Apple

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What to Look for in an iPhone Case in 2021

Despite being the smallest in price and size in Apple’s iPhone 13 lineup, the iPhone 13 Mini isn’t cheap. Picking the proper protective case for the iPhone Mini is essential to make sure it stays in pristine condition and is still pleasant to use.

The primary purpose of a phone case is to protect the phone, but not all do it to the same degree. Very thin cases retain your phone’s shape and size but mainly protect against scratches and dents rather than drop damage. Ruggedized cases add bulk, but they do a far better job of protecting your phone.

There are many phone case options that each have their respective strong points, but the main drawback of using a case is that it hides your beautiful smartphone.

Clear cases offer a good compromise for this, and you can choose between silicone or hard plastic polymer cases. Clear silicone cases provide the best grip and feel, while hard clear cases offer the best visual presentation. Hard, clear materials tend to pick up and show scratches more readily than soft silicone, but that does depend on the particular case and its materials.

For the latest iPhones in particular, it’s also worth paying attention to MagSafe compatibility. If a case does not explicitly say that it’s MagSafe compatible, it’s best to assume that it won’t work or, at least, won’t work well. If MagSafe compatibility is something you want, make sure to get a MagSafe case.

Most people will find their perfect case among one of our recommendations below.

Note: The cases below only fit the iPhone 13 Mini model. They will not fit the standard iPhone 13, Pro, or Pro Max.

Best iPhone 13 Mini Case Overall: Apple Silicone Case with MagSafe

apple silicone case on green and blue background
Apple

Pros

  • Quality soft silicone exterior
  • Inside lined with microfiber
  • Magnets make it a literal snap to fit
  • MagSafe compatible

Cons

  • Silicon cases only offer moderate drop protection

Apple’s accessories have the same excellent reputation for quality as their actual phones, so there’s little risk of disappointment with the Apple Silicone Case. It’s a great all-rounder that most people should consider for their iPhone 13 Mini.

The Silicone Case comes in several color options and offers a high-quality feel. This extra-soft silicone should also provide more grip, making it less likely that you’ll drop the phone or that it will slide off a surface. The silicone feel isn’t for everyone, though.

Inside the case, Apple has installed magnets that align perfectly with your phone. Apple’s magnet game has been on-point for years now, and this is perhaps one of the main reasons to pick an Apple original case.

Speaking of magnets, this case is fully MagSafe compatible, so if you want to use accessories such as the MagSafe wallet or charger, you’re good to go.

Best iPhone 13 Mini Case Overall

Apple Silicone Case with MagSafe

The Apple silicone case offers the best mix of quality, protection, and usability for most users at a great price.

Best Budget iPhone 13 Mini Case: Spigen Liquid Air Armor

Spigen case on blue and purple background
Spigen

Pros

  • Very thin, but with air-pocket protection
  • Grippy surface that resists fingerprints
  • Low price

Cons

  • The case's look isn't for everyone

Just because iPhones have high price tags doesn’t mean you need to spend a fortune on quality accessories. Spigen’s Liquid Air Armor looks much more expensive than its actual asking price and has many features that elevate it above cases that cost more.

The Liquid Air Armor has a slick matte finish, which is better at resisting fingerprint marks and more grippy than a smooth case. It’s worth noting, however, that not everyone is going to like how that looks and feels.

While the Liquid Air Armor isn’t the thinnest case you can buy, it’s not far off, adding only 0.15 inches of thickness to the iPhone 13 Mini. Surprisingly for a relatively thin case, there’s a fair degree of ruggedization as well. Spigen has included air pockets in the design, adding extra force dispersion in case of a drop. This helps mitigate the reduced protection of thinner cases.

Best Budget iPhone 13 Mini Case

Spigen Liquid Air Armor

You won't believe how little Spigen is charging for a high-quality protective case like this. You just need to be a fan of the case's style.

Best MagSafe iPhone 13 Mini Case: Apple Clear Case with MagSafe

Apple Clear Case on grey background
Apple

Pros

  • MagSafe certified
  • Shows off your iPhone color and design perfectly
  • Any MagSafe accessory looks good with it.

Cons

  • If you don't like clear cases, you're better off with the Apple Silicone Case

Apple’s Silicone Case comes in several fantastic colors and it works with MagSafe. But, there’s one MagSafe downside to that case you may not have thought of—your MagSafe accessories could clash with your silicone case color!

That’s one of the reasons we think the official Apple Clear Case with MagSafe is the better choice if MagSafe is something you’re serious about beyond charging your phone.

Apple’s clear case has been treated with a coating to combat the scratch-prone nature of hard clear cases, and it has the same magnetic alignment feature as the silicone case. This is a great way to show off your phone, and since the case is clear, any MagSafe item you clip to the back will go with it.

Of course, not everyone likes the look of hard clear cases, and if you prefer the color, our best iPhone 13 Mini case overall will suit your needs better. But if you want to show off your smartphone, the MagSafe Clear Case is the way to go.

Best MagSafe iPhone 13 Mini Case

Apple Clear Case with MagSage

With a clear case that shows off your phone and avoids clashing with any MagSafe products, This is the case of choice for serious MagSafe fans.

Best Wallet iPhone 13 Mini Case: Smartish iPhone 13 Mini Wallet Case

Smartish wallet case on purple background
Smartish

Pros

  • Innovative card grip and slide design
  • Avoids awkward flipbook design
  • Grippy
  • Air-pockets for corner drops, but surprisingly slim

Cons

  • No MagSafe or anything else that needs to touch the back of the phone

If the total contents of your wallet contain no more than three cards and a little paper money, then you don’t need to waste pocket space on a dedicated wallet. Instead, this Smartish wallet case will hold all your essentials and while protecting your phone from damage.

That includes drop protection, thanks to the corner air pockets. Corner drops are the most likely to shatter your screen, so this is a welcome feature.

As a wallet case itself, the Smartish is interesting. It doesn’t use a flipbook design but instead has a card segment that’s open on both sides, so you can quickly slide out your cards using a push-pull method.

The downside of this design is that anything that needs to make contact with the back of your phone, such as NFCs or wireless chargers, won’t work. That does include MagSafe accessories, so if you’re looking to use them, this case isn’t for you.

Best Wallet iPhone 13 Mini Case

Smartish iPhone 13 Mini Wallet Case

Most wallet cases end up making your phone awkward to use. The Smartish case for iPhone 13 Mini stays out of the way while still holding the essentials every wallet case should.

Best Rugged iPhone 13 Mini Case: Otterbox Defender Series

Otterbox Defender case on yellow background
Otterbox

Pros

  • Raised edges keep your screen pretty
  • Four times the military standard for drop survival

Cons

  • No screen protector
  • A little chunky

Some people love the refinement of an iPhone but work or live in conditions that can be hazardous for a smartphone. That, or you’re a repeat-offender butterfingers. Either way, you’ll want something that offers a little more protection for the drops you know are coming.

The Otterbox Defender is the best rugged case for an iPhone 13 Mini. This model happens to be compatible with both the iPhone 12 Mini and 13 Mini, so if you currently have a 12 Mini and are planning to upgrade in the future, you can go ahead and buy the Defender right now.

Otterbox’s case is made from multiple layers of material to get the best mix of strength, thickness, and weight. Otterbox says that it will survive four times the drops required by military-grade standards. It also has raised edges that make sure the screen and cameras don’t come into contact with the ground.

The Defender has covers for the ports to stop grit and other detritus from getting into your buttons or Lightning Port. The iPhone 13 Mini already has resistance to this by design, but an extra layer of protection doesn’t hurt.

This case doesn’t come with a built-in screen protector, but Otterbox does sell compatible screen protectors, so that’s only a minor downside. The only other negative comment would be the added bulk, but that’s par for the course in the world of rugged cases. If you need the protection, it’s a sacrifice you need to make.

Best Rugged iPhone 13 Mini Case

Otterbox Defender Case for iPhone 13 Mini

The Otterbox Defender pulls out all the stops to ensure your iPhone 13 Mini stays in one piece when it slips through your fingers.

