The best iPhone accessories in 2021, from cases to Lightning cables and wireless headphones

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • The best iPhone accessories either keep your device safe and clean, or make it more useful.
  • For example, the Sony WH-1000XM4 headphones bring a major upgrade to the listening experience.
  • And Speck’s iPhone cases add solid protection and style to your phone.

Whether you’re taking photos of pets, fielding texts from friends, or making calls for work, an iPhone is likely your 24/7 companion.

In many cases, accessories can protect and enhance the iPhone experience. There are hundreds of different add-ons, from cases to keep your phone safe to wireless chargers that make powering up your device more convenient.

There are a few things to consider before buying accessories for your iPhone. For starters, you’ll want to make sure that the accessories are compatible with your particular iPhone model. For example, if you’re buying a phone case, you’ll need a case that fits your specific device. The same is true for screen protectors and charging cables.

For example, if you’re buying a phone case – like for your new purple iPhone 12 – you’ll need a case that fits your specific device. The same is true for screen protectors and charging cables. If you’re considering buying a wireless charger, you’ll need an iPhone 8 or later. But only the iPhone 12 series is compatible with the company’s new MagSafe connection.

Here are our top picks for the best iPhone accessories:

The best iPhone wireless charging

Moshi charging pad

The Moshi Otto Q is one of best-designed wireless chargers out there, plus it supports fast wireless charging and ensures your device won’t slip with its silicone ring.

Pros: Nice design, fast-charging support, non-slip features

Cons: Doesn’t come with an adapter

Wireless charging has been around for years, but Apple finally adopted the tech in the iPhone 8 and iPhone X. Using a wireless charger, you can simply plop your device down on a charging mat, and it will — almost magically — start charging. There are a range of wireless charging mats out there, and the best all-round wireless charging mats is the Moshi Otto Q wireless charger.

There are a few things that make this such a great charger. It doesn’t necessarily have the most features out there, but it’s beautifully-designed and should easily blend into the rest of your home, thanks largely to the fabric covering. Generally, it just looks friendly — and should look great on any table, nightstand, or kitchen counter. The charger even has a silicone ring on the top of it to ensure that your phone stays firmly on the charger without slipping off.

The charger supports other helpful features, too. For example, with the right adapter, like a Quick Charge adapter, the pad supports up to 7.5-watt fast-charging on an iPhone. Safe to say, from the iPhone 8 to the iPhone 12, the Moshi Otto Q should easily charge your device.

So, what are the downsides? Well, the main one is that it doesn’t come with an adapter, so you’ll have to buy that separately. If you plan on using the wireless charger at night, you’ll also have to deal with the relatively bright LED indicator light. 

Still, despite those issues, the vast majority of reviewers love the Moshi Otto Q wireless charger. For example, MacWorld hailed the charger as one of its top picks, thanks to the great design, USB-C connector, and fast charging support.

The best iPhone case

Speck

Speck’s cases are well-designed, available in a range of colors and designs, and ultra durable — ensuring that your phone survives the majority of drops that it might go through.

Pros: Classy designs, lots of colors and styles, very protective

Cons: None

If you want a solid, reliable iPhone case that will keep your iPhone safe and sound no matter what model you have, then it’s worth checking out Speck’s lineup of phone cases. Speck offers a range of case models for all different iPhone devices, with a huge range of different colors, thicknesses, and more.

There are a few reasons why it’s worth considering Speck cases. Perhaps one of the biggest advantages to Speck cases over other options is the fact that they have excellent grip, ensuring that you’re less likely to drop your phone. 

Even if you do drop your phone, it’ll likely survive unscathed. Speck claims its Presidio Grip case is built to survive 10-foot drops — which is much higher than most drops that are at around waist height. In our testing, Speck’s Presido 2 Perfect Clear with Grips, Presidio 2 Armor Cloud, and Presido 2 Pro handled a 5-foot drop onto a marble floor with ease, showing no signs of damage. 

The Speck Presidio Perfect Clear With Grips case is a good choice for those looking to show off the iPhone’s new colors. The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Mini now come in purple, along with the previously released white, black, blue, green, and (Product) Red.  Whether you want something grippy and clear or smooth and colorful, Speck has a full range of options.

The price listed below for Speck’s rugged and well-designed cases  is around what you can expect for cases made for Apple’s newest iPhone models like the iPhone 12. Cases for older models are typically cheaper.

The best iPhone wireless headphones

Sony wh-1000xm4

Sony’s WH-1000XM4 headphones are one of the best noise-canceling headphones you can buy. 

Pro: First-rate noise canceling, improved call quality, great battery life, amazing sound quality

Cons: Expensive, out-of-the-box sound needs to be tweaked using the app

The Sony WH-1000XM4 is one of the best pairs of noise-canceling headphones on the market today. They retain all the features of the highly rated previous model, while cutting the amount of ambient noise that leaks in during phone calls. These rival, and in some ways even surpass, the Bose 700, and are priced hundreds of dollars less than Apple’s newly released Airpods Max. 

Sony nails all of the aspects that make for a great pair of headphones with the WH-1000XM4: great sound quality that you can customize to your liking, a seamless wireless experience, and excellent noise cancellation. 

The XM4’s are made from plastic, which perhaps doesn’t offer the most luxurious finish, but are light and extremely comfortable. The plush leatherette ear cups offer an adjustable fit with a grip that is firm, but not headache-inducing. They have a rich sound and wide soundstage, which is made even better by the accompanying app. You can customize the equalizer however you see fit in Sony’s app, which my colleague Antonio Villas-Boas found particularly helpful during his review since he was unimpressed with the sound right out of the box. 

The noise cancellation is also excellent and on par with the Bose 700. The MX4 did a great job of reducing background noise and making it possible to sink entirely into the music. 

Sony has made big improvements in reducing ambient noise during phone calls in the MX4. In our review, my colleague wrote that he was able to have a conversation sitting near a powerful generator without the person on the other end of the call realizing it. This is a big jump from the MX3, whose call quality was considerably lacking. 

Sony claims that the MX4 comes with 30 hours of battery life, and five hours of listening time with a 10-minute charge. They come in both a black and silver model and are currently on sale for $278.

The best iPhone fast-charging accessories

Apple charger and cord

If you want fast charging on your iPhone, it’s worth buying Apple’s first-party accessories, thanks to their nice design and reliability.

Pros: Well-designed, work well with Apple products

Cons: Expensive

Along with wireless charging, newer iPhones also support fast charging — meaning you can plug your iPhone into its charger, and get hours of juice in only 30 minutes or so. Recent iPhone models can fast-charge at up to 18W, and Apple says that using fast charging you could get up to 50% of the battery back in 30 minutes. Any iPhone model that’s an iPhone 8 or newer supports fast-charging.

The best way to take advantage of fast charging on your iPhone is by using Apple’s own fast charging accessories — including the Apple 18W USB-C power adapter, and the Apple USB-C to Lightning charging cable. Together, these accessories will run you back around $42 in total.

There are plenty of reasons to buy Apple’s first-party fast-charging accessories. For starters, with these accessories, you know that you’re getting accessories that can truly supply enough power for the phone to use. On top of that, Apple’s accessories are well-designed, and should blend right into any home.

Critics love Apple’s own accessories, too. Digital Trends recommended the Apple USB-C to Lightning cable and 18W power adapter in its guide on iPhone fast-charging, arguing that the accessories were more advanced than what you’ll get with most iPhones.

Note, if you have the iPhone 11 Pro or iPhone 11 Pro Max, you already have the 18W charger accessories. Apple iPhone 12 users, sadly, would do well to pick this up if they don’t already own one.

Apple USB-C to Lightning cable

Apple 18W power adapter

The best iPhone dock

Twelve South Hi Rise Deluxe 2

The Twelve South HiRise 2 Deluxe is a simple, yet effective, stand that holds your iPhone upright while it charges so that your speakers – and home button, if you have one – aren’t blocked.

Pros: Simple design, affordable, comes in a few colors, doesn’t block your speakers 

Cons: You may need to remove your case

The Twelve South HiRise 2 Deluxe charging dock is a simple, no-frills iPhone accessory that offers a solid perch for your iPhone without blocking access to the bottom of your phone. This means that you can easily swipe up, use the home button – or if your phone is old enough – plug your headphones into the jack. 

The speakers are also unencumbered, so TikTok and YouTube videos will sound great while you’re charging. Additionally, the dock is sturdy and well weighted so it won’t tip over. 

You can keep almost any case on your iPhone and still use the dock to charge. Even bulky cases like Mophie’s Juice Pack Plus work with it. Twelve South says it updated the clip heights to 0 millimeters, 3 millimeters, and 6 millimeters so that you can plug the Lightning (or Micro USB cable, if you’re using a battery case) into even the most deeply recessed ports.

The dock is priced at $19.99 and is available in black, silver, and white. A Lightning cable is included in the box.

The best iPhone screen protector

MaxBoost screen protector

The MaxBoost Tempered Glass screen protector is easy to install and extremely strong — plus its thin design ensures your device is still responsive to touch.

Pros: Strong, easy to install, relatively thin, inexpensive

Cons: None at this price

Are you prone to iPhone drops? Screen protectors are a smart way to ensure that your phone’s screen never cracks — and the best out there is the MaxBoost Premium Tempered Glass screen protector. The protector is available in a range of sizes and for a range of models — so no matter what iPhone model you have, you should find something for your needs.

One of the best things about the MaxBoost screen protector is that it’s relatively thin — meaning that your device will still be super responsive to your touch, and if you have an iPhone with 3D Touch, you’ll still be able to use that feature. On top of that, the screen protector is designed to avoid fingerprints, and it’s easy to install.

The protector is cheaper than many other models out there — and as a result, there really aren’t any downsides to this protector, especially at this price. The Wirecutter even hailed the product as its favorite screen protector, thanks to its strength and ease-of-installation.

The best iPhone battery pack

Gifts for coworkers Eleject

Elecjet PowerPie can charge all your devices, is affordable, and comes with both USB-A and USB-C ports.

Pros: High capacity, affordable, versatile, supports fast charging

Cons: Cannot fast charge Huawei or OnePlus phones

The Elecjet PowerPie is a useful companion to any device that needs a charge on the go. Its 20,000 mAh capacity is enough to charge an iPhone many times over, and it can also comfortably power up tablets and even a laptop in a pinch. 

Our reviewer Simon Hill found this to be one of the best he’s tested, making it the current top pick in our guide to the best portable chargers and power banks.

The USB-C port supports 45W of charging, while the USB-A port charges at 18W. This combination means that you can fast charge your devices that support it.

Unless, of course, you are also looking to fast charge a Huawei or OnePlus phone in addition to your iPhone. The PowerPie does not support the fast charging protocols for those phones. However, it does offer fast charge support for Samsung phones, so if someone in your household with a Galaxy or Note should get a fast charge too.

This black, rectangular battery pack is utilitarian in design. It has a power button that lights up four LED lights which indicate how much juice is left in the tank. It may not be pretty to look at, but the case is finished in soft-touch plastic that feels good to hold.

With its ability to hold a charge for a long time without heating up and its affordable price, it’s definitely worth considering for those looking to keep their devices powered up on-the-go.

The best iPhone cleaning kit

11 Whoosh Cleaning Set

The Whoosh! Screen Cleaning Kit is easy to use and comes with a range of accessories for keeping your device clean — including three microfiber cloths. 

Pros: Inexpensive, comes with everything you’ll need, kills most bacteria

Cons: Mainly focused on screens

If you’re looking to keep your phone nice and clean, then the Whoosh! Screen Cleaner Kit is the way to go. This kit comes with everything you’ll need to ensure that your device is dirt-free, including three premium cloths and two bottles.

While the kit is built mostly for cleaning screens, you can use it to clean other parts of your device too — as long as you’re careful not to spray the substance into your device’s ports. And, it works with a range of devices, too — Whoosh! says you can use it with iPhones, iPads, Kindles, and more.

So, just how clean will your device get? According to the company, the kit will make your screen a hefty 99.99% cleaner, getting rid of the vast majority of dust and dirt. The product is alcohol and ammonia-free, too — so it’s relatively safe to use. 

