woman using ipad pro in zugu case
Zugu

Why Does Your 12.9-inch iPad Pro Need a Case?

The iPad Pro’s aluminum body and glass front are prone to scratches, dents, and in some extreme cases, bending as well. If you want to protect your iPad Pro and keep it running for years to come, a case is a must.

A good case also lets you prop up your iPad Pro like a stand for watching movies or browsing the web. It lets you elevate your iPad Pro on an angle to facilitate typing. Some cases give you even more flexibility when it comes to the viewing angle. Plus, some cases will store and protect your Apple Pencil, keeping it right where it needs to be—near your iPad.

Thankfully, there’s a case for every need out there, and we have curated the best protective cases for you below! No matter if you need something simply protect your iPad or if you’re looking to turn it into a work powerhouse, we’ve got you covered.

We have every use case covered except for one with a built-in screen protector. Manufacturers have not updated their built-in screen protectors to support the 2021 iPad Pro. If you need a screen protector, it’s best to get a tempered glass screen protector separately, as it can pair with any case in our list.

Note: The 2021 version of the 12.9-inch iPad Pro is 0.5 mm thicker than the previous two iterations. While this might not seem like a lot, it’s enough to render older cases unusable. This list highlighted the cases that work with the 2021 model, but each manufacturer has a different model that supports the older versions. 

Best iPad Pro 12.9-inch Case Overall: Zugu Alpha Case

Zugu Alpha Case for 12.9 Inch iPad Pro
Zugu

Pros

  • Superior build quality
  • Reputed brand
  • Ten pre-set viewing angles
  • Two Apple Pencil slots
  • Works as a magnetic dock

Cons

  • The 12.9-inch iPad Pro might be too heavy for the magnets
  • Only available in Black

What makes an iPad Pro case great? You, of course, start with the basics like the build quality and brand reputation. Then there are nice-to-haves, the features that really set the case apart. The Zugu Alpha Case is the one that delivers on all fronts.

Zugu is a reputed case maker that has consistently delivered high-quality protective cases year after year. They have thousands of glowing reviews on Amazon, so you know that people use these cases day in and day out.

The Zugu Alpha Case has a hard TPU shell and features bumpers that protect it from falls. Unlike Apple’s own Smart Folio, the Alpha case covers the entire iPad Pro, including the edges. The front cover has a satisfying click to it, and there’s a flap that helps you easily open the cover (which also wakes up the iPad Pro automatically).

The Alpha Case has the basics down, but what really makes it stand out is the details. Zugu hits it out of the park when it comes to viewing angles, with ten different angle configurations and a built-in kickstand.

Plus, there are two ways to dock your Apple Pencil. You can dock it at the top of the iPad (like you normally would), or you can use a sleeve at the back where you can slide in your Apple Pencil, keeping it safe when you’re out and about with your iPad Pro.

Lastly, the Alpha case has a magnetic dock, so you can stick it on magnetic surfaces, and it will supposedly stay there. Some users have reported that the weight of the 12.9-inch iPad Pro is a bit too heavy for these magnets, so maybe don’t stick it too high on your fridge before testing it.

Combining all the features above and Zugu’s build quality makes this our pick for the best case for the 12.9-inch iPad Pro. The only real downside? You can only get it in black!

Best Overall

Zugu Alpha Case 2021

This hardshell TPU case has airflow vents, a stand, and an Apple Pencil holder, and protection all around the iPad Pro. It looks really great, too!

Best Budget iPad Pro 12.9-inch Case: ESR Ascend Trifold Case

Two iPad Pros in ESR cases on table
ESR

Pros

  • Protects the entire iPad Pro
  • Magnetic cover aligns properly
  • The flap protects the Apple Pencil

Cons

  • Only two viewing angles

Finding a good budget case for the iPad Pro is tricky. You want something that augments the fit-and-finish of your iPad Pro without breaking the bank. ESR Ascend Trifold Case delivers just that at under $20.

The ESR Ascend Trifold case only does a few things, but it gets them right. This is a classic, full-body case. It has a translucent textured finish at the back that matches the color of your iPad Pro, and it comes in Black, Blue, Forest Green, Grey, and Rose Gold.

The case protects the edges of the iPad Pro, and the cutouts line up perfectly. The buttons have a nice, clicky feel to them, and there’s a gap to dock your Apple Pencil as well.

