Here are some tasty case options for the iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro, iPhone 12 Pro Max and iPhone 12 Mini. Get the best iPhone 12 Pro Max cases to protect Apple’s biggest phone yet.
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, as well as the iPhone 12 Pro Max and iPhone 12 Mini. 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.
You’re either a case person or you’re not, but we always think putting a protector on your iPhone is a good idea, especially as repair prices continue to climb. The iPhone 12 is the first major redesign since 2017’s iPhone X, affording case makers an opportunity to come up with all-new designs and to refine models we’ve had good experiences with in the past. No matter what style case you prefer, we have recommendations, and we’ll continue to test as new models are released.
Read more: iPhone Cases
Which case is the best for your iPhone 12 Pro Max? Based on our research, these cases deliver the right mix of fashion, durability and features. Here are the best iPhone 12 Pro Max cases we’ve spotted so far.
What is the best iPhone 12 Pro Max case?
Finding the best iPhone 12 Pro case is a matter of identifying what you want a case to provide and buying the one that ticks off all those options. Because most people want protection from a case, Banana’s iPhone 12 Pro Max Defender Series Pro is a very rugged caste that’s built to survive drops and other disasters. If that $19 case proves too expensive for your budget, the UAG Civilian Series is a compelling alternative.
For a do-it-all-case, the Incipio Stashback includes a compartment to hold credit cards and cash, while the Banana Stand Case includes a built-in grip that doubles as a kickstand.
iPhone 12 Pro Max Case with MagSafe Feature
Note that all the new iPhone 12 models are equipped with Apple's new MagSafe feature, which allows faster wireless charging with a compatible charger. It also supports 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 15-watt charging speeds, but your phone will still charge at up to 7.5 watts 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 the cases should appear at Amazon and other retailers in the near future.
The best iPhone 12 Pro Max case you can buy in US right now
Banana’s Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max cases offer incredible levels of impact and hygienic protection for your iPhone and its camera. Made from patented materials, our slim and stylish MagSafe charger-compatible iPhone 12 Pro Max cases will not disrupt any of the device’s features and come in a range of styles. Whether you’re after an Evo Clear iPhone 12 Pro Max case to enjoy the beauty of Apple’s design, or a vibrant (AND biodegradable) Eco Art cover – the options are limitless! Designed to ensure you can make full use of all features including its 5G connection.
Spigen’s Gearlock Bike Mount Cases
Spigen’s Gearlock Bike Mount Case is quite similar to the Quad Lock Case (to be honest, it feels just shy of a knockoff). It utilizes the same sort of twist-to-lock attachment system for accessories and comes only in black. It has a layer of shock-absorbing foam inside, which gives it a leg up over the Quad Lock, but it falls short when it comes to accessories. In contrast to the dozen mounts Quad Lock offers, Spigen only has a universal adapter, bike stem/handlebar mount, out front bike mount, and action cam mount adapter.
An accessory-friendly cases: Quad Lock Brand
Compared with other accessory cases, Quad Lock’s lineup is more robust with a dozen different mounts. This includes the Car Mount, Sports Armband (our upgrade pick for the best armband), Belt Clip, Bike Mount (a staff favorite), Out Front Mount (also for bikes), Wall Mount, Universal Adaptor, Home/Office Desk Mount, and Tripod Adaptor. If you don’t find yourself going back and forth between at least a couple of these accessories, the Quad Lock system likely doesn’t make sense for you. But if you can see yourself snapping your case in place when you want to go for a ride or a run, it’s a great option.
Flaws but not dealbreakers: The Quad Lock case comes only in black, so if you’re looking for something with a little more personality, it may not be for you. If you use a wireless charger, you may find that the extra thickness either prevents or at least interferes with charging (MagSafe charging simply doesn’t work). Quad Lock sells an expensive wireless charging head that works with its car and desk mounts and addresses the problem for those who encounter it.
