Your new iPhone 13 does not really need a case if you ask me

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There are many beautiful iPhone cases out there. But the iPhone is also beautiful on its own.

Sarah Tew / CNET

Ever since I experienced the anguish of back-to-back iPhone screen-smashing accidents, I have been strongly pro-case.

“It’s just safer and more pragmatic,” I said to myself after mine iPhone 7, and later min iPhone 8, their screens had irreparably cracked after accidental falls. “Why risk spending thousands of dollars on an iPhone?”

But all it took was a simple, seemingly mundane moment to change my perspective: as I slipped out of the case to pull the SIM card out of my iPhone 12 Pro Max after months of leaving it wrapped in rubber.

I was instantly reminded why these phones are first class: the flat display looked even more stunning without the case sticking out from the sides. The phone felt lighter and more comfortable in my hands, and the soothing Pacific blue shone through, unadulterated. It was as if the very integrity of the iPhone’s hardware had been revealed. The recently unveiled iPhone 13 lineup is just as aesthetically pleasing – here is all design changes and color settings.

“Maybe you should go without cases, it’s going to be great …” a voice whispered in my head.

“Nah, you’re crazy!” interrupted another, louder voice. “Pop the case back ASAP and forget it! Not worth the risk.”

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

After a quick Google search, I discovered lots of pointless iPhone crusaders: Fans claim that using a naked iPhone is only way to experience the most well-known consumer technology product on the planet.

“This phone [iPhone 12] is too pretty to hide, ” said one Reddit user in response to a case or no-case question.

“I rock it naked. Bought AppleCare for peace of mind,” another person wrote on Reddit. “Ceramics are coming into coupling,” the record said, referring to Apple Ceramic shield, which the company said offers four times better fall protection than the iPhone 12’s predecessor had.

Read more: See the results of our iPhone 12 drop test, iPhone 12 Mini drop test and Water resistance test on iPhone 12.

Former CNET contributor Chris Matyszczyk put it this way: “You do not buy a BMW and cover it with black rubber, do you? … You do not buy a Prada purse and then wrap it in pink film to ensure that none of the corners are scratched.”

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Sarah Tew / CNET

Encapsulated iPhones

Sticking your iPhone “securely” into a case is a norm woven into the fabric of global smartphone culture. Take a look at the protection telephone case industry, which is already worth billions and is expected to expand alongside the ownership of the phone. Add non-stop marketing to the mix and it’s starting to feel like it’s an absolute necessity to cocoon your iPhone into a case. The choices are endless: there are shockproof cases, eco-friendly cases, cases with sparkling purple dinosaurs, cases fantasized by Miley Cyrus, 3D-printed cases you can make complete with a photo of your own dog-if you are so inclined-and so on.

But this lifestyle did not come out of nowhere. Encapsulating your iPhone has joined our mainstream culture for legitimate reasons, of course: No one will risk ruining their iPhone (most are just too expensive), and everyone will preventively save time, money, and resources. Despite all that, I still believe that iPhones are best experienced without a case. (And yes, I absolutely acknowledge that this lifestyle choice will not appeal to the pragmatic – an iPhone without a case probably sounds outrageous – but it may make sense to the purists of this world.)

Read more: Not convinced? These are best case for iPhone 12 and here is best iPhone 13 cases.

In recent years, Apple has invested tens of billions in research and design, some of which has gone into carefully designing the luxurious look and feel of each year’s iPhone. It’s also easy to forget that Apple hires teams to test its iPhones to make sure they’re designed to perfection, even if they don’t quite get there. The reality is iPhones are more robust than ever, also. Apple’s ceramic glass screen, which debuted with the iPhone 12, went beyond expectations and protects the hardware from falling as high as 9 feet. (Take a look at the results of CNET’s iPhone 12 drop test if you need more proof.)

Furthermore, cases do not necessarily guarantee full protection. In fact, according to some insiders, many allegations of broken phones have allegedly been made about iPhones that were in cases. Just take a look at Amazon reviews for certain very protective cases and you will see a bit of reviews from people who broke their phone in the first week of using a case.

Read more: Stop buying phones that can be broken and you do not even need a case anymore

Case for iPhone without the case

After researching, I made the informed decision to go idle. Here’s what I enjoy: the lightness, thinness, portability and feel of the hand. I also appreciate that I can now benefit from Back Tap lighter. (To be sure, it worked when I was using an iPhone case, but I noticed that I had to press a little harder with my case.) I programmed it to perform tasks like launching TikTok and taking screenshots. And guess what? Because of this lifestyle choice, I have evolved into a more careful human being. Will it transcend to other elements of my life? Maybe.

Still, the caseless iPhone lifestyle – though far superior to the encapsulated experience – has not been perfect. As it turned out, I had sacrificed peace of mind. I had not fully accepted the risk associated with carrying a caseless iPhone around Hong Kong. Anxiety over min iPhone 12 Pro Max slipping and then crashing on rock hard floors hit me in waves some days (even though I have AppleCare). My Pro Max, which has a matte finish, is still quite smooth.

When I went to a charming beach in Hong Kong, I was worried about grains of sand infiltrating my iPhone’s stainless steel chassis – regardless of the IP 68 rating, indicating that it is both dust and waterproof.

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

Maybe the aimless life was not 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 hitting the beach and hiking trails, and until when I finally hop on a plane. For low-risk shenanigans like hanging out at home, heading to my neighborhoods, or hanging out with my girlfriends during dinner, I can enjoy the iPhone that Apple intended. Complete with double taps on the back.

Maybe the “right” way for me is not about living a pro- or anti-case life, or about being divided between case-haves and have-nots-but instead it is about a hybrid approach where case and caseless days can coexist peacefully.

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