There really aren’t any downsides to this product, except maybe that it’s mainly focused on cleaning screens and not other parts of the phone. Others love it, too: Android Central included it in its list of best phone cleaning kits. 

iXpand flash drive

The SanDisk iXpand Flash Drive comes in a range of storage options, plus it works with a dedicated app to allow you to easily transfer files.

Pros: App works well, range of storage options, relatively easy to use

Cons: Don’t expect it to add native storage to your iPhone

One of the biggest frustrations for iPhone users is the fact that they don’t come with MicroSD card slots — meaning that you can’t expand on the storage available in them. If you really want to expand on your phone’s storage, however, there are other options, like the SanDisk iXpand Flash Drive for iPhone.

The flash drive comes with storage capacities of 32, 64, 128, or 256GB of storage — meaning that no matter how much you need to add to your device, there should be something for your needs. The drive is pretty well-designed too — though it’s not really built to keep plugged in at all times.

The drive works in conjunction with a dedicated app, which you can use to back up files from your phone. In other words, you shouldn’t necessarily expect it to work like the built-in storage in your iPhone. Still, the app is pretty well-designed, and allows you to transfer a range of different files to the drive. 

So, what are the problems with the drive? Well, perhaps the main one is that, as mentioned, it doesn’t truly expand on your device’s storage as you might expect it to. Apart from that, for the price, the device works pretty much exactly as it should — as Lifewire noted in its 4-star rating of the device. 

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24 iPhone accessory gifts for Apple lovers

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Apple Airpods on a Red background
If the iPhone user in your life doesn’t have AirPods yet, they make a great gift.

One of the great things about the iPhone is that there is a veritable smorgasbord of iPhone accessories for all sorts of budgets. From high-end headphones to affordable cases, durable Lightning cables, and even a game controller, there are plenty of ideas out there to fit the interests of loved ones on your shopping list.

At Insider Reviews, we’ve tested tons of devices and researched many others. Here’s a look at some of the best gift ideas for the iPhone owner in your life, from stocking stuffers as cheap as $10 to the Apple Watch.

The majority of these gifts are available with “free” two-day shipping if you subscribe to Amazon Prime.

A PopSocket grip

popsocket

PopSocket Grip, available at PopSocket, $8+ 

It seems like iPhones get bigger every year, so why not buy a nice sturdy PopSocket grip and save your loved one the pinky strain? These handy grips stick on the back of most iPhone cases with ease and pop out twice to provide excellent grip. Your giftee can even use them to prop up their phone so it stands alone as they watch videos.

PopSocket grips come in more patterns, colors, and styles than I can count, so you’ll be sure to find one that matches the personality of your loved one. I personally love my PopSocket grip so much that I can’t imagine life without it.

A long, weighted iPhone cable

native union

Native Union Night Cable, available at Amazon, $39.99

There are two things wrong with the Lightning cable Apple used to include in the box with each new iPhone: The cable is too short and it’s too weak. Native Union’s Night Cable solves both those problems with a 10-foot-long durable cable that can easily reach to charge your phone.

It also has a handy knotted weight on it that you can move up and down the cable to ensure that your iPhone stays on the table while it charges without falling or moving. It’s our favorite long iPhone cable.

A gorgeous leather case

Nomad iphone case

Nomad iPhone cases, available at Nomad, $49.95 to $69.95

There’s nothing better than a leather iPhone case and Nomad makes our favorite ones. Not only are they durable and protective, but the cases are also made with soft Horween leather that ages beautifully. We can’t recommend these cases enough.

A fun case

case mate case

Case-Mate iPhone cases, available at Amazon, from $32

Case-Mate makes lots of fun iPhone cases, so there’s sure to be one that your iPhone fan will like. From sparkly cases and iridescent ones to retro Kodak and camo cases, Case-Mate has a ton of designs. The cases are protective, too.

A tracking device so that you never lose your wallet or keys

Tile Mate Essentials pack

Tile Mate Starter Bundle, available for $39.99 at Amazon

If you know someone that can’t seem to keep track of their belongings, try gifting them a Tile Mate. This tiny Bluetooth-enabled tracker lets you locate misplaced items through an app on your phone within a 200-foot range. And, if you don’t want to reach for your phone, you can always ask Alexa to find your keys or the TV remote.

