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How to turn any case into an iPad Smart Cover

Apple's Smart Cover is neat, but its flimsiness offers no protection. With a few inexpensive supplies, you can make a durable case that locks and unlocks your iPad.

Screenshot by Sharon Vaknin/CNET

If you have an iPad 2, you might be familiar with Apple's Smart Cover accessory, a cover that locks and unlocks your device using a simple magnet system.

Bearing in mind that magnets were always known to "break" electronics, the technology is really neat, offering you one less step to access your iPad and get stuff done.

The only issue with the Smart Cover is that it's flimsy--its thin, minimalist construction offers your iPad no protection from falls, bumps, or scratches. And even though they come in a variety of colors, the Covers are still pretty boring.

Because of this, many iPad owners opt for more durable cases with some personality, sacrificing the Smart Cover's functions.

With a few materials and your favorite iPad case, you can create your own "Smart Cover" that locks and unlocks your device. Here's how:

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You'll need:

  • Magnetic tape
  • Scissors
  • An iPad case that closes snugly

First, go to Settings > General and turn "iPad Cover Lock/Unlock" on.

To turn your case into a Smart Cover, simply cut the magnetic tape to 1 inch less the height of your case. Then, center and stick the tape on the side of the case that meets the magnetic side (right) of your iPad. Now, when you close your case, the iPad will lock, and when you open it, it will unlock.

If the iPad isn't locking consistently (or is spontaneously unlocking), it's probably because the case isn't snug enough, as the magnet is not in constant contact with the magnetic side of the iPad. Take the time to find a case that will work properly with this DIY.