iPhone 5s Apple case review

The iPhone 5s cases are great, form-fitting, Apple-branded accessories in 6 colors, 5 of which aren't bad, and a couple of which are downright sexy.

The iPhone 5s is the new high-end phone from Apple, finished in silver, space gray, or gold, meant to evoke the premium look of classic jewelry, and the future of cutting edge technology. Enveloping and binding it all together are new cases in 5 common and 1 special edition colors. So do they add to the overall package, or simply distract?

Note: The iPhone 5s cases will fit 2012 iPhone 5 models as well, due to the incredible similarity in form factor. However, they won't fit 2013 iPhone 5c models due to the different sizes involved.


Unlike the bright, vibrant colors of Apple's iPhone 5c cases, the iPhone 5s cases come in paler, more pastel colors that float somewhere between sophisticated and... drab. They're definitely not your father's old TreoBerry holster shades of blacks and browns, but they're not quite wow either. Apple offers the iPhone 5s case in yellow, beige, blue, brown, black, and (RED). That (RED) benefits the Product (RED) charity and is exclusive to Apple stores.

The yellow is yellow. The beige is a little too pasty-skin-tone for me, the blue is a nice cool shade, the brown an earthy, golden hue, the black is black, and the red is race car. Because the silver and gold iPhones have white front plates, and the space gray iPhone has a black face plate, you get two very different looks. I like all of them except for the beige. It's just sickly. Black is classic and red is hot, but all the others look fine.

Non-stitched leather

The iPhone 5s cases feel as good as they look. They're made out of leather, as fits their premium positioning, but don't let the supple surface fool you - they're hard cases on the inside. The texture is visible but fine, adding depth to the sheen, and providing more warmth and grip than the cold metal and glass of the iPhone 5s proper allows.

The inside is microfiber, so it'll keep your iPhone 5s safe from scratches and scrapes as well.

Buttons and bottoms

The volume buttons aren't great. They work but they're squishy enough to require too much effort to push, and not give enough satisfaction when they finally click. The mute/ringer switch is cutout, so that works fine, but the sleep/wake button is also as covered and works every bit as poorly. The old iPhone 4 bumpers nailed how to handle buttons - out of metal - so this is an unfortunate step in the wrong direction.

The cutout around the camera works fine. No reflections, no problems at all, even with the dual LED flash on the iPhone 5s. The cutouts around the Lightning adapter and 3.5mm are a little bit closer, maybe even too close for comfort if you have large sized cables. The case does wrap up above the phone, so if you put it face down it will protect from scratches and scrapes.

The fit is tight, maybe even too tight. The iPhone 5s cases don't add much by way of extra bulk or weight, but they can be a pain to remove.

Bottom line

Apple's iPhone 5s cases are a premium way to add premium leather to premium devices. If all that sounds just a little stuffy, well it is. They cover a lot of what makes the iPhone 5s shine, but do add enough protection that they'll no doubt appeal to a lot of Apple Store customers.

I spent the last few days with the red and black cases on a gold and space gray iPhone 5s. I liked the look and feel a lot, the buttons not so much. Overall, however, they're great, form-fitting, Apple-branded cases in 6 colors, 5 of which aren't bad and a couple of which are downright sexy.

Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

  • By my reckoning, Rene, you're currently running around with a 5C & two 5s versions--Holy Crap! Anyway, I've been running around naked.... I mean, running around with a naked 5s after using protection on my previous iPhones. It feels wonderful, but does make me a bit nervous. So, thanks for the review on the cases! Question: would you please add a close up of the Lightning adapter jack? I want to see if it will still work with my ProClip dashboard mount. Thanks.
  • If it helps, the AmazonBasics lightning cable just fits. The plus to it being leather is there is some give/stretching. Rene - do you foresee the case stretching/loosening? Any chance the 5/5s in the case fit in the 5c dock? (Wishful thinking, I know) Sent from the iMore App
  • What are the dimensions of an iPhone with this leather case? In mm's please... =) =)juha
  • Did you already get the dimensions? I am also looking for the dimensions in mm, but can't find them anywhere :(
  • It's a fiddly solution, but a few well-cut pieces of tape on the inside of the case in the button cut outs can make the buttons feel "just right." There is enough variation from phone to phone in button tolerance to make this necessary, I've found.
  • You had me at red for the space grey Sent from the iMore App
  • Totally agree on the Apple iPhone4 bumper cases with metal. I've had numerous cases and always go back to that one. I was disappointed that Apple didn't make something similar for the 5. I'm gonna try a Tech21 case on my 5s.
  • I miss the bumper cases as well. I know some people just called them expensive rubber bands, but the buttons they incorporated into them were the best I've come across. I've tried quite a few other cases (including three for my iP5), but none have come close to those "expensive rubber bands." I really wish Apple had released something similar for the 5/5s.
  • I am currently sporting the red case on my gray 5s. Absolutely love the case, however my only gripe with this red case (and I'd imagine other colors except black would have the same problem) is dirt showing up on the edges of the case. I'd imagine a gentle leather cleaner would do the trick. Other than that it's a great case.
  • Same thing is happening on my Red iPhone 5S case and I'm kinda bummed about it. It's probably the nicest case I've ever seen but what do I do about the dirt?
  • I got the black one for my black iphone 5. It looks awesome. Love this case.
  • I wish Apple made bumpers for the iPhone 5/5s.
  • Why does every case have to be made of leather ... :-(
  • I haven't got the 5s yet, but I have a white iPad4 with a "Product (RED)" case and it looks awesome. So when I finally get the silver/white 5s a Prod Red case may be just the thing.
  • It doesn't look like the 30pin to lightning adapter will work with this case?
  • nope it doesn't.
  • The 30 pin to lighting adaptor's pin seems about 1/16" short for full contact. The case is great! Feels good on my 5s space gray and black. Sent from the iMore App
  • I got the red one and it goes really good with the "space grey" iPhone 5S Sent from the iMore App
  • These new cases for the iPhone 5 looks nice and I am definitely thinking of getting one for myself and I would probably get red or beige depending on which color I see first
  • The Apple store gave me a free case and I chose the yellow leather for my Space Gray 5S (One of their guys gave me the wrong "golden ticket" on opening day, even when I asked him if this was specifically for a Sprint model. Waited 2 hours to be told that they were out of 5S Sprint phones. A manager walked by and heard me say "this is ludicrous". Long story short, 24 hours later, I was able to purchase the phone and another manager stopped by to say, "We are so very sorry for what happened yesterday... please pick out a case and we'll be happy to take care of it for you").
    So anyhoo, the yellow looks really nice and I especially love how it covers the bottom of the phone. My only gripe... and I don't know if its a user error or not but I find it really hard to push the on/off button.
  • It was hard for me to push the on and off button also but over time it gets easier. Sent from the iMore App
  • Just picked one up great case. I have a easy method to remove it. I place my thumb on the back over the case at the bottom pull down the bottom edge with two fingers and push up with your thumb pops right off. Using index and middle fingers. Once the bottom pops off pull off griping the lighting connector hole. The Apple case is similar to a Case Crown I had for the 4s I used the same method.
  • Thanks Ed. Good tip. I was struggling with the best way to do this. Sent from the iMore App
  • Your welcome. I think over time it will start to give a little. That's how the similar Case Crown was after a few months it became easier to get off.
  • I hate that Apple makes phones that basically require a case, makes the 5c appealing.
  • These phones don't require a case. I've carried my phones "naked" since my first personal phone in 2002. I've had my 4s since its launch day almost 2 years ago and it has survived just fine. It has a few scuffs in the plastic around the edges and no scratches on the front or back glass and nothing close to the wear I saw on any of my previous phones. Palm Pre, a couple Treo's, and old flip dumb phones. I did however pick up this case for my new 5s. I had been looking at stylish leather and wood cases in the past for my 4s, but none were as elegant as I wanted (Pad and Quills products came close, but they didn't have anything that appealed to me). This case did. Not because I felt the phone needed protection, the look, the styling, the fit and finish just "clicked" with me. This case feels like an extension of the phone. I've never understood hiding sexy phones behind bulky ugly cases, and hard glass behind plastic screen covers.
  • I bought the 5S and the Apple leather case on day one. After a week of taking it in and out of my jeans pocket, the case has a few marks and has a few frayed looking bobbles around the edge of the screen. I understand that leather scuffs and marks, but it's still disappointing for such an expensive case. I'll get something more durable next time.