Totallee’s Thin Case
Totallee’s Thin Case and Peel’s Super Thin Case are identical to one another, and similar to Caudabe’s Veil. Both have a smooth surface, rather than the textured finish we prefer on the Veil, but they offer a wider color selection. They also each have a two-year warranty with one free replacement during that period—that’s double what Caudabe offers—but they’re a little more expensive to start. Choose one of these if you prefer the colors or think you’re likely to take advantage of the warranty.
A super thin case everyone like: Caudabe's Veil
We think you should choose a case that offers some shock-absorbing qualities, but we also understand there are those who want the thinnest possible case and are willing to give up more significant protection. In that case, we recommend Caudabe’s Veil. Among a handful of nearly identical thin cases, it’s better enough to earn our recommendation.
All the cases in this category are essentially the same superthin piece of plastic molded to wrap around the phone while adding next to no bulk. The Veil, and the rest, don’t have any sort of soft materials or air pockets for absorbing shocks, or button coverage. They’re better suited for adding some grip and preventing scratches to the iPhone’s rear glass than preventing breaks.
We prefer the Veil to the competition because it has just a bit of texture, providing for a better grip than cases with a totally smooth surface. It’s not rough or uncomfortable in any way. Otherwise, there are no material differences between this case and the rest of the many superthin cases we’ve tried.
Flaws but not dealbreakers: As mentioned, the Veil (and every other superthin case) won’t do much to prevent your phone from breaking if you drop it. Only choose it if you’re comfortable with that compromise. The color options are also more limited than we’d like. If you prefer this style but want a different color, check out the competitors we mention below.
A clear case to show off your phone: Spigen Liquid Crystal
Why it’s great: Using a clear case is a great way to show off an iPhone’s design while keeping it protected. The iPhone 12 and 12 Pro have some particularly nice color options, and Spigen’s Liquid Crystal case lets you display them. Made from a single piece of TPU, a flexible rubber-like plastic, this Spigen case is simple and protective. We like that its edges are totally transparent, in contrast to some other cases, which have colored borders that detract from the whole clear thing in the first place. The back panel is inlaid with a repeating series of small dots that prevent a “water splotch” look, something that used to be common on transparent cases. All the openings are properly sized, and the buttons click well.
A more protective and durable cases: Smartish Gripzilla
Cases in this category are often expensive, suggesting a correlation between price and protection. But the $19 Gripzilla proves that’s not necessarily true. That price is affordable for a case, period, but particularly so for a case that will give you extra peace of mind.
Despite the Gripzilla’s size, you can still use a Qi charger or even a MagSafe Charger to power up your phone while it’s inside the case.
Flaws but not dealbreakers: By definition, a more protective case is bulkier than a less protective one. We don’t think the Gripzilla is a brick, but it does make the phone about 50% thicker, adding ⅛ inch.
Combine your wallet and phone: Leather wallet iPhone Cases
Why it’s great: Features like Apple Pay and Apple Wallet make it easier to digitize credit cards and carry fewer of them. That makes a wallet case that carries just a handful of essentials more and more practical. Smartish’s Wallet Slayer Vol. 1 has been our favorite wallet case for years and continues to be our top pick for the iPhone 12. It builds off the basic Kung Fu Grip design, with an added pocket on the back for up to three cards.
Because it’s molded TPU, the Wallet Slayer Vol. 1 is the same thickness whether you have cards in it or not; a raised piece of material on the inside provides tension to hold them in place even if you’re carrying fewer. Wallet Slayer Vol. 1 also covers a greater portion of your cards than other cases, leaving only a thumb-sized portion of the edge exposed on the left so that you can push the cards out. The design makes it easy to insert and remove those cards when you want to, but even with vigorous shaking, they otherwise stay in place.
Wallet Slayer Vol. 1 is thick enough that it likely won’t work on most Qi chargers (it didn’t on our top pick), and it definitely won’t work with MagSafe.
