The iPhone 12 is one of most durable smart phones ever produced. It has a Ceramic Shield display cover that is 4x stronger than other screens, and an IP68 rating, meaning it can survive in 6 meters of water for up to half an hour. That being said, you’re still more than likely going to want a case for the handset to protect it from scuffs and scratches, drops and falls, and harsh work/play conditions. So we’ve put together a roundup of the best cases for iPhone 12, including options for all models and case types.
Best Cheap Cases
Most of the cases you’ll find on this list have price tags that range from $20 to $100, depending on their purpose and build materials, so obviously for the ‘cheap’ category we want to be below that. Sure, you could probably find a case on Amazon for under $5, but you wouldn’t be too happy with the quality—poor fit, degraded materials, etc. I find the sweet spot between price and quality for cases to be somewhere between the $10 – $20.
Spigen Liquid Armor
At the time of publishing this roundup, this is the case I am using on my iPhone 12 Pro. It’s thick enough to offer some protection, but not too thick that it’s unwieldy, and I like the minimal design. From afar it looks like an all-black case, but up close you can see a subtle pattern. It also hits our preferred sweet spot of price and build quality, making it a great option for a cheap case.
- Plus: this case feels really great in the hand. Again it’s not too thick and it has a nice, square-like shape with a rubberized texture. In fact, you can put it on a sloped surface without worrying about it sliding down.
- Price: $13
Best Rugged Cases
Rugged cases are the best line of defense in protecting your iPhone. They’re bulkier than the average case and are typically sought by those who work, live or play in harsh environments. Standard features include multi-layer construction for superior drop protection, port and button coverings to keep out dirt and sand, and many of them come with belt clips, as they are too bulky to fit in pockets.
OtterBox Defender Series
OtterBox has been making rugged phone cases since before it was its own category. They have a few solid offerings, but for the most complete protection, you’ll want the Defender Series. Features include a 3-piece construction, port covers, and a belt-clip holster that doubles as a kickstand.
- Plus: OtterBox says its DROP+ tech is 4X stronger than the Military Standard
- Price: $60
Best Ultra-thin Cases
As the name suggests, an ultra-thin case is a case for your phone that is thinner than the average offering. There are a lot of cases that claim to be thin or ultra-thin, but we feel anything over 2mm (or .08 inches) doesn’t deserve the distinction. We like ultra-thin cases because they make your phone more pocketable and protect it from scrapes and scratches, but they offer [very] little protection from drops.
Totallee Thin iPhone case
Some cases claim to be ultra-thin, but this one embodies it. At 0.02 inches (or roughly .5mm), the Thin case from Totallee really is ultra-thin—to the point where you almost don’t notice it. Now it won’t protect from significant drops or impacts, but it’s perfect for guarding against scratches and scuffs.
- Plus: there’s no branding, no gaudy patterns, and the subtle rough texture is nice and grippy
- Price: $35
For more options, check out our standalone iPhone 12 ultra-thin case roundup.
Best Clear Cases
This category shouldn’t need too much explanation. A clear case is one that is completely transparent, thus allowing you to both protect your device and enjoy its aesthetics. They are typically made of a flexible TPU (plastic) material and we like to look for features such as a raised lip over the display area to aide in drop protection. There’s not much else to it, so without further adieu, here the are best clear cases for iPhone 12.
Totallee Clear iPhone case
While totallee is very well known for their ultra-thin cases, they also make one of the better clear cases on the market. They use the same clear TPU material that you see on most clear cases, but somehow theirs doesn’t seem to yellow after a bit of usage and it’s much, much thinner—0.32 inches or just over 8mm.
- Plus: this might be our favorite all-around case here. It’s thin enough where it shouldn’t make your phone too bulky, yet not so thin that it doesn’t offer drop protection, and it’s clear, logo-less design allows you to enjoy the iPhone’s aesthetics.
- Price: $35
For more options, check out our standalone iPhone 12 clear case roundup.
Best Leather Cases
Here’s another case category that should be self-explanatory. The biggest thing we look for here is obviously that the manufacturers use real leather—you’d be surprised how many ‘faux’ leather offerings there are out there. After that it’s really just personal preference—color, thickness, etc. We like leather cases for professional settings or for those that prefer a premium-looking case.
Nomad Rugged Leather
Nomad uses Horween leather from one of the oldest tanneries in the USA. It’s premium and beautiful, and only gets more-so as it patinas over time. This ‘Rugged’ model features a high-grade polycarbonate body and an internal shock-absorbtion bumper for protection on drops up of up to 10 feet.
- Plus: it has dual lanyard attachment points if you’re into that sort of thing
- Price: $50
For more options, check out our standalone iPhone 12 leather case roundup.
