11 best iPhone X and XS cases to protect your most prized possession

David Phelan
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11 best iPhone X and XS cases to protect your most prized possession

Apple released its striking iPhone X in November 2017, following up with a similar-looking device, the iPhone XS, in autumn 2018.

The iPhone X has since been removed from the range so new customers will be buying the XS, but there are plenty of iPhone X users.

Although the two phones are pretty much identical in size, there are differences. As such, not quite all cases work with both phones: the iPhone XS has different speaker grilles on the bottom edge, for instance, and the camera unit is a very slightly different size.

If you don’t know which one you have, there are a couple of telltale signs.

First, the speaker grille on the bottom edge of the iPhone X is perfectly symmetrical with six perforations either side of the Lightning charging socket, while on the XS there are six holes on one side, three on the other.

Second, the stainless steel rim which wraps round the edge of the phone has small breaks in it. These are part of the antenna band.

On the iPhone X, there are four of these easily visible breaks, all on the long edges. But the iPhone XS also has one on the top edge, and one on the bottom.

Finally, if your iPhone has a pale gold back, then it’s the XS as the iPhone X only came in silver and space grey finishes.

Mous Clarity: £39.99, Mous

Compatibility: iPhone X, iPhone XS

Mous is an innovative company which has created its own high-impact material called AiroShock. This absorbs the energy of drops and dampens impact, allowing the cases to be slim but protective. There are dramatic examples of just how extremely Mous has tested the cases, with smartphones surviving intact. The Clarity case is the most elegant of the lot, with an entirely transparent back and black edging. Other Mous options include carbon-fibre and walnut finishes on the back. The Mous cases are designed with a lip that edges round to the front to protect the phone completely. Mous also includes a screen protector in the box. The Mous cases feel good in the hand and are scratch-resistant so the case, as well as the phone inside, stay looking good.

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Apple iPhone XS smart battery case: £129, Apple

Compatibility: iPhone XS only

This case has a powerful and capacious battery in its back. This means it bulges out quite a bit, making the iPhone much bigger and heavier in this jacket. But it adds lots of hours of battery life and, as importantly, considerable peace of mind for the user that the iPhone won’t flag when you need it. The material on the case has a really grippy feel that is pleasant and, as you’ll know if your iPhone has ever slipped from your hand, useful. When you connect it, the iPhone display shows battery charge for both the built-in battery and the case cell. You can even charge the iPhone and case wirelessly thanks to a wireless coil in the battery case.

Because the design is very slightly different on the new iPhone, Apple says this case is only compatible with the XS. We’ve tried it with both and it fits reasonably well, but the change in the microphones and speakers on the base mean that it affects audio playback and potentially call quality, though in our own testing, calls sounded good at both ends. In other words, Apple’s known perfectionism seems to be what holds it back from recommending it for the iPhone X as well.

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QDOS Optiguard Infinity Glass: £49.99, QDOS

Compatibility: iPhone X, iPhone XS

Cladding the iPhone X or iPhone X in the Optiguard case is simple, thanks to the clever hidden magnets which hold the front and back halves together delicately but firmly. Once in place, the iPhone is heavier and a little bigger but the simplicity of the design and clarity of the glass which covers front and back means the overall look is discreet and it stays faithful to the iPhone’s look. The glass itself is strong and scratch-resistant, and the frame is a light aluminium alloy.

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Apple iPhone XS leather folio: £99, Apple

Compatibility: iPhone X, iPhone XS

Folio cases offer wraparound protection and this model is a perfect fit, plus has a feature most others lack: magnets in the edges turn the screen off when you close the front cover and wake it when you open it. The phone is held in place securely and a microfibre lining keeps the phone from internal scratches. There’s a place for notes and credit cards in the front flap. The leather is supple and pleasing to the touch and there are eight colours to choose from.

