iPad Air Wi-Fi + Cellular, model no. A1475. Available in Space Gray or Silver, with 16/32/64/128 GB configurations.

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Smart Cover Locks iPad Air from Back Side

Howdy everyone!

I purchased my iPad Air (AT&T) from Craigslist with a broken digitizer/front glass panel, figuring that I could repair it for myself since I've repaired broken iPad digitizes many times, But this was my first time doing an Air.

The problem I'm having is just as the title says. After I sealed up the digitizer, everything works perfectly, except then I decided to buy a Smart Cover and now when I fold the Smart Cover back so that it lies flat against the backside of the iPad, it locks it!

This has become a serious nuisance for using it, and I'm trying to understand why it does it and how to fix it before I have to spend hours opening and re-sealing it again. I've seen on other posts that the circuitry installed on the home button cable is what allows the Smart Cover to lock and unlock the iPad. Is that true?

Could it be that the digitizer/front glass panel that I bought on eBay is faulty? Is that why it locks inappropriately? Could it simply be because it's a cheap Chinese replacement part?

Any ideas would be much appreciated! For now, I can use my iPad like normal, it's just irritating that my iPad locks when I fold back the Smart Cover. I'm so used to using the Smart Cover freely on my old iPad 2! :]

Thanks so much!

Answered! View the answer I have this problem too

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This is a great question. I'm hopeful an expert here has an answer. Is the smart cover made for that specific model? Or is it a cheaper off-brand smart cover? The magnet may be too strong in that case.

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I purchased my Smart Cover brand new from the Apple Store. :) Thanks for your reply though! Much appreciated!

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just had my iPad glass replaced, and have the very same problem... have taken it back to the shop, but not convinced they know how to fix it. Hope someone can find the solution

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Thank you for replying Simon!!! I'm so glad someone else is experiencing this problem. I thought I was the only person in the universe haha. If they fix your iPad, please post the solution here. I would literally be forever grateful. I'm just about to buy a new Digitizer/front panel for my own iPad because I think it's just a problem with the one I bought, but I'm not sure.

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Just to add that my local repair shop changed the glass again, but still the problem remains. As Tommy says, no doubt he is using a cheap OEM part, but I'm stuck with a broken iPad now. I am resigned to puttin gup with this now, and perhaps if the the glass breaks again, I will certainly try a different, more reputable repair company, and get them to confirm this problem will not exist before I agree to them doing the work.

So my advise is always to point out the correct behaviour with the Smartcover BEFORE you give your device for repair, and do not pay any money until after you have checked that it is still working.

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Did you place kapton tape or the equivalent in the same locations as the original digitizer? Faulty locking behavior is often linked to he cable being improperly insulated, or kinked. Although in your case, I do not suspect that kinking is the issue.

Good luck!

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When you say "the cable," do you mean the home button cable or the digitizer cable? Both are part of the digitizer/front glass panel. :)

Thanks!

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After more research, I believe it's a combination of insulating the home button cable and getting reliable parts. The insulation seems to be the biggest issue. Thank you for bringing it up, Joshua! It's just hard to believe that Apple would rely on something so mathematically imprecise to accomplish such a task. But yes. kapton tape has been heralded as the best solution for iPads and iPad minis alike. ^_^

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TommyJames337 - thanks! Feel free to let me know if you ave any other questions about digis!

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Most Helpful Answer

Hi all,

I purchased the replacement (digitizer + home button) of iFixIt, hoping, it would be as good as the original replacement. iFixIt repair parts are not cheap compared to all the crap from eBay. Still, same problem with the iFixIt replacement.

Big disappointment I have to say.

Marc

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Had the very same problem after changing my display. First attempt with a OEM ebay part, second try with a iFixit-part - same problem with both of them: Smart cover is working when closing the cover but shuts also down when flipping the cover to the backside. After several reopenings of my ipad I leave it like this because every opening takes the risk of damaging something else. Thanks for help!

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Allright, so after a lot of testing and research I got this answer on a reddit repair sub:

"On iPad Air 1st gens, there's two hall effect sensors for the smart cover. One is on the home button flex, the other is on the motherboard near the home button connector. The smart cover has two magnets in these locations and both sensors have to be triggered for the smart cover function to work. When wrapped around the back, the motherboard sensor will trigger, but the home button sensor should not. If the latter is faulty however, then the motherboard sensor will trigger it front or back.

I do see this a lot on replacement home button flexes or aftermarket where there's no sensor at all. I haven't scoped it out to see whether the logic level to trigger is active high or low, but it appears the faulty cables essentially indicate to the Air that a magnet is present all the time.

Now to test replacements, I connect the home button separately and leave it hanging out of the chassis. I use an external magnet near the motherboard sensor - if it triggers, the home button flex is deemed crook. If not, I then hold the home button sensor onto the magnet as well and bring the whole thing up to the motherboard sensor. If it switches all is well, if it doesn't switch the home button sensor is also deemed faulty.

As I said, I've seen this on aftermarket home button cables with no sensor at all. I need to buzz it out to see whether the Chinese have shorted out pin 3 or connected it to 3V."

Following this we finally fixed the iPad Air locking issue by switching to another original home flex that we had lying around, since the original one we had didn't work. Apparently they're easily damaged and needs to be transferred with care.

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Okay guys! I finally solved my own problem, thanks to some minor research that keyed me into believing the circuitry on the home button flex cable was the problem. I reopened my iPad (after a considerable amount of time mentally preparing for the agonizing task), installed my original Apple home button from my original broken digitizer, and it completely fixed the problem!

Apparently the tiny amount of circuitry on that flex cable is responsible for recognizing when the Smart Cover is closed and open.

Thus, if you want your iPad to function correctly with a Smart Cover, and you don't want it to lock your iPad when it's laying flush against the back of the iPad, I recommend always transferring the original Apple home button to the new digitizer.

The cheap OEM parts that you can buy on eBay are always fraught with problems. It's possible that 90% of the time an OEM digitizer from eBay will come with a perfectly normal home button. But Simon and I probably both ended up with bad ones. If you can salvage the home button (and its flex cable) from your original Apple digitizer, do it! :)

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Glad it helped you, however I've tried original cable + the original glass and I still have the problem. Even if you only have the LCD connected with no digitizer/home button the cover still functions as it should on the front, however not on the back.

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This does not work. Tried with original home button and with no home button, still locks with smart cover on the back. Must be something else that affects it.

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Does the whole home button need to be replaced with the cable from the original?

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The sensor is attached to the home cable ribbon. I did not try this but maybe moving the piece that gets glued down away further from the edge.

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I too have the same problem, even with only lcd or screen freezes with the housing behind ... can anyone help?

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TommyJames337 will be eternally grateful.
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