The 9 Best iPhone XS, XS Max, XR, and X Cases for 2023 | Reviews by Wirecutter

We independently review everything we recommend. When you buy through our links, we may earn a commission. Learn more›

Several of our previous picks have been discontinued, and while we still like them, we no longer recommend people buy them. We stand by the rest of our current recommendations. Iphone Packing Box

The 9 Best iPhone XS, XS Max, XR, and X Cases for 2023 | Reviews by Wirecutter

The iPhone XS, XS Max, XR, and X are some of Apple’s most expensive phones ever, and they're expensive to repair. Thanks to a design that uses glass for the entire front and back, they’re also perhaps the most breakable, so we recommend using a case that will help protect your phone against scratches, dents, and broken glass.

Case preferences are subjective, so we can’t tell you what the best case for you is. But we’ve tested more than 120 cases for the iPhone XS, XS Max, XR, and X, taking into account protection, utility, and design, to find the best options in a variety of styles and categories. Read on for our picks for basic cases, leather cases, wallet cases, folio cases, transparent cases, extra-protective cases, cases that work well with accessories, thin cases, and battery cases. And as more models are released for Apple’s latest phones, we’ll update this guide with additional options for a wider variety of tastes.

I was the accessories editor at iLounge for a little over three years. During my tenure there, I reviewed more than 1,000 products, most of which were cases. I’ve also been Wirecutter’s case reviewer for the past three years, where I’ve reviewed hundreds more cases. Those numbers span 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.

We also conducted hands-on panel discussions with multiple groups of Wirecutter staff to get a range of subjective opinions on our picks.

The Gripmunk is slim, protective, and affordable, though plain.

May be out of stock

The same case for the iPhone XS Max.

May be out of stock

The same case for the iPhone XR.

May be out of stock

Who it’s for: Anyone looking for a simply designed, long-lasting, protective case at an affordable price.

Why it’s great: The Smartish Gripmunk for iPhone X/XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR has been one of our picks since the iPhone 7, and for good reason: It’s the epitome of what a great basic case should be. We know from years of feedback from readers, Wirecutter staff, and family and friends that most people want a case that’s slim, plainly designed, reliably protective, and inexpensive. The Gripmunk is exactly that—a simple case that hits all the right notes, offering the best balance of protection, features, design, and price of any case we’ve tested. And it lasts: even after a year of daily use, the Gripmunk we long-term tested with an iPhone X is still in great shape.

The Gripmunk is a one-piece case made of TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane, a flexible plastic) and is thinner and lighter than most basic cases. It covers more of the important parts of the phone than most cases, without getting in the way of using the handset—to get more protection, you’d have to use a much bulkier case. It also has just enough give to make it easy to install, without being so loose that the sides pull away—something that can be a problem on inferior TPU and plastic cases. The back panel has a rubbery grip (enough to not slide around too much in your hand, but not so much that it’s difficult to slide into or out of a pocket), and the edges have a rougher, pebbly texture. Combined, the two elements make this case feel secure in the hand; we never worried about our iPhone slipping out of our grasp while using this case. The company claims that air pockets in each of the four corners offer a degree of drop protection.

The openings for the phone’s Lightning-connector port, speaker, and microphone are well-sized without leaving too much of the phone’s steel frame exposed, and the buttons remain pleasantly clicky through the TPU. The lip around the screen is tall enough to meet Apple’s recommendation for preventing damage to the screen if you put the phone face-down on a desk or table, and Smartish includes a screen-protector film as a bonus. (If you plan to use a screen protector, though, we suggest spending a few extra bucks to get the screen protector we recommend.)

Flaws but not dealbreakers: The Smartish Gripmunk isn’t unattractive, but it won’t stand out in a crowd: It’s plain, and we’d love a broader selection of colors; it also has the company logo stamped on it, but the design is minimal and located toward the bottom where your hand will likely cover it.

As with any case that tries to find a good balance between bulk and protection, the Gripmunk won’t protect against every impact. No case can, but if you want to be extra safe, take a look at our more-protective pick.

Because Smartish doesn’t have specific versions of this case for the iPhone XS and X, you may notice that the camera on the iPhone XS—which is a little longer than the one on the X—is slightly off-center from the camera opening in the case. It’s a small detail that most people won’t even notice unless they’re really looking for it, but if you’re picky, this may not be the iPhone case for you. The opening for the iPhone XR's camera is aggressively large, detracting from the overall design of the case. But Smartish tells us that the size, and the black ring, are necessary to prevent issues affecting the flash. Because the iPhone XR’s flash is flush with the body rather than raised with the camera module, it needs more space around it to prevent diffusion.

The Smartish case has a raised lower edge, which helps protect the entire perimeter of the screen, but you may find that it gets in the way of the ubiquitous “swipe-up” gesture that replaced the home button on the iPhone X. We think the extra protection of this lower lip is worth it to stop the bottom of your phone from getting dinged up, and the gesture works just as well if you start it inside the lip rather than off the edge of the screen, so you don’t need to hit the case if you don’t want to. But if this bothers you, we suggest going with Apple’s leather case instead.

