Tablets like Apple’s iPad have Hall sensors built into them. The idea behind these sensors is that they can detect magnetic fields, allowing them to be used with cover accessories that turn the display on and off when the cover is opened or closed.
It turns out that the upcoming Google Pixel 7 could have a similar feature as well, according to a tweet by Esper.io’s Mishaal Rahman. According to his tweet, it appears that in some recently-discovered code, there is mention of a Hall sensor. What’s interesting is that the last time Google used them in a phone, it was back in the Pixel 2 series, so it looks like they might be making a comeback.
"Default enable hall sensor
Test: Compile and load on P7. Hall sensor is enabled."
The Pixel 7 may have a hall effect sensor to detect magnetic fields. Many phones have one so flip covers with embedded magnets can be detected and the screen turned on/off accordingly. https://t.co/N0CLxVrL2k pic.twitter.com/N2BCvW1TRp
— Mishaal Rahman (@MishaalRahman) July 29, 2022
Rahman also notes that the Pixel 6a could actually have a similar sensor built into it and the phone has the drivers for it, but the feature was not mentioned in the spec sheet, nor does Google make mention of it as a feature either. He recommends that users who own the Pixel 6a try for themselves by running a small magnet along the screen to see if it turns on or off the display.
That being said, it is unclear what Google could have planned for the Hall sensor in the Pixel 7 series. Right now, the most common usage would be for accessories that help turn the display on and off automatically depending on whether it’s opened or closed. Either way, we’ll probably have to wait for the phone to launch to get a better idea.