iPad 2 Smart Cover teardown

iPad smart case tear down

Yes iFixit went there -- they not only did a teardown of iPad 2 they tore down the Smart Cover as well! Here are the highlights:

  • There are a total of THIRTY ONE magnets within the iPad 2 and Smart Cover: 10 magnets in the iPad 2, and a whopping 21 magnets inside the Smart Cover. They're the reason why the cover works so well with the iPad 2.
  • We used magnetic viewing film to reveal the magnets before taking our stuff apart. The film has special properties that allow it to react to a magnet's poles, and it worked wonders in showing the magnets hidden beneath the Smart Cover and iPad 2.
  • Sadly, none of the 31 magnets inside the devices had any special properties. All of them were the standard, two-pole kind, but they were arrayed in such a way that made clamping the Smart Cover to the iPad 2 quite easy.
  • The Smart Cover has one dedicated magnet that turns off the iPad 2's screen. The rest are used to either clamp to the iPad on the right side (the far-right column of magnets), or to form the triangular shape used to create a stand for the iPad 2.
  • A steel plate on the far-left side of the Smart Cover attaches to 15 of the cover's magnets (on the far-right) in order to form the triangular base. In fact, the majority of those 15 magnets are specifically there to assemble the triangular base. Only four of them actually clamp to the iPad 2 when the cover is in place. A steel-to-magnet bond is weaker than a magnet-to-magnet bond, and so they needed lots more magnets to prevent the case from literally falling apart during use.
  • The far-right row of magnets clamps the Smart Cover to the iPad 2. The magnets in the iPad 2 had their polarity displayed: + - + - . The alternating polarity of the magnets in the iPad 2 was complemented by the opposite alternating polarity of the magnets in the Smart Cover (- + - +), ensuring that the Smart Cover always sits in the same orientation on the iPad 2.
  • There's also a row of magnets on the left side of both products. The iPad 2's magnets are actually encased into the side of the device, and are used to securely clamp the iPad 2 to the Smart Cover's frame. Interestingly, these magnets' polarities were manually marked -- a blue dash written with a marker -- instead of having a machine stamp/engrave the polarity into them.
  • We just can't keep these magnets off of one another! The iPad 2's frame magnets made a solid two inch leap across the photo table towards the Smart Cover by the time we snapped a photo. Their attraction for one another is amazing!
  • It turns out that the Smart Cover doesn't work nearly as well once you remove the magnets, steel plate, and plastic structural supports. Go figure!

Anyone surprised by these results?


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Senior Editor at iMore and a practicing therapist specializing in stress and anxiety. She speaks everywhere from conferences to corporations, co-host of Vector, Review, and Isometric podcasts, and should be followed on Twitter @Georgia_Dow.

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Reader comments

iPad 2 Smart Cover teardown


Remember back in the day when magnets would ruin the display on tube TVs and such. Is that not the case with LCD displays? Is it possilbe to ruin the ipad's display if one of the magnets on the smart cover comes into contact with it?

CRT/Tube TVs used electromagnetic fields to direct the photon beams to the right place on the display to fire the phosphors which produced the image. Since LCDs do not use electromagnetic fields magnets will not affect them.

@Anthony Not everyone get's their news and such from apple insider. Georgia is just doing her job by informing us about a product that's all. I tell ya you people have been brutal to the women on this site in the past couple days. Ally took a beating in the comments the other day because she decided not to buy a ipad 2. You dont like what they have to say go else where. Ease up seriously.

I agree. Honestly people what do you want - the comments turned off? I mean if you pick up a newspaper and you disagree with an article what do you do? Hint: MOVE ON WITH YOUR LIFE.
If you read a newspaper that regularly is publishing news/articles that you deem silly or worthless then you UNSUBSCRIBE - so if you disagree with TIPB is publishing, go elsewhere.

People need to realize that this is a Blog site, not a NEWS site. If you want news go to CNN or MSNBC. If you want to get users opinions about things from people who are avid tech fans with some writing skills and net savvy, read a Blog.

Anyway that's a lot of magnets in the smart cover. I bought one with my iPad 2 on Friday. And like John just typed. I hope I docent ruin the display screen.

i would have to imagine that Apple took the magnets into account when building the device, so I think the iPad 2 is safe from magnetic interference.
The question I have, is the OG iPad similarly shielded? Could someone hack some magnets on the back of an OG iPad and use the smart cover? Maybe afix a magnetic strip to the back (the flexible kind) and use that to at least secure the back of the cover. I really like the elevation it give. I don't like covers on my iPad but it's the only way to get elevation to type on soft surfaces like a couch arm.

I can't wait until 3rd party companies start taking advantage of the encased magnets. I sure we'll be seeing plenty of awesome products in the near future. Assuming Apple allows them to know how the encased magnets work and/or are placed.

Considering iFixIt already tore down an iPad 2 as well as a Smart Cover which details the magnets I don't think any third party parts developer will have issues.

They didn't take the antenna in the iPhone 4 or the color of the white iPhone 4 into account. Now with Apple, anything can happen.

Mistakes and oversights happen no matter who you are be it Apple or any other company. There are not any components inside of the iPad 2 as near as I can tell that would be affected adversely by the magnetic fields of the rare earth magnets used.