Available colors: Black Tie Affair, Blues on the Green, Red Rover Red Rover, various printed designs

Apple’s own leather case fits perfectly, and looks and feels great, though it doesn’t wear well over time. It’s also the best option you can buy at an Apple Store the same day that you buy your new iPhone.

The same case, but in a bigger size for the XS Max.

Who it’s for: People who prefer the premium look and feel of leather, and are willing to pay for it.

Why it’s great: If you prefer a more stylish case, even if it might not last as long, we recommend Apple’s own iPhone XS Leather Case and iPhone XS Max Leather Case. Each offers enough coverage of the phone’s body to guard against most scuffs and minor drops, along with an adequate lip to protect the screen, but it’s still thin and light. At the time of this writing, the Leather Case was available in eight colors, though Apple has in the past swapped colors in and out during the iPhone’s life cycle; you can see the current range in person at an Apple Store.

The Leather Case looks and feels great, and it keeps its shape better than every other leather case we’ve tested. Using this case instead of a more protective one is like the difference between wearing a leather dress boot and a hiking boot—sure, the hiking boot would be more protective and comfortable, but if you’re not hiking, forgoing a bit of protection and comfort for style and luxury is sometimes worthwhile. Other leather cases are often bulky or crazy expensive, and all of them will show wear over time, so although Apple’s case isn’t perfect, we think it represents the best compromise, and its price isn’t unreasonable for leather.

We also really like the case’s aluminum button covers, which provide an ideal tactile experience when you’re clicking and are sized and shaped to make it easy to find the buttons by touch. The metal also provides a nice color accent to the leather.

If you find that having a raised lip along the bottom of the screen is annoying when using swipe gestures, the Apple Leather Case may also be the right choice for you—it omits the lip along that edge, so it won’t get in the way of your finger.

Flaws but not dealbreakers: Aesthetically, leather wears more evidently than plastic, so if you’re expecting a case to look the same in a year as it did on the first day, no leather case will be the right pick for you.

This case is popular among Wirecutter staffers, and a few colleagues have said that their Leather Case for previous iPhones broke after about a year or so, usually starting with cracks in the corners from drops. In our experience, corner drops often break rigid cases—better the case than your phone—so this result isn’t entirely surprising. And Apple’s customer service is pretty good about taking care of things like this, so there’s a chance that the Genius Bar may be willing to swap out a case in this condition—something you won’t get from most other case companies.

Apple’s Leather Case leaves the bottom edge (though not the bottom corners) of your phone exposed, which means that if you drop your phone the wrong way, you could damage the front edge, or the area around the phone’s Lightning-connector port.

Apple stopped selling an iPhone X-specific version of the Leather Case when it introduced the iPhone XS. The XS model fits the iPhone X, but with a small (less than a millimeter) gap underneath the camera “bump.” If you’re super picky, this may not be the right case for your 2017 iPhone X, but no other leather case has fewer trade-offs.

Available colors: black, Cape Cod blue, forest green, midnight blue, peony pink, red, saddle brown, taupe

If you’re looking to ditch your wallet, this case holds a few cards without sacrificing a nice design. But you should avoid it if you’re planning to use wireless charging.

May be out of stock

May be out of stock

The same case for the iPhone XS Max.

The same case for the iPhone XR.

May be out of stock

Who it’s for: Someone who wants to try to ditch their wallet by carrying their cards, ID, and phone together.

Why it’s great: The Smartish Wallet Slayer Vol. 1 for iPhone X/XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR is a reliable, affordable wallet case with room for enough cards that it may be able to completely replace your wallet. We like that cards stay secure in the case yet remain easy to remove when needed. Like the Smartish Gripmunk case, the Wallet Slayer is constructed of durable TPU plastic that’s easy to install and wears well over time.

The Wallet Slayer Vol. 1 is about twice as thick as a standard protective case, but the angled edges along the wallet portion help make the size less noticeable in the hand, if not in the pocket. (The wallet area is rigid, so the card compartment is the same thickness whether or not you have anything in it.)

Smartish advertises this case as being able to hold three cards and cash. We found that three cards fit fine, but because you have to fold the cash, adding bills will push the pocket out a bit farther. A raised bump inside the wallet area puts pressure on the cards and holds them in place, so the Wallet Slayer Vol. 1 works just as well with one card as with three. A small cutout along the edge opposite the wallet opening makes it easy to push cards out as needed, but even when we aggressively shook the phone, they didn’t fall out on their own. We also appreciate that the Wallet Slayer Vol. 1 exposes less of your cards than competing designs—all you can see is a thumbnail-size piece of the top card. The case also comes with a protective screen film.

