iPad Air with keyboard on table
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Update, 11/20/2022: We’ve reviewed our recommendations and have updated our best rugged case pick with the Spigen Rugged Armor Pro.

What to Look For in an iPad Air Case in 2022

The iPad Air isn’t exactly fragile, but it still has one side made almost entirely out of glass. That makes the display the most crucial part to protect, but if you drop your iPad a few times, it’s easy to damage any part of the tablet if you’re unlucky.

That’s why it’s essential to consider how you use your iPad. A simple cover for the screen may be all you need if it’s mainly an entertainment device that rarely leaves the house. If you take your iPad with you everywhere, you’ll want more protection.

Of course, a good case does a lot more than protect your iPad from accidental damage. Even the more barebones cases we’ve chosen also function as a stand to let your iPad act as a portable TV. Others feature built-in Apple PencilΒ holders or even keyboards.

Only one case we’ve chosen for this list has a built-in screen protector. That said, you can buy a tempered glass screen protector for any other cases for added protection. The last thing anyone wants on their expensive tablet is scratches on the screen, so it’s highly recommended.

Finally, we’ve tried our best to balance between features, protection, and cost, but this is a list of the best, so some cases are more expensive than others. Regardless, you’ll be able to find something to fit your budget below!

Note: The cases below only work with the last two models of the iPad Air. They will not work with the iPad Mini, standard iPad, or iPad Pro models (11-inch or 12.9-inch).

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I clean an iPad Air case?
Most hard cases, made from polycarbonate or TPU, can be wiped clean with a soft, damp cloth. If the case is particularly dirty, adding a small amount of dish soap will usually do the job. Soft plastic cases can also be cleaned this way, but leather, suede, or similar natural materials should only be cleaned with the appropriate cleaning solutions.
How do I connect an iPad Air keyboard case?
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Almost all cases that include an integrated keyboard will connect using Bluetooth. Make sure the keyboard case is in pairing mode (check manufacturer’s instructions), enable Bluetooth on your iPad Air, and wait for the scan to find the keyboard so you can pair it. If you are using a Smart Keyboard Folio, it should automatically connect, although you may need to remove a non-compatible case from the iPad first.
How do I get my iPad Air into the case?
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The easiest way to fit your iPad into a hard case is to lay the case on a flat surface. Then push one corner of the iPad into the corner of the case, and work your way around the remaining three corners until it slides into place. Make sure you have lined the buttons up with the corresponding slots in the case.
Are all iPad Air cases the same size?
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The iPad Air has been available in a range of sizes from 9.7in, to 10.9in. The cases therefore also range in size. Always make sure you buy a case that is made to fit the iPad Air model you own.
Do iPad Air 4th generation cases fit the iPad Air 5th generation?
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The main differences between the 4th and 5th Generation iPad Air models are all inside. Outwardly, they are almost identical, and cases for a 4th-Gen iPad Air will fit a 5th-Gen device.

Best iPad Air Case Overall: Apple Smart Folio

Apple Smart Folio on pink background
Apple

Pros

  • Easy to attach and remove
  • Available in different colors
  • Different positions let you watch videos or draw with the Apple Pencil

Cons

  • Not as much protection as other cases
  • More expensive than other similar cases

If you’re only going to be using your iPad Air at home or the office, and you’re going to have it in a bag the rest of the time, the Apple Smart Folio case is a great option. It doesn’t protect the back or sides of your iPad, but because there’s no rear portion of the case, it’s light, thin, and easy to use.

The Apple Smart Folio uses a magnet on one side to connect to your iPad, so it snaps on and comes off just as easily. Opening and closing the cover automatically puts wakes up your iPad and puts it to sleep, saving your battery power.

The Smart Folio cover also folds up, letting you stand the iPad Air up to watch videos. You can also lie it down horizontally, making writing or drawing with the Apple Pencil easier and more enjoyable.

If you prefer a minimalist look, the Smart Folio for iPad Air is available in Black or White color options. For those who prefer a bit more visual flair, it also comes in colorways like Cyprus Green and Electric Orange.

Best iPad Air Case Overall

Apple Smart Folio for iPad Air

The Apple Smart Folio for iPad Air is light, slim, stylish, and easy to use. It's not the most protection, but it keeps the screen safe.

Best Budget iPad Air Case: ESR Rebound Magnetic Case

ESR Rebound iPad Air Case on grey background
ESR

Pros

  • More protection than cover-only cases
  • Plenty of color options
  • Built-in Apple Pencil holder

Cons

  • Not much protection for the sides of your iPad Air
  • Bulkier than Apple's Smart Folio

At first glance, the ESR Magnetic Case looks like Apple’s Smart Folio, but this one has extra protection and a few handy extra features that Apple’s case doesn’t have.

The first thing you might notice is an extra clasp on the outside of the case, which holds your Apple Pencil. This case supports magnetic pairing and charging, so you don’t need to remove the Apple Pencil to charge it.

