I figured out how to protect my iPhone without an ugly case

The iPhone 15 Pro Max inside the Adore June pouch.
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

I really didn’t want to put my iPhone 15 Pro Max in a case. Cases add bulk, reduce the attractiveness, and wouldn’t allow me to enjoy the vastly improved ergonomics or the feel of the titanium band around the chassis. So I vowed not to do it.

However, I’m also realistic. My expensive new phone needs some protection, especially when it is being shaken around in my bag or placed on a table. The solution came from the past, as the product I chose brought me back to the way I protected the very first iPhone models I owned when cases were far less common than they are today.

The return of the pouch

Phone pouches and the iPhone 15 Pro Max inside the Adore June pouch.
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

I’m talking about the humble phone pouch. The ones I remembered were as simple as “cases” get, as they were mostly made of fabric or leather, and while you could find them sized for a particular type of phone, there were plenty of universal ones around too. When the iPhone 3G was out, there were very few case options available, so getting one that you really liked was a bit of a challenge. I also had the same problem that exists today, in that they all add bulk and ruin the lines of the phone.

The pouch was a great alternative. It still protected the phone, just without adding anything extra to the device itself. I used them to house my iPhone 3G, iPhone 4, iPhone 5, and even my iPad. A company named “Foof” was one of my favorites, and I had “Foof Pods” for various iPhones and iPads. The pouches in the photos are ones I’ve used in the past and happened to find again recently. But when the iPhone 6 came along, pouches either became less available, or I found cases that I liked. As a result, I hadn’t thought about or used a phone pouch in years.

The labels showing on various phone pouches.
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

The idea came back to me as I wondered what to do this year. I’d been using an Apple FineWoven case while I worked on my iPhone 15 Pro Max vs iPhone 14 Pro camera comparison, and had also used an Apple silicone case with the iPhone 15 Plus during my review, yet I didn’t want to use either long-term. While I was happy to have remembered the pouch, finding a suitable one in 2023 turned out to be a little more difficult than I had hoped.

Leather or fabric

The iPhone 15 Pro Max on top of the Adore June pouch.
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

Cases are so popular, and the range so varied, that there doesn’t seem to be much demand for anything else. Finding a pouch at all was going to need some research. The major brands certainly don’t seem to offer anything like one, so I turned to Amazon to see if they still even existed. I was pleased to see at least some examples, but I quickly realized I couldn’t be choosy.

The only prerequisite, outside of it being made for the iPhone 14 Pro Max or iPhone 15 Pro Max (they are both the same size), was that it was made of fabric and not leather. Leather pouches may look classy to some, but several had a belt clip on the back, much like a very popular choice (for some unknown reason) to house giant analog phones in the late 90s. I think they are best left in that decade. There were also several generic pouches made for phones with a certain screen size.

This essentially left me with very little choice — until I stumbled upon the one in my photos made by a company called Adore June. It makes slip cases, bags, and pouches for a wide range of products, and it was exactly what I was after. It’s made from Cordura fabric with a water-repellant Teflon coating, it’s sized specifically for the iPhone 15 Pro Max, plus it has a soft inner lining so it won’t scratch the screen or body. It was also a bargain at 15 British pounds, or about $18.

Just the right fit

The iPhone 15 Pro Max inside the Adore June pouch.
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

The Adore June sleeve is just about as simple as it gets. The black outer skin feels tough and hardwearing, yet still pleasingly tactile, while the lining is fleecy and soft. There’s a tab with the brand’s name on the side, giving it some character, and the iPhone 15 Pro Max slips in without any problem. It’s secure too, and won’t just slide out by accident. You have to physically pull it out. The sleeve is tight around the phone, though, so it won’t fit around one with a case.

This was fine with me. The whole reason I wanted a sleeve was to avoid using a case. It works really well, as I can keep it inside when the phone is in my bag or pocket, then just take it out when I want to use it. While I can’t see the always-on screen when it’s in the pouch, I place it on top of the sleeve instead of inside it when it’s on the desk or a table, like a soft little pillow, so I can see everything that’s going on.

I’ve successfully avoided a case but haven’t entirely sacrificed all protection, and I’ve returned to a long-forgotten product that defined how I kept my early iPhones safe for many years. It was always going to be a risk going case-less, and as the phone is a serious financial investment, it makes sense to give it some protection. The Adore June sleeve does exactly that while standing out because it’s not just another case, and all for a reasonable price too.

Better than a case and better than nothing

The iPhone 15 Pro Max inside the Adore June pouch.
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

All the time my iPhone is snuggled inside its sleeve, it will remain quite well protected. Even in a short drop, it should have a fighting chance of survival, as there is at least some cushioning around the sides and corners. When it’s out of the sleeve, that’s a different story, but it’s an accepted risk when making the decision not to use some kind of case. Even if I did use a case, they aren’t force fields, and there’s no guarantee it’ll ensure the phone won’t break if it gets dropped.

But the main thing is, I get to enjoy the iPhone 15 Pro Max the way Apple intended, not the way a case maker intended. I know I’m not the only one trying life without a case with the iPhone 15 series, so take a look at a sleeve if you’re searching for something to take away some of the inevitable anxiety of living so dangerously.

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