A rock-n-roll Bluetooth speaker

Marshall kilburn ii

Marshall Kilburn II Portable Bluetooth Speaker, available at Amazon, $249.99

Marshall is known for its classic rock-n-roll aesthetic, and its Kilburn II Bluetooth Speaker is an icon in its own right. This speaker has the classic Marshall look and appears to be an amp at first glance. It’s actually a powerful Bluetooth speaker with a massive battery inside that can last through about 20 hours of playback. I use this speaker at home often, and I love it — your iPhone-addicted giftee will, too.

A wireless charging pad

Courant catch:2

Courant Catch:2, available at Amazon, $150.00

If the person you’re shopping for has an iPhone 8 or newer, you should get them a wireless charger. This one from Courant is perfect. It’s both beautiful and practical, as it charges two devices wirelessly at the same time at up to 10 watts. It’s made of Italian leather and has an attractive braided nylon cable. Thanks to its five charging coils, there are no dead spots, either.

A wireless charger for that can power your iPhone, Apple Watch, and AirPods at once

iPhone Accessory gifts Logitech

Logitech Powered 3-in-1 Dock available for $129.99 at W.B Mason

Anyone with more than one Apple device knows that your night stand can quickly become cluttered. A charging dock like the Logitech Powered 3-in-1 can save you some space and add convenience by combining your charging needs into one sleek dock. This particular model stands out for its relatively speedy charging time and ease of use, as reviews from Engadget and PCWorld indicate.

Stylish on-ear wireless headphones

B&O H4

Bang & Olufsen H4 headphones, available at Amazon for $294.73

Bang & Olufsen makes gorgeous wireless headphones that look as great as they sound. They are expensive, but the sound quality, classy design, and stable Bluetooth connectivity make them a great choice — especially for people who have an iPhone 7 or newer without the headphone jack.

The latest Apple Watch

Apple Watch SE Turquoise

Apple Watch SE, available at Best Buy, starting at $259

Just about every iPhone owner will love to have an Apple Watch, so this is really a fail-safe gift. Although it’s not the top-of-the-line Series 6 watch, it has all the features most people want for less. It can track fitness metrics, keep tabs on heart rate and health, go swimming, buzz with notifications, and so much more. It’s a true companion to the iPhone.

A dedicated iPhone gaming controller

iPhone accessory gifts SteelSeries

SteelSeries Nimbus+ for iOS and Apple TV, available on Amazon, $59.99

For the mobile gamer in your life, chances are they’d appreciate some dedicated controls for their favorite games. As excellent as Apple’s touchscreens may be, they just don’t compare to buttons and joysticks for games. A controller like the SteelSeries Nimbus+, which was designed specifically for Apple devices, should make gaming on the iPhone feel much more console-like.

An effective waterproof case

Lifeproof fre

Lifeproof Fré Case, available at Amazon, $29.99-$80.99

If your loved one lives a life aquatic — or is just a lovable klutz — they need the Lifeproof Fré iPhone case. This case is fully submersible in water that’s up to 6.6 feet (2 meters) deep for 1 hour. It’s also fully sealed with its built-in screen protector and port covers, so it’s safe from the elements.

A pair of touchscreen gloves so that you can keep using your iPhone in the cold

iPhone accessory gifts The North Face

North Face Etip Gloves, available at North Face in men’s and women’s sizes,  for $45

Whether you’re in the car or out for a walk this winter, these gloves from North Face are a great choice for anyone that wants to keep their phone handy on-the-go. We love these gloves because they have a natural fit and allow you to use your phone with any finger, not just your index finger or thumb. 

A fast charger and USB-C-to-lightning cable

belkin

Belkin USB-C-to-Lightning Cable, available at Amazon, $19.99

Belkin USB-C Wall Adapter, available at Amazon, $16.99

With Belkin’s USB-C-to-Lightning Cable and USB-C Wall Adapter, anyone who has a newer iPhone can take advantage of faster charging speeds. The cable is also durable and well made, plus, it’s MFi certified by Apple to be safe.