  • I'm rocking the brown on my space grey.
    It look totally amazing. I like the wear and tear factor too. But I know down the road to invest in some cleaner! Sent from the iMore App
  • Interesting, might have to order one of these for my iPhone 5.
  • Does anyone know if this will work with a Spigen Glas.tr Nano screen protector?
  • On the back of the box that the case comes in it says that the aniline leather case's appearance will change as you use it (whatever that means). Like the other commenter said, I do see the dirt show around the edges but I'm sure a soft leather cleaner will take it off. I like the lived in rugged look of the case from everyday use. I love the feel of the case that I got in the blue (more like an aqua). I think the buttons work great and have not had a problem with them. This is a solid, form fitting case that also feels nice and soft to the touch. So glad I got this. It's the best iPhone case I ever bought.
  • Gigasoft Computers
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  • I bought one of the yellow ones for my black iphone 5, but returned it after 5 days because in that short time it looked like I had it for a year, and it wasn't even nah hard use. I get that leather ages but not in less than a week. It's overpriced and lacking quality
  • Those cases look silly and cheap. $39 is robbery.
  • When I bought my 5s on launch day they had "a" black Apple case I liked the feel of it, but ulimately was worried that it wouldn't offer much protection for ("My precioussss") that I returned it that weekend for....an Otterbox Defender, which I've enjoyed in the past despite the bulk. Anyway, I've used it up until this week when I picked up a yellow leather Apple case. I've had it on for only three days now and the verdict is: it's great! Good grip when you're handling your phone, offers protection, and without the bulk. I like switching cases, and I'll go back to my Otterbox at some point, but I really, really like this case.
  • If you are interested in other style besides standard I-hpone cases colors/printings.
    I have created some digital designs that are now available for sell under RB store under Chelo’s Protfolio.
    They are not cheap though but neither massively produced, they are all original and unique creations!
    https://www.imore.com/e?link=https2F2Fr.cfm%3F... cheers,
  • You can also check out the popular and unique wood iPhone cases available at tmbr. They have them for all devices including the iPhone 5C. http://www.tmbrs.com/cases/iphone-5c Enjoy
  • If you are interested in the look elegant and speedy performance, especially in surfing the Internet you would have iPhone 5 or 5s .. But if you're looking to enjoy the device and the possibilities of operating you would have any modern Android device that run "Kitkat / Jely Bean OS" such as HTC One, Samsung Galaxy S4, LG G2... etc each one has difference, and you know what I mean. but I just write a short review about iPhone 5s and it may help you... here it is: I adore Apple , but I always find that Apple like to choose the hard road to get to the top, I mean that although technology offers phones and the upgraded service from Apple , however, we must dispense with the use of Bluetooth with other devices as well as NFC, limitation is internal memory and also use iTunes to transfer files instead USB Mass Storage despite its ease, and also the inability to download and save from Safari and so much restrictions making it USELESS!! And most importantly, is the fragility of the outer surface, which has a simpler irresistible shocks resulting from the fall .. Despite the cost price, Apple is charging more and delivering less. I think that Apple won't find it so difficult to integrate and provide such services very simple while protecting the privacy of its users and protection of the iOS, in addition; iOS is still a very closed system that also relies heavily on iTunes with no ability to transfer file/data from the device back to the PC and more than 1 PC which is very important. It is very important to focus on serving the AppStore for amounts more competitive with other OSs, and I think they need to work more on Battery's capacity, life and performance. I've the iPhone 4S & Galaxy S4, I've experimented Model Newest and also other OS as Android, Smartphone, Windows Mobile and I hope to find a lot of advantages in which Apple, and eager to buy the latest coming model, with a lot of wonderful and extraordinary specifications that are beyond expectations. We indeed need to be more surprised before it would become as in TOTALLY NOTHING SPECIAL but LOOKS and BRAND !!
    And for now.. I'll still preferring my Android.
  • Thanks for providing information about new cases of iphone , iPhone 5S has also announced a huge variety of cases which give a completely new look to your phone. For luxury iphone 5S cases please visit - http://luxurycases.com.au/ .
  • Get this case if you want your very expensive iPhone scuffed and scratched all over the edges. You won't even have to wait long... a couple of days. Oh, and get some tools so you can pry it out of the case when you chose to, because that is how difficult it is to get it out. And be prepared to find tons of dust, dirt and small animals (ok, so maybe not those) inside. Every time you put it in and take it out, new scratches will happen. Well done Apple... my iPhone is ruined!
  • I have to say this case looks alright, but I found a GREAT durable leather case at http://leatherphone.com The best part of all is I can use my case as a wallet, I don't worry about misplacing my stuff anymore.
  • Oh you dont want to go there, I saw even better cases at www.WhitCase.com !
  • I found some MUCH better cases at www.WhitCase.com they even had the element sector 5 carbon fiber case and the element ronin case for a discount. I think they even have a coupon on facebook if you are looking to save even more
  • More 1.800 best cover cases for iPhone 5 iPhone 5S at www.acetag.com . Moreover, they have a lot of deals, coupon promotion to save big money for you.
  • Leather Cases are the most elegant choice for any phone, it makes your device more beautiful.