If you purchased the iPhone XS shortly after its release, chances are you dropped more than $1,000 on it — and even right now it will still set you back a shade under $650. Apple’s flagship devices are arguably worth every penny, with that powerful A12 processor, improved rear camera, and Super Retina display, but if you’re spending that kind of money on a smartphone, you should do the sensible thing and pick up a case to go along with it.
Below, we’ve listed a handful of our favorite iPhone XS cases to help you ensure the longevity of your new smartphone.
Our top picks
Based on our testing, these three iPhone XS cases are our current favorites, but we’ve included some alternatives that are worth checking out.
Nodus Shell Case II
It doesn’t come cheap, but you’ll find luxurious, full-grain Italian leather wrapped around a protective core in the Nodus Shell Case II. The tough polycarbonate inner, with the leather exterior, and a special microfiber lining should protect your iPhone XS from scrapes and minor falls. There is a slight lip around the screen, but we like the fact that the bottom is cut away because it offers easy access to the Lightning port, doesn’t interfere with the speaker, and won’t interrupt your swipes up from the bottom of the screen, which a few cases do. The leather feels and looks great, and we expect it to age beautifully. Our pick is the dark teal, but you can opt for black, gray, or chestnut brown if you prefer. The leather-covered button covers don’t stand out visually, but you can feel them easily without looking and they work well. One of our favorite things about this case is the stylish and subtle Nodus logo, which features an octopus. The back of the case is also magnetic, and you get a small mount in the box, which offers a wonderfully smart way to mount your phone on the car dash without a big plastic cradle, or perhaps the kitchen wall for charging it out of the way. We’re also pleased to find that Qi wireless charging works just fine with the case on.
Urban Armor Gear Monarch Case
This is our go-to iPhone XS case for outdoor expeditions, whether it be a walk in the woods or some hill climbing. The classic, rugged, industrial style that UAG is known for is elevated by the inclusion of full-grain leather panels. The honeycomb pattern on the sides enhances grip enormously, and the lightweight alloy metal frame, combined with an impact absorbent core and reinforced corners, makes it extremely tough. Your iPhone will survive most drops with this case on, and it also has a lip that goes all the way around the screen. The power button is lightly textured to make it easier to find and the cutouts are big enough to ensure the case never gets in your way. We’re also pleased, and a little surprised, to find that wireless charging still works with this case on. We like the black version, but you can also get the metal frame in graphite, platinum, or crimson, and there’s a version that subs in carbon fiber for leather in the panels.
Smartish Wallet Slayer Case
We didn’t choose this case for its looks, but rather for the smart design that enables it to double up as a wallet. It’s a soft, fairly thin case with a special pocket on the back that can hold up to three cards or a couple of cards and some cash. We used it to take out our credit card and ID out for the night and found it perfect for the purpose. The frame is textured for enhanced grip and there are air pockets in the corners designed to take the sting out of any impacts. However, we don’t think it will match rugged cases for drop protection. It does add quite a bit of bulk, but the card pocket is well designed and holds your cards securely, with an opening that enables you to quickly push them out when you need them. The fit is good and the openings are generous. We also found that wireless charging does still work with this case on, but we don’t think it’s a great idea when you have cards in that pocket. It comes with a film screen protector, which we’d advise you to throw away — pick one of these iPhone XS screen protectors instead. It comes in black, red, blue, or you can opt for a flower pattern finish. Although the coating feels soft and comfortable in-hand we did notice that it picks up lint easily, but overall this is great value for the money and does allow you to leave your wallet at home.
And the rest
Incipio Carnaby Case
Serious drop protection is a must for any iPhone XS case, so if you’re prone to clumsiness, you’ll want to get your slippery mitts on this case from Incipio. Offering up to 6 feet of drop protection in a stylish blue or gray fabric outer shell with a sleek metal bar detail, it also has a raised bezel to keep your screen safe from harm and a black ring around the camera to prevent photo discoloration.
Casetify Ultra Impact Case
There’s no need for a compromise between style and protection if you opt for the Ultra Impact case from Casetify. Lightweight and slim, its layer of qiTech material around all four corners of the frame absorbs impact, offering drop protection of up to 9.8 feet. The hard shell is glossy and comes in a wide variety of different decorative finishes — we love the galactic-inspired Session IX:I design. You can even custom design your own case by uploading an image — and choose from a black, white, or pink shock-absorbing inner layer.