Flaws but not dealbreakers: Wallet cases come with a major caveat: This style of case may not be the right choice if you intend to use Qi wireless charging with your iPhone, for a couple of reasons. The first is practical: The Wallet Slayer Vol. 1 and other wallet cases may be too thick to activate wireless charging on some chargers.

The second reason is the potential for damage to cards with magnetic strips due to the magnetic-induction technology used for wireless charging. Indeed, Apple specifically warns, “Don’t place anything between your iPhone and the charger. Magnetic mounts, magnetic cases, or other objects between your iPhone and the charger might … damage magnetic strips or RFID chips like those found in some credit cards, security badges, passports, and key fobs.”

Smartish claims (and provided us with data from a study it commissioned) that the magnetic field generated by a Qi charger is not powerful enough to demagnetize a card. And in our own testing with the iPhone X, a credit card and an MTA MetroCard in the Wallet Slayer Vol. 1 both worked fine after an hour of wireless charging on the Samsung EP-NG930. (In another test, a metal credit card caused the charger to turn off altogether, confirming the safety features we expect from Qi chargers.) However, some charger vendors (including Samsung) also warn against putting magnetic-stripe cards between the phone and the charger; we’ve seen reports online of cards being demagnetized; and we haven’t tested every charger with every card. So although we don’t think it’s likely that your cards will stop working, you are taking some risk.

Because of these potential issues, if you want wallet features but plan on using wireless charging, we recommend our folio wallet pick instead.

As with any wallet case, the size of the Wallet Slayer Vol. 1 is a downside—it’s not the right pick for someone looking for a slim case. In our testing of the XS/X and XS Max versions (and during our extended use with the iPhone 7 Plus version), we did find it to be bulkier than a standard case, but not as bad in day-to-day use as you might expect.

Available colors: Black Tie Affair, Blues on the Green, Red Rover Red Rover, various printed designs

If you want a case that can hold cards and cash, or keep your screen covered, but also lets you charge your phone wirelessly, this is the best option.

May be out of stock

The same case for the iPhone XS Max.

The same case for iPhone XR.

Who this is for: Someone who wants to ditch their wallet and still be able to take advantage of wireless charging, or who wants extra screen protection.

Why it’s great: We previously didn’t recommend folio cases (a case with a front cover) because they’re far bulkier than other cases—even wallet cases—and you have to deal with the cover when using your phone. But because Apple recommends against using a standard wallet case (which stores cards and cash on the back) with a Qi charger, we tested folio cases this year and found Speck’s Presidio Folio for iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max to be the best option. It’s one of the slimmest folios we’ve ever tested, and it combines a truly great case with a less-annoying-than-most cover. Having reviewed dozens of these folios and never truly loving any of them, it’s the first one we actually considered using on a daily basis.

Most of the folio cases we’ve tested required some sort of sacrifice: Either they weren’t made of quality materials, the case portion wasn’t fully protective, or they had annoying closure mechanisms. The Presidio Folio doesn’t have any of those problems. The core case is essentially the same as our more-protective pick, with an inner layer of shock-absorbent rubber and an outer layer of plastic. Fused onto the back is either waxed fabric or leather that continues around to form a cover.

Unlike with many folios, this cover lies flat, and it doesn’t slide up and down when closed. A flip-open door on the inside of the cover has room for three cards. This case can even prop the iPhone up in a landscape-orientation viewing position, a feature that not all competitors offer. And we love the subtle volume-button indicators on the case’s spine, letting you change the volume by feel when the cover is closed.

Flaws but not dealbreakers: Like all folio-style cases, the Presidio Pro is larger than many general-use cases, but unlike many, it’s not unwieldy. Similarly, the lid on all folio cases can be annoying, and this one is no exception, but it stays in place better than the cover on other models. And although we appreciate that the credit cards are protected under a little door, it would be nice to be able to pull out the bottom card without having to remove the other two.

Available colors: Fabric: heathered black/black/slate grey, heathered chelsea grey/chelsea grey/graphite grey, heathered dolphin grey/dolphin grey/concrete grey, heathered eclipse blue/eclipse blue/gunmetal grey, heathered heartrate red/heartrate red/graphite grey, heathered veronica purple/veronica purple/vintage purple Leather: black/black, saddle brown/light graphite grey, rouge red/garnet red/currant jam red

The same case for the iPhone XS Max.

The same case for the iPhone XR.

Who it’s for: Anyone who wants to show off the design of their iPhone while still fully protecting it.

Why it’s great: Spigen’s Liquid Crystal for iPhone XS Max and iPhone XR lets your phone’s design show through without sacrificing protection. (It’s actually a bit thicker than our top pick.) This one-piece TPU case—it’s made of the same material all the way around, rather than two pieces of different materials like some of the competition—has minimal branding and nice details, including air pockets in the corners for added drop protection. And though hard-plastic cases—and even TPU-edge cases with hard-plastic backs—are more prone to showing fingerprints, they’re not nearly as obvious on the Liquid Crystal’s material, which is also grippier and less rigid than hard plastic. One of our other favorite features is a pattern of dots on the inside of the case that prevents water-stain-like blotches on the back of your phone due to the case sticking to the phone’s glass back—a problem with some other clear TPU cases.