The problem with most budget iPad Pro cases is the magnetic cover itself. With most budget cases, the cover doesn’t align properly, as there is either a gap or a protruding lip. The ESR Ascend Trifold works around this with an extended magnetic flap that claps in the back using a separate magnet. This means that once the cover is closed, the flap is locked in. If you use an Apple Pencil, this flap protects it from falling off as well.

The only real limitation is the trifold cover design itself. Unlike other cases with built-in kickstand cover designs, the Ascend case only works in two positions. You can fold the trifold cover to prop up the iPad Pro as a stand, or you can roll it up beneath the iPad Pro to use it on a slight angle, in a typing mode. If you can look past that, the ESR Ascend Trifold case is a keeper, especially at this price point!

Best Budget

ESR Trifold Case

ESR's iPad Pro case will protect your screen when not in use and double as a stand for just $20 MSRP.

Best Premium iPad Pro 12.9-inch Case: Pad & Quill Oxford Leather Case

man using iPad Pro in oxford case
Pen & Quill

Pros

  • Made from a single piece of thick, full-grain American leather
  • Available in three finishes
  • Features an interior pocket for documents
  • Supports Magic Keyboard case and Smart Keyboard Folio
  • Elastic closure clasp adds protection, and style

Cons

  • Doesn't protect the sides of the iPad Pro
  • No slot for Apple Pencil
  • No stand mode or typing mode

Want a case that not only matches the looks of your iPad Pro but takes it to a whole new luxury level? Take a look at Pad & Quill’s Oxford Leather Case.

The case is crafted from a single piece of thick, full-grain American leather. This is the kind of leather that lets you break it in, so as you use it, the leather will develop a cool pattern that’s unique to your case.

The artisan leather comes in three finishes (Whiskey, Chestnut, and Galloper Black), with the artisan’s signature placed inside the case! This is truly something special.

Like a classic leather case, this one has an elastic closure clasp and an interior pocket for your documents. Plus, this folio-style case is one of the few cases out there that works with the Apple Magic Keyboard or the Apple Smart Keyboard Folio case.

As this is just a regular folio, this leather case doesn’t have a stand mode or a typing mode. The only way to use the iPad Pro in stand mode is using a supported keyboard case. That’s the price you pay for beauty, sometimes.

Best Premium iPad Pro Case

Oxford Leather iPad Pro Case

Made out of beautiful leather, this premium case will dress up your iPad Pro in the looks it deserves. It’s even one of the few cases that works with the Magic Keyboard!

Best Keyboard iPad Pro 12.9-inch Case: Apple Magic Keyboard

Apple Magic Keyboard on blue/green background

Pros

  • Best in class typing experience
  • Built-in trackpad for increased productivity
  • iPad Pro snaps easily using magnetic connector
  • USB-C port for pass-through charging
  • Up to an 130 degree viewing angle

Cons

  • Doesn't protect the sides of the iPad Pro
  • Magnet could be stronger
  • USB-C port doesn't allow for data transfer
  • $100 more expensive than competition

If you want to get some work done on the iPad Pro, you’ll need a keyboard. And what’s better than getting a keyboard case and protecting your iPad Pro at the same time?

As keyboard cases go, nothing comes close to Apple’s own Magic Keyboard Case (which comes in Black and White). While it’s $100 more expensive than competitor keyboard cases like the Brydge 12.9 MAX+, the Magic Keyboard Case is well worth the asking price.

Dock in your iPad Pro into your case using the magnetic Smart Connector, and you’re good to go. That’s it! Once it’s docked, you get access to a built-in USB-C connector that’s helpful for pass-through charging using the Smart Connector. You, unfortunately, can’t transfer data with this connector, though.

Once docked and opened, the iPad Pro literally floats on top of the keyboard. While this looks cool, it also means that it’s effortless to change the angle of the iPad Pro. You can tilt your iPad Pro up to 130 degrees, which is a good range for most of the tasks you’ll want to do.

If you’re used to typing on the MacBook keyboard, you’ll find yourself right at home. Plus, the built-in trackpad will give you a cursor on the iPad Pro, enhancing your productivity.

There’s definitely a bit of sticker shock with the price, but the Apple Magic Keyboard is worth it for the iPad Pro’s best keyboard and productivity experience.