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Gear4 Piccadilly: £29.99, Gear4

Compatibility: iPhone X, iPhone XS

Gear4 uses a special shock-absorbing material called D3O, which disperses the energy of an impact if it falls. The case itself is transparent but the edge, where the D3O sits, is coloured black, white, gold or rose gold. The polycarbonate used in the rear of the case is similar to that used in bulletproof glass, Gear4 says, though we haven’t tested how far this protection will take you. It also has a cleverly designed edge which doesn’t slip easily from the hand.

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Lucrin iPhone wallet case: from £99, Lucrin

Compatibility: iPhone X, iPhone XS

Swiss manufacturer Lucrin makes a series of highly attractive leather cases for the iPhone X/Xs, in a very wide range of styles. The cases are not cheap but the quality is seriously high and the results are deeply appealing. There’s a simple pouch, one with a pocket attached, a zipped pouch, one with an opening on the long edge, and more. All have outstanding levels of craftsmanship and can be customised in terms of colour, leather finish and the addition of initials. The folio-style wallet case has three credit card slots and a place for banknotes in the front.

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Nodus Access Case III: £49.99, Nodus

Compatibility: iPhone X, iPhone XS

Nodus keeps its cases thinner and lighter by using a pad covered with microscopic suction cups to hold the phone in place instead of clips or cradles, which can bulk the case up and make it heavier. Attaching the phone just right can take a couple of goes but it then stays in place securely. The leather is supple enough to feel comfortable but still offers decent protection.

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Pipetto 2-in-1 leather magnetic folio: £44.95, Pipetto

Compatibility: iPhone X, iPhone XS

This is a clever case: a protective shell clips to the back of the iPhone, but it also comes with a leather folio into which the shell fits and is held in place magnetically. The latest iPhones have wireless charging, of course, but, remarkably, that still works with the inner shell still in place – you just take the inner shell out of the folio again. The folio has slots for credit cards and cash. Pipetto is a strikingly good brand, with good-value, sophisticated and well-made cases for iPhones and iPads.

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Sena UltraSlim leather sleeve: £34.99, Amazon

Compatibility: iPhone X, iPhone XS

Sena makes delicious leather cases for phones and other gadgets, in a variety of styles and finishes. The UltraSlim sleeve lives up to its name and is highly tactile, with a soft, comfortable feel. The lining is a soft microsuede to keep the phone safe. The advantage of a sleeve, of course, is that you get to see and touch the phone itself when you take it out. Like the other models in Sena’s wide collection, this is well-crafted, durable and attractive. Choose from tan and black finishes.

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Peel Super Thin: £22, Peel

Compatibility: iPhone X, iPhone XS

If you would really like to use the phone without a case bulking it up but are worried that it will get scratched, then the preposterously thin cases from Peel barely feel like you have a case on your iPhone at all. However, because this doesn’t stretch right round to the front, it’s wise to choose a screen protector, too. There’s a perfectly clear case, or semi-transparent matte finish options including rose gold, black and silver, which all let the iPhone Apple logo shine through. Or you can plump for the glossy jet black and jet white versions, which are particularly opulent, or a solid matte black finish that is very discreet. The cases fit easily, feel good and look great.

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Snakehive vintage wallet: £26.95, Snakehive

Compatibility: iPhone X, iPhone XS

British manufacturer Snakehive makes high-end accessories, including this neat folio case, at accessible prices. The Vintage leather wallets are available in 11 colours, including pastel shades and two-tone finishes. The moss and burnt orange versions are particularly eye-catching. There’s room for three cards, plus notes, in the wallet and a magnet keeps the front cover shut – though it doesn’t turn the screen off when you close it as Apple’s own case does. The leather is hard-wearing but soft to the touch. You can personalise these cases with two initials for an extra £6.95.

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The verdict: iPhone X and XS cases

For sheer reliable protection, the Mous case stands out, but for a soft, supple feel, then the Lucrin range is very hard to beat. Apple’s own cases, especially the soft leather folio, are effective, especially in the way they turn the iPhone’s screen off when you close the cover, which saves battery power.