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Don't buy Apple's FineWoven iPhone 15 cases. Get one of these 4 cases instead

These excellent third-party alternatives from Nomad, Peak Design, and Torras are much better options than buying Apple's new FineWoven cases.
Written by Jason Hiner, Editor in Chief
Reviewed by Nina Raemont
Nomad Sport Case | Best case overall
Nomad Sport Case for iPhone 15 Pro Max
Nomad Sport Case
Best case overall
View now View at Nomad Goods
Peak Design Everyday Case | Best case for sustainability and accessories
Peak Design Everyday Case for iPhone 15 Pro Max
Peak Design Everyday Case
Best case for sustainability and accessories
View now View at Peak Design
Torras Ostand MagSafe Case | Best multifunctional case
Torras Ostand MagSafe Case for iPhone 15 Pro Max
Torras Ostand MagSafe Case
Best multifunctional case
View now View at Torras
Nomad Modern Leather Case | Best leather case
Nomad Modern Leather Case for iPhone 15 Pro Max
Nomad Modern Leather Case
Best leather case
View now View at Nomad Goods

I can't recommend Apple's new FineWoven iPhone 15 cases for a couple reasons. When I first encountered them in the demo area of the Steve Jobs Theater after the Apple Event, I didn't love how they felt when I first picked them up. The back of the case felt like it was made of inexpensive upholstery fabric and the sides weren't as grippy as I'd like to keep the phone from slipping out of my hand. 

However, even more concerning was the impression that the fabric on the back would not wear well under daily use over months or years. That concern was heightened when I got a hold of one of the FineWoven cases. I was very surprised to see how easily it scratches, and the scratches do not rub out or heal the way leather does. I demonstrated this in my quick unboxing of the FineWoven case and MagSafe Wallet. The other problem with the FineWoven cases (and Apple's Silicone Cases for iPhone 15 as well) is that the cutouts for the USB-C cables are too narrow for many of the best USB-C cables to fit through them.

Apple FineWoven Case for iPhone 15 Pro Max (showing wear and tear)

The scratches on Apple's FineWoven iPhone 15 case don't heal or rub out.

Jason Hiner/ZDNET

While I tip my hat to Apple for going for a more sustainable material than leather and I'm sure they will make better cases over time, this year's FineWoven cases aren't worth buying for $60. There are much better alternatives.

Also: The best iPhone 15 cases you can buy right now

In fact, there are cases for the iPhone 15, Plus, Pro, and Pro Max that look great, protect the phones well, are likely to be durable over time, and even have extra tricks up their sleeves. I used to joke that the iPhone was arguably the best designed phone in the world, but was usually covered by the ugliest cases. That still happens sometimes, but case design has come a long way in the past decade. 

In addition to the FineWoven case, I've already tried a bunch of samples of new cases for the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max as part of my testing. The ones below are the best of the bunch with my top pick being Nomad's Sport Case for its lightweight, smooth design and 8 feet of drop protection. 

The best cases for iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max of 2023

Pros & Cons
  • Lightweight, smooth design
  • Drop protection of up to 8 feet
  • Company's commitment to sustainability
  • Only available for iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max models
More Details

Nomad Sport Case features: Comes in four colors | 8 feet of drop protection | MagSafe passthrough 

Nomad Goods is an Apple accessory maker with a long history of making high-quality products that look like they could have been designed at Apple. And the company has a strong commitment to sustainability and to environmentally-friendly practices like reducing packaging and using recycled materials.

The Nomad Sport Case is overall the best case I've seen for this year's phones. It's extremely light, has a smooth and glossy back, highly grippy sides, metal buttons, MagSafe passthrough, and a very elegant design. I especially love a couple of the small design touches -- the slightly indented valleys running down the sides that make it even more grippable and the textured lines on the power button. The case is also made to withstand up to an 8-foot drop.

All of the Nomad Sport Cases are two-colored, with black TPU material around the sides and camera bump and a glossy backplate in four different colors. The one I tested had a white backplate that jives with many Apple product designs such as AirPods cases and the MagSafe charging puck. The blue looks appealing, too, and the Sport Case also comes in black and coastal rock (a light pale green). The smoothness of the glossy back also makes this case very easy to slide into a pocket or a bag. Lastly, I love how light these cases are. Combined with the noticeably lighter iPhone 15 Pro Max, it feels refreshingly light to hold -- especially compared to lasy year's heavy iPhone 14 Pro Max in one of Apple's leather cases.