An easy, durable screen protector

InvisibleShield scree protector

InvisibleShield Screen Protectors, available at Zagg, from $19.99

It’s so easy to scratch or crack a phone screen by accident, so we recommend picking up a screen protector as a small, practical gift. Zagg is famous for its screen protectors because they are durable, easy to apply, and some offer special features like blue light blocking and privacy shields. Price and availability may vary depending on which iPhone model you’re shopping for.

The most ubiquitous wireless earbuds

Airpods

Apple Airpods, available at Best Buy, $159.99

Although there are truly wireless earbuds that sound better and cost more, Apple’s Airpods are among the best you can buy because they are just so simple and easy to use with an iPhone. They pair effortlessly, never lose connection, and they come in a wirelessly charging case that charges them.

Apple’s ultimate AirPods

airpods pro

Apple AirPods Pro, available at Adorama, $219

For those that either have more expensive taste or want the absolute best and latest Apple tech, whoever you’re gifting will definitely appreciate the AirPods Pro — especially for its water resistance and active noise cancelling, neither of which the traditional AirPods have.

A portable battery pack

Elecjet_PowerPie

Elecjet PowerPie Battery pack, available at Amazon, $49.00

Although iPhone battery life has improved markedly over the years, it’s still a good idea to have a portable battery pack on hand for charging emergencies. Elecjet makes our favorite battery pack with its 20,000mAh of capacity that can charge up iPhones, tablets, and even laptops.

 

A camera lens attachment

Olloclip iphone camera lens

Olloclip Lens Kits, available at Olloclip, starting at $109.99

Although the latest iPhones have great cameras, lens kits like this one from Olloclip make the photo quality even better. Your giftee can add fish-eye, macro, and wide-angle lenses to their iPhone with the Olloclip to take special photos.

A clever way to expand storage

SanDisk iExpand

SanDisk iXpand Flash Drive 64GB for iPhone, available at Amazon, $36.99

There is nothing worse than running out of storage on your iPhone or struggling to transfer photos and files from your phone to your laptop. SanDisk’s iXpand Flash Drive for iPhone solves both problems with an elegant solution that works effortlessly.

The drive has a regular USB-A end that will fit in most laptops and a lightning end that fits all iPhones so you can offload files and transfer them back and forth. It’s great for extra photo storage.

A portable photo printer

lifeprint

Lifeprint 3 x 4.5 Portable Photo and Video Printer, available at Amazon, $89.99

Although sharing digital photos is fun, sharing physical photos is wonderful. Lifeprint’s portable photo printer can reproduce high-quality photos on special photo paper in a 3-by-4.5-inch size that’s perfect for sharing.

You can do lots of fun things with the app, too, and make your Live iPhone photos come to life as animated GIFs as you hold your phone above the printed photo. Lifeprint’s printers can communicate with each other, too, so if both you and your loved one have a Lifeprint printer, you can send photos to print at each other’s printers.

A 3-pack of lightning cables so you never run out

Anker lightning cable

Anker PowerLine Lightning Cable (3ft) Apple MFi Certified, 3-Pack, available at Amazon, $22.99

It’s all too easy to lose lightning cables, so it’s a great idea to stock up with a three-pack of Anker’s PowerLine cables. These 3-foot-long cables are sturdy, last a long time, and have good reach. They’re also our pick for the best iPhone lightning cable you can buy in our guide.

A straight-up fitness tracker

Fitbit charge 4

Fitbit Charge 4, available at Fitbit, $119.95

When it comes to fitness trackers, Fitbit is the most well-known brand and the Charge 4 is an excellent gift for iPhone owners who want to get and stay fit.

An effective and reliable car mount

iottie car phone mount

iOttie Easy One Touch 5 Air Vent Car Mount Phone Holder, available at Amazon, $24.95

Driving without a car mount for your phone is a recipe for disaster, but luckily, you can get your loved one a phone mount like this one from iOttie for a great price. It adjusts to fit any iPhone and it’ll fit in any car’s air vent. It’s easy to angle any which way so you can see the phone properly when you drive. It’s a godsend for when you need GPS for driving directions.

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