Spigen Slim Armor CS
The Spigen Slim Armor CS is ideal for those who want protection and functionality in one. As the name suggests, the Slim Armor CS has a built-in card slot that allows you to store up to two cards. The case eliminates the need to carry a wallet, and the secure closure mechanism keeps your cards safe. Like the rest of Spigen’s case lineup, the Slim Armor CS offers military-grade drop protection and Air Cushion Technology. Available in a variety of colors and costing less than $20, this is a great pick for all iPhone XS users.
Carved Wooden Case
Carved produces some of the most unique and elegant cases in the market. Featuring a rugged bumper shell, these accessories balance minimalism and protection. The best part? Carved offers a ton of different designs – from the color to the cut of wood. The material is water-resistant and still compatible with wireless charging so you’re not sacrificing any functionality for the premium build. On the sides of the case are ridges that allow you to firmly grip your iPhone every time. With the attention of detail and precision put into making the case, it’s well worth the price tag.
Apple Smart Battery Case
You shouldn’t have to sacrifice phone size for a bigger battery. If the iPhone XS isn’t meeting your battery needs, then the Apple Smart Battery case is the way to go. While more expensive than your usual case at an RRP of $130, the accessory gives your iPhone an additional 25-30 hours of usage. The case is also designed to be easy to install and bulk-free, which are the biggest complaints with battery cases to begin with. Being manufactured by Apple themselves also means that it will fit your iPhone XS like a glove, with precise cutouts for the camera bump and lightning port.
Lifeproof Fre Case
Few cases out there offer complete, all-around protection for your iPhone XS, but Lifeproof is one of those few. The Fre case is water- and snow-proof and capable of being fully immersed up to two meters for an hour. It’s also built to withstand drops from up to two meters (6.6 feet), and it meets or exceeds military standards (MIL-STD 810F-516) for drop protection. It fully protects your ports, mic, and speakers, and even comes with a built-in screen protector as well. It’s certainly expensive, and it adds bulk and covers Apple’s design, but if you love to adventure, then this case could be a great way to keep your iPhone safe on your travels.
Ringke Dual-X Case
Not all rugged cases will make you go through finger gymnastics to reach parts of the screen. The Ringke Dual-X case combines protection with style. With seven colors to choose from, and priced just right at $15, this is a great all-around case for the iPhone XS. The Dual-X design features reinforced bumpers on the corners and a double-layered build that provide excellent drop protection. In Ringke fashion, there’s even a built-in lanyard hole so you can attach a wrist or shoulder strap.
Mikol Nero Gold Case
If you’re looking for something truly eye-catching, then you might consider a marble case from Mikol. The shell itself is slim, rigid plastic that barely covers your iPhone XS, so this is not the case for you if you’re looking for drop protection. The big attraction is the marble back panel with genuine marble inlaid. Every case has a unique look, and you can add an engraving in gold letters for an extra $25. This case is all about the style, and at $129 it’s not cheap, but it will certainly add a touch of class to your iPhone.
Case-Mate Street Smart Case
No one else does shiny, pretty iPhone cases quite as well as Case-Mate and the Street Smart collection has everything from translucent iridescence to a gold glitter waterfall to mother of pearl. There are also purple flowers, dot patterns, and even a matte black option. Just because these cases have some sparkle doesn’t mean they scrimp in the drop-protection department — the cushioned corners will guard your iPhone XS against falls of up to 10 feet. The metallic button covers add an extra flourish and every case comes with a lifetime warranty. These cases are surprisingly heavy and quite a tight fit, but nothing else offers this level of spectacular sparkle.
Skinit Pro Case
The real attraction of a Skinit case is the huge range of designs you can choose from. Pick your favorite sports team, movie character, or upload your own photo. The custom case tool on the Skinit website is very easy to use, and you can even upload images directly from Facebook or Instagram, scale them, add text, and tweak colors. The Pro Case itself is a classic dual-layer design with a glossy, hard, scratch-resistant, polycarbonate shell on the outside and a malleable, shock-absorbent layer on the inside. It’s quite a bulky case, but you can expect solid drop protection, wireless charging works with the case on, and the cutouts and button covers are good.
