AirPods Max case: Convenient WaterField Shield

The controversial Smart Case for AirPods Max has arguably received more attention than the on-ear headphones themselves. The Smart Case has been criticized for not providing adequate protection for AirPods Max and for its clunky design. WaterField Designs aims to address these issues with its new AirPods Max Shield. Read on for a closer look at the first third-party AirPods Max case.


On the surface, the WaterField Designs Case for AirPods Max looks like a normal earphone case. It fully encloses the AirPods Max and is made from full grain leather. On the front is a small zippered pocket in which you can store cables and accessories, such as a Lightning cable or a 3.5mm audio cable. There is also a back mesh pocket for more accessories and another small pocket inside.

The Shield case is available in four different colors: Chocolate Leather + Oilcloth, Black Leather + Black Ballistics, Blue Leather + Black Ballistics, and Crimson Leather + Black Ballistics. I chose the black leather case, and it’s quite gorgeous and the handmade touches are visible.

The other colors, however, have a little more “pop”:

If I have a complaint about the WaterField AirPods Max Shield case, it’s that it’s a bit bigger than I would like. This isn’t necessarily WaterField’s fault, but rather an AirPods Max design issue itself. Unlike other pairs of on-ear headphones, the AirPods Max don’t fold up compactly.

This design choice by Apple inherently means that the cases must be large enough to accommodate the full size of the AirPods Max. Here are the dimensions of the case:

  • 9.50 “(w) (at widest point) x 2.25” (w) x 9 “(h)
  • 24cm (W) (at widest point) x 6cm (W) x 23cm (H)

The Shield case features a ‘magnetic leather butterfly’, which will put AirPods Max in low power mode like Apple’s smart case. Although we’ve since learned that it’s not as important to battery life as we initially thought. WaterField also claims that if you position the zippers correctly, you can charge the AirPods Max while they’re in the case.

Finally, the case is also designed in such a way that you can use it with Apple’s smart case if you want.

How to use the AirPods Max Shield case?

For me, the WaterField Shield Case will be used when I carry AirPods Max to and from different locations. I don’t plan to put the AirPods Max in the Shield case every time I’m done using the earbuds, just like I don’t put them back in the smart case after every time I’m done.

In the end, the WaterField Designs Shield case provides enough protection when my AirPods Max are in my backpack, which is a big plus over the Apple Smart Case. Stay tuned for a full review and giveaway of 9to5Mac’s AirPods Max Shied case in January.

In the meantime, you can find out more about the AirPods Max Shield case on the WaterField website. The case costs $ 99 and orders placed today will ship in February, the company says. What do you think of the AirPods Max Shield case from WaterField Designs? Is this the case that Apple should have included? Let us know in the comments!

Learn more about AirPods Max:

FTC: We use automatic income generating affiliate links. More.

Check out 9to5Mac on YouTube for more information on Apple: