The iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max are no longer the newest iPhones, but they're still some of the most powerful smartphones on the market - and pricey to boot. It's a good idea to protect your prized smartphone with a case, as Apple handsets aren't the most sturdy around, and they cost enough that it's worth protecting them.
Some iPhone XS and XS Max cases come with basic to advanced damage protection, others double as wallets to hold your credit cards and cash, and still more include battery packs to keep your smartphone charged and going for a lot longer. Because the iPhone is so popular, there are far too many on the market, so we’ve compiled our favourites here for you.
As is always the situation with Apple, you can choose between official cases, or a range of third-party options with other benefits. Now that the iPhone 11, iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 ranges are out, many case manufacturers have moved onto those newer phones, but there are still plenty of options still on sale if you're looking for a case for your iPhone XS or XS Max.
These are products that we haven't had in our test labs, but based on our experts' opinion and knowledge of the most reputable brands around, we think these are worth looking at.
Our selections, ranked with newer additions at the top, take into account online reviews, brand reputation, product capability or unique features to help you pick through the maze of choices available to you.
Best iPhone XS and XS Max cases
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A surfboard like the iPhone XS Max, even for those with larger hands, can be a little difficult to handle - solutions like PopSockets may be inelegant but can also be indispensable.
Veteran case-maker OtterBox has produced a case with a PopSocket built in, which is retractable for placing the device in pockets while also providing the expected surety of mind and extra durability - this is one for those with big dreams but hobbit-sized mitts.
Available directly from OtterBox in a variety of colors from $59.95 (opens in new tab) / £39.99 (opens in new tab) (roughly AU$75).
Without a doubt, protection is important, however it is also possible to show a hint of personality while armoring your handset. Case-maker Tech21 vigorously tests its cases for drop protection and shock absorption, while also showing more than a little design flair, such as with this attractive floral option.
Available from Tech21 (opens in new tab) directly in a number of different style options.
Are you a little different in your tastes? Do you consider plastic phone cases as so 2015, and balk at the thought of buying something ordinary? Swedish start-up 15:21 has your number, with a range of highly unusual cork cases. Recycled and coming with a 4-year warranty, these are a must-have for the discerning style enthusiast while also offering a little buoyancy in the process.
Available from 15:21 (opens in new tab) directly with prices starting at €39 (roughly $45/£35/AU$65).
Is money no object in your quest to protect your beloved iPhone? Case-maker Element has made a name for itself in using high-quality materials for its various offerings, and the Katana is one of the latest such options.
Featuring machined stainless steel and an almost unmatched construction process, this is for those willing to shell out by the bucket-load for the ultimate peace of mind.
Available from Element (opens in new tab) directly with prices starting at $379.95 (around £305/AU$555).
For those times where money is an object, and where ultimate protection is still an issue, there are still options aplenty. This example from Olixar, exotic nomenclature aside, comes with rugged looks, a handy kickstand and some serious drop protection for the small cash outlay required.
Available from Olixar (opens in new tab) directly for £7.01 (roughly $9/AU$13).
This case from French leather workers Noreve is premium in all the right ways. Coming in a variety of different colors and finishes, there is a plethora of customization options available for those who want them. Offering protection and style, this is a solid overall combination.
Available directly from Noreve (opens in new tab), with prices starting at €70 (around $80/£60/AU$115).
Spigen makes an affordable case with a rigid back and flexible bumper for the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max. It's slim, has clear options and gives your phone a more grip-friendly feeling. Spigen also claims it has long-lasting clarity resistant to prevent yellowing found on cheaper iPhone cases and its mil-grade certified protection is designed with Air Cushion Technology.
You can grab it for the iPhone XS from $11.99 (opens in new tab) / £8.99 (opens in new tab), or the iPhone XS Max from $12.99 (opens in new tab) / £7.99 (opens in new tab), on Amazon in both cases.
Mous makes high-end cases that stress the use of real materials, including authentic walnut. The new range of Limitless 2.0 iPhone cases from Mous (opens in new tab) is both super durable and aesthetically pleasing.
According to Mous, the new cases contain "tiny air pockets and cross linking polymer chains that work like springs", helping to absorb any impact if you drop your iPhone XS by mistake.
Available for both the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max sizes, these cases come in nature-inspired skins, including bamboo, shell, walnut and more, and start at around $40 (£30 / AU$55).
The Speck Presidio range of cases for iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max and iPhone XR is a great option if you're looking for something really functional and protective.
