Twelve South SurfacePad CASE for iPhone 11 Pro Max REVIEW | MacSources

4 min readApr 21, 2020

A wonderfully thin wallet case for the necessities

When it comes to wallets I have been pretty picky over the years. I am always finding a reason to try to improve my daily carry and right now I have two options. The first is my normal wallet that is full of everything I have. The problem is I don’t like dragging it around and a lot of times if I am just running a quick errand I will completely forget to grab it. My second option is using some sort of wallet case on my iPhone so I can keep the bare minimum with me like my Apple Card and my driver’s license. This is a nice option because I never go anywhere without my phone and so these important cards would always be with me. But what wallet case is going to fit my personal needs? There are many different styles out there and I’ve always found them to be a bit on the bulky side. That is the main reason I decided to give The SurfacePad for iPhone a try.


The SurfacePad for iPhone is a slim, form-fitting wallet case designed by Twelve South. It is made as a simple leather jacket that dresses up your iPhone and provides two card slots (one card per slot) for you to be able to carry essentials with you without needing a full-size wallet or purse. The base of the case is plastic, but it’s wrapped with full-grain leather that gains a natural patina over time. This makes every case unique. The SurfacePad does feature automatic sleep/wake functionality for compatible phones (iPhone X/XS/11 Pro/11 Pro Max). It’s one of the few cases that provide this functionality. The case also folds into a hands-free viewing stand for full-screen viewing. The SurfacePad does allow for wireless charging and it can be removed and installed many times (as long as the leather isn’t stretched out and the adhesive is kept clean and dry).


One of the biggest parts of the experience of the SurfacePad is the installation. You are quite literally sticking a case to the back of your phone. This can be a little intimidating if it’s the first time you’ve installed a SurfacePad. Twelve South actually makes it quite easy though. First, make sure the back of your phone is clean and dry. I can recommend using something like Häns Ultra Clean for thorough cleaning of your device. Then, you peel back the adhesive covering on the SurfacePad and line up the cover with the back of your phone. My advice is to use the camera lens as a guide for placement. Once you have it lined up, let the SurfacePad touch the back of the phone and press/hold for a few seconds to secure the adhesive.

I have really been enjoying using the Surfacepad but I have found myself having a few issues. So I’m going to break down the rest of my experience into the things I like and the things I don’t.


  • I really love the color that I selected (Cognac) for my SurfacePad. Twelve South actually has three different color options for the iPhone 11 Pro Max (Cognac, Black, and Slate Blue) and two additional colors (Thistle Grey and Seafood Green) for the iPhone 11. The Cognac is a rich tan leather that exudes class and matches my leather belt and shoes.
  • Because of how thin the case is, I’m able to slide into and out of my pockets easily and I don’t feel like I’m dragging around something bulky.
  • The automatic sleep/wake function was a welcome surprise. I always loved that feature with iPads and now that it works with some iPhone models, it’s really cool that Twelve South incorporated it into this case.
  • Something extremely nice is how I have been able to use my iPhone in Landscape more to watch videos without needing a stand because it’s designed so you can open the case and it will stay open for video viewing.


  • The case flops open and just dangles when you try to take photos. I am a photographer and I take a lot of photos. So this bothers me quite a bit.
  • Even though it’s a selling point for keeping the case slim, since the case is literally stuck to the phone, you can’t pull the phone away from the wallet easily like you can with the BookBook. On the one hand, you get the super thin case style, but on the other hand, you are limited on what you can carry and how you use the device because of the sticky design.
  • When using a wireless charging stand, I found that the case would flop open. This did depend on the type of wireless charging stand I would use, but the front of the case would flip open rather than stay closed while it was on the charger.

I realize that not all of these issues are going to be a problem for most people who are looking for this style of case. I am just being super nit-picky since I am sort of a wallet snob.


Even though I found some features that I could see improved upon, I think this is a solid wallet case for iPhone users. The pros definitely outweigh the cons in my mind and since the case provides a very sleek professional look for the phone, I really can’t complain about the design. Twelve South does an amazing job with their products and I truly applaud their efforts in the improvements they make to benefit the customer experience. The SurfacePad is truly a beautiful leather wallet case that can really benefit any type of user. All in all when you get a Twelve South product for an Apple device you know you are getting quality. I think you will enjoy this beautifully useful leather wallet.

For more details, visit TwelveSouth, Facebook, and Twitter.

Originally published at on April 21, 2020.




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