Flaws but not dealbreakers: All transparent TPU cases, including this one, will yellow over time. Although it’s not ideal, we’ve yet to find one that doesn’t have this problem. The yellowing is a gradual process, so you may not notice it at first, but if you’re picky about that kind of thing, you’ll eventually want to replace the case—though the Liquid Crystal is so inexpensive that doing so is a lot less annoying than with, say, a pricey leather case. We used to recommend the Liquid Crystal for the iPhone X and iPhone XS, but the case has been discontinued for those models.

Available colors: crystal clear, glitter crystal quartz, aquarelle primrose, aquarelle rose, blossom crystal clear, blossom nature, glitter rose quartz, matte black, shine crystal clear

Offers more protection without being too bulky.

The same case for the iPhone XS Max.

Who it’s for: If you tend to drop your phone a lot, or if you’re just a little more paranoid about damage.

Why it’s great: Speck’s Presidio Pro for iPhone X/XS and iPhone XS Max is built to offer more drop protection than our top pick (in a slightly thicker body, of course). It comes from a company with a long reputation for making cases that are both protective and stylish, and it doesn’t look like a piece of military equipment, unlike some extra-protective cases.

The Presidio Pro combines a hard-plastic exterior with a thin rubber lining and a specially designed border that helps absorb the shock of drops. Speck promises that the Presidio Pro can help your phone withstand drops of as much as 10 feet. But compared with other extra-protective cases, the Presidio Pro is a bit slimmer and just looks like a nice traditional case.

Flaws but not dealbreakers: You can find cases that are much more protective—companies such as OtterBox and Urban Armor Gear specialize in protection-first cases—but they’re much bulkier and not for most people. The Presidio Pro’s matte finish can show grease and skin oil more readily than other finishes, even glossy ones.

Available colors: aquifer blue/stormy grey, black/black, dusty green/Brunswick black, eclipse blue/carbon black, filigree grey/slate grey, heartrate red/vermillion red, meadow pink/vintage purple

A fantastic choice if you need to use mounts, tripods, armbands, or clips. It’s especially smart for athletes who rely on their phones.

The same case for the iPhone XS Max.

The same case for the iPhone XR.

Who it’s for: People who want to use their phone for a variety of activities that require special accessories

Why it’s great: At a glance, the Quad Lock for iPhone X/XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR looks a lot like the Smartish Gripmunk, and its exterior is made of a similar TPU material with an internal layer of polycarbonate and a microfiber lining. The port openings along the bottom edge are well-tailored, offering enough room for you to plug in most accessories without leaving unnecessary portions of the phone’s body exposed, and the case only slightly dampens the tactility of the phone’s buttons.

What sets the Quad Lock apart is the 1.23-inch, circular mounting point housed in an ever-so-slight bump on the back of the case. Four extended lips form a twist-and-lock design that allows you to connect a slew of accessories; you just put the case on the accessory’s mounting bracket and then twist a quarter of a turn to lock the case in place. The company offers a wide range of mounting and carrying options, including 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. Obviously, the Quad Lock system makes the most sense if you rely heavily on these kinds of accessories—if you’re a runner and a bicyclist, for example, you might love being able to mount your phone on your arm or bike quickly and securely—and easily switch between those mounts—without needing other bulky accessories.

Flaws but not dealbreakers: For some people, the biggest downside to the Quad Lock case will be that the thickness of the mount point prevents wireless charging from working on some Qi chargers. For example, while several flat Qi chargers we tested worked fine with the Quad Lock case, the case did not allow charging with the one stand-style charger we had on hand. If this happens to you, the company sells a separate wireless charging head that should address the issue.

A minor downside to this model is that the mounting interface adds a slight hump to the back of the case, so the phone doesn’t sit quite flat when you lay it on its back. But this is a minor issue if the other features appeal to you.

A superthin case that’s still easy to grip, and has the best warranty.

The same case for the iPhone XS Max.

Who it’s for: People more concerned about scratches than drops, or who are willing to sacrifice drop protection to get a case that adds very little bulk to their phone.

Why it’s great: If you prefer a thinner case—and you accept that it means prioritizing scratch protection and grip over shock absorption—Totallee’s Thin iPhone Case for iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, iPhone XR, and iPhone X is the best superthin case we’ve found. It’s only 0.15 mm thicker than the thinnest cases we tested, and it provides a good degree of grip for the slick glass handset. It’s also easier to install than other thin cases, and it comes with a two-year case-replacement warranty.

The Totallee case is a half-millimeter-thick molded-plastic shell. Every other superthin case we tested appears to be identical save for the stamped logo on some. The Totallee case looks similar to the others, but upon closer inspection it offers a distinct design with slightly different-size openings, and it has a tighter camera cutout with a raised lip that provides a bit more protection for the camera lens than other cases without interfering with pictures.