Best Wallet Cases
There are various types of wallet cases out there, but most of them can be boiled down to two main categories: standard, which is just a case with card slots on the back, and folio, a case with a flap containing card slots that folds over the display. What we typically look for here is the thickness of the case, the quality of materials used, and number of card/ID/cash slots available. Here are the best wallet cases for iPhone 12.
Rugged Leather Folio
It’s no surprise that the maker of our of our favorite leather cases, Nomad, also makes one of the best wallet cases for iPhone 12. Their Rugged Leather Folio features the same great Horween leather and a flap that both protects your iPhone’s display and provides 3 slots for credit cards ands ids, and a spot for cash.
- Plus: like its Leather counterpart, the Folio has a high-grade polycarbonate body and raised TPE bumper along the display for maximum protection
- Price: $70
For more options, check out our standalone iPhone 12 wallet case roundup.
Best Pink Cases
This section should need almost no explanation. I just really wanted a place where we could highlight high-quality cases that didn’t feature the typical [boring] color-free aesthetic. So with that being said, here are the best pink cases for iPhone 12.
Speck Presidio2 Grip
Speck has been a staple in the iPhone case game for as long as I can remember, and having gone hands on with the latest Presidio2, I can say they’ve still got it. It’s a little thick for my taste but I really like the large grips and the overall look/design. If you don’t love the Vintage Rose/Royal Pink colorway, there is also Coastal Blue and Graphite Gray.
- Plus: the case features Armor Cloud technology, which Speck says protects your phone like an ‘airbag’ from drops of up to 13 feet. That’s about twice the drop distance that your typical case will claim protection from.
- Price: $45
Elago Liquid Silicon Case
Elago, perhaps most-known for their vintage Mac Apple Watch stands, also happens to make great iPhone cases. Their Liquid Silicon for iPhone 12 checks all the right boxes: microfiber lining to prevent scratches, raised lip around the screen and and camera to aide in drop protection, and for this section that have a wonderful pink (as well as other bright) colorway(s).
- Plus: it’s worth pointing out that in a sea of mass-produced, privately-labeled cases, Elago designs all of its products in-house. So it’s not going through a product catalog, picking a generic case and throwing its own branding on it—it’s actually creating these things from scratch.
- Price: $13
Best Belt Clip Cases
The biggest thing we look at when determining the best belt clip case for iPhone 12 is [obviously] the belt clip itself. Is it rigid? Can it withstand a lot of punishment? Is it reliable? Can you trust it to stay clipped, even after hundreds of clips and unclips? These are the types of things we are looking for here.
Encased DuraClip Series
Encased’s DuraClip line has long been a top-seller on Amazon in the belt clip case category, and it’s easy to see why. It’s made with a solid-core polycarbonate frame and the clip is reinforced to withstand direct impact. We also really like that the case has a slim profile, open cutouts for ports and buttons and the interior is lined with a soft, felt material. And it’s nearly impossible to beat this price.
- Plus: it’s tough to independently verify, but for those into this sort of thing, Encased touts being the case of choice for NASA, The U.S. Army, Navy and Marines, and hundreds of police and fire departments.
- Price: $13
Best Kickstand Cases
To be selected for the Best Kickstand Case for iPhone 12, the case really just needs a sturdy kickstand that allows you to prop your handset up to a comfortable viewing angle, and doesn’t collapse or topple over when lightly touched. It also helps if the case isn’t too bulky and is at least somewhat aesthetically pleasing.
ESR Metal Kickstand
This case from ESR may look like one of hundreds found on Amazon, but I assure you it is not. It has a very thin profile, a soft-touch TPU backing and a metal kickstand with a two-way, patented design kickstand that allows you to view your iPhone in both landscape and horizontal positions.
- Plus: this case is a home run for the ‘read the customer reviews’ crowd, as it features a 4.5 star rating on Amazon and an ‘A’ grade from FakeSpot. If you’ve ever done research in this area, you know how rare that combination is.
- Price: $17
Best Waterproof Cases
The iPhone 12 is already waterproof up to 6 meters for up to 30 minutes, but if you plan on spending longer than that in deeper water, or doing things like taking underwater photos, you’ll want a waterproof case. These are typically hard plastic cases that form an air-tight seal around your handset. The ports and buttons are blocked, obviously, and the screen is either covered or a tight seal is made around its edges. And as a bonus, most waterproof cases are bulky/protective enough to double as rugged cases.
There are a handful of case options to choose from in this category, but my goto continues to be the FRE from LifeProof. It’s on the pricier side, but it’s not too bulky and it can last for up to 1 hour in a depth of 2 meters. I’ve personally used the case in the ocean (not super deep) and came away with great underwater photos and no issues.
- Plus: the latest FRE case is made with over 60% recycled materials, with 35% coming from the ocean. So if buying from companies that use sustainable materials is your thing….
- Price: $90
For more options, check out our standalone iPhone 12 waterproof case roundup.