnetically to the back of your phone. The new iPhones are embedded with what Apple describes as “an array of magnets” (Apple says they’re recycled) around a centered charging coil that can pull up to 15 watts of power. That’s twice as powerful as wireless charging on previous iPhones, but on par with the power that many Android phones can draw from standard Qi wireless chargers.

You’ll need an Apple MagSafe charger or an Apple-approved MagSafe charger from a third-party accessory maker to get the 15W charging speeds, but your phone will still charge at up to 7.5W with standard wireless chargers that support that speed or higher. Most of the cases on this list are compatible with wireless charging, but we haven’t tested them yet with Apple’s MagSafe charger. We’ll add those results once we get the relevant devices in the coming days. 

In addition to MagSafe results, I’ll be updating this list with new options as they continue to arrive. In the meantime, this list is based on case brands we’ve grown to like on previous iPhones. Finally, many of these links go straight to the manufacturer’s website for now, but they should appear at Amazon and other retailers in the near future.

Read more: Best headphones and wireless earbuds for iPhone 12 

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In the last year, Speck came out with some new case designs for the iPhone 11 and they’re now available for the iPhone 12. Because I have expensive tastes, I personally like the $60 Presido2 Armor Cloud (white model on the right in the photo). But the Presidio2 Pro (gray case in the photo) is also excellent. If you want a clear case, Speck has several models to choose from, including the Presidio Perfect-Clear with Grips. 

All the new models have very good drop protection (13 to 16 foot, depending on the model) as well as Speck’s Microban antimicrobial protection. The cases start at $40 in various color options, but Speck does give you 30% off on your first order on its website.

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I’ve become a recent fan of Clckr’s cases, which feature a built-in stand and grip strap that folds out and clicks into place on the back of your phone. Clckr sells just the stand-strap accessory to stick on the back of your phone (or on a case), but the case with the integrated stand accessory is better and comes in a few different styles, including clear (I like the Saffiano blue but it’s currently only available in black). Clear models start at $30.

The cases aren’t super protective but they’re protective enough, with raised edges to protect the screen. The one I’ve used with my iPhone 11 Pro for the last four months has held up well. 

With the stand clicked in place, you can use your device hands-free in either portrait or landscape mode. Note that you can wirelessly charge your phone with this case on, though you have to be more careful about placing it in the right spot on a wireless charging pad for it to work. The new models have antimicrobial protection.

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If you’re looking for a cheap clear case for your new iPhone 12, Spigen’s Ultra Hybrid is a good value at around $12 to $15, depending on the trim color or which version of iPhone 12 you have (yes there are a few color options).

No drop rating is listed for the case, but it feels like Spigen transparent cases offer reasonable protection. If you want stronger protection, Spigen’s Tough Armor case is an option for $17, but I personally prefer Spigen’s Ultra and Neo Hybrid cases. Note that a lot of these cheaper clear cases have a habit of turning yellow and degrading over time (and becoming less translucent), but they’re cheap enough that you probably won’t mind shelling out for a replacement if that happens.


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X-Doria’s Raptic series cases come in variety of styles and cost a little less than competing premium cases from Speck and Otterbox. The thicker Raptic Shield (pictured on left) costs $30 while the Raptic Air (pictured on right), which I personally like, is $40. The Shield has 10-foot drop protection while the Air is rated for 13-foot drop protection. Both have an antimicrobial treatment.

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The company’s super protective Defender series case is available for all the iPhone 12 models, but most people want something less bulky. The Symmetry series is slim with beveled edges, making it a good mix of sleek and protective. A raised bumper helps act as a screen protector. 

Multiple color options are available, including clear, and I’m digging the clear version of the Symmetry Plus Pop case (pictured in the middle), which integrates a PopSockets PopGrip (it is wireless charging compatible, which is important). Prices range from $50 to $60 (AU$59, £29). Otterbox offers a discount for first-time buyers on its site.

Otterbox’s Commuter case offers slightly more protection and is also pretty slim and has grips on the back for, yes, a little added grip.   