Because superthin cases are so thin, and fit so tightly, many make it difficult to tuck in the fourth and final corner of the phone; Totallee’s Thin Case snaps into place more easily than with the others we tested.

Totallee provides a two-year replacement warranty, the longest coverage for any thin case we considered. The company’s website states: “If anything happens to your Totallee product we’ll send you a free replacement. it’s as simple as that.” You can make a claim under this warranty one time per case.

Flaws but not dealbreakers: If you pick a case like the Totallee Thin Case, you’re choosing form over function. Superthin cases won’t protect your phone from drop damage as effectively as slightly thicker cases, and they don’t offer any screen protection because they lack a raised lip. The cases themselves are also more susceptible to cracking from drops, or even from improper installation. We used to recommend theTotallee Thin for the iPhone X and iPhone XS, but the case has been discontinued for those models.

In our testing of multiple colors of the Totallee case, we found that the frosted versions have texture without being tacky; the jet white or black versions are more difficult to get in and out of a pocket because the material has a bit more drag.

Available colors: matte frosted clear, matte frosted black, matte solid black, matte navy blue, glossy clear (soft), glossy jet white, glossy jet black, leather black

If you have an iPhone XR, this case will give you a 77 percent charge, much more than the other battery case options.

Who it’s for: People who are away from power longer than their phone’s own battery can last.

Why it’s great: The Apple Smart Battery Case is only available for the iPhone XR, and it provides more charge to your drained phone than the competition. On top of that, it offers advantages that come from the first-party integration of hardware and software, like still being able to use the Lightning port, and on-screen battery indicators. Unlike most battery cases, it can also charge wirelessly, so you don't have to remove the case if you use a Qi charger.

In our tests with fully drained phones, the case was able to deliver a 77 percent to the iPhone XR in just over two hours. This charge level is impressive, especially considering that Mophie’s similarly sized cases give you approximately half as much.

The Smart Battery Case is one silicone (and partly flexible) piece, unlike most hard plastic battery cases that have a removable cap. You fold back the top portion to slide your phone in, connecting it to the Lightning plug at the bottom. The case doesn’t add much more height than any other protective case; the previous-generation versions’ “chin” is gone. From the front, you can’t even tell this is a battery case.

When you charge the phone in its case, the speed and charging priority will depend on what kind of charger you’re using. You can also charge the case and phone with a Qi wireless charger; the Smart Battery Case supports the same 7.5 watt charging speed as the phones, with the iPhone taking charging priority.

The Smart Battery Case allows you to use wired headphones or other accessories while you charge. The case doesn’t have any power button or way to control the charge; it simply begins charging your phone when it’s connected, and stops when it’s depleted or the phone is fully charged. You can view the battery level on the phone, something no other case offers. And we appreciate the status light inside the case that glows orange or green while charging.

Flaws but not dealbreakers: The Smart Battery Case has the same grippy exterior as the Apple Silicone Case. This means it’s prone to pick up dust, and can be difficult to slide in and out of a pocket, something that’s only exacerbated by the case’s bulk. The extra thickness is just part of the deal with any battery case, and while the Smart Battery Case isn’t egregious, it does more than double the iPhone’s thickness. It’s no larger than the cases in Mophie’s Juice Pack Access line, the only real competition, but provides almost twice the charge.

If you want a battery case for the iPhone X, we recommend Mophie’s Juice Pack Air. It’s the slimmer and more reliable of the two iPhone X battery cases that have received Apple’s Made for iPhone certification (MFi)—the other being the now-discontinued Moment Battery Photo Case.

Across three tests, the Juice Pack Air provided our test iPhone X with an average charge of 45% from empty in just over an hour. You’re not going to get a full recharge out of the Juice Pack Air, and it's not as much as you'd get from the XS Smart Battery Case, but this extra juice should be enough to get most people through the day.

We considered a huge number of factors when choosing the best cases, from objective measures such as physical dimensions and level of protection to subjective considerations of look and feel. Though we have a variety of recommendations across various styles, all of our picks satisfy the following criteria:

First for the iPhone X last year, and then again for the XS and XS Max this year, we assembled a huge collection of cases, and then put each one on the appropriate iPhone to see how well it fit and functioned. To get a wider range of opinions, we assembled a panel of Wirecutter staffers to check out some of the top cases and share their thoughts. Finally, for yet another perspective, we asked non-tech-focused friends to tell us what they thought about the finalists.

We’ve since circulated each of our picks among the Wirecutter staff for long-term testing so that we can see how each holds up over time.

Just because we dismiss a case in the competition section or don’t mention it in this guide doesn’t mean it’s not good. The cases above are simply our picks for the best cases for most people—you may have specific needs, or specific stylistic preferences, that make a different case better for you.

