1. The Right Case
Okay, so a solid case is a no-brainer. However, when it comes to matter-of-fact protection, all cases are not created equal. If safety is your first priority, make sure you choose a model with the following features: rubbery bumper for jolts and falls, a sticky grip to prevent slippage, and a hard backplate to protect against scratches (which can ravage your iPhone’s resale value). The LUNATIK SEISMIK is one example that brings all these features to bear, with a sleek profile that won’t ruin your iPhone’s figure.
2. A Solid Screen Protector
A good case may protect your iPhone’s body, but its screen is just as susceptible to scratches and falls. To make matters worse, most plastic screen protectors offer limited durability, and are so prone to smudging that they quickly get removed. Spigen’s GLAS.t SLIM is made with 0.26mm glass, not plastic, providing exceptional protection without trashing your iPhone’s aesthetic. It also features an oleophobic coating, which prevents fingerprints, and makes it a cinch to clean.
3. Find My iPhone + Activation Lock
Physical accessories may protect your phone from bumps, bangs, and scratches, but they do little to guard against theft. On the software front, Find My iPhone allows you to locate a lost device, but the app has long suffered from a glaring weakness: Thieves could easily erase and restore the phone, making it impossible to track. Thankfully, a new feature called Activation Lock (launched with iOS 7) has plugged this particular hole, by making it impossible for thieves to reset your iPhone without your Apple ID and password.
4. A Waterproof Housing
These days, we’re tempted to bring our iPhones just about anywhere—and we really do mean anywhere. From pools and beaches to a dugout canoe, many photo ops bring your iPhone dangerously close to water, where a quick drop —and the subsequent “plop”—can leave your device in a watery grave. While numerous cases tout water-resistant properties, we recommend investing in a wetness guard, like those offered by Watershot. It provides guaranteed protection from all kinds of moisture, and allows you to take stunning underwater photos to boot.
5. Cord Control
Your iPhone isn’t the only investment worth protecting: Its Lightning cable can quickly fray from daily wear and tear, and replacement cables will run you $19 a pop. To keep your charging cable in top form, carry it with a Quirky Powercurl Mini, which offers both protection and cord management in one compact package. If you’d rather not shell out for another accessory, a mechanical pencil spring can be fashioned into a rather brilliant DIY alternative.
6. The Royal Treatment
While a waterproof housing will protect your phone from moisture, water damage often calls when it’s least expected (e.g. the bathroom). If you’re dead set on 24/7 protection, Liquipel will treat your phone with an invisible, waterproof coating, which allows it to be completely submerged in water with no ill effects. If you’re a regular denizen of the Internet, you may have heard that such coatings will void your AppleCare warranty, and a few years ago, you would have been correct. However, Liquipel’s newest coating is completely untraceable, and comes with a 1-year guarantee against accidental water damage.