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Location: Home / Article / Twelve South SurfacePad for iPhone 12 review: Minimal protection for convenience

Twelve South SurfacePad for iPhone 12 review: Minimal protection for convenience

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Twelve South is a brand that is known for its unique and distinguished products, including the SurfacePad, which debuted in 2013. Before I dive into the ins and outs of the SurfacePad, know one thing beforehand: this is not for the clumsy. It's simply a leather cover for your iPhone, and it's not meant for a lot of protection. For that, you'll want to check out our other recommendations for

best iPhone 12 Pro cases

and even

MagSafe-compatible iPhone 12 Pro cases


The SurfacePad is made with fine Napa leather that feels smooth and soft to the touch. Like any good leather product, this will develop a patina over time, which just adds to the overall aesthetic and character. It comes in three gorgeous colors: Cognac (which I have), Black, and Plum. Regardless of the color that you choose, it looks classy and distinctive. There is also nice, detailed stitching all around the exterior and interior — I did not experience any loose or fraying threads.

Attaching the SurfacePad to your iPhone 12 is pretty easy, though you'll need to make sure to wipe the back of your iPhone first for best results. Once that's done, you just peel the sheet off the inside of the SurfacePad, align it up with the back of your iPhone, and press it on. The SurfacePad for iPhone 12 uses SurfaceGrip 2.0, which is Twelve South's super-secure, reusable adhesive. SurfaceGrip is secure enough that the SurfacePad won't come off accidentally, but it also makes it easy to remove if you didn't align it perfectly the first time, or you just want to use a more protective case for some situations. Twelve South also recommends keeping that little protective sheet to store SurfacePad when not in use, as it keeps it in tip-top shape. Honestly, I was disappointed after realizing that SurfacePad uses reusable adhesive instead of MagSafe to attach itself, but I'll go more into that in a bit.

Once the SurfacePad is on your iPhone 12, both your device's back and front surfaces are covered. However, the sides are left exposed, so you definitely want to be mindful of not bumping or dropping your device with this on. Also, the back corner of the SurfacePad has a full opening for the iPhone 12 camera, meaning it's left completely vulnerable as well. Again, SurfacePad is not meant for the clumsy.

On the first few days of use, the SurfacePad may not fully "close" on the front — it may be lifted up a tiny bit. Twelve South recommends placing your device face-down to try and make it close all the way. This is natural and part of the "breaking-in" process for leather products. Along the bottom of the front cover is where you will find a subtle Twelve South logo; there is no other branding on the exterior.