In evaluating cases, we at times had to find small differences between them to make our decisions. If you see a case listed here that you happen to like, don’t necessarily consider it a bad choice; simply understand that we considered our picks to be better for most people, for the reasons we’ve described.

It should come as no surprise that Apple’s own Silicone Case, available at the Apple Store, fits the iPhone perfectly. The material is smooth yet has a good amount of grip, the camera opening is precisely tailored around the camera bump, and the buttons click perfectly. But the case is a dust magnet and a bit too grippy—it can be hard to pull it out of tight jeans pockets. We’ve also heard complaints that after a year, the case starts to crack and break. And we don’t love that the open bottom edge leaves part of the phone’s steel frame exposed, though some people prefer this design on the X-series phones because of the swipe-up gestures that you frequently use with these phones.

Caudabe’s The Sheath is now available in a design that we prefer to the previous version’s faux carbon fiber. This case is a solid choice if you are willing to sacrifice a little bit of protection in favor of a slightly slimmer case, and some of our panel testers preferred the way the buttons press compared with the Smartish Gripmunk.

We dismissed Spigen’s Rugged Armor based on the hole on the back exposing the Apple logo, a poor design decision that doesn’t look great and leaves more of the phone exposed than it should.

Incipio has redesigned its NGP TPU case. It now is one-third frosted, two-thirds translucent, offering a less subtle look than before, and the iPhone X/XS version fails our protective-lip test.

The lip around the screen on Moshi’s Capto is too short, and its clever strap/kickstand feels cheap with a plastic buckle painted to look like metal. The company’s Altra has raised rubber segments on the back that make the case hard to slip into and out of a pocket, and the volume buttons are under one continuous protector, making it hard to differentiate them. It’s worth considering if you want a case with a built-in wrist strap, though.

The two layers of Incipio’s DualPro can peel apart when you’re removing the case, and we’ve seen past versions’ paint flake over time.

We don’t think everyone wants a fabric-covered case, but if you do, Incipio’s Carnaby is quite nice-looking and feels pretty great.

We found that almost every case from ESR had too short of a screen lip to meet our standards.

Case-Mate’s Barely There Leather (X/XS, XR) is bulkier than Apple’s leather cases, the XR version doesn’t cover the phone’s buttons, and its large camera opening is rather ugly.

Twelve South’s Journal was previously our folio pick for iPhone X. It’s a beautiful leather case, and it protected more of the iPhone X than almost any other folio case we tested before the Presidio Folio. But it’s something of a specific aesthetic, and as of this writing, it’s not available for the iPhone XS Max.

Apple’s iPhone XS Leather Folio is both the thinnest folio case we tested and the most expensive. It’s more or less the company’s Leather Case with a cover. It easily has room for four cards inside, and it includes a pocket for cash underneath—even when fully loaded, it feels thinner than the competition. Much like an iPad Smart Cover for the iPad, the Leather Folio has embedded magnets that lock and unlock the iPhone’s screen—a nice touch—but the cover slides around when closed more than our pick’s cover. It’s hard to justify spending $100 or more on a case, however, which is why we don’t recommend this one, but if you’re willing to splurge at the Apple Store, it is a good choice.

Nomad’s Rugged Folio and Rugged Tri-Folio are extremely similar cases, with a rubber base covered in leather. The Tri-Folio has two cover segments, which makes it too bulky, and the Rugged Folio uses a more standard front flap with room for three cards and cash. We began to see the leather layer pull away from the rubber, especially where the lid meets the case, so we’re concerned about its long-term durability.

Griffin’s Survivor Strong Wallet is one of the only folios we’ve tested with a magnetic latch to hold the lid shut, which is a nice tough. But we don’t like the faux-leather exterior as much as the materials from Speck, and it’s a little bulkier than our folio pick.

Apple’s iPhone XR Clear Case is the only first-party case for the iPhone XR. Unlike our pick from Spigen, it’s mostly polycarbonate plastic, meaning it’s rigid and more difficult to install, and although its buttons are more flexible, they don’t click with the crispness we like from Apple’s other cases. Fingerprints are obvious on the back of the case after just a few seconds of handling. The iPhone’s bottom edge is left exposed, like with all of Apple’s cases, which is a less protective design, but you may prefer it if you find that lower lip gets in the way of your thumb. But for most people, we think it’s not worth spending $40 on this case when you can get our pick for a third of the price.

Smartish’s Nudist is very similar to our pick, save for its frosted back panel. We think most people looking for a transparent case want something that’s totally clear, but if you’re okay with a translucent back, it’s a solid choice.

Speck’s Presidio Stay Clear is advertised as, well, staying clear, solving an issue transparent cases are known to have. We can’t confirm how it does over time, but we do know that it’s bulkier and more expensive than our pick. If you’re looking for a more protective transparent case, we recommend it.

Casetify’s Impact Clear has unsightly logos around the rear camera.

Incase’s Protective Clear Cover has volume-button covers that are flush with the case’s body, making it too hard to find them by feel alone.