At $50, the Nomad Sport Case has an Apple-like price tag. The one drawback to this case is that it is currently only available for the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max models. Also, the plastic in these is not much more sustainable than leather.

Pros & Cons
  • Magnetic SlimLink system for accessories
  • Great color options
  • Made from recyclable materials
  • Action button is a cutout
  • Mounts and accessories can get expensive
More Details

Peak Design Everyday Case features: Comes in five colors | SlimLink magnetic locking technology 

Peak Design is another company that makes excellent products with potential design inspiration from Apple in terms of clean lines and attention to detail. The Peak Design Everyday Case isn't just a case, but it has a small square on the back called SlimLink that includes magnetic locking technology. This gives the case access to a whole ecosystem of mounts and accessories, including tripods, car mounts, bike mounts, wall mounts, desk stands, and mobile wallets (including one with a kickstand). 

Even with the small square on the back, the Peak Design Everyday Case still supports MagSafe passthrough. Like Nomad's cases, this case has TPU soft plastic around the edges and the camera bump. But on the backplate, the Peak Design Everyday Case has a nylon canvas fabric that is made from 100 percent recyclable materials. That means this case is possibly more sustainable than Apple's FineWoven, which is made from 68 percent post-consumer recycled materials.

I haven't tested the new iPhone 15 version of the Peak Design Everyday Case, but my ZDNET colleague Matt Miller has and he said this is "the case I buy first with every supported Apple, Google, or Samsung phone. I like them for the case themselves, but also for the car mount, bike mount, wallet/kickstand, and tripod accessories that they work with. Their new color options make the case itself a more attractive option too. I've had one for a couple of years and it looks just about like the day I bought it."

The biggest drawback to this case is that it has a cutout for the Action button rather than one of the nice metal buttons that Peak Design uses for the other three buttons. This makes the Action button a little less convenient to use, so if you think you'll use that new button a lot then you may want to wait for the new version of the case that will include a button rather than a cutout in Peak Design's next run of the Everyday Case.

The Peak Design Everyday Case costs $50 and comes in five colors: charcoal (gray), midnight (dark blue), sun (yellow), redwood (maroon), and sage (green). Matt has convinced me to want to try one of these cases. I'd like to eventually try the tripod mount as well -- especially with the new camera system in the iPhone 15 Pro Max.

Pros & Cons
  • Magnetic metal ring folds out like a kickstand
  • Color variety
  • Military-grade drop protection
  • Power button could be more tactile
  • Durability of the metal ring is a question
More Details

Torras Ostand MagSafe Case features: Comes in six colors | Military-grade protection | Magnetic metal ring kickstand or grip

Another case I really liked -- and the most versatile and innovative of the bunch -- was the Torras Ostand R MagSafe Case with 360° Rotated Stand. This is an extra tough case that is rated to military grade standards (MIL-STD-810H). But it doesn't feel bulky and awkward. The extra protection means that it has a 1.35mm lip around the screen and a 1mm lip around the cameras. The case feels very solid and ready to withstand a drop, but without the massive marshmallow look and feel of most rugged cases.

The main part of the Torras case is made of various plastics, with opaque colors around the edges and a frosted transparent color on the back. The darker sides are "laser-finished" to provide additional texture and grippiness. They aren't as grippy as the Nomad cases, but are close. The one I tested was black, and it also comes in clear, dark blue, light blue, green, and gray. It also comes with a set of orange and green metal buttons to replace the default black metal buttons, if you prefer. I opted for the orange buttons to give it an Apple Watch Ultra-like feel. 

The real magic of this case comes on the back. There's a magnetic metal ring around the area where the MagSafe charger sits. It works for MagSafe passthrough but it also has magnets of its own so this case can stick to a fridge, a metal pole, a magnetic white board, or any magnetic surface. The metal ring itself also folds out to work as a kickstand or a grip (like a PopSocket). Torras offers several versions of this but I especially like the one where the metal ring rotates 360 degrees to give you extra flexibility in using it as a stand -- which can come in very handy for taking photos or watching videos. 

This case retails for $47, but goes for as low as $37. My main complaint about this case is that I didn't like the feel of the power button. I also worry how well the metal ring will hold up over time. But you get a lot of protection, bonus features, and innovation for the price with this case.

