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Can someone explain how tablets like the Nexus 7 detect a magnetic cover closing? I have tried putting magnets over the spots where the magnets in the cover are, but it will not lock. How does the tablet know if it is a cover?

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

It's widely believed that the Nexus 7's magnetic sensor works in an almost-identical fashion to iPads' smart cover; I couldn't find direct information about the N7, but iFixit has a great teardown of the iPad smart cover that goes into detail of how it works.

The Nexus 7 has a magnetic sensor that can tell when a magnet of sufficient pull force is nearby. The sensor is located under the screen near the pogo plug on the bottom-lefthand corner, estimated to be 45mm up from the bottom left corner and 15mm in from the left side.

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Your magnets are probably in the wrong place. The Nexus 7's magnetic cover sensor is not along the right-hand edge, where the magnets that hold the cover closed are. It's in the bottom-left corner of the screen, about 2 cm from the left-hand rim of the device, and 4 cm from the bottom rim. Put another way: with the device in the "camera-uppermost" orientation, with the stock home screen displayed, the icon at the left-hand end of the tray is in the right place.

You also need a pretty strong magnet. Most fridge magnets aren't strong enough to trip the reed switch, but a Buckyball will do it (if you can still buy those where you are).

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