Best Clear iPhone 13 Mini Case: Otterbox Symmetry Clear Series

Otterbox clear case with magsafe charger
Otterbox

Pros

  • Clear and rugged
  • Wireless charging (including MagSafe) works
  • Thin for a rugged case

Cons

  • MagSafe charging works, MagSafe attachment not so much

While we think the Apple Clear Case with MagSafe is the best MagSafe case, we don’t think it’s the best clear case, in general, you can buy for the iPhone 13 Mini. That honor goes to the Otterbox Symmetry instead.

The Otterbox Symmetry combines the best aspects of rugged cases with those of clear cases. While it’s still relatively bulky, you can see the phone in all its glory, giving you a sense of airiness rather than bulk.

The only real drawback here is that the Symmetry doesn’t work perfectly with MagSafe. It’s still thin enough for a MagSafe charger (or any wireless charger) to work, it’s just missing the magnets that make the accessories stick.

If you aren’t bothered by MagSafe magnets not working, this is the clear case to go for. Otherwise, Apple’s Clear Case might be more up your alley.

Best Clear iPhone 13 Mini Case

Otterbox Symmetry Clear

This case from Otterbox gives you the airiness and clarity of a clear case, with the tough protection of a rugged case, without being too thick in the pocket or too hard on the wallet.

Best Thin iPhone 13 Mini Case: Totallee Thin iPhone 13 Mini Case

Totallee case on dark background
Totallee

Pros

  • 0.02 inches thin
  • Extra camera protection

Cons

  • Unlikely to help much in a drop

It’s not only Apple that’s obsessed with making the thinnest devices. Some phone case makers are in a hot competition to get their cases as thin as possible. Presumably, it will only stop when they reach one atom of thickness, but for now, Totallee’s Thin iPhone Case seems to be the closest you can get to not having a case at all.

Totallee’s case is a mind-boggling 0.02 inches in thickness, which is very thin indeed. However, since it has a raised safety lip to protect your camera, the actual thickness added will be a bit more than that.

Totallee says that it will protect your phone from “minor” drops, but with such a thin buffer, they’d have to be really minor drops. On the other hand, it should do an excellent job of preventing scratches and bumps. These are the most common types of damage, and most bad falls will wreck your phone with or without a case, so a thin case is generally a viable option, still.

A screen protector is probably a good idea, though, since there’s no raised lip for the screen.

Best Thin iPhone 13 Mini Case

Totallee Thin iPhone 13 Mini Case

The Totallee case is almost paper-thin and should do an excellent job of protecting against scratches and dings, although perhaps not as much in a severe drop.

Best Leather iPhone 13 Mini Case: Apple Leather Case with MagSafe

Apple leather case on pink and yellow background
Apple

Pros

  • High quality, real leather
  • Decent color selection
  • Great price for a leather product
  • MagSafe and magnetic slim-fit

Cons

  • Refined leather might not be what some leather fans are looking for

As long as you’re alright with animal products, then leather remains the number one premium material for products like phone cases. It’s durable, protective, and attractive to look at.

Of course, all leather is not equal, but Apple’s Leather MagSafe Case uses quality leather. It has all the benefits of the Apple Silicone Case, but offers a luxury look and feel at a very competitive price.

This is a fully MagSafe compatible case, so you don’t have to worry about other MagSafe accessories not working with it. There’s a decent color selection as well, though some buyers think the “golden brown” model is closer to orange in real life.

If leather is your thing, the Leather Case is your best choice. The only real downside is that some people might like a more rugged leather finish, whereas Apple has opted for a soft and supple approach. Still, the case will patina over time, so eventually, you’ll get that more rugged finish.

Best Leather iPhone 13 Leather Case

Apple Leather Case with MagSafe for iPhone 13 Mini

Leather is still the most premium natural product you can make a case from and Apple's in-house case is the perfect blend of traditional materials and modern features.

Profile Photo for Sydney Butler Sydney Butler
Sydney Butler has over 20 years of experience as a freelance PC technician and system builder. He's worked for more than a decade in user education and spends his time explaining technology to professional, educational, and mainstream audiences. His interests include VR, PC, Mac, gaming, 3D printing, consumer electronics, the web, and privacy. He holds a Master of Arts degree in Research Psychology with a focus on Cyberpsychology in particular.
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