Totallee Thin Case
If you’re a minimalist and you can’t stand chunky cases, then these super slim offerings from Totallee might suit you perfectly. They’re very light and just 0.02 inches thick and they have closely tuned cutouts that offer easy access to everything. These cases are not going to provide much in the way of drop protection, but they should ward off scratches and minor bumps. You have a wide choice of finishes from matte black, burgundy, or navy blue to clear, frosted white, or glossy white.
Nomad Rugged Leather Case
If you’re after luxurious leather to bring an understated touch of style to your iPhone XS, then you owe it to yourself to check out Nomad’s wares. These rugged cases have been slimmed down compared to past versions, but they still offer solid drop protection. The Horween leather finish comes in black and brown, feels great in hand, and develops more character as it ages. Nomad also does folio-style cases, but the leather shell is our top pick.
Mous Limitless 2.0 Case
You’ll enjoy sound protection from this Mous case with a system of air pockets and a mix of polycarbonate and TPU ensuring that you have strong drop protection. The basic shell is very sturdy with chunky button covers, accurate openings, and a protective lip for the screen. The real attraction, though, is the range of back panel finishes which include carbon fiber, wood, leather, and real shell. They’re eye-catching and highly protective, which is a great combo in a case.
Speck Presidio V-Grip Case
We usually recommend the Presidio Grip from Speck, but the veteran case manufacturer has turned out a new line this year and the V-Grip caught our eye. With a specially ridged bumper, this case won’t slip off tables or out of your hand easily, and if it does there’s solid drop protection for falls of up to 10 feet. There is also a raised lip around the screen and chunky button covers to protect your iPhone XS from every angle. The back is clear to show off that Apple design, but there is a sparkly tint to the gold version.
RhinoShield Mod NX Case
You can pick from a variety of different case designs at Rhinoshield, but the best for customization is the Mod NX system. You get the classic bumper that made Rhinoshield famous, with impressive drop protection that’s good up to 11 feet, but it comes in a wide variety of different colors that you can mix and match different colors of the rim ($5) and buttons ($3) with. You can just go with the bumper if you like, or you can add in a backplate that’s transparent, one with a marble effect, or choose from more than 100 designs.
Snakehive Vintage Leather Wallet Case
These fashionable leather wallet-style cases, composed of cowhide nubuck leather, are carefully worn down to produce a soft texture like suede. There are various vibrant colors to choose from, depending on what your tastes are. Beneath the covers are three credit card slots and a roomy pocket for cash.
You can also use the lid to stand your phone up in a horizontal view. These cases come with a bare-bones plastic exterior to keep your iPhone X snugly in place. On the cover, you also get a magnetic clasp and can see a trademark snake logo.
Moshi StealthCover Case
This Moshi case is excellent, especially if you love the folio-style but don’t want to have to keep opening it to get a peek at the screen. The front of the StealthCover case is see-through, unlike many various folio-style products available. This way, you can see alerts and initiate the use of your FaceId, all with a closed cover.
The case’s specific magnetic system keeps the product closed when you need it to remain shut and allows users to flip it open quickly with one hand if needed. The military-grade ranked materials extend across your iPhone X along every side and protect the phone against mild bumps and falls. There are currently only a couple of color options to choose from, gunmetal grey and champagne pink.
Tech21 Evo Luxe Liberty Case
Tech21 has a mission to seal and protect your phone from exterior damage and just about any cost. On top of that, they’ll protect your iPhone in style. The Evo Luxe collection can keep phones safe, even if it falls from a height of up to 12 feet. In the meantime, the case will also sport fun and lively colors and artwork. Despite how protective this case is, it’s remarkably slim and comes with perfectly-sized button covers and openings.
The case’s featured artwork currently is from the Library London collection— it spotlights several tropical birds, paisley prints, and exotic floral prints (not something you’d necessarily see on a phone case today). The decision to make the case from a faux-leather material helps with its grip-feel and makes it microbe-resistant. If you love this case’s beautiful artwork, you can find just as appealing designs within the same Tech21 spectrum.