If you purchased the Phone XS shortly after its release, chances are you dropped more than $1,000 on it. 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, make 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
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 2 meters for an hour. It’s also built to withstand drops from up to 2 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.
Skech Matrix Case
This simple, transparent cover for your iPhone XS has been drop tested up to 8 feet, so it will keep your iPhone safe from damage. There is a lip around the screen to prevent it from touching down. You’ll also find responsive button covers and accurate cutouts. There’s good protection around the frame here, and this case definitely enhances grip as well. The only real detail to speak of is a small Skech logo. The case also has an anti-yellowing UV coating so it should stay clear. You can also get versions of this case tinted gold, rose gold, or black.
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.
Casetify Impact Case
There’s no need for a compromise between style and protection if you opt for the Impact case from Casetify. This lightweight case is slim but boasts a special layer of a material called qiTech around the frame which absorbs fall impact giving you drop protection up to 6.6 feet. The shell is glossy and transparent, but it comes with a wide variety of different decorative finishes and you can even custom design your own look by uploading an image. The shock-absorbing inner layer around the frame comes in black, white, or pink. All the button covers and openings you need are there and the camera cutout is black to prevent any flash reflection.
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.
Incipio Stashback 2.0 Case
With an all-new sliding design, Incipio’s Stashback 2.0 series is even more tempting for iPhone XS owners. The idea is to give you some space to hide your credit cards and ID, so you don’t need to take a wallet or purse out with you all the time. The cleverly concealed storage has room for up to three cards or maybe a card and some cash. It has generous openings for easy access to the port, switch, and camera, button covers, and a subtle line design in a black or navy finish.
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, grey, or navy blue to frosted clear or frosted black, to glossy clear, black, or 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 tales 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 stylish leather wallet cases are made from full-grain cowhide nubuck leather and finished in a wide range of colors. Open the cover and you’ll find three slots for cards as well as a larger compartment for cash. It also bends back to act as a stand for propping your phone in landscape view. There is a simple plastic shell to hold your iPhone XS securely in place. The cover also has a handy magnetic clasp and a distinctive snake logo on the front.
Moshi StealthCover Case
If you fancy a folio-style case with a front cover, but you don’t want to have to open it to see the screen all the time, then this case from Moshi has you covered. The front cover is translucent allowing you to see who is calling or check incoming messages without opening it. You can also use FaceID with the cover closed and there is a magnetic closure to keep it from popping open uninvited. The shell itself should guard against minor drops and bumps and your iPhone XS is covered from every angle. This one comes in champagne pink or gunmetal grey.
Tech21 Evo Luxe Liberty Case
Most of Tech21’s wares are focused on protecting your phone first and the Evo Luxe is no exception, as it offers protection from drops of up to 12 feet, but the vibrant color and stylish artwork are new for the brand. These cases are relatively slim considering the protection they afford, and they feature precise openings and responsive button covers. The artwork, featuring exotic flowers and tropical birds, is part of the Liberty London range. The translucent shell is covered in a faux leather fabric that enhances grip and it’s treated so it won’t fade over time; it also resists microbes to keep things nice and hygienic. There are a few other designs in the range with equally stunning artwork.
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