The case attaches to the back of your iPad magnetically, making it easy to attach and remove as needed. While this protects the back of your iPad Air, it leaves the sides exposed, so it’s not as protective as a full TPU case. The cover is a trifold design, like the Smart Folio, and it supports the same two positions as that case.

The ESR Magnetic Case for iPad Air comes in a similar range of colors to Apple’s Smart Folio. Instead of black and white, ESR offers Black and Gray. You can also get Forest Green, Navy Blue, and more if you prefer your case with a splash of color.

This isn’t the absolute least expensive case you’ll find, but it’s still very affordable and a great pick considering all the features. Going any cheaper for a case will have you sacrificing quality fast.

Best Budget iPad Air Case

ESR Magnetic Case for iPad Air 4

With its various features, the ESR Magnetic Case for iPad Air feels less like a budget case and more like a quality case that doesn't happen to cost much.

Best iPad Air Keyboard Case: Logitech Combo Touch

iPad Air and Logitech case
Logitech

Pros

  • Cheaper than the Apple Magic Keyboard for iPad Air
  • Backlit keys are great for typing at night
  • Detachable keyboard makes for extra flexibility

Cons

  • Limited color options

If you want your iPad Air to double as a laptop, you have several keyboard options, but our favorite is the Logitech Combo Touch iPad Air. It offers many of the same options as the Apple Magic Keyboard for iPad Air, but at a much lower price.

One of the key features of the Logitech Combo Touch Air is that it has backlit keys like the Apple Magic Keyboard. If you’re often typing in a dark or dim room and you’re not a touch typist, this can go a long way to ensure that you’re typing accurately.

While Apple’s keyboard has a hard plastic build, Logitech’s offering takes a cue from the Microsoft Surface Pro with a fabric cover on its keyboard. It’s not the same Alcantara fabric as the Surface Pro Keyboard, but it’s still a nice touch that feels especially nice when you’re carrying your iPad around.

The keyboard is detachable, which you won’t find on many keyboard cases. This means you don’t have to potentially buy a second case when you don’t need to use the keyboard, while being able to store it.

You don’t have many options when it comes to colors, but the two options you get are nice looking. Oxford gray is the darker of the two, while Sand is grayer than the name suggests but lighter in tone.

Best iPad Air Keyboard Case

Logitech Combo Touch iPad Air

Not only is the Logitech Combo Touch iPad Air cheaper than the Magic Keyboard, but it's got some features you won't even find on Apple's keyboard case.

Best Rugged iPad Air Case: Spigen Rugged Armor Pro

Spigen Rugged Armor Pro on yellow background
Spigen

Pros

  • Impact-resistant outer shell
  • Integrated Apple Pencil cradle
  • Protective folding cover doubles as a stand
  • Air Cushion technology at vulnerable points

Cons

  • Only available in Black
  • Style might not appeal to everyone

Accidental drops or falls are almost unavoidable over the lifetime of your iPad. If you want to ensure that your iPad Air survives those accidents, the Spigen Rugged Armor Pro is a great choice. This precision-made case gives you full access to your iPad while protecting it from the knocks of daily life.

Most “rugged” cases have a distinctive style. This Spigen case is no different, molded to look like carbon fiber. The impact-resistant outer shell is made from polycarbonate, with air pockets in areas that need the most protection, including the corners. These air cushions help to keep the case lightweight while remaining stiff enough to prevent twisting on impact.

The folding screen cover, lined with soft material to prevent scratches, doubles as a stand. You can easily switch between two viewing angles or fold the cover flat behind the tablet. When the cover is closed, a magnetic tab folds over the integrated Apple Pencil cradle, holding your stylus firmly in place.

The Spigen Rugged Armor Pro case is only available in black. This suits the rugged look, but it would have been nice to have a few color options. The Spigen Tough Armor Pro case, available in Military Green, Black, and Gunmetal is a great alternative if you don’t mind going without the folding cover.

Best Rugged iPad Air Case

Spigen Rugged Armor Pro

A lightweight yet sturdy protective case for the latest iPad Air models. The Rugged Armor Pro is a great combination of the features users need with protection from the unavoidable knocks of daily life.

Best iPad Air Case with Apple Pencil Holder: Otterbox Symmetry Series

Otterbox symmetry case on grey background
Otterbox

Pros

  • Apple Pencil holder design keeps you from losing it
  • Magic Keyboard attaches without removing the case
  • Protected by Otterbox's lifetime warranty

Cons

  • No real color options

The Otterbox Symmetry Series 360 Folio Case is a protective case with a slim fit and more than a few useful features. While other cases we’re looking at include Apple Pencil holders, this one is the best for that use case. But that’s not all Otterbox’s case has got going for it.

The interior of the Symmetry Case is made of microfiber, meaning it’s lightly cleaning and polishing your iPad every time you put it in the case or open and close the folio-style cover.

The case is also clear on the back, showing off the colorway of your iPad Air. On the other side, the tri-fold cover lets you prop your iPad up for catching up on videos or lie it at an angle for drawing or taking notes with the Apple Pencil.

If you’ve got serious typing to do, the Symmetry Series 360 case also lets you attach a Magic Keyboard without needing to remove the case to do so. This gives the case added flexibility and makes it handier to carry around.

