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Best Cases for iPhone 13, iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max

The iPhone 13 is about to be eclipsed by a new line of iPhones, but it’s still one of the most powerful phones out there, and while it’s the most advanced model so far, it still breaks in the exact same way as its predecessors. Cracks, dents and scratches are the iPhone’s arch enemy, and a good-quality case is its best friend. Yes, the iPhone 13 is delicate, but there are plenty of options when it comes to protection. Just remember that you need an iPhone 13-specific case to get the job done correctly.

Each new phone requires its own particular iPhone 13 case, so you need to make sure you’re getting the correct one to fit your specific iPhone 13 model, including the iPhone 13 Mini and 13 Pro Max. 

The backs of the iPhone 12 Pro and the iPhone 13 Pro

The iPhone 13 Pro (right) has a considerably larger camera array than the 12 Pro (left).

Sarah Tew/CNET

Read MoreBest MagSafe and Magnetic Wireless Chargers for Apple iPhone 13

Most of these iPhone 13 case reviews are based on the positive experiences I’ve had with the same brands on the iPhone 12 series (and previous models). I’ll be updating this list of the best iPhone 13 cases with new options as they arrive. I tried to include a variety of phone case styles from slimmer to more protective iPhone 13 case models, as well as ones that offer full-screen protection and nifty features like a built-in kickstand or wallet.

Read MoreBest Phone to Buy for 2022


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David Carnoy/CNET

Speck has brought many of its iPhone 12 case designs to the iPhone 13, including such popular transparent models as the Presidio Perfect-Clear and Perfect-Clear with Grips, and the Presidio2 Pro (the pink one above). Speck’s grip case with built-in MagSafe cost $10 more. (I’m partial to MagSafe cases because they give you the option to attach a MagSafe accessory directly to the case, not your phone.)

All the new models have good drop protection (13 to 16 feet, depending on the model) as well as Speck’s Microban antimicrobial protection. No matter which model you choose, Speck often gives a discount for first-time buyers.

If you are looking for a more inexpensive Speck case, I did notice its Gemshell translucent cases for iPhone 13 selling for around $20 on Amazon. I like the ombre version. However, these aren’t equipped with MagSafe.


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MagSafe cases can get pretty pricey, but if you’re looking for a inexpensive clear MagSafe case for your new iPhone 13 series phone, Spigen’s Ultra Hybrid Mag is a good value at around $20. Spigen also sells a non-Mag version of this case for about $5 less and has several other iPhone 13 case options. I also tried the Spigen Mag Armor case but found that accessories stick better to the Ultra Hybrid Mag.

No drop rating is listed for the case, but Spigen’s transparent cases feel like they offer reasonable protection. If you want a tough case with stronger protection, the Spigen Tough Armor case, which includes a kickstand, is an option for $17, but I personally prefer Spigen’s Ultra Hybrid cases (the Ultra Hybrid S also has an integrated kickstand).

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 case for your Apple iPhone if that happens.


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David Carnoy/CNET

OtterBox made a name for itself with its super protective Defender series case, but most people want something less bulky these days. 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 a fan of the new Symmetry Plus Clear for MagSafe (pictured in the middle in red). The Symmetry Plus Pop case, pictured on the left, integrates a PopSockets PopGrip and is wireless charging-compatible, which is important. The Symmetry Series Plus case on the right (in pink) is available in various colors and also has a MagSafe version for $10 more. OtterBox offers a discount for first-time buyers on its site.

OtterBox’s Commuter case offers raised bezel protection, is also pretty slim and has grips on the back. I’m a fan of that model, which also comes in a version with MagSafe for $10 more.


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David Carnoy/CNET

I’ve always been a fan of Moshi’s iPhone cases and all its top cases are available for all the iPhone 13 models. The Altra (left — $45), available in three color options, is the most distinct-looking and has a geometric rubber finish that makes your phone nice and grippy. It also includes a lanyard (the little loop that the lanyard clips onto can be removed when you’re not using the lanyard).

The Overture (middle — $50), is a two-in-one folio wallet case that converts into a stand for video watching. 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. It’s one of the nicer folio cases available. It’s available in black or pink. 

I also like the IGlaze (right — $40), which sort of mimics the glass back of the iPhone while protecting the real glass back. It comes in five colors. The iGlaze XT (not pictured — $30) is a clear case.

One feature that’s missing is MagSafe compatibility. The iGlaze uses Moshi’s SnapTo mounting system (a car and wall mount are sold separately). 

All Moshi cases are eligible for its 10-year Global Warranty program.


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David Carnoy/CNET

I’ve received many case samples and this is currently one of my favorites. OtterBox owns LifeProof and you can certainly see (excuse the pun) the influence on LifeProof’s See MagSafe case, which arguably has a slightly cleaner look and better lines than OtterBox’s Symmetry Series cases. 

This case is also available in a clear version without MagSafe for $10 less, but this case is the better choice if you’re at all interested in MagSafe. It comes in a few different color options (the model shown here is listed as purple/pink but it reads more as burgundy) and is designed to withstand drops up to 6.6 feet.

LifeProof’s other cases — the Next, Fre and eco-friendly Wake — return for the iPhone 13, and while they’re certainly good and also have MagSafe (except for the Wake), I think the See is probably the best of the bunch for everyday use. They all feature the same 6.6-foot drop protection, though the flagship Fre and Next offer better dust- and water-resistance than the See. 

LifeProof, like several other case-makers, has become more green in recent years. The Wave is made with 85% ocean-based recycled plastic, while LifeProof’s other cases are made with 45-50% recycled plastic. 


