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Apple's leather case for iPhone 12 gets an upgrade

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Apple's leather case has been updated for the new iPhone 12 line, and while MagSafe is the big addition, it contains a few other changes from its predecessors. We have them all, and here's what you need to know.

Unlike Apple's clear case and silicone cases, Apple's leather case was delayed and didn't go up for order until the iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 12 Pro Max went up for preorder. The leather case is available in sizes for all of Apple's iPhone 12 line including the iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro, and iPhone 12 Pro Max. As a reminder, the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 rock the same size case.

At the same time, Apple released the leather case, it also listed its leather sleeve for the new phones. Other than that leather sleeve that isn't available to order at the time of this review, we have them all.

A minor note, the boxes between the Apple silicone cases differ. Apple has elevated the packaging just a bit, making it a bit more premium to go with the nicer cases. They aren't sealed with a sticker, but instead, have an elegant locking mechanism that "pops" open when you pull the top of the packaging.

Some new colors

Apple has five colorways for its signature leather case. We have Baltic Blue, California Poppy, Saddle Brown, (PRODUCT)RED, and of course — black.

Apple's leather case colors from left to right: California Poppy, (PRODUCT)RED, Black, Saddle Brown, Baltic Blue
Apple's leather case colors from left to right: California Poppy, (PRODUCT)RED, Black, Saddle Brown, Baltic Blue

If any of those colors sound vaguely familiar, it's because Apple is pulling from its color wheel of existing leather accessories. The new Leather Link for example comes in Baltic Blue, Californian Poppy, Saddle Brown, and black.

Apple's Leather Link band compared to the Baltic Blue leather case
Apple's Leather Link band compared to the Baltic Blue leather case

Brown and black will likely continue to be the most popular colors but after using them them, we're partial to the California Poppy and the Baltic Blue. The California Poppy is kind of a light caramel brown and is different, while not being too wild. It (obviously) matches our Poppy Leather Link Apple Watch band for a complete look.

An iterative design

Apple's leather cases have changed ever-so-slightly from Apple's previous incarnations. Apple has made functional tweaks alongside the addition of MagSafe.

Apple's leather case covers the bottom of the phone and has anodized aluminum buttons
Apple's leather case covers the bottom of the phone and has anodized aluminum buttons

The case covers the entirety of the bottom of your phone, rather than just covering the corners of the lower half. We preferred the more open design Apple had before, but it is hard to argue that the new cases are more protective.

Raised lip around the camera module
Raised lip around the camera module

We see new changes around the camera bump too. There is a new raised plastic lip that extends around the entirety of the camera module which should shield the lenses even further from getting scratched when set down on a rough surface.

Other signature details are still here, including the depressed Apple logo on the back, the supple leather, and the anodized aluminum side buttons. All details that set Apple's apart from cheaper alternatives.

The leather wraps all around the edges and folds over to the inside. That gives you leather on the outside, as well as on the interior edges too. The back panel is covered with a microfiber lining and a plastic ring in the center to denote its MagSafe magnetic ring. Speaking of which...

MagSafe... the new connector on the block

Aside from the changes to the design, Apple has MagSafe baked in here as well. We've already talked at length about MagSafe — we've broken down how it works, as well as what it can do — and won't do so again here.

California Poppy leather case
California Poppy leather case with MagSafe charger

We do though want to mention why it is imperative to include MagSafe in the case that you use if you want to utilize MagSafe accessories. It is plausible you could adorn your iPhone 12 Pro with a non-MagSafe case and still use the MagSafe charger. But if you try to use a MagSafe mount, dock, wallet, or other accessories, putting a case in between will weaken the magnetic attraction, because of physical separation between the peripheral and the iPhone enclosure's magnets.

A weaker magnetic pull between the phone and the accessory can easily result in your phone or accessory breaking free, with one or the other tumbling away. Nobody wants this, so when choosing a case, keep MagSafe in mind.

One thing we haven't experienced yet in our limited time with the cases is the wear-in on the back that Apple itself has warned users about. The last image on Apple's site is a warning of the ring that will in all likelihood develop with copious MagSafe use, just from constant compression. Apple advises users to choose the silicone case if the ring is a problem for you.

Leather can compress and develops a patina over time so it makes sense that a magnetic ring on the back of the case would eventually result in a wear mark and depression.

Pros

  • All-encompassing design
  • Metal, tactile buttons
  • MagSafe integration
  • Great feel and colors
  • Matches new leather link bands
  • Develops a great patina over time

Cons

  • Fairly expensive
  • MagSafe can leave a mark

Where to buy

The Apple Leather Case with MagSafe for the iPhone 12 Pro Max can be ordered in your choice of five colors at Amazon, with each retailing for $59.

B&H is also accepting orders for the new iPhone cases, with free expedited shipping within the contiguous U.S.

 

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