December 06, 2012, 4:00 PM — Apple's designers surely didn't mean for the iPhones sleek design to be covered up, but failing to give it a protective case leaves the device vulnerable to smudges and scratchesor, worse, shattered glass and bent metal. To minimize the risk of serious damage, consider using a protective case. Here's a quick guide to shopping for iPhone protection, along with a rundown of the most common types of cases and some examples of each type.
Whichever type of case you choose, make sure it doesnt block the iPhone 5s bottom-mounted speaker, headphone jack, microphone, and dock-connector port; top-mounted microphone; the camera lens and flash on the back; and the camera lens, light sensor, and proximity sensor on the frontunless, of course, the case is designed so that you remove your iPhone to use it. Similarly, if you like to use dock-cradle accessories, make sure the case is easily removable, as many of docking accessories, such as speaker systems, are not compatible with cases. (For information on cases for the iPhone 4/4S, check our our iPhone 4/4S Case Buying Guide.)
Case types and recommendations
Pouches and Sleeves: Pouches and sleeves completely encase your iPhone to protect it from scratches. Some even provide extra padding to help guard against bumps, drops, and shocks. These cases tend to be relatively inexpensive, though many also limit access to the devices touchscreenyou have to pull out your device to access features.
Holsters: Holsters let you store your iPhone on your belt or bag strap for easy access, but you need to take the device out of the case to use it.