The iPhone 8 and new iPhone SE have identical designs, so we know they’ll work in each other’s cases, but what about older cases? Can you just grab an iPhone 6 or iPhone 7 case and expect it to work with an iPhone SE?
With the iPhone SE out, a smaller 4.7 inch phone is within reach of more people, as Apple updates the iPhone 8 with the guts of the iPhone 11, the camera of the iPhone XR, while leaving the battery and design of the iPhone 8 in tact.
However the iPhone 8 also shared something of a design with the iPhone 6, 6S, and 7 before it, which begs the question: is the iPhone SE compatible with even older cases?
Will the iPhone SE fit an old iPhone case?
If you have an iPhone 6, iPhone 6S, or iPhone 7, we wouldn’t blame you for looking at the iPhone SE as an upgrade path, and it certainly makes sense: it’s the same 4.7 inch form-factor you’re already used to, but with newer parts on the inside.
Technically, the iPhone SE is an iPhone 8 with the guts of an iPhone 11, and then a camera that feels more like it’s been ripped straight from the iPhone XR. We liked the iPhone SE 2020 in our review, and no doubt, it’s an intriguing iPhone upgrade to consider, particularly if you’ve been using phones that are a good four, five, and six years old by comparison.
The same design and same support of the fingerprint sensor in the iPhone SE makes an upgrade from a 6, 6S, or 7 really easy, and practically means unlike the button-less full-screen iPhone models like the iPhone XR and iPhone 11 Pro Max, you won’t have to learn anything new.
But you may have to buy a new case, because even if you love the iPhone case you’re rocking on the iPhone 6 or 7, it may not fit cleanly on the iPhone SE. Sorry about that.
You mostly have the camera to thank for that, though. The camera on the iPhone 8 and iPhone SE was a little larger and used a slightly different design on the back, which means it won’t fit comfortably in the old iPhone cases we’ve tested.
That’s not to say it won’t fit at all, but rather that the 2020 iPhone SE will technically fit, but you may lose out on some of the camera to the phone case depending on the cut-out space for the phone case. Likewise, your flash might be obscured by the case itself, which is obviously less than useful.
We found a bit of discrepancy between some of the iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 cases, and found ones with slightly more room for the camera cut out section handled the iPhone SE better than ones that didn’t.
Ultimately, if you’re making the jump from an old iPhone to the new 2020 iPhone SE, we’d consider getting a new case, or look around for one of those older iPhone 8 options, because they seem to fit fine.