They say that when you live a life of hard knocks, the only thing you can do is learn from them, and for those who need their iPad on the go, anytime, anywhere, the first lesson to learn is to get your device the right protection.
These days, for every owner of an iPad Pro 12.9 happy to stay home on the sofa streaming the latest Netflix series, there’s an outward-bound enthusiast raring to pack their tablet for another adventure. Yet as soon as you take your iPad out to the cabin, unpack it under canvas, or even search for somewhere to safely set it down at the beach, it’s impossible not to notice quite how vulnerable these sophisticated devices are when removed from the indoor safety of our homes and offices. Taken outside, the relative fragility of premium devices like the iPad Pro 12.9 becomes very evident, very suddenly.
Of course, that doesn’t mean the iPad isn’t a wonderful accessory to travel with, both professionally and for pleasure. Yet being in a state of constant vigilance in order to safeguard your expensive new purchase generates extra stress that none of us needs.
Since it first launched back in 2010, every advancing iteration of the iPad has helped it become an essential work tool, one now relied upon out in the field by a dynamic range of professionals with important, often crucial, jobs to do.
Healthcare professionals in crisis zones, on-site engineers creating essential infrastructure, military personnel in live theaters, and scientists and researchers collecting data— there are circumstances where connecting to tech support, be it data analysis or real-time updates, becomes critical. For many professionals, powerful, portable devices like the iPad Pro 12.9 have now become fundamental for successfully executing the task at hand — this is where ZUGU comes in.
In scenarios such as these and a host of others, your iPad doesn’t need protection. It needs total protection. Sealed inside shockproof and temperature-resistant casing that’s as rugged as the environment you’re about to step into. Knowing your tablet is already safe and secure is a must in most outdoor situations, and the peace of mind it provides allows greater clarity of focus, whether you’re taking on a new outdoor activity or tackling a humanitarian crisis.
So it’s good to know that when it comes to finding a properly tough case, there’s already an iPad Pro 12.9 case out there, built to avert disaster. We’ve filed the heavy-duty field down to what we believe are the four best iPad Pro 12.9 cases currently available in 2023.
Below, you’ll find the best example of a fully encapsulated iPad Pro 12.9 case, designed to mitigate direct hits to the screen; cases tempered to withstand knocks, drops, and even blows, as well as absorb the pressure should your device get trodden on or badly stowed. As Apple has advanced its range of useful compatible accessories, we've also included a heavy-duty iPad Pro 12.9 case with pencil holder features for protecting Apple’s electronic stylus.
ZUGU cases have gained a name among iPad aficionados for quality and protection that just works. If you want something well-designed that does what it promises and looks professional while doing so, you could hardly do better than getting a ZUGU.
Some favorite features of the ZUGU iPad cases include:
You may love the other features of the ZUGU case, but the reason you’re buying this is the rugged protection. Our engineers know that 99% of drops onto a hard surface are from 3 or 4 feet. So ZUGU Case is engineered exactly to withstand a drop from 5 feet onto a hard surface, giving your device excellent protection without adding unnecessary bulk. The impact of the drop will be absorbed by a sturdy bumper, and the rugged TPU + PC shell will make it almost bounce.
If robust protection is the reason you bought your iPad Pro 12.9 magnetic stand, the flexible stand may be the reason you fall in love with it for everyday use. Even if you never take your iPad out of the cushioned living room, having an adjustable stand at the ready is a pretty good reason to keep that case on at all times. And if you have ten different angles, you know you’ll always be able to set it up just as you prefer.
There are more times than one you’ll want to mount your iPad — but buying an iPad mount after you’ve already spent on your case is not anyone’s idea of fun. One fun feature of the ZUGU case is the strong magnets that allow it to auto-mount on any metal surface. Want to cook up something new and exciting, following an iPad video tutorial and recipe? Stick it up there on the refrigerator — it won’t slide down.
Not all of us live in temperate climates. If you live in the warmer parts of the world, you may find it an uphill race to keep your devices running cool. Removing your iPad’s cover on a hot day is not ideal. Instead, use a cover that is just as cool as going coverless — a cover with well-engineered air-flow vents that allow your iPad to continue to self-regulate its temperature. The way the ZUGU works, your iPad might actually be cooler with the case on than without — it keeps it off potentially warming surfaces and helps the air get to it.
The Spigen case looks its part: tough, bulky, and ready for anything. It might not be the best case to take into the office, but it will definitely fit right in at the gym or raceway.
Favorite features of the Spine Tough Armor case include:
As with the ZUGU case, this iPad Pro 12.9 case with pencil holder supports all Apple Pencil functions. That means you can charge your pencil without taking off the case, and you can also stow away your pencil safely when it is not in use. Since the second-generation pencil charges gracefully when it’s tucked in against the device, this built-in feature makes it easy to both use and charge your pencil.
The kickstand on the Spigen tough armor case looks like a kickstand, kind of like what you’d expect to see on the back of a picture frame on Granny’s nightstand. But it’s oh so much more sturdy than that. When the kickstand is up, your iPad is in a great position for hands-free viewing.
The Spigen advertises “air cushion technology,” which works through a dual-layer case. Essentially, what this means is that there’s a bit of space between the two layers of the Spigen case, so you’ve got something to absorb any shocks. This allows the people at Spigen to create a lighter case that still gives you the protection you need.
Ridging the surface outline around extra-vulnerable areas such as camera lenses and screens is another feature you’ll find on most competently designed total protection cases.
The Otterbox Defender is a little bit different than most of the other iPad covers on our list. Rather than providing a magnetic flap that closes and protects the screen when it’s not in use (like the ZUGU) or simple raised edges that one hopes will keep the screen from collision (think Spigen), the Otterbox has a built-in transparent screen protector that covers your screen all the time, meaning your iPad is always totally enveloped. If you’ve been worried about what happens if your iPad takes a dive screen first when the flap is folded back, this may give you some peace of mind.
Here are a few reasons you might choose the Otterbox Defender:
Shock protection is great. But those of us who have taken our devices out into the field know the curse of dirt-in-the-charging ports and dirt-in-the-microphones. Dirt, sand, and lint get everywhere you don’t want them to, keeping your iPad from functioning as it should. That’s where the Otterbox really shines, with port protection that keeps your iPad clean.
A special feature of the Otterbox is the silver additive they’ve added to their TPU shell. There’s not much silver — not enough to make it shine — but enough, they say, to discourage the growth of nasty microbes. When you don’t know how clean the surfaces you use to lay down your iPad — or who will be sneezing on it next — this can make for some extra peace of mind.
While the Otterbox doesn’t have the standard flap to protect the display, there is one movable part: a “shield stand.” This snap-on piece provides extra protection when it’s functioning as a shield or can be used as a stand for hands-free viewing when you’re watching a video or typing on your iPad.
Another favorite heavy-duty iPad case is the UAG Metropolis. Like the ZUGU, this one comes in several color options. Like the ZUGU, it also features a magnetic flap that can be used to cover the screen when you’re not using the iPad or folded back for a stand when you want to use your iPad hands-free.
What’s special about the UAG Metropolis? Well, here are some key features:
Like the ZUGU iPad Pro case, the UAG Metropolis case has been tested to conform to military drop standards. What does this mean? The case, with an iPad in it, has been dropped 26 times at 48 inches. After each drop, the iPad was tested and shown to be free of damage every single time. Since you don’t usually drop your iPad from higher than 48 inches, having a case that has military spec protection should give you some extra peace of mind.
Here’s another take on the air cushion we saw advertised by Spigen — the UAG Metropolis case features a honeycomb-type material with hollow cells to provide strength, rigidity, and shock protection while keeping the weight down. The total weight of this case is 1.06 pounds.
Unlike the slippery surfaces you might find in some cheap iPad cases, the UAG metropolis has a textured, tactile surface that is easy to grip. It’s advertised as a proprietary grip material and is designed especially to make it easier to hold. This could be a lifesaver if you have to handle your iPad in wet or slippery conditions, and it makes for a more comfortable experience anytime.
Maybe there’s no such thing as total protection anywhere. Life never offers us guarantees, and the unexpected can happen at any time. No matter what Apple iPad Pro case you slip on your device, it could hit something that just isn’t survivable.
But though life doesn’t offer us guarantees, sometimes iPad case companies do. ZUGU, for instance. If you get AppleCare+ and your iPad gets broken when it’s in a ZUGU case, they’ll foot the repair bill. If you want to be able to take your iPad anywhere with no worries — total protection may be the way to go.
Otherwise, if you’re just looking for some pretty good protection, any of these iPad cases will be a great choice. Go with one that pulls you in, and have fun adventuring!