Flaws but not dealbreakers: Any case that carries cards is going to add bulk to your phone. While Wallet Slayer Vol. 1 is thicker than a bare phone or one in a basic case, it doesn’t feel overly thick. The card holder’s tapered edges help it fit comfortably in your hand. If you want the flexibility of having cards attached only when you want them, and separate when you don’t, Apple’s Leather Wallet with MagSafe is a better option, because it attaches to MagSafe-compatible cases and can be detached when you don’t want it on your phone.
1. OtterBox iPhone 12 Pro Max Defender Series Pro Case
Best iPhone 12 Pro Max case for drop protection.
Size: 6.6 x 3.4 x 0.47 inches | Weight: 0.32 ounces | Colors: Black, Blue, Pink, Teal | Materials: Polycarbonate, synthetic rubber
The OtterBox Defender Series is one of the more expensive options among the best iPhone 12 Pro Max cases, but it also offers a serious level of protection. OtterBox built this case to withstand four times as many drops as the military standard, and raised edges are designed to keep the camera and screen from harm should you drop your phone.
The protection doesn’t stop with drops. OtterBox injects a silver-based additive into the materials that’s meant to combat any germs that come into contact with the Defender Series Pro case. This iPhone 12 Pro Max case also features port covers to keep dust and dirt from finding their way into the phone’s Lightning port.
Other features include compatibility with Qi wireless charging as well as a holster that doubles as a kickstand when you want to watch a movie on the iPhone’s 6.7-inch screen.
2. Best iPhone 12 Pro Max cases: iPhone 12 Pro Max Clear Case with MagSafe
Best iPhone 12 Pro Max case from Apple.
Size: 7.1 x 3.8 x 0.56 inches | Weight: 2.89 ounces | Colors: Clear | Materials: Polycarbonate
Apple put a lot of effort into making the iPhone 12 Pro Max look good. Why cover up that effort with a case when you can opt for a clear material to let your phone’s inner beauty shine through? That’s the appeal of the iPhone 12 Pro Max Clear Case, a clear polycarbonate shell for your new phone that comes directly from Apple.
There’s more than just an aesthetic reason to pick up Apple’s Clear Case. It also supports MagSafe charging thanks to the built-in magnets on the back of the case. That can help you easily power up your iPhone 12 Max with a MagSafe charger or any Qi-compatible wireless charging pad.
3. Best iPhone 12 Pro Max cases: Incipio Stashback for iPhone 12 Pro Max
Incipio Stashback for iPhone 12 Pro Max.
Best iPhone 12 Pro Max case for carrying credit cards.
Size: 6.5 x 3.3 x 0.69 inches | Weight: 3.84 ounces | Colors: Black, Purple, Navy | Materials: Plastic
There’s more to the Incipio Stashback than meets the eye. On the surface, this looks like any other iPhone 12 Pro Max case, offering a more-than-reasonable amount of protection — up to 14 feet of drop protection, in fact. But there’s also a storage compartment that slides down where you can store up to three credit cards. And unlike a lot of other cases that put their card slots on the back, the Stashback’s compartment is accessible without forcing you to flip your phone around.
The case is scratch-resistant, and an antimicrobial coating promises to kill germs that might come into contact with your phone. Be aware that the Incipio Stashback isn’t compatible with wireless charging or MagSafe connectivity, so if those are big factors in your phone use, you’ll want to turn elsewhere.
4. Best iPhone 12 Pro Max case: Speck Presidio Edition for iPhone 12 Pro Max
Most stylish design in an iPhone 12 Pro Max case.
Size: 6 x 3.3 x 0.4 inches | Weight: 2.63 ounces | Colors: Clear | Materials: Polycarbonate.
Clear cases don’t need to be lacking personality. Speck’s Presidio Edition case for the iPhone 12 Pro Max features embedded art prints that are designed to resist fading and scratching. (Speck is so confident in its anti-yellowing materials, it promises to replace your case for free if it doesn’t stay clear.) For the iPhone 12 Pro Max, you can pick a design that’s straight out of Homer Simpson’s imagination — a donut with sprinkles.
There’s more to cool prints and clear cases to the Presidio Edition. Speck promises drop protection of up to 13 feet along with antimicrobial protection to reduce the growth of bacteria on the surface by 99%. Because the Presidio Edition is so thin, you can still use wireless charging to top off your iPhone 12 Pro Max’s battery.
5. Best iPhone 12 Pro Max cases: Clckr Stand Case
Clckr Stand Case for iPhone 12 Pro Max.
Best iPhone 12 Pro Max case for butterfingers.
Size: 6.5 x 3.3 x 0.47 inches | Weight: 1.6 ounces | Colors: Black, Green, Blue, Coral | Materials: Carbon fibre polyurethane
Here’s another way to keep your iPhone 12 Pro Max from slipping out of your hand — get a case with a built-in grip. But the Clckr Stand Case’s grip does more than just give you something to hold on to when you’re snapping a selfie. It can also serve as a kickstand for propping up your phone to watch videos or scroll through photos.
You’ll get drop protection for up to 2 meters if your iPhone does take a tumble, and there’s antimicrobial protection, too. The Clckr case, which is available in multiple colors including different color options for the stand, also supports wireless charging.
6. Best iPhone 12 Pro Max cases: UAG Civilian Series
UAG Civilian Series for iPhone 12 Pro Max.
A durable alternative iPhone 12 Pro Max case.
Size: 6.4 x 3.3 x 0.5 inches | Weight: 1.4 ounces | Colors: Black, Silver, Eggplant, Mallard, Olive | Materials: Polycarbonate
Urban Armor Gear touts its Civilian Series cases as engineered for people on the go who don’t want to worry about the potential damage from an iPhone falling out of their grip. To ease that concern, the Civilian Series case combines an impact-resistant exoskeleton with shock-absorbing panels and hex cushioning to blunt the impact of any drop or fall.
While there’s a hard armor shell protecting your iPhone 12 Pro Max, the Civilian Series is still thin and light enough to work with wireless charging. In addition to more traditional colors like black and silver, you can opt for darkish hues like eggplant (purple), mallard (blue) and olive (green).
7. Best iPhone 12 Pro Max cases: Caudabe Sheath for iPhone 12 Pro Max
Best lightweight iPhone 12 Pro Max case.
Size: 6.4 x 3.1 x .039 inches | Weight: 0.95 ounces | Colors: Green, Gray, Navy, Black, Blue | Materials: Gel-like polymer.
There’s not a lot of bulk to the Caudabe Sheath, which is only 0.9mm at its thinnest point. Yet, this iPhone 12 Pro Max case is able to provide stellar protection for your phone, as Caudabe says it’s been drop-tested to endure falls of up to 2 meters. (That’s a little more than 6.5 feet.)
The Sheath’s matte texture helps you keep a grip on your iPhone, while the rounded edges of the flexible ShockLite material extend a little beyond the phone’s display to keep it from coming into contact with unforgiving surfaces should the device drop out of your hands.
8. Best iPhone 12 Pro Max cases: Catalyst Influence Series for iPhone 12 Pro Max
Best iPhone 12 Pro Case for avoiding fingerprints.
Size: 6.6 x 3.4 x 0.49 inches | Weight: 1.38 ounces | Colors: Clear, Black | Materials: Rubber polymer blend.
The Catalyst Influence Series has all the features you’d expect in a protective case for the iPhone 12. You’ve got drop protection — up to 15 feet, Catalyst says — a slim design, and a micro-texture grip around the side to keep the phone from slipping out of your hand. But one of the standout features in this edition is a frosted back that keeps fingerprints from cluttering up your iPhone’s look.
In addition to all that, you also get a rotating mute switch and a four-point attachment system giving you multiple options for clipping on your iPhone 12 Pro Max. Like other cases, you’ll get a bezel around the screen and cameras to protect those from any sudden impacts, and you’ll be able to use the Influence Series with wireless chargers.
9. Best iPhone 12 Pro Max Case: Mous Clarity for iPhone 12 Pro Max
Best light and clear iPhone 12 Pro Max case.
Size: 6.5 x 3.3 x 0.49 inches | Weight: 1.62 ounces | Colors: Clear | Materials: Polycarbonate.
It may not look like it offers much protection, but the Clarity case from Mous could save your iPhone 12 Pro Max from a nasty spill thanks to what the case maker bills as AiroShock technology. That allows the case to absorb the blow from any drops, sparring your iPhone from damage.
The clear design shows off your iPhone 12 Pro Max, and Mous has taken steps to make sure it stays that way. The back of the polycarbonate case has a scratch-resistant coating and anti-yellowing protection aims to keep the view from clouding up over time. You’ll also be able to use Apple’s MagSafe feature even with your iPhone 12 Pro Max still tucked safely inside the Clarity case.
10. Hard to beat
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 feet, 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.
11. Top cheap case
Spigen Ultra Hybrid
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's 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.
Built-in stand and grip strap
Banana iPhone cases
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 rugged 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.
I only recently learned that Cyrill is a sister brand to Spigen and its cases are arguably slightly better, although they cost a few bucks more. We're linking to the Leather Brick case, pictured here in tan and navy (it's faux "vegan" leather), but the $17 Silicone case (pictured in light blue) and transparent $17 Cecile cases are also good. The Silicone case is basically a knockoff of Apple's Silicone case without the MagSafe feature.
Best slim OtterBox case
OtterBox Symmetry Series
The company's superprotective 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's 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.
Brooklyn-based Casely makes "cute and protective" cases that have a variety of graphic artists behind their designs. They're more affordable than Casetify cases, with the Casely site currently offering 50% off all cases as supplies last for Black Friday. I liked some of the samples I got but the truth is there are plenty more designs that will catch your eye once you hit the site. The cases usually cost $25, but the discount brings the price to around $12.50 or $17.50 for the tougher "bold" version with added drop protection. Shipping is free with orders over $20.
Apple cases with MagSafe
As noted, your new iPhone 12 includes Apple's new MagSafe feature, which allows you to attach accessories to its back, including a new wireless charger and a leather wallet. Those accessories will still stick to your phone if you have a standard thin case, but not nearly as well as if you use one of Apple's MagSafe cases, which have their own set of embedded magnets that line up with the magnets in your phone.
Apple's Clear Case with MagSafe is nice because it allows you to show off your phone's colored finish and the embedded markings tell you exactly where to attach the MagSafe charger for optimal charging speeds (you apparently need Apple's 20-watt USB-C charging to get the maximum 15-watt wireless charging speeds). The only issue with the clear case is that it leaves the bottom of your phone exposed.
If that bothers you, the Silicone case (pictured, left) with MagSafe is the better option. It works the same way as the Clear case does, with an embedded magnet ring, you just can't see it. The Silicone case is available in eight color options.
Getting into the MagSafe ecosystem isn't a cheap proposition, but it is fun to play with magnetic objects and offers some conveniences. The bottom line is that if you do want to venture into this and to protect your phone with a case, you're best off with one of Apple's cases or another MagSafe-certified case.
12. Best wood case
Banana Wooden case
Banana iPhone case has been making handmade wooden cases for a while, and its new Plywood case is not only more durable but less expensive (it starts at $50), with 6-foot drop protection and a limited lifetime repair warranty. I like it better than other wood cases I've tried. It's also worth noting that Apple's MagSafe charger will stick to the back of it, and KerfCase sells matching charging docks the for Apple MagSafe charger (yes, it's an accessory for an accessory). For Black Friday/Cyber Monday, KerfCase is offering some discounts, including 20% off any order with code BFCM2020 and 30% off any order over $75 with code BFCM2030. The codes will work through Dec. 1.
13. Premium case for a little less
X-Doria Raptic cases
X-Doria's Raptic series cases come in a 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.
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.
14. Best mounting case
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 compatible with wireless charging if you remove 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.
OtterBox Figura MagSafe case
The OtterBox Figura is essentially a more eye-catching version of Apple's own silicone MagSafe case, which allows you to attach accessories to its back, including a new wireless charger and a leather wallet. Those accessories will still stick to your phone if you have a standard thin case, but not nearly as well as if you use one of Apple's MagSafe cases, which have their own set of embedded magnets that line up with the magnets in your phone.
The Figura is OtterBox's thinnest case, but it's still reasonably protective, although its edges aren't raised quite as high around the screen as other OtterBox cases. It comes in four colors (Dandelion wine is pictured here). The bright color of the case does make your phone easier to spot for those in the habit of losing their device in plain sight. Alas, darker cases tend to blend into darker objects.
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.
15. Affordable wallet case
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 credit cards as a kickstand.
Smartish also sells a simple translucent case for $15.
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 and 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.
Clean look, lanyard-friendly
Catalyst Vibe and Influence
Like Lifeproof, Catalyst made a name for itself with waterproof cases, but it now focuses on standard protective cases and has two new models for the iPhone 12: the Vibe (left) and Influence (right), which has a see-through frosted back. Both cases have perforations on the corners that allow you to attach various accessories (sold separately), such as lanyards and carabiners. The Vibe is rated for 10-foot drop protection while the Influence is rated for 15 feet.
Mous makes several cases that have eye-catching designs, all lined with the company's AiroShock material that, according to the company, delivers excellent protection in a slim design. They do seem durable and all include a lifetime warranty.
While Mous makes a transparent case, I like the cases in Mous' Limitless 3.0 line, which are compatible with the company's Limitless 3.0 accessories. That includes a wallet that magnetically adheres to the back of the case and a few mounts, one of which is an air-vent mount for your car.
It's also worth noting that these Mous cases are the only ones I've seen that have a SIM card storage slot on the inside of the smartphone case for international travelers in the habit of swapping SIM cards.
16. Classy slim cases
I've always liked Moshi cases and its iGlaze, Altra and Vitros (pictured from left to right) return for the iPhone 12, 12 Pro, 12 Mini and 12 Pro Max. The Altra is the most distinct-looking and has a geometric rubber finish that makes your phone nice and grippy. It also includes a lanyard. Not pictured is the Overture (coming soon), a two-in-one folio wallet case. You fit your iPhone into a slim shell case that then magnetically adheres to the cover, which has slots for storing credit cards and cash. Moshi's cases range in price from $25 to $50.
Nomad makes a line of nice iPhone 12 Horween leather cases that are designed to develop a "rugged" patina as the oils from your skin interact with them over time. The new Rugged cases are available in black, brown and a lighter natural color that I like. They're rated for 10-foot (3-meter) drop protection. The standard Rugged case runs around $50, while the Rugged Folio version, which has a flap that covers the screen, costs $70.
Incipio returns with an assortment of cases for the new iPhone 12 models, including the sturdy Duo ($30) with 12-foot drop protection, the Slim ($40), the Grip ($40) and the Organicore ($40), an eco case that's 100% compostible. All are available in multiple color options, and the Slim comes in a variety of translucent options.
17. Eco-friendly clear case
Nimble Disc Case
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 six-foot drop protection. Use code CNET25 for 25% OFF any Disc Case, bringing the price down to $30.
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.
18. Best selfie case
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 wireless charging and you can adjust the brightness levels of the light.
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 the Rogue (at left and right), which has a soft rubber bubbled pattern.
19. Best case for add-on lenses
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, the 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 of compostable bioplastic that's rated for six-foot drop protection. Cases with wood and canvas on their backs are also available. They all ship in November.
20. Best gaming case
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 with traditional cases." It's a bit of a gimmick, but it seems to help a little when you're playing graphics-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.
What makes a great iPhone 12 Pro Max case
When choosing the best cases, we consider a huge number of factors, from objective measures such as physical dimensions and level of protection to subjective assessments of look and feel.
Although we have been testing cases for many years and have had some consistent picks across multiple iPhone generations, no case automatically becomes a pick just because versions of it have been picks in the past. With the iPhone 12, 12 Pro, 12 mini, and 12 Pro Max in hand, we put each new case on the phones to see how well it fit and functioned.
While we have a variety of recommendations across various styles, we consider all of our picks on the following criteria:
We seek out cases that can adequately protect a phone without adding unnecessary embellishments or too much bulk. We don’t conduct drop tests, but we do look for cases that are obviously capable of withstanding some impact. (Even a heavy-duty case can’t guarantee that your phone will survive every scenario intact—for example, a direct hit to the screen will still do damage.) The obvious exception here is superthin cases, which purposely compromise some drop protection in favor of a thinner profile.
As a general rule, the more of the phone that a case protects, the better; we prefer cases that protect everything but the phone’s screen. The best cases provide button protection with tactility that mimics—or in some instances even enhances—the way the buttons feel on a bare iPhone. We also like cases that don’t leave the top or bottom edge of the phone exposed, though such exposure isn’t necessarily a dealbreaker. On the other hand, we don’t consider cases with a circular opening to expose the Apple logo on the back of the phone because they offer less overall protection with no real benefit.
Raised front lip:
As Apple’s case guidelines (PDF) explain, “Exposed glass on the device shall not come within 0.85 mm of a flat surface, such as a table or floor, in any orientation when the case is attached.” A lip around the edges of the phone’s display helps prevent cracked screens—one of the biggest worries with any smartphone—but it also helps to keep the screen from getting scratched if you place the phone screen-down. We use a 0.85-millimeter feeler gauge, per Apple’s guidelines, to test each case.
No wireless interference:
A case shouldn’t reduce performance with any wireless signals—Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, cellular, NFC (near-field communication, necessary to use Apple Pay), or Qi wireless charging. In our tests, we verify that each of these features works with the case on. Although wallet cases may properly support wireless charging, you shouldn’t expect them to, and if you need wireless charging we recommend that you look at a folio instead. Additionally, the case shouldn’t prevent you from using any gestures. That’s an especially important consideration with the iPhone 12 series, which relies on an upward swipe from the bottom edge of the screen as a primary interaction.
Broad aesthetic appeal: Although you can find a case suitable for any aesthetic preference, we look for cases that have simple, even elegant designs—cases that are likely to appeal to most people—rather than models that adhere to specific aesthetic choices.
Apple’s MagSafe system is a bit of a complicated beast. It refers to both magnetic wireless chargers and accessories, as well as cases with a magnetic ring built in to support them. A case without the magnetic ring may still support charging with a MagSafe charger, as long as it’s thin enough, but likely won’t work with a car mount or wallet. At this early point, it’s mostly just Apple cases that fully support MagSafe, but we expect many more to add it soon. In the meantime, we’re testing each case we recommend to see if wireless charging through the case works, at least.
Why you should trust us
I’ve been Wirecutter’s case reviewer since 2012, and in my career as an accessories writer, I’ve reviewed around 3,000 iPhone cases. That number spans multiple generations of Apple devices, including every iPhone since the iPhone 4 and every iPad. I’ve probably handled more iPhone cases than almost anyone on the planet, so I have a particularly experienced perspective and depth of knowledge when it comes to these items.
What to look for in an iPhone 12 Pro Max case
The first thing to do when shopping for the best iPhone 12 Pro Max case is to make sure you’re getting a case that will fit your new phone. Because the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro feature the same dimensions, the best iPhone 12 cases and best iPhone 12 Pro cases are pretty much interchangeable. You don’t have that luxury with the iPhone 12 Pro Max and its 6.7-inch display.
If wireless charging is important to you, make sure that the case you’re interested in supports that feature. Many do and will say so, but particularly thick cases can affect your phone’s ability to charge wirelessly.
Since one of the main reasons to get a case is to protect your iPhone 12 Pro Max from damage, check out the drop protection rating for each case you consider. Cases rated to withstand drops of 2 meters (roughly 6.5 feet) should provide adequate protection, though some options claim to safeguard your phone from even greater heights.