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The iPhone is one of the most popular pocket-friendly computers on the planet, and while its functions are innumerable, accessories can help you get even more out of the device. The most basic accessories will prevent the handset from getting damaged accidentally. In contrast, others will improve the performance of its cameras or turn the device into a credible mobile podcast recorder. The options, however, may feel overwhelming for new iPhone owners, so we’ve put together this list of some essential iPhone accessories if you were recently gifted or upgraded to Apple’s signature smartphone.
Most of the accessories we’re recommending are compatible with any iPhone released in the past three to five years, but some—cases specifically—are designed for a specific model. We’ve chosen to highlight the iPhone 14 version of those accessories, though case and screen-protector manufacturers have the same offerings for multiple phone versions.
A case that gets better with age: Nomad Modern Leather Case
Choosing the right iPhone case will depend on your color, material, and size preferences, which is why we have an entire guide with over a dozen recommendations. That said, after testing several cases every year, I always end up gravitating back to Nomad’s Modern Leather Case. It’s luxe, but the case is protective and patinas over time, which means that small signs of wear actually make the case look better. I’ve dropped my iPhone screen side up from a height of 10 feet onto a stone surface, and the back and sides of my device showed no damage.
A durable screen protector: InvisibleShield Glass Elite VisionGuard Screen Protector
A case will protect the back and sides of your iPhone, but a screen protector will prevent display damage. InvisibleShield’s Glass Elite VisionGuard Screen Protector is the one to get based on my tests. The accessory comes with a useful guide that prevents you from installing it incorrectly, which is handy if you’ve never used one before. In my experience, the Glass Elite doesn’t impact the performance of the iPhone’s touchscreen or its color accuracy. The material InvisibleShield uses does filter some blue light, though, which can make your iPhone more comfortable to look at in the dark. If you’re afraid of cracking your iPhone’s screen, this accessory will help put your mind at ease (it’s also far less expensive than a trip to the Genius Bar).
A battery pack: Anker 733 Power Bank
Anker’s 733 is one of the best iPhone accessories we’ve tested because it has two functions. First, it’s a three-port 10,000mAh battery pack that can fully recharge your smartphone a couple of times, or extend the life of your tablet, portable game console, or laptop by a few hours. But the 733 has a built-in plug that can be connected directly to an outlet, at which point it turns into a three-port 65W power adapter, which can charge all of your devices while you’re at home. This double functionality helps Anker’s 733 Power Bank stand apart in a crowded category, especially because of its travel-friendly size.
A magnetic charger: Apple MagSafe Charger
The iPhone 12 (released in late 2020) was the first Apple smartphone to support MagSafe. This magnetic connector system uses an array underneath the iPhone’s back plate to attach it to what is now a wide world of compatible wireless power transfer accessories, among other convenient add-ons. A MagSafe charger will refill an iPhone’s battery up to twice as fast as a standard Qi wireless charger (up to 15W) and will magnetically align with the back of your iPhone to create and maintain a solid connection. Apple’s MagSafe Charger gets our recommendation because it’s relatively inexpensive and has delivered rock-solid performance in our tests. If you want to jump from wired to wireless charging in 2023, this is the accessory to get.
A camera lens kit: Xenvo Pro Lens Kit
The iPhone’s cameras are world-class, but smartphone photographers looking to up their game should check out Xenvo’s Pro Lens Kit. The accessory clips onto the top of the iPhone’s wide lens and allows you to screw on a macro or wide-angle lens to get shots that would be difficult (or impossible). The kit also has a clip-on light with three brightness settings to help you get better low-light photos.
An external microphone: Shure MV88 Portable iOS Microphone
If you’re using your iPhone to record podcasts, or want ultra-high-quality audio to accompany your 4K video, Shure’s MV88 is the right accessory for the job. The miniature condenser microphone plugs directly into your iPhone’s Lightning port, so it never needs to be charged. You can use the MV88 to record audio in true stereo and monitor your recordings live by plugging headphones into its 3.5mm input. Shure bundles the microphone with a windscreen, which makes it a useful tool to use in the field, and a carrying case to keep it protected when it’s not in use.