Griffin’s Survivor Clear and Incipio's Reprieve Sport both have scratch- and fingerprint-prone hard-plastic backs.

Case-Mate’s Wallpapers and Speck’s Presidio V-Grip aren’t totally transparent. The former has graphics on the back, and the latter has uncomfortable colored ridges around its edges.

Speck’s Presidio Grip is our former favorite case in this category. It takes the core of Presidio Pro and adds raised rubber ridges on the back of the case that help increase your hold on it (the “Grip” in the name). Unfortunately, those rubber pieces tend to separate from the case over time.

OtterBox’s Statement Series adds substantial bulk and is a bit harder to install and remove than most other cases.

Case-Mate’s Waterfall, Karat, Twinkle, and Ditsy Petals are all fashion-driven protectors. If you like them, we can’t persuade you not to get them—and we’re not trying to. But we don’t recommend them because they’re thick cases designed more for aesthetics than anything else. If you like the very specific looks, they’re not bad. All four cases are improved from 2017’s two-piece designs; they’re still rather thick, but now the plastic and rubber layers are fused together. The back of the Waterfall case is outfitted with glitter and small ball bearings suspended in a liquid that sloshes around as you move it, Karat is inlaid with mother of pearl, the Twinkle with glitter, and the Ditsy Petals case has real pressed flowers sandwiched between layers of transparent plastic.

Spigen’s Tough Armor suffers from the poor design of an exposed Apple logo.

Griffin’s Survivor Strong has just a bit too much of a rugged look for general tastes, and the volume and side buttons are too difficult to find by touch.

Spigen’s Thin Fit 360 is two thin pieces of polycarbonate plastic that snap together around the phone, with a glass screen protector included for all-around protection. We don’t like the way the plastic frame looks around the Face ID sensors, though, and think the setup feels too cheap.

Mophie’s Juice Pack Access uses a unique design to address some of the issues we’ve found with other Lightning-based battery cases. Instead of plugging into the Lightning port and therefore blocking a wired audio connection, the case is a Qi charger, wirelessly powering the phone (the case itself charges using USB-C, though, so you'll need to pack a different cable). The dimensions are almost identical to those of Apple’s Smart Battery Case, but the battery capacity and charge potential are much lower. In our tests with the iPhone XS and the iPhone XR, the Juice Pack Access provided about half the charge as the first-party equivalents (42 and 40 percent, respectively).

Mophie’s Juice Pack Air is a more traditional battery case than the Juice Pack Access, with a Lightning connector for charging the phone rather than Qi (although you can wirelessly charge the case itself). It’s also Mophie’s first case to feature Lightning input instead of Micro-USB or USB-C, something we’ve wanted to see for years. Unfortunately the battery capacities are relatively low: In our tests, the iPhone XS version provided only a 52 percent charge, compared with the Smart Battery Case’s 85 percent, and the iPhone XR model gave a 36 percent charge, while Apple’s case can charge to 77 percent from empty. And although we’re happy to see the transition to Lightning input over Micro-USB, the new port works only for power; you can’t use it with wired headphones, including those that come with the iPhone. Despite the Mophie cases’ lower prices and slightly thinner designs, we think the Apple Smart Battery Case, with its higher charging output, is a better option for most people.

Below are cases that we tested and dismissed in 2017 for the iPhone X. The 2018 versions are so similar in their design, if not identical, that we didn’t test them again.

Our testing panel preferred the smooth yet grippy cases we recommend over the textured feel of the Incipio NGP Advanced.

The top 60 percent or so of the Incipio NGP Sport case offers the same feel as the standard NGP does, but the bottom is a glossier, grippier material. The design looks nice, but we don’t think that is worth the premium Incipio charges for the case.

Spigen’s Thin Fit is a simple plastic, snap-on shell that provides minimal protection due to its fully exposed top and bottom edges.

Spigen’s Liquid Air has a textured back that our testing panel wasn’t as fond of compared with the smoother feel of our pick, and gaps around the side and volume buttons offer an opportunity for dust to get under the case.

Caudabe’s The Synthesis has a frosted transparent back with a colored border, and is a little slick-feeling. It’s a nice case, but not better than our pick at more than twice the price.

Speck’s Presidio Wallet is a great alternative to Smartish’s wallet cases, with a look and feel pretty similar to the design of the Wallet Slayer Vol. 1. The biggest difference is price: Speck’s case costs two to three times as much.

The Case-Mate Tough ID has a supple leather back with two card pockets. We found removing the cards difficult (something that, to be fair, may improve over time and with wear), and the case makes the Ring/Silent switch too hard to flip unless you have longer nails.

Spigen’s Slim Armor CS is the only wallet case in our test group that uses a slide-out door to hide your cards. It holds only two of them, though, and the whole thing feels pretty bulky because of this design. We also found removing the last card difficult without long fingernails, and the plastic door felt like it might snap off under pressure.