On the off chance that this case gets damaged in the line of duty, fear not. The Symmetry Case includes Otterbox’s lifetime warranty, so you can replace it for free if your incident is covered.

Best iPad Air Case with Apple Pencil Holder

Otterbox Symmetry Series 360 Folio Case for iPad Air

If you use your iPad Air to write and draw on the go, you won't find many better options than the Otterbox Symmetry Series 360.

Best iPad Air Leather Case: TORRO Tablet Case

red Torro case on marbled countertop
TORRO

Pros

  • Multiple finish/color options
  • Sleek, professional look
  • Elastic band on cover is more reliable than a magnet

Cons

  • Barebones when it comes to features

Finding a genuine leather case for the iPad that still includes valuable features and doesn’t cost too much is tough. The TORRO Tablet Case covers both of those angles, plus it comes in a variety of great-looking colors.

While the exterior is leather, the case uses a silicone-based internal for added impact resistance. To keep the case slightly more rigid, a plate on the rear of the case adds stiffness and extra protection.

Though this isn’t a folding, folio-style case, it lets you prop your iPad up at three different viewing angles. The steepest angle is helpful for watching videos or using a Bluetooth keyboard, while the flattest angle is better for the Apple Pencil.

Instead of magnets to keep the cover shut, TORRO opted for a notebook-style elastic band. This isn’t everybody’s cup of tea, but it fits the case’s subtle look. Even without the magnet, the case does support the same auto wake and sleep functionality you get in many cases, so you’re not missing out.

Even though it’s leather, the TORRO case comes in four colorways. There are Black, Brown, and Tan varieties if you’re looking for a more traditional look or a brighter Red if you’re looking for your iPad to stand out a little more.

Best iPad Air Leather Case

TORRO Tablet Case

If you're looking for the touch of class a leather case brings buy you still want some bells and whistles, the TORRO Tablet Case is the perfect mix of retro and modern.

Best iPad Air Case with a Built-In Screen Protector: SUPCASE Unicorn Beetle Pro

Supcase and iPad Air being used outside
SUPCASE

Pros

  • Built-in screen protector is removable
  • Tough design keeps your iPad Air protected
  • Variety of color options

Cons

  • Kickstand design means the case doesn't support portrait orientation

If you’re looking to protect your screen while using your iPad and carrying it around, a case with a built-in screen protector is your best option. Many of these have trade-offs that make them hard to recommend, but the SUPCASE Unicorn Beetle Pro Series Case is worth buying.

Many built-in screen protectors make using your iPad more difficult, interfering with gestures and scrolling. The SUPCASE Unicorn Beetle Pro doesn’t have any of these issues, meaning you’ll be able to use your iPad like you already do, but you’ll have more protection.

In addition to the built-in screen protector, this case is pretty tough. The outer case looks nearly as rugged as our pick for the best rugged case, though we wouldn’t count on it offering the same level of drop protection. This outer case also features a kickstand to make propping up your iPad easier.

Despite the relatively thick case, the Unicorn Beetle Pro supports wireless charging. You can still attach an Apple Pencil magnetically, so this case doesn’t stop you from using your favorite iPad accessories.

This case comes in standard Black and White options, as well as some less standard colors such as Rose Gold and Slate Blue.

Best iPad Air Case with a Built-in Screen Protector

SUPCASE Unicorn Beetle Pro Series Case

The built-in screen protector might be the SUPCASE Unicorn Beetle Pro Series Case's claim to fame, but it's a solid all-around case for your iPad Air.

The Best iPads of 2022

Best Overall iPad
2022 Apple iPad Air (10.9-inch, Wi-Fi, 64GB) - Purple (5th Generation)
Best Budget iPad
2021 Apple 10.2-inch iPad (Wi-Fi, 64GB) - Space Gray
Best iPad for Drawing
Apple iPad Pro 12.9-inch
Need a Stylus?
Apple Pencil 2
Best Budget iPad
2021 Apple 10.2-inch iPad (Wi-Fi, 64GB) - Space Gray
Best iPad for Travel
2021 Apple iPad Mini (Wi-Fi, 64GB) - Space Gray
Best Laptop Replacement
2021 Apple 11-inch iPad Pro (Wi?Fi, 128GB) - Silver
Apple's Best Keyboard Accessory
Apple Magic Keyboard
Profile Photo for Kris Wouk Kris Wouk
Kris Wouk is a freelance tech writer and musician with over 10 years of experience as a writer and a lifetime of experience as a gadget fan. He has also written for Digital Trends, MakeUseOf, Android Authority, and Sound Guys. At MakeUseOf, he was Section Editor in charge of the site's Mac coverage.
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Profile Photo for Russ Ware Russ Ware
Russ is a freelance writer who specializes in writing about technology. He loves exploring and figuring out how complex things work, and sharing that knowledge with others, something he has been doing online and in print for more than 15 years. When not writing for How-To Geek, Russ can usually be found planning his first novel or taking something apart to see how it works.
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