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David Carnoy/CNET

Nomad’s line of nice Horween leather cases comes to the iPhone 13. Like previous Nomad models, they’re designed to develop a “rugged” patina as the oils from your skin interact with them over time. The new Modern Leather Case is available in black, brown and a lighter natural color that I like. They’re rated for 10-foot (3-meter) drop protection and equipped with MagSafe. Meanwhile, the Modern Leather Folio goes for $80.

There’s also a more affordable Sport version for $40 that’s equipped with MagSafe as well (it’s not a leather case, however, but does look pretty slick).


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David Carnoy/CNET

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. The new iPhone 13 cases are also MagSafe, so they cost $10 more than the iPhone 12 models.

Rokform’s iPhone 13 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.


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David Carnoy/CNET

UK-based Torro makes some nice leather-clad iPhone 13 cases that aren’t too expensive (a leather case typically tends to cost over $50). The Torro Leather Bumper ($38) is a pretty straightforward bumper case with a leather back while the Wallet Case ($38) 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 leather case options are available in multiple colors.

Note that the cases pictured here are for the iPhone 12 and 12 Pro, but the iPhone 13 cases look almost identical.


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David Carnoy/CNET

Element’s Black Ops iPhone 13 cases are really expensive but they certainly are unique. The $250 Black Ops X4 is available for the iPhone 13, 13 Pro and 13 Pro Max and has a retractable kickstand and removable “magazine” for storing credit credits and cash. When you remove the magazine, it exposes the back of your phone so you can wirelessly charge your iPhone with an Apple MagSafe Charger or another small magnetic wireless charging puck. 

Like previous Element Black Ops cases, this one features precision CNC machining MIL-SPEC armored protection. If you can’t afford this Element case, the company makes the more affordable Special Ops case ($41), a nice polycarbonate MagSafe case that offers good drop protection.


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David Carnoy/CNET

I personally wouldn’t stick this case on my phone because I like to use a case that truly protects it. However, if you’re someone who doesn’t like thick iPhone 13 cases or just wants minimal protection, Totallee makes a case that’s very close to paper thin. 

The case costs $39, which seems like a lot considering how thin it is, but it is eco-friendly (it’s compostable) and does have a raised “lip” around the camera that prevents damage to the camera lens, Totallee says.

Totallee also makes a very slim clear TPU case (pictured left) that offers a little more protection for the same price. I like that one better, but it is slightly thicker.

David Carnoy/CNET

Griffin’s Survivor cases once shared some similarities with OtterBox’s Defender cases. They were tough but bulky. The new Survivor iPhone 13 cases are slimmed down but retain a good portion of their tough identity, with some models, like the Survivor Endurance for MagSafe (pictured left), featuring 14-foot drop protection and a raised-edge bezel for both the screen and camera cutout. It also has a nice grip to it.

If you want something even more protective, there’s the All-Terrain Earth case — rated for 20-foot drop protection.

The Endurance for MagSafe comes in three colors for $50. Those looking for a more affordable option can take a look at the $30 Survivor Strong (pictured right) or the $20 Survivor Clear. Neither of those cases features MagSafe.

David Carnoy/CNET

KerfCase has been making handmade wooden cases for a while, and its new Plywood iPhone 13 case is not only more durable but less expensive, starting 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 (it is equipped with MagSafe), and KerfCase sells a matching charging dock for the Apple MagSafe charger along with a magnetic wireless charging stand that’s pretty sweet. 


How protective of a case should I buy?

I personally like cases that aren’t too thick but offer decent drop protection, with a lip over the edge of the screen (sometimes referred to as a “screen bumper”) and raised corners that help prevent your screen from cracking if your phone should fall face down. A folio case will more fully protect your screen. 

The good news is that you don’t have to buy a super protective iPhone 13 case like the OtterBox Defender to get good protection. Most cases are reasonably thin and still offer at least 6-foot drop protection. I did include one very thin case on this list for those who prefer minimal protection. Before you go with a case like that, just remember how much your phone costs — but it is better than having no case at all. Make sure you get a sound tempered glass screen protector for your iPhone 13 model to prevent deep scratches and safeguard the screen.

Should I get a MagSafe case?

All the iPhone 13 models are equipped with Apple’s MagSafe feature, which offers faster wireless charging with compatible chargers. It also supports optional accessories — including Magsafe wallet, mini wallets and various mounts — that adhere magnetically to the back of your phone. Like the iPhone 12, the iPhone 13 has “an array of magnets” (Apple says they’re recycled) embedded around a charging coil that can pull up to 15 watts of power. 

However, if you want to use those MagSafe accessories without taking your phone out of its case, you need a phone case that’s equipped with MagSafe support. The MagSafe symbol is a circle with a short pipe below it. You can see it on clear cases, but it’s embedded on the inside of the case so if it’s nontransparent, you’ll only see it from the inside. 

If you already have a MagSafe accessory — or plan on buying MagSafe accessories in the future — you’ll want to get a MagSafe compatible case; it’s a good option to have. With that in mind, the majority of the cases in this roundup are equipped with MagSafe. 

Are MagSafe cases more expensive?

In general, yes — about $10 more. There are some more affordable MagSafe cases that cost around $20, but most cost upwards of $30. We see cases from certain companies that are essentially the same, but one has MagSafe and the other doesn’t. The MagSafe version usually sells for $10 more. It may seem like a little too much to pay for something that doesn’t seem like much of an upgrade, but in time MagSafe compatibility may command less of a “tax.” 

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