Smartish’s Wallet Slayer Vol. 2 is very similar to our top wallet case pick, the Vol. 1, but instead of a molded TPU card holder, it has an expandable pocket. We found accessing cards easier with the Wallet Slayer Vol. 1, however, and we like that our pick hides more of the cards than the Wallet Slayer Vol. 2.

Although the Case-Mate Wallet Folio is a strong contender, it doesn’t cover the phone’s buttons or top edge.

Smartish’s Folio Wallet is another affordable option that’s very similar to the Spigen Wallet S. We don’t like this design’s vertical elastic band as much as the magnetic closure, though, and this case’s grainy texture isn’t as nice.

The Urban Armor Gear Metropolis takes the company’s military-drop-test-rated case and adds a lid with a card slot. In our testing, we were able to fit only one card in the slot, and the lid cover flapped around more than we wanted when it was open.

Our panelists preferred true transparent cases over those with some clear elements combined with other designs. That’s not to say that anything that’s not totally clear is bad, but if you’re looking to show off your iPhone X as much as possible, it makes sense that you’ll want your case to be totally see-through.

The Incipio NGP Pure is almost identical to our transparent-case pick, and a great option if the Spigen Liquid Crystal case is out of stock. But it’s expensive, and it has more-obvious branding than the Spigen.

The Raptic Shield is mostly clear, but with colored rubber or rubber and metal borders, respectively, that make it less than fully transparent.

The Caudabe Lucid Clear is a simple plastic shell with no button coverage, and it’s expensive to boot.

Case-Mate’s Tough Clear has a two-piece design that is more complex than better one-piece cases.

The Smartish Pureview features a diamond pattern inside the transparent backplate that isn’t as appealing as a simple clear case.

The Spigen Neo Hybrid Crystal shows fingerprints like crazy, and we don’t like the way the border and case can separate during installation and removal.

The polycarbonate back of the Spigen Ultra Hybrid shows fingerprints more readily than transparent TPU cases.

Urban Armor Gear’s Plyo is bulkier than other cases, the button covers aren’t raised enough to make them easy to feel, and you can see a rainbow distortion on the back when you hold the case at off angles.

OtterBox’s Symmetry Series Clear is a little bulkier than most of the competition. We don’t like the seam along the border, and the back has prismatic distortion.

The buttons of the Speck Presidio Clear feel a little mushier than we prefer, and this case is rather expensive.

The same goes for the far more expensive Urban Armor Gear Monarch, which is a bit bulkier than the Karapax Shield+ but adds more premium elements such as real leather-and-metal accents that don’t inhibit wireless charging. It also has fake screws.

Anker’s Karapax Rise fits well and offers good protection. It has a built-in metal loop that you can use like a PopSocket for extra grip or as a connection point for a strap or hook; the loop also rotates, so it can prop up an iPhone in both portrait and landscape orientation. Although that feature is useful, the black-carbon-fiber-on-red-rubber design is a little garish, and the kickstand extends a bit beneath the lower edge of the case, meaning it might prevent docking with some accessories.

The Spigen Neo Hybrid is a sharp-looking case, but we didn’t like the feel of the layers separating from one another when we removed the phone.

The Tech21 Evo Wave is bulkier than other protective cases, including models from the same company, without any obvious benefit.

OtterBox’s Pursuit Series is likely overkill for most people. This expensive, two-piece case looks like it would stand up to more abuse than most, but for everyday use by most people, it’s probably more than necessary. We’ll reconsider it if we choose to evaluate ultra-tough cases.

Caudabe’s The Veil XT is the next-best thin case. It is identical to the rest of the field but comes with a one-year warranty good for two redemptions.

Peel’s Super Thin is the most expensive slim case we tested, even before factoring in shipping. It’s identical to less-expensive models, and there’s no official warranty.

Nick Guy is a former senior staff writer covering Apple and accessories at Wirecutter. He has been reviewing iPhones, iPads, and related tech since 2011—and stopped counting after he tested his 1,000th case. It’s impossible for him not to mentally catalog any case he sees. He once had the bright idea to build and burn down a room to test fireproof safes.

We’ve tested hundreds of iPhone cases, and we have picks for nearly every model and every need.

If you’re set on strapping your iPhone to your arm, we’ve determined that the Tune Belt Sport Armband is the best armband for most runners.

We’ve tested the first crop of iPhone 11, 11 Pro, and 11 Pro Max cases, and we’ve found the best options in nine different styles.

by Thom Dunn and Nick Guy

After researching hundreds of car phone mounts and testing more than 50 models on the road, we’ve made the iOttie iTap Magnetic 2 our top pick.

The 9 Best iPhone XS, XS Max, XR, and X Cases for 2023 | Reviews by Wirecutter

Iphone 11 Packing Wirecutter is the product recommendation service from The New York Times. Our journalists combine independent research with (occasionally) over-the-top testing so you can make quick and confident buying decisions. Whether it’s finding great products or discovering helpful advice, we’ll help you get it right (the first time).