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How did we get the idea to put a magnet in a phone case?  

Since 2011, we've helped people use their phones in ways they never thought possible with our Neodymium magnets. Our original idea was for our RokLock twist lock mechanism to automatically lock using the power of magnets. Unfortunately, we couldn't find a magnet that size powerful enough to twist and lock an iPhone. Then we thought, "What if we used magnets so we could attach our phones to anything magnetic, no mount required?"  
We found larger magnets and double side taped them to the back of an iPhone 4. Then, we stuck the prototype onto our metal file cabinet and voila! It worked, except for one problem. When we put a smooth magnet onto another smooth surface (like a fridge or a filing cabinet), the phone would slowly slide down. This was mostly because there wasn't enough grip/friction -- the magnet had enough power to hold the phone but not enough grip to keep it in place.

rokform magnet test

Getting a grip

To keep the phone from slipping down, we stuck some adhesive backed rubber onto the magnet. The execution was crude but it worked like magic! Now when you stuck the phone onto a slick surface it had the grip it needed to not only hold but hold amazingly well. Phones would stay on slick surfaces like a file cabinet and uneven ones like the corner bead of textured and painted drywall. We had created a simple iPhone mount that would instantly and securely stick to anything magnetic. The magnet was so strong we decided to test its limits. We drove to our local Golf Club and stuck the phone to the golf cart rail right in plain view. The iPhone 4 did not budge even after 18 holes of golf! We drove over bumps, in the woods, and on un-even cart paths but it stayed strong. We mounted our new "magnetic" iPhones everywhere we could - the more we used them, the more addicted we became. We had to make this a reality for everyone.

magnet story rokform

We had proven our initial magnet would work, so we quickly got to work refining the design. We produced custom-made nickel plated Neodymium magnets along with a specially designed textured TPU (soft rubber) magnet grip insert to hold the magnet. The result was our first injection molded polycarbonate case, the Rokform v3, named for the 3rd case Rokform created in its short little life. The Rokform v3 case for the iPhone 4 with its magnetic insert was an instant success. Within weeks we had sold thousands of cases. Customers could not believe how useful having a magnet in an iPhone case was. Every day we receive comments, e-mails, and testimonials from happy customers telling us how much they love their "magnetic" phone cases!

initial rokform prototype

Pictured left: 1st Prototype from Mold of v3 Roklock case for iPhone 4. Notice the texture on the magnetic grip insert. This was our first injection molded case and it was made in Anaheim, CA USA. Right: 2012 CES Design Innovations Award for the iPhone 4 Rokbed v3 Case. It was our first entry and first time exhibiting at the show with a small 10x10 booth in the iLounge.

Say goodbye to the claw

One of our most popular early inventions to accompany the magnetic case was the LiL’ Rok and BAM, machined aluminum and anodized discs. We insert them with the same Neodymium magnets we use in the case. The Lil’ Rok is the size of a nickel and was designed for smaller phones. When phones got bigger, we made a larger version we call the BAM, which is the size of a quarter. Both are amazingly strong. These little gems easily stick to almost any dash using 3M VHB adhesive and are designed to be removed without harming the surface below. These discrete mounts look good on any dash and you don’t need a giant claw or clamp that clutters your dash. Rok and BAM solve the “giant claw” problem. We now include a BAM magnetic car dash mount with every magnetic case we sell.

That's the story of how we invented the twist lock and magnetically mounting phone cases. Our inventions are protected by several utility and design patents that can be found on our patents page.

rokform patent

Left: We wanted to solve "the claw" issue because it just wasn't something we wanted in our own car. The magnetic LiL' Rok & BAM provides a secure mount without blocking vision or having to use 2 hands to mount your phone. BAM shown with ROKFORM logo in 2015 Silverado HD. Vent mount shown (below) is great for cars that don’t have room to stick the Lil’ Rok or BAM. Right: The Rokform mounting system is protected by multiple US Patents.

Will the magnet hurt my phone?

We still get asked every day -- "Will a magnet hurt my phone?" The simple answer is "NO." Apple iPhone and Android devices use NAND flash memory, which is immune to magnets. Since there is nothing magnetic in solid state or flash drives and they have no moving mechanical parts, mobile devices are immune to magnetic fields. They do not use magnets for storage; instead, they use integrated circuit assemblies as memory to store data. Check out this popular video (around 1 million views!) where a guys uses an outrageously large magnet on his iPhone with absolutely no harm done. Even the strong Neodymium magnets we use for our cases are only a fraction of the size and power he uses. Rest assured, your phone and credit cards are safe with Rokform's magnetic (and extremely protective) cases.
 

rokform magnetic cases toolbox

Hard Disk Drives

Older laptops and desktop computers that use hard disk drives aka “spinning hard drives” use magnetic storage to store and retrieve digital information. Hard disk drives use rapidly rotating (spinning) disks coated with magnetic material. Since this type of drive uses magnets for storage, they can be affected and even destroyed with a strong enough magnet. Results and damage vary by computer type but here is an interesting video made by National Geographic trying to destroy a hard drive with a magnet. Even though this particular test proves it takes an extremely powerful magnet to damage a hard disk drive, we do not recommend putting magnets on a computer or device that uses a spinning hard disc drive.  
 

 

old laptop with spinning hard disk drive

Neodymium Magnets can damage some sensitive items. Keep them away from:

  • Hotel Keys
  • Gift Cards
  • Pacemakers
  • Floppy discs
  • Cassette & video tapes and other similar items
  • Spinning hard disc drives (non solid state) found in older computers and laptops
  • Keep loose magnets away from children. The magnets we use are designed to stay in the case with the phone. Magnets on their own can be harmful or fatal if swallowed.
 

The Bottom Line

Since 2011, Rokform has been using magnets to help customers stick their phones to a variety of handy surfaces. We have sold more than 175,000 cases without a single iPhone or Android device being harmed by our magnets. We use them every day and they are 100% safe for your iPhone or Android device. You can watch our video of several tests we performed on an iPhone here. Give ROKFORM a try, we think you will love the versatility, quality, protection and service. If for some reason you don’t, just send it back within 60 days for a full product refund. We also offer a 2-year guarantee and have our friendly customer service team at our Southern California headquarters ready to answer any questions you might have.

rokform building

Our Southern California Headquarters. Stop by and visit our showroom and see the product in action. 16180 Scientific, Irvine, CA 92618

This guy explains it well as it relates to hard drives:

National Geographic did a good test on a computer that had an old spinning hard-drive:

This guy did a test with a lot of very powerful magnets on an iPhone®