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Best iPhone 12 case in 2021

One compelling aspect of the Apple iPhone is the vast assortment of case offerings that appear after the annual release of new phones. There a thin cases, protective cases, leather cases, MagSafe-compatible cases, and more and these are some of our favorites.

While I started with an Apple iPhone 12, it was extended use with the larger iPhone 12 Pro Max that convinced me it was clearly the best phone for me and arguably the best phone currently available. Since Apple focuses on an annual release schedule for its flagship phones, this timeframe allows case manufacturers to provide a wide assortment of options for buyers, and it's rare to see an iPhone that is not wrapped in a case.

Cases for the Apple iPhone 12 series range widely in price, style, color, and functionality -- with cases for protection from the elements, basic skins for scratch protection, MagSafe-compatible cases, custom case options, and much more. I've spent time with a number of cases from at least eight makers.

Also: Best iPhone models to buy in 2021

For the last few weeks, I had my first ever opportunity to try out Apple-branded cases with full support for MagSafe, and I have to say I'll definitely consider Apple cases in the future, as they are extremely well made and have all the minor details optimized for users. Make sure to check out Jason Cipriani's MagSafe accessory article for more than just cases. 

Apple Leather and Silicone cases

Perfect fit, Apple colors, and MagSafe support

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Image: Apple

Sometimes it's worth buying cases from the same company that makes the phones, and when it comes to the Apple iPhone 12, you may want to seriously consider one of the available options from the Apple Store. I've spent a couple of weeks with a Saddle Brown iPhone Leather case, Deep Navy iPhone Silicone case, and Product Red Leather Sleeve case.

The fit and finish are perfect with tactile buttons, optimized openings, and soft microfiber lining inside to protect your iPhone from scratches. MagSafe compatibility is great, especially with the minimalist Leather Wallet accessory.

The Apple Silicone case is priced at $49, with the Leather case just $10 more at $59. The Leather Sleeve case is pricey at $129, but it does incorporate a card slot and leather strap to carry the iPhone with you.

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BodyGuardz Refract, Stack, and Avenue cases

Unequal drop protection and antimicrobial treatment

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The iPhone 12 series are expensive smartphones, with glass on the front and back. BodyGuardz has several options for each of the four iPhone 12 models. The cases offer 6ft to 12ft drop protection using BodyGuardz Unequal technology.

We tested out the Refract, Stack, and Avenue cases. The cases range in price from $29.95 to $44.95.

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Casetify offers custom solutions

Personalize your iPhone 12 case and add some drop protection

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Casetify cases fit well, protect your phone, have a wide assortment of color and texture options, and can be easily customized. You can enter up to 12 characters to customize your case with your choice from six fonts, four layouts, and 17 colors. There are also dozens of case color options for some of the models.

Drop protection is provided at varying levels, but the focus of these cases is primarily on the ability to customize it to your preferences. Cases range in price from $40 to $85, depending on the size of your iPhone and the selected style of the case. 

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ESR iPhone 12 cases with MagSafe technology

Kickstands, protection, leather, and silicone

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Media is quite enjoyable on an Apple iPhone 12 so one of the first purchases to consider is a case with a solid kickstand option. ESR has a couple of kickstand models and these cases have the most robust kickstand I've ever tested.

ESR cases range in price from $16.99 to $35.99 and are available in an assortment of colors and styles. Bundles with screen protectors are available, as well as two models with MagSafe support.

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Griffin iPhone 12 cases

Incipio, Survivor, Kate Spade, and Coach brand options

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Griffin offers a few case brands for the Apple iPhone 12. There are many options available with a range of drop protection levels, sleek or bulkier size options, stylish looks, and much more. The cases are very well designed and range in price from $40 to $60. We tested a few models for ZDNet.

The Organicore model is compostable so buying the case isn't creating a source of trash for the future. The Stashback provides a card slot so your iPhone can be your wallet. The rugged Survivor models help protect your iPhone from the elements.

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Nomad Rugged case options

Horween leather that ages gracefully

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With the release of four new iPhone 12 models from Apple, Nomad offers a few case options from $49.95 to $69.95. If you are interested in a Horween leather case that ages over time and looks great, then Nomad is definitely one of the best options to consider. We spent time with a couple of the cases.

The Rugged Case is available for $49.95, in Black, Natural, and Rustic Brown. The Rugged Folio has three card slots and a cash slot on the inside flap of this case with a rated capacity for six cards. It's priced at $69.95, but it constructed extremely well with high-quality materials.

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Speck Presidio cases for the iPhone 12

Drop and antimicrobial protection

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Speck's lineup provides protection, enhanced grip, drop protection, and antimicrobial protection. iPhone 12 case options range from $39.95 to $59.95. We tested the stylish Presidio 2 Armor Cloud for the iPhone 12.

Speck incorporates its Microban technology so that the cases deliver up to 99% reduction in bacteria growth. Enhanced grip is a staple of Speck cases, too, so if you want some security in holding your iPhone 12, then consider one of its case options.

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Totallee cases for Apple iPhone 12

Subtle scratch protection

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Sometimes you want just a bit of protection from scratches and minor bumps without compromising the size or feel of your iPhone. Totallee first offered five color/material options for the iPhone 12. Options included matte finish cases in Frosted Clear, Frosted Black, Navy Blue, and Green. Totallee also offers a transparent (clear) option. I tried out the Frosted Black and Navy Blue case options. These five colors are available for $39 each.

Recently, Totallee added some limited edition color options; Carbon Fiber, Pearl White, Dot Matrix, Clear Hard, and Oh So Peachy. These new colors are available for $45.

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