IPad 2 Cover Mod With Automatic Shutdown




I was waiting in line at the Irvine Spectrum Apple Store on iPad release day when I noticed some commotion behind us in line with a camera man and some people clearly handing out something. It turns out that is was Targus handing out free leather iPad 2 covers! So I got in there and picked one up with short little talk to their camera. It's a really nice case, but it lacks one cool feature. It cannot turn off and on the iPad 2 automatically as it closes and opens. After a quick investigation with some small magnets it was easy to find the magnetic mechanism the device uses for this detection as well as several internal magnets that are used to hold their magic cover down.

While there are a few magnetic locations all around the iPad frame, there are three primary ones on the middle outside edge.  Just above those three locations, and just below the volume control, is a location which causes the pad to sleep and wake when a magnet is brought near and removed.

Note: The hold-down magnets inside the iPad alternate in polarity, so you will definitely need to place the magnets like I show in images 3 and 4, then relocate them to the holes you make in the cover, being careful to maintain polarity, or your cover will want to magnetically hover rather than attract and hold shut.

So I set about inserting those magnet into the cover to make it sleep and wake the device when the cover is closed and opened.  Since it's made out a nice suede leather there is no worry about the magnet marring the device in any way.

What you will need:

- Small strong 1/4" diameter magnets.
- A hobby knife.
- A iPad 2 cover that can support having magnets inserted into it.
- A pencil for marking the locations

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Step 1: Mark the Locations and Make the Cuts

I opted for three magnets so far.  Two to hold the cover, they hold much more lightly than the Apple cover, and one to trigger the device sleep.  The two holding magnets are very much optional as the Targus cover has a stretchy strap to hold it very closed.  I think it I had paid for this cover I might consider not even bothering with the holding magnets.

1) Place the magnets on the device as shown in the previous step.

2) Close the cover and mark the three locations on the inside cover using a pencil.  Pencil wipes off the leather quite easily.

3) Make three small incisions in the cover with a hobby knife.

4) Use the knife to clear out a pocket for a single magnet.

5) Carefully insert the magnet using the knife as a guide, and to gently lift the leather pocket open.

Step 2: All Done! Test It Out

That's it!  Give it a go and make sure your magnet is positioned nicely.  You can move them around under the leather for a bit, but don't do it too much as the leather will stretch.  I've found that the any stretched areas settle out after a few minutes and it looks fine.

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    16 Discussions

    Awesome, thanks! I bought this case tonight and when I saw it missing searched for a general mod for this. Funny that you did it to the same exact case I got. It's a really nice case I don't understand why they didn't include at least the one magnet (which is probably all I'll do).

    What are the chances of the magnet moving? It seems kind of likely without putting a spot of glue on the magnet before insertion.

    I'm considering instead looking for a good looking thin magnet that would look good just attached to the outside somehow instead of cutting the case, but still you gave me the info i was looking for - one magnet, around that area triggers it. That was the main piece of info i was looking for.


    5 replies

    Note: From what I can tell, the iPad 3 is more specific about the polarity of the cover magnet. My adonit keyboard case has a very hard time turning off the iPad 3, whereas on the iPad 2 it works perfectly every time.

    The magnet does not move once inserted into the leather. Mines still in exactly the same place as when I put it in a year ago. The leather makes for a very tight fit. If I was going to use glue, I'd probably put it in with a syringe after the magnet was inserted.

    Glad the instruct able was of use to you!


    I haven't touched an iPad 3 yet. I just won an iPad 2 in a Corbis contest and trying to make it work well as a mobile portfoilio - it's my number one use for it (though it's pretty cool for a lot of other stuff too).

    It seems like there's a lot of room for error from my tests with magnets, which is why i'm thinking a small thin magnet on top might do the trick. I'm just a little loathe to cut into the leather. Like you pointed out in your original article, you might feel differently if you bought it - I just spent $70 on the thing.

    oh, and considering it's nice, expensive and advertised as designed for the iPad2, it's kind of hard to fathom how they wouldn't think to insert one small magnet.


    Yeah I thought the missing magnets were odd as well. All I can imagine is that Apple didn't tell the case makers about the smart cover functionality until after they released their own cover.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    I can't believe Targus actually approves of what I did here, but they sent me a letter and a Stylus saying that they liked the instructable.. very nice of them.

    7 replies

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    cool. I like companies that don't flip out when you change their product. (I'm one of those people whose PSP is modified beyond recognition, and I know how sony feels about that.)


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    very nice in deed i have the same case i been wanting to do the same thing im just looking for the magnets and a way to clean the cover this thing gets dirty when you let kids use it... any clues to how to clean it would be nice


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    The Apple store sells a product called Klear Screen By Meridrew Enterprises that is a spray with a nice cloth. I'm not sure what the stuff is, but it's totally safe on plastics and computer screens and always leaves my stuff looking brand new. Highly recommended.

    The Klear Screen Material Safety Data Sheet says it's:
    0.77% Proprietary Information
    0.13% Methyl Paraben
    99.10% Water

    It's sure good for being mostly water.


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    The blue part is suede leather. Mine is dirty too. I think for that we will need a suede cleaner.