Particularly effective is the Presidio Grip, which features diagonal ridges to stop your new phone from slipping out of you fingers, plus raised edges to protect your bezel-less screen. The Presidio Grip is available to buy from the Speck store (opens in new tab) for about $40 (£30 / AU$55).
Whatever life throws at your iPhone, the added protection this Wetsuit Impact case provides should keep it out of harm's way. It sports 360 degrees of water, shock, snow, and dirt protection, thanks in no small part to a flexible glass impact screen that has an anti-fingerprint coating.
The transparent design keeps your iPhone's back on show, and despite its strong defenses against knocks, drops and scratches, it's actually quite slim and lightweight, so it won't slow you down either.
You can pick up the Wetsuit Impact case on Dog & Bone's website for $80 (opens in new tab) (£60 (opens in new tab), AU$110 (opens in new tab)).
Quality cases geared towards improving smartphone photography are few and far between, but with the Telephoto Lens Edition for iPhone XS, Sandmarc has pulled out the stops to create a super-thin case-and-lens-mount that protects your device on intrepid shoots.
Images taken with the 4X telephoto zoom are remarkably free of the ghosting that often plagues lesser lenses, and most pictures expose with very little flare, to really elevate this smart case system. It even includes a clip-on mount if you want to switch cases and keep on snapping from afar. What's not to like?
You can pick up the Telephoto Lens case on Sandmarc's website (opens in new tab).
If you're a fan of leather cases, you can't go wrong with the sweet-smelling Mujjo label. Each protective case uses full-grain vegetable-tanned leather, which looks great when you first start using it, and even better after it's had a chance to patina.
The unique leather covering extends to the buttons on its Wallet case, which protects the screen edges from drops by rising a millimeter above the edge of the glass. On the back, there's a sleek pocket for your bank cards, while the camera opening and mute button are tapered inwards to avoid intrusion and maintain the smooth, unique aesthetic.
You can pick up this leather wallet case on Mujjo's website (opens in new tab).
With "military grade protection" and a magnetic cover, Moshi's StealthCover range for the new iPhone models is not only sturdy, but it also allows you to look at your screen without flipping open the cover.
The folio-style case has a translucent cover, so you can check your notifications and even make FaceTime calls while keeping your screen protected.
The StealthCover is available for around $52 (£40 / AU$75). (opens in new tab)
Unsurprisingly, Apple has launched its own range of cases to fit the new iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max and iPhone XR, with this silicone case designed to fit snugly over the new model - plus it supports wireless charging.
Coming in nine colors, they cost $39 (£45 / around AU$80). (opens in new tab)
If you're looking for something more fun than functional, take a look at the new iPhone XS/XS Max/XR-friendly cases from Case-Mate. There's a huge range of designs to choose from, including gold glitter, stylish tortoiseshell and even real dried flowers embedded in clear resin (not yet available for the new iPhones, but we're crossing our fingers).
Prices start from around $50 (about £40 / AU$75) for the new iPhone cases and they are available from the Case-Mate website (opens in new tab).
If you're an old fashioned type who likes to get their thoughts down onto paper, the Snakehive Vintage Leather Wallet (opens in new tab) could be the perfect way to combine your love for old and new technology.
With a handy pocket to keep your notes safe and credit card slot, these sophisticated-looking cases are available for iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR for $29.99 (£24.95, around AU$45).
Keeping things simple, the JETech Transparent case means you can still show off your iPhone with the protection of a transparent case for if you drop it. With a scratch-resistant back and raised bezels that offer some protection to the screen and camera, it's well designed to absorb simple shocks.
Lightweight and unobtrusive, it's probably best for those that grudgingly accept they need a case but don't really want to deal with added bulk or inconvenience.
The Humixx Shockproof case is remarkably cheap for what it offers. With military grade drop protection, its hard PC matte back panel and flexible TPU shock absorbing frame is pretty potent at least early on in its lifetime. We wouldn't trust it after numerous drops but as a failsafe option that can be easily replaced over the years, it does the job well.
It's a comfy and far from bulky fit although not everyone will love its button choices that are fairly tactile. Still, it means that everything is well protected at a bargain price.
Tim Hardwick contributed to this Best iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max cases page.
- iPhone XS review (opens in new tab)
- iPhone XS Max review (opens in new tab)
You might also want to check out the best Apple Watch screen protectors (opens in new tab), and best iPhone screen protectors (opens in new tab).
In addition, check out the best iPhone SE cases (opens in new tab), and best iPhone 12 Pro Max cases (opens in new tab).