Regardless of whether you’re using your new iPad as a laptop replacement or giving it to your kid to distract them during a road trip, it’s a good idea to secure it with a case. Even if you treat your tech like gold, it’s impossible to predict all the hazards life will throw at you. But having a layer of protection in the form of a case can make it so your iPad has a better chance of emerging unscathed from those situations. Below are some of our top picks for the best iPad cases you can get right now at various price points, and providing different levels of protection.
Otterbox Symmetry 360
Otterbox is an expert when it comes to protection, as seen with their phone cases, but its Symmetry Series 360 series shows that it has design chops, too. Symmetry cases look similar to Apple’s Smart Cover, but the clear, scratch-resistant back is sturdy without adding a lot of weight to the iPad. Plus, the edge protection is substantial, so you won’t have to worry about damage from the inevitable, accidental bumps your tablet takes. The extra flap Otterbox added keeps the iPad screen cover closed and holds the second-generation Apple Pencil to the side of the iPad Pros. Symmetry Series 360 cases are available for most iPad models, and there’s a new offshoot of the lineup called Symmetry Folio, which includes a dedicated sleeve for your Apple Pencil on the front cover.
Look no further than ProCases’ iPad covers if you want a solid dupe for Apple’s own Smart Cover. ProCase has a lot of different designs, but its Thin Hard Protective Smart Folio will be a great option for anyone that just wants a bit of extra protection for their tablet. Plus, it helps that it’s compatible with all current iPad models and even a few old-school versions, too. A thin layer of hard plastic encases your iPad while the front flap magnetically closes over the screen to protect it. And for iPad models that support the second-generation Apple Pencil, the case leaves a cut out on the edge where the stylus can sit when you’re not using it. They may not be quite as substantial as Otterbox Symmetry cases, but ProCase’s accessories make up for that in price: you can pick one up for as low as $13, and we’ve seen some go on sale for even less than that.
If you’re not messing around with your iPad, look no further than Otterbox’s Defender series of cases. The company has these rugged covers for tons of different devices, and Defender cases for iPads provide some of the best protection and functionality you could ask for. In addition to passing more than 24 shock, abrasion and drop tests, Defender cases have a built-in screen protector and covers for the single port on all of the latest iPad models. You can also detach the Shield Stand and use it to prop up your iPad for better viewing. It may be on the bulky side, especially compared to other cases on this list, but we think that’s a fair tradeoff for the extra protection.
It’s hard to get much better than Apple’s own Magic Keyboard if you want a case that will turn your tablet into an acceptable laptop replacement. iPads magnetically attach to it, hovering above the keys and trackpad, while allowing you to angle it from 90 to 130 degrees to get the right viewing position. It feels surprisingly sturdy, and the keyboard itself is great to use for long periods of time. It doesn’t have the same stability a standard laptop would if you’re using it on your lap, but you won’t feel like your setup will collapse at any moment either. The glass trackpad is another standout — it’s wide enough for gestures and generally a breeze to use, even if it’s noticeably smaller than one you’d get on a full-sized MacBook.
There are two major drawbacks to the Magic Keyboard: it doesn’t provide a ton of drop protection, and it’s expensive. The edges do not wrap around the iPad, so this is not the best buy if you’re particularly prone to dropping things. Also, the Magic Keyboard costs $300 to $350, depending on the size of your iPad. Without a doubt, it’s the most luxurious iPad case on this list, but those who want to make their iPad as functional as possible will get a lot of use out of it.
Logitech is known for solid accessories, and the Combo Touch keyboard case is no exception. Think of it as a more versatile (and more affordable) alternative to the Magic Keyboard. The case wraps securely around your iPad and has a built-in kickstand that lets you adjust your viewing angle for whatever you’re doing, be it typing, watching videos, sketching or reading. The backlit keyboard is pretty spacious and includes a multi-touch trackpad for more precise on-screen control. There’s also a spot for your Apple Pencil, so it’ll be close at hand when you need to mark up a document or doodle an idea in Apple Notes. It’ll probably be harder to balance Logitech’s kit on your lap than the Magic Keyboard, but that’s a small price to pay for an otherwise stellar keyboard case. We also like that Logitech offers the Combo Touch in various sizes that fit the latest iPad, iPad Air and iPad Pro models.
It’s almost always a good idea to keep your iPad in a case so it’s protected against hazards and accidents. The are expensive — even the most affordable model will set you back nearly $300 — so you’ll want to safeguard your gear as much as possible.
What is the difference between an iPad case and an iPad cover?
All iPad covers are cases, but not all iPad cases are covers — yes, it’s a bit confusing, but allow us to explain. Most iPad covers are cases that surround the back of your tablet and have a flap that covers the screen, so it provides protection for the body as well as its display. Plenty of iPad cases also have screen covers, but you don’t have to get one with that feature. Instead, you could just get a case that hugs the back of the tablet and nothing else. Those accessories will be marginally thinner and lighter than their cover-toting counterparts, and give your iPad a more svelte profile.
How often should I charge my iPad?
How often you charge your iPad will depend on how often you use it. Most iPads will last at least a regular work day with frequent usage, which is one of the reasons why many have opted to use their iPads as laptop replacements. But with heavy usage, like constant video streaming or gaming, will come more rapid battery drain. A good rule of thumb is to charge your iPad when you go to sleep each night, that way you’ll have a topped-up device waiting for you in the morning.