A videography kit: Rode VideoMic Vlogger Kit
The iPhone has been able to shoot sharp 4K video for years, but Rode’s Vlogger Kit can help you get even more out of its cameras. The kit comes with a microphone (with windshield), light cube (with colored film), phone mount, and a tabletop tripod that doubles as a grip. Using these tools makes a big difference in the audio and video quality of your recordings, especially if you shoot at night. A big part of the VideoMic Vlogger Kit’s appeal is its portability. Keeping all of these tools on you at all times makes it easy to set up and break down shoots in just a couple of minutes.
A travel charging kit: Mophie snap+ multi-device travel charger
If you want to stop carrying several charging cables with you while you travel, your best option is Mophie’s snap+ multi-device travel charger. The self-contained kit includes a charger with a MagSafe charging pad, Qi wireless charging pad, USB-A port, USB-C port, a USB-C cable, and a power adapter. The charger folds up and fits neatly inside a padded carrying case, with slots for its power adapter and cable. We’ve taken this kit traveling with us and couldn’t imagine getting on a flight or multi-day car trip without it.
Your eyes should stay on the road while driving, but that can be tough if you use your iPhone as a GPS. If that’s the case, we recommend this windshield car mount from iOttie. The One Touch 4 can be attached to any flat part of your dashboard or on its windshield. Its articulating arm allows you to position your iPhone at a safe, comfortable angle, and a holder will keep the device in place. In our experience, iOttie’s mounts are strong enough to keep a firm grip on an iPhone on bumpy terrain and can stay attached to your car for years without incident.
A car charger: Satechi 40W Dual USB-C PD Car Charger
If you’d like to charge your phone while you drive, Satechi’s Dual-USB-C charger is the accessory you need. The power adapter fits into your car’s cigarette lighter and can fast-charge two iPhones simultaneously. The second USB-C port can also charge a tablet, portable game device, or even a laptop.
Alternately, if you ride solo more often than not, you can buy a combination MagSafe car mount-charger. For example, the Belkin BoostCharge Pro secures to your vent—remember to close it if running the heat—and can deliver up to 15W fast-charging from your car lighter (adapter and cable included). It’s an easy one-handed motion to place or release the iPhone, and it stays fastened in either portrait or landscape mode for convenient navigation assistance, etc., while driving.
A durable charging cable: Amazon Basics Nylon Braided USB-C to Lightning Cable
Apple includes a charging cable with the iPhone, but it’s been known to fray long before you need to upgrade your device. Amazon Basics’ USB-C to Lightning cable has a braided outer shell that can be bent or twisted without showing signs of wear. In fact, Amazon says you can bend this cable up to 4,000 times without it breaking.
Wireless earbuds: AirPods Pro 2
The iPhone can be connected to any pair of Bluetooth headphones, but it was designed to work best with the AirPods Pro 2. Apple’s new earbuds will automatically pair to your iPhone the first time you open the lid to their battery case and auto-connect to it every time after that. When you listen to music or watch TV shows and movies with a Dolby Atmos mix on your iPhone, you can use the AirPods Pro 2 to listen in “Spatial Audio,” a headphone-friendly version of surround sound. You can even personalize your Spatial Audio experience on the iPhone by taking a picture of the shape of your ears. You’ll also be able to use the iPhone’s Find My app to locate your AirPods 2 if lost. Finally (and most importantly), we’ve found from first-hand experience that the AirPods 2 are a solid pair of true wireless earbuds, with excellent sound, surprisingly good active noise cancellation, and very good battery life.
A smart speaker: HomePod Mini
Again, the iPhone can connect to any Bluetooth or AirPlay 2-enabled speaker, but the HomePod Mini was designed to work best with other Apple hardware through HomeKit. You can ask Siri on your iPhone to play music on your HomePod, and even “hand off” audio from the smartphone to the speaker by placing them near one another. The HomePod Mini sounds very good given its size—and even better if you pair two together to listen in true stereo. You can even send messages to the HomePod Mini from your phone to use the speaker like an intercom. If you want to pair your iPhone with a speaker fully integrated in Apple’s ecosystem, the HomePod Mini is the one to get.