Ask Different is a question and answer site for power users of Apple hardware and software. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

My kids were playing with some cool magnetic rocks and left them sitting on top of our iPad. This provoked some non-trivial discussion in our family as to whether this was a bad thing.

I grew up in the era of magnetic floppy diskettes, where sitting a magnet on one could cause you to lose important data. But the iPad, as far as I can tell, doesn't have any magnetic storage. It clearly does have magnet sensors, as that's how the Smart Cover turns it off and on, and I'd hate for magnetic rocks to desensitize said sensors, but I'm also thinking that it seems unlikely that magnets will cause data loss.

What are the risks, if any, of leaving medium-strength magnets (not weak, but not any kind of industrial super-magnet), sitting on top of an iPad? Assume that the screen is covered, so I'm not worried about scratching the glass.

share|improve this question
up vote 5 down vote accepted

You should be fine. As you note, there are magnets (which are actually fairly strong for their size) in the iPad and Smart Cover. There are no magnetic components aside from the Smart Cover attachment points and the unlock sensor—there's a magnetometer for the compass, but it doesn't use a magnet.

Furthermore, the whole magnets damaging hard drives thing is a bit of a myth. You can wipe them with magnets, but it takes a very powerful one, pretty much nothing you'd have in your home.

share|improve this answer
I know I've had floppy disks that worked, were exposed to ordinary household magnets, and then didn't work. I realize there's some risk of the whole post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy, particularly because floppy disks didn't take a ton of prompting to go bad, but that's my experience. Never had any trouble along those lines with hard drives, though. – Daniel Aug 27 '12 at 22:10
Yes, floppy disks are much more sensitive than hard drives to all sorts of issues, not just magnets. IIRC, with floppies the issue is more constant exposure to magnetic fields. – robmathers Aug 27 '12 at 22:13

I have a case with magnets to keep it closed, haven't used iPad in over a month (magnets sitting on iPad without moving) now the entire top half of my screen has 100's of multi colored lines going across it and you can't see anything on the sop half but can still interact with it. At this point I will never trust magnets around electronics again.

share|improve this answer
Read up on 'post hoc ergo propter hoc' @Daniel mentioned in his comment to the other answer. I think this may be an instance of it. – Tetsujin Aug 7 '15 at 6:31

I have 2 iPads - iPad3 and iPad Air. The iPad air has a magnetic cover from iHome. I placed the iPad3 (face down) on top of the magnetic cover of iPad air over night and now i can't power up my iPad 3. :(

However, the iPad Air is still fine with the magnetic cover but the magnet is on the back side of the iPad Air. So, I guess it really depends on where and how long you place the magnet on the iPad and it does and damage the battery. I am not going to use the magnetic cover on my iPad Air anymore.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.