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Farewell iPhone case: the phone case without a case

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Sarah Tew / CNET

Ever since I experienced the heartbreak of back-to-back crashes that smashed the iPhone screen, I have been firmly in favor of the case.

“It’s safer and more pragmatic,” I said to myself after my iPhone 7, and then my iPhone 8, had their screens irreparably broken after accidental drops. “Why risk spending another thousand dollars on an iPhone?”

But all it took was a single, seemingly mundane moment to alter my perspective: when I took off the case to remove the SIM card from my iPhone 12 Pro Max after months of leaving it wrapped in rubber.

I instantly remembered why these phones are premium – the flat screen looked even more impressive without the case sticking out of the sides. The phone felt lighter and more comfortable in my hands and the soothing Pacific blue glowed unadulterated. It was as if the very integrity of the iPhone’s hardware had been revealed.

“Maybe you should go without a case, it will be amazing …” a voice whispered in my head.

“You are not crazy!” another louder voice interrupted. “Put the case back as soon as possible and forget it! It’s not worth the risk.”

Ignoring the rational voice in my head, I decided to find out if I was the only person crazy enough to secretly want to carry a $ 1,200 iPhone without a case. I was not.

After doing a bit of research, a quick Google, I discovered stacks of cross-hatched iPhones – fans who claim that wearing a naked iPhone is the only way to experience the most popular consumer technology product on the planet.

“This phone [iPhone 12] it’s too beautiful to hide ” said a Reddit user in response to a question about going with case or without case.

“I’m naked. I bought Apple Care for my peace of mind,” wrote another person on Reddit. “Ceramic in the clutch,” the post read, referring to Apple Ceramic shield, which according to the company offers 4 times better fall protection than the iPhone 12 predecessor.

Read more: See the results of our IPhone 12 Drop Test, IPhone 12 Mini drop test other IPhone 12 water resistance test

Former CNET Contributor Chris Matyszczyk put it this way: “You don’t buy a BMW and cover it with black rubber, right? … You don’t buy a Prada bag and then wrap it in pink cling film just to make sure none of the corners get scratched.”


Sarah Tew / CNET

Encapsulated iPhones

Storing your iPhone “safely” in a case is a norm woven into the fabric of global smartphone culture. Take a look at protection phone case industry, which is already worth billions and is set to expand alongside phone ownership. Add non-stop marketing to the mix, and it almost feels like wrapping your iPhone in a case is an absolute must. And the options are endless – there are smash-resistant cases, eco-friendly cases, cases with bright purple dinosaurs, cases imagined by Miley Cyrus, 3D-printed cases that you can complete with a photo of your own dog, if so. so inclined.

But this way of life did not come out of nowhere. Carrying an iPhone with a case has been a part of our mainstream culture for legitimate reasons, of course: no one wants to risk iPhone destruction (most are too expensive) and everyone wants to preventively save time, money, and resources. Despite all that, I still think iPhones are best experienced without a case. (And yes, I absolutely recognize that this lifestyle choice won’t appeal to pragmatists – an iPhone without a case probably sounds outrageous, but it might make sense to purists of this world.)

Read more: Not convinced? These are the Best iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro Cases

In recent years, Apple has invested tens of billions in research and design, a portion of which has gone into carefully creating the luxurious look and feel of each year’s iPhone. It’s also easy to forget that Apple uses teams to test its iPhones to make sure they’re designed to perfection, even if they don’t. The reality is IPhones are tougher than ever, also. Apple’s ceramic glass shield, which debuted with the iPhone 12, exceeded expectations and protected hardware from drops of up to 9 feet. (Take a look at the results of CNET’s iPhone 12 Drop Test if you need more evidence).

Also, the cases do not necessarily guarantee complete protection. In fact, according to some experts, many claims of broken phones come from iPhones with cases. Just take a look at Amazon reviews for certain highly protective cases and you will see some reviews of people who broke their phone in the first week of using a case.

Read more: Stop buying fragile phones and you won’t even need a case anymore

IPhone case without case

After investigating, I made an informed decision not to have cases. This is what I’m enjoying: the lightness, the thinness, the portability, and the feel of being in hand. I also appreciate that now I can take advantage “Touch Back”, the touch-sensitive Apple symbol which I’ve been covering with a case, and I’ve programmed it to perform tasks like starting TikTok and taking screenshots. And guess what? Due to this lifestyle choice, I have become a more careful human being. Will that transcend other elements of my life? Maybe.

Still, the iPhone lifestyle without a case, while far superior to the experience with a case, was not perfect. As it turned out, he had sacrificed peace of mind. He had not fully accepted the risk associated with carrying an iPhone without a case around Hong Kong. The anxiety of my iPhone 12 Pro Max slipping and then crashing into rock-hard floors hits me in waves some days (even if I have AppleCare). My iPhone 12 Pro Max, which has a matte finish, is still quite slippery.

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Then, as I was heading to a lovely Hong Kong beach, I became concerned about grains of sand infiltrating the stainless steel chassis of my iPhone 12 Pro Max, regardless of its IP 68 rating, indicating that it is resistant to weathering. water and dust.

“Don’t underestimate the kind of damage that even a single grain of sand can do to your iPhone,” my rational inner voice warned, once again.

Maybe life without cases wasn’t for me after all, so I decided to mix it up and swing for the best of both worlds.

Now I save the case for higher risk activities like going to the beach and hiking trails, and for when I finally get on board a plane. For less risky shenanigans, like hanging out at home, hitting the hangouts around my neighborhood, or catching up with friends over dinner, I can enjoy iPhone the way Apple intended. Complete with double tap on the back.

Perhaps the “right” way for me is not to live a life for or against cases, or to be divided between those who have and those who do not have cases, but to adopt a hybrid approach, where days of cases and no cases can coexist peacefully. .

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