Best Keyboard Case

Apple Magic Keyboard

If you need a keyboard case, you can't go wrong with the Apple Magic Keyboard. It's expensive, but feels just like you're typing on a MacBook.

Best Rugged iPad Pro 12.9-inch Case: Urban Armor Gear Metropolis

UAG case on dark grey background

Pros

  • Established brand for military-grade protection
  • Certified drop-protection for up to 4 feet
  • Flap protects the Apple Pencil from drops
  • Rugged protection in a sleek package

Cons

  • Only two viewing angles

If you want to add military-grade protection to your iPad Pro without adding the bulk of a military-grade product, the Urban Armor Gear Metropolis case might be for you.

Urban Armor Gear, commonly referred to as UAG, has a rich history of producing rugged cases for phones and tablets for years, and its new case for the 12.9-inch iPad Pro is no exception.

The Metropolis case offers drop protection for drops of up to 4 feet. So if your iPad Pro slips off from your desk, you won’t have a mini heart attack. The back case has a water-resistant, tactile finish that makes the iPad Pro harder to slip out of your hands.

The front cover is felt-lined and soft to the touch and also has an attached flap that protects your Apple Pencil. The textured front and back look especially cool in the Red and Blue colors. If you want to keep things simple, there’s a standard Black option as well!

Just like the Ascend case we talked about above, the UAG Metrapolis’s only real downside is the viewing angle. While Metropolis doesn’t have a trifold cover, it’s still limited to two viewing angles (a stand mode and a typing mode). Given that the Metropolis has a flip cover (similar to the Zugu Alpha), not having more than two viewing angles seems like a missed opportunity.

That said, if you really want to protect your iPad Pro from everything, the UAG Metropolis is just the right combination of rugged protection and sleek style.

Best Rugged iPad Pro 12.9-inch Case

Metropolis Series iPad Pro Case

Do you need something that will protect from drops and falls? This case will protect your iPad Pro from most damage with military-grade protection.

Best with iPad Pro 12.9-inch Case Apple Pencil Holder: ESR Pencil Case

ESR Pencil Case on yellow background

Pros

  • Builds on top of the excellent ESR Ascend Trifold case
  • Protects the entire iPad Pro
  • Has a separate slot for Apple Pencil

Cons

  • Only supports two viewing angles

If you use your Apple Pencil with your iPad Pro constantly, you need to protect the stylus from falls and scratches just as much as you do your tablet. While the Apple Pencil magnetically attaches itself to the iPad Pro, it’s not exactly a strong connection, and It can fall off quite easily. Plus, the most important and sensitive part of the Pencil, the tip, is exposed to the elements. Given how expensive the Apple Pencil is, you don’t want it to get damaged.

ESR’s Pencil Case takes care of all these issues. The Pencil case builds on top of ESR’s Ascend Trifold case that we featured above. But instead of a magnetic flap, it adds an extended TPU section that houses your Apple Pencil.

RELATED: How to Take Handwritten Notes on Your iPad Using the Apple Pencil

Just drop the Apple Pencil in the slot, and it will charge automatically. There’s no getting it out from the front, but thankfully, there’s a slot at the back of the case where you can push the Pencil out using a finger. You know the Pencil won’t fall out and get lost easily!

The ESR Pencil Case also gets the fundamentals right, and it comes in Black, Gray, and Pine Green colors for a bit of variety. It protects the entire body of the iPad Pro using strong TPU material, and it features a standard trifold cover that lets you put your iPad in a stand and typing position. This case does everything you need it to do while protecting your Apple Pencil.

Best Case with Apple Pencil Holder

ESR Pencil Case

Get some great protection and hold your Apple Pencil at the same time with ESR's Pencil Case. Few cases make sure to protect the delicate Apple Pencil, but this one does it for cheap.

A good case will protect your investment, keeping your iPad in good shape for a long time. When it’s time to buy a new iPad, be sure to check out our iPad buying guide.

RELATED: The Best iPads for Holiday 2021 for Drawing, Travel, and More

Profile Photo for Khamosh Pathak Khamosh Pathak
Khamosh Pathak is a freelance technology writer who specializes in tutorials. His work has also been published on iPhoneHacks, Zapier's blog, MakeUseOf, and Guiding Tech. Khamosh has seven years of experience writing how-tos, features and technology guides on the internet.
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