FineWoven 6 months later review: I'll never need leather again

iPhone 13 Pro in leather case
(Image credit: iMore / Apple)

Well, it's six months into the FineWoven future and we're all alive. Despite the intense backlash that rolled across social media when Apple ditched leather for this new material, everyone eventually calmed down and got used to it — or decided to deal with it.

While some people might still be grumbling about the switch to FineWoven for the rest of eternity and refuse the material altogether, I think those reactions are still mostly from people who jumped on the hate train and never actually used a FineWoven iPhone case or Wallet yet.

I've been using both for six months now and, after using a leather case for pretty much every iPhone before it (and I've owned a heck of a lot of them), I have to say that I don't miss leather at all.

I'm not saying leather was bad

Just to be fair and not make anyone think I hated my leather cases, I did want to point out that leather cases did a great job for me in the past. I always bought the Apple-branded ones and not only did they protect my iPhone well if it took a header to the floor, but it also would patina quite well.

I've previously owned the leather case in Black, Brown, and Forest Green and each one performed really well. Personally, Forest Green was my favorite since I thought it showed its age the best — but each one I owned got rough at the edges and wore down over its year-plus of ownership.

iPhone 13 Pro Apple Leather Case Hero

(Image credit: Luke Filipowicz / iMore)

While I wasn't on the hate train hype against FineWoven when Apple announced it would be replacing leather across the entire product lineup, I was genuinely concerned about its ability to perform and wear well with age like leather does.

So, how are things six months in?

FineWoven is quite 'fine' for me

After six months of using Apple's FineWoven case and wallet for my iPhone 15 Pro, I can safely say that I haven't found myself missing my leather cases of old. Despite a lot of people complaining ruthlessly that FineWoven is an abomination that needs to be obliterated from the Earth, I've found Apple's new case material to be perfectly capable of handling my day-to-day use.

For one, I actually prefer the side of the case on the FineWoven case versus the side of the case on the leather one. While the leather cases had the same leather material wrapped around the entire back and sides of the case, FineWoven only covers the back of the case. The sides of the case are instead made an even more tightly wrapping nylon that has actually felt even better than my leather cases.

The iPhone 15 Pro with a Pacific Blue Apple FineWoven case on.

(Image credit: Gerald Lynch / Future)

The second thing I've noticed about FineWoven is that the case is more comfortable to hold due to the fact that FineWoven actually feels better on the hand than leather. It's softer than leather and the material actually almost feels like felt or suede, which makes it a more pleasing material to rest in my palm when I'm using my iPhone.

As someone who has bought almost every shade of green in cases that Apple has offered over the years, I also found that FineWoven had the best shade of green I've ever used. I personally got the Evergreen color, and at first glance, I was surprised at how much darker the green was compared to the pictures on Apple’s website. I’m not complaining, though — I love dark green, and FineWoven nails it better than leather ever did (RIP Forest Green).

It does get beat up, but so did leather

Of course, the main argument against FineWoven has been about its durability over time, and I can confirm that my case — like many others — has taken a beating after going on runs, hikes, and bike rides over the last six months. However, I don't think it looks any worse than my leather cases ever did.

Unless your case is self-healing (something that some case makers advertise but rarely actually pull off), you're going to beat up your case over time. It's an unavoidable reality for most people, and that's also the entire purpose you have a case — to let it take the beating so your phone doesn't.

A dirty iPhone 15 FineWoven case on a table, held by someone wearing rubber gloves

(Image credit: YouTube / iPhonedo)

The FineWoven case is no different. After six months of use, I've beaten the heck out of this case and, despite all the hate, it has held up really well. There hasn't been any fraying of threading or chunks of material getting ripped out of the back. There's no wear and tear that looks like anything materially difference than from when I beat up my leather cases.

I personally charge my iPhone using a MagSafe charger, so there is a round imprint from that charger on the back of the case as well as a rectangular one from my MagSafe Wallet. However, that's expected per Apple (they mention this when buying the case and the wallet) and I experienced imprinting from MagSafe charging with my leather wallet as well. There's nothing worse I've dealt with since I made the jump into FineWoven.

FineWoven might be dead, anyway

Even though most people are wrong and FineWoven is a perfectly good case material for my iPhone, I might have to live with the fact that Apple needs to respond to the market and go in a different direction.

Last week, a rumor came out that Apple has already ended production of all of its FineWoven products and is planning to shift to a new non-leather material going forward. If that is true, it's possible that we could get a look at the new material at the company's iPad event in May. Despite being perfectly happy with FineWoven, I'm all for a different non-leather product if it means that more people are willing to buy it and leave the environmental and animal impacts that leather produces behind.

If Apple pushes forward with FineWoven, that'll be fine by me, too. I'll definitely buy another one when the iPhone 16 Pro comes out this fall and even expand my FineWoven kingdom to more devices if Apple introduces more FineWoven products. 

Regardless of if it comes from Apple or a third party, I don't think I'll ever need leather again.

Joe Wituschek

Joe Wituschek is a Contributor at iMore. With over ten years in the technology industry, one of them being at Apple, Joe now covers the company for the website. In addition to covering breaking news, Joe also writes editorials and reviews for a range of products. He fell in love with Apple products when he got an iPod nano for Christmas almost twenty years ago. Despite being considered a "heavy" user, he has always preferred the consumer-focused products like the MacBook Air, iPad mini, and iPhone 13 mini. He will fight to the death to keep a mini iPhone in the lineup. In his free time, Joe enjoys video games, movies, photography, running, and basically everything outdoors.