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Casetify’s cases are known for their eye-catching designs (that are stuck onto the back of a clear case). They’re relatively slim, sleek-looking cases that offer decent protection and come in a variety of design patterns, with some definite appeal to teenagers. Some of the designs are hit or miss but I liked the samples I got. I should note that prices appear to have gone up. Casetify cases used to be more in the $40 to $50 range, but they now start at $55. In time, the prices should come down a bit.

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BodyGuardz was initially known for its screen protectors, but in recent years it’s put out some interesting iPhone cases. I personally like the $45 Harmony (pictured left), which has a more square bottom. The Stack (picture in the middle) is $40 while the Avenue (on right) is $45. They come in a few color options. 

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Smartish’s affordable, simple, slim cases and wallet cases return for the iPhone 12. The Wallet Slayer 2.0 case (pictured on left and right) costs a little more now ($25) but comes in a variety of designs. It holds three credit cards plus cash and you can use one of your credits as a kickstand.

Smartish also sells a simple translucent case for $15. 

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Rokform’s been making tough iPhone cases for years and aside from their durability, their key feature is the ability to use them with various mounts — including bike and motorcycle mounts — that are sold separately. I personally prefer the Crystal Series but the Rugged case is slightly more, well, rugged. 

Rokform’s cases have removable magnets and they’re wireless-charging compatible by removing the included center magnet. “With the lower magnet still intact, you can still wireless charge while utilizing magnetic mounting and all of our mounts,” Rokform says.

Rokform cases aren’t quite out yet but they are available for preorder.

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Case-Mate makes a variety of color cases, some of which have glitter integrated into their translucent designs. I only got a look at the twinkle ombre case, but the iridescent soap bubble and tough groove cases also look cool.

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You know all those compact discs you no longer listen to? Well, Nimble makes translucent iPhone cases out of them. They’re a little pricey at $40 but some of us like the idea of protecting the latest technology with recycled technology and don’t mind paying a little extra for that. They have antimicrobial protection, are scratch-resistant and aren’t supposed to turn yellow over time. While the Disc Case is slim, it’s rated for 6-foot drop protection. 

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If selfies are your thing, then you’re probably aware of LuMee cases that have built-in lighting. This Paris Hilton-endorsed Holographic version has an iridescent design. It charges via USB-C and gives you 30 minutes of “studio lighting” at full brightness. The case does allow for wireless charging and you can adjust the brightness levels of the light.

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I wasn’t a fan of earlier Pelican cases, which were very protective but just a little too bulky (and ugly), but in the last couple of years (starting with the iPhone 11), the company, now owned by Case-mate, added some slimmer designs, including two that I like: the Protector (pictured, middle in camo color) and Rogue (at left and right), which has a soft rubber bubbled pattern. 

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UK-based Torro makes some nice leather-clad cases that aren’t too expensive (leather cases tend to cost over $50). The Torro Leather Bumper ($38) is a pretty straightforward bumper case with a leather back while the Wallet Case ($40) is a bit swankier overall, has a magnetic clasp, multiple card slots and converts into a stand for video viewing. It’s one of the better folio wallet cases you’ll find for the money. Both are available in multiple color options.  

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Apple upgraded the cameras in its iPhone 12 models, with the iPhone 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max offering step-up camera options (the iPhone Max is the best in the imaging department). But a select few accessory makers like Moment allow you to enhance your shooting with add-on lenses and filters. Sold separately from the case, lenses aren’t cheap, but they are high-quality. 

Moment’s iPhone cases include an insertable mount that can be removed when you’re not playing around with any optional lenses, which are easy to attach. Its Thin Case is a simple but attractive rubberized case made out of compostable bio-plastic that’s rated for 6-foot drop protection. Cases with wood and canvas on their backs are also available (they all ship in November). 

      

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Razer, which makes laptops and gaming accessories (among other products), also makes iPhone “gaming” cases. They have something called Thermaphene-Based Heat Dissipation that “redirects trapped heat through a thermally conductive lining adjacent to vented airflow channels to significantly improve cooling compared to traditional cases.” It’s a bit of an extra protection gimmick, but it seems to help a little when you’re playing graphically intensive games for long periods. 

Razer had a slim Arctech case for the iPhone 11, but right now it only has the Arctech Pro for the iPhone 12 models. It’s been redesigned from last year’s Arctech Pro — it seems even more protective — and adds an antibacterial coating.

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