Pros & Cons
  • Softness of the leather
  • Grippy sides
  • MagSafe passthrough
  • Uses less leather than Apple's cases did
  • Leather cases could be on the way out
  • Sustainability is a legitimate question
More Details

Nomad Modern Leather Case features: Comes in three colors | 8 feet of drop protection | MagSafe passthrough 

If you've been a fan of the Apple leather cases for the iPhone -- and I'll admit that I've been using the leather cases every year since Apple first launched them with the iPhone 5S in 2013 -- and you'd still like to stick with a leather case despite Apple's move away from leather, then there's the Nomad Modern Leather Case

Make no mistake, leather is not great for the planet. But Nomad does use a little bit less leather than Apple's cases did because it only uses leather on the backplate while using a soft black polymer on the sides. Nomad also claims to use "sustainably sourced leather" -- but doesn't specify what that means. I'm assuming it means Nomad sources leather that doesn't use as many of the harsh and toxic chemicals that can often be used in creating leather products.

As for the case itself, Nomad's Modern Leather Case is very similar to the Nomad Sport Case. It has the same black TPU material around the sides and camera bump, the same indented valleys down the sides to make it easier to hold, the same great metal buttons, and the same MagSafe passthrough. As for the leather itself, I find it even nicer than the leather Apple used. With Apple's leather cases, it would take weeks or months to absorb hand oils and become softer and easier to grip. I would typically speed the process along by putting several rounds of leather softener on it as soon as I got a new case. With Nomad's leather, you don't have to do that. It's soft and feels great in your hands as soon as you take it out of the box. If leather is still your thing, it's a better leather case than the ones Apple used to sell.

The Nomad Modern Leather Case retails for $50 and comes in black, tan, or brown. That's $10 less than Apple's FineWoven cases and is likely to wear much better and last longer. It's also $10 less than what Apple used to sell its leather cases. And the Nomad cases do occasionally go on sale for less on Amazon.

What are the best iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max cases?

The best iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max cases offer protection from drops, scrapes, and bumps; ample color selection and customization; and a secure, lightweight feel.

Best iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max CasesCostDrop protection
Nomad Sport Case$508 feet
Peak Design Everyday Case$50NA
Torras Ostand MagSafe Case$47Military-grade protection
Nomad Modern Leather Case$508 feet

Which iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max case should I buy?

Depending on how much you're willing to spend, how much protection you'd like your case to have, and how many color and design options you'd prefer, some cases will be more or less attractive to you. 

Get this case...If you want...
Nomad Sport CaseThe best overall case with enough grip to keep your phone in your hand and 8 feet of drop protection to secure it on the off chance it slips out.
Peak Design Everyday CaseA great case if you want your phone mounted to tripods, car or wall mounts, desk stands, and more.
Torras Ostand MagSafe CaseA multifunctional case with a ring that doubles as a kickstand and a phone grip.
Nomad Modern Leather CaseA leather case that's sturdier and softer than previous Apple leather cases

What are the best brands for iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max cases?

All the case manufacturers on this list are reliable -- we know because we tested them. The best brands include Nomad, Torras, and Peak Design. Brands such as Speck and OtterBox are also popular. 

What are the best iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max accessories?

Since the new lineup of iPhones replaces the Lightning charger with a USB-C port, the hottest accessory for this year's iPhone 15 models is a USB-C charger. Additionally, a MagSafe battery pack or wallet will boost your iPhone's battery on the go while you continue to use the phone and a MagSafe wallet keep your ID and a couple of your most-used cards with your phone. 

Do I need a phone case for my iPhone?

Yes, most people will want a phone case to protect an expensive phone purchase like an iPhone. Maybe your phone has survived plenty of drops, bumps, and bangs without as much of a scratch. But you don't want to test your luck when it comes to a brand new iPhone that you may have paid at least $1,000 for. The laws of gravity apply to all of us. 

What is the size of the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max?

The iPhone 15 Pro has a screen size 6.1 inches and the iPhone 15 Pro Max has a screen size of 6.7 inches. 

What are the differences between the two iPhone 15 Pro models?

The iPhone 15 Pro offers a smaller form factor that easier to use with one hand than the Pro Max, but many of the Pro Max's benefits, like the A17 Pro bionic chip, the Action button that replaces the mute button, and the titanium finish, all for $999. The iPhone 15 Pro Max offers what ZDNET has dubbed "the best iPhone camera experience" with its tetraprism telephoto lens that can zoom up to 5x, a titanium build, and its larger screen for better multimedia viewing, starting at $1,199.

Are there alternative iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max cases worth considering?

There are so many cases you can consider when shopping for your new iPhone 15 Pro or Pro Max. We think the ones mentioned above are worthy of your consideration, but if you're looking for additional options and features, we've compiled a extra alternatives below. 

View at AmazonView at AppleView at Qdos
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