I have an on-again, off-again relationship with iPhone cases. I put them on. I take them off. I generally don’t like cases. I’ve only broken my iPhone one time and that was when my 6 Plus came out of my pocket attached to my hand, unintentionally, on a sticky day. My iPhone 5 and 6 were rarely in cases, and had minimal wear and tear. I’m usually pretty careful. I also buy AppleCare+ on them, even though I’m lucky enough to rarely need it.

I’ve owned a variety of third-party cases over the years, from vendors like Mophie, Incase, Spigen, and Speck. I try a lot of these other cases mostly to be a resource for more case-needy friends and family, on what or not to buy. However, the only cases I personally tolerate are the official Apple cases. There are situations where you might need or want something more substantial, like if you’re working in construction or taking your phone spear-fishing, but otherwise I feel like the simplicity of the Apple cases go a long way in keeping the style of the device.

I’ve owned just about every iteration of the Apple Leather Cases since they started making them around the time of the iPhone 5S. That was a good case, but it was for a device that really didn’t need one. Even for the price, I think Apple leather case is a great value. It’s got a nice amount of grip, without being so grippy it gets stuck coming out of pant pockets like with the Apple silicone case. The leather also just has a much more premium look to it. It ages and over time, which some people like. Apple calls this “a natural patina” … it’s just a gradual darkening of the material as it obsorbs the oils of your hands.

The cases themselves are easy to put on, but removal can be a little difficult if you don’t want to damage the case. The leather cases themselves are much stiffer than a silicone case, so it seems like the more they’re messed with, the more wear they take. If you’re someone who likes to change cases depending on the situation, or even to go case less most of the time and just put them on for the evening, I think the intention with these is for them to go on, and stay on.

In terms of protection, the leather case is not going to protect your device from total destruction if it falls out of your pocket and hits the rock face while you’re mountian climbing. Neither is the silicone case. It’s purpose is to protect the alumium edges from rubs and nicks, let you sit it down on a table without stressing that the camera bumb is going to get your lens scratched, and for you to worry less that when your 2 year-old son grabs it from your bedside that it’s not going to get a divot in the corner when he tosses it into the floor as you’re chasing him down the hall.

I still think that design wise the iPhone 5S was probably a sweet spot, and given how popular the iPhone SE is now, I’m not the only one. The leather case for that phone is no different. However, the leather case for the 6 and 6S felt like a step backwards in a couple of ways, the biggest was the cutouts for the buttons.

They sucked, to put it midly. They weren’t really buttons, just areas in the leather where Apple cut little groves to represent where the actual buttons under the case were supposed to be. This made it difficult to actually press the buttons, especially on a case that was fresh out of the box. You’d just kind of mash the side of the phone and hope you were turning the volume up and down. I hated it, I think I used this case for a few days before it went in a drawer.

My wife ended up using it for a while after she had my 6 for a few months (while I experimented with the 6 Plus) and then switched to Apple’s silicone case, and now battery case, with her 6S.

I used my 6, the little bar of soap that it is, caseless for almost the entire time I owned it.

When my iPhone 7 arrived in September, I resisted the urge to get back into testing cases, at first. Since I’d survived mostly unscathed during the 6 line, and essentially nothing of consequence had changed for me on the 7, I’d just carry on. Then I one day while browsing the Apple online store, I noticed the new leather case was different.

It had… buttons.


And yet, I resisted, I hovered over the order button a few times, until the one that I wanted was eventually out of stock and on a multiple week backorder. Eventually, I gave in and picked up the midnight blue version from local Apple store. I didn’t love the color, but I loved the buttons.

Then on a trip to Dallas a week or two later, while killing time one afternoon waiting to head to the airport, I went into an Apple store and found it: Sea Blue.

The midnight model got returned a couple of days later, and the new blue leather case with it’s equally clicky button goodness has been on my phone most of the time since then. It actually takes me a while to get used to having a case though. It’s like this physiological problem, where I have to put it on, take it off, put it back on, and then force myself to keep it on for a little longer each time. Eventually I reached the point where having the iPhone out of the case, felt more uncomfortable than having it in one, and so it’s been in there ever since that day.

Seriously though, naked iPhone is a hard thing to give up after doing it for so long, because it just feels so great. It’d be like if you wore nothing but your underware around the house everyday of your life, and then suddenly because the neighbors complained that their kids were being tramizied, the police told you that you had to start wearing pants.

If you’re in a situation where you suddenly need a good pair of pants,**I’ve a got recommendation.