How to keep Dell Streak on when back cover is off

Streak-cover-off Unlike a lot of other Android phones, the Dell Streak's microSD card slot is located next to instead of inside the battery compartment. This makes swapping cards (after unmounting) very fast and convenient . . . except that when the Streak's back cover is removed, the device turns off. Because of this behavior, the card slot may as well just be underneath the battery since having to take out battery to get to it would turn off the Streak too.

Wouldn't it be great if the Streak would stay on when the back cover was off?

It's something I've wished for often because when I transfer anything to the card, I always take it out of the Streak and put it into a tiny microSD readerir?t=streaksmart 20&l=as2&o=1&a=B000WR3Z3A - for some reason we don't have an alt tag here that plugs into my computer. It's more convenient for me than using the cable, which I have set up inside a charging station, but I'm sure that being able to swap cards (again, after unmounting) is what makes the function particularly appealing to most people.

Whatever your reason for wanting this feature, there's a fairly easy mod that will give it to you. It requires some disassembly, though, so it may not be for everyone.

Note: DJ_Steve's latest Froyo build (version 1.4.6) already keeps the Streak on when the back cover is off because the system's "check for rear panel placement" has been disabled/removed. The following tutorial, then, is not for anyone using this version of Steve's amazing ROM.


IMPORTANT: Anything you do to your Streak is done at your own risk. Please proceed with caution.

All teardown photos are from iFixit.

1. Remove the back cover, battery, and microSD card for the Streak.

2. Using a plastic opening tool (like this one), remove the two pieces surrounding the screen.


3. Remove the five T5 Torx screws that are now exposed using a T5 Torx screwdriver.


4. Once the screws are removed, use a plastic opening tool to gently pry open the case.


5. Locate the small lever (circled in the photo below) near the ribbon cable. This lever is what one of hooks on the Streak's back cover depresses when it's in place, which means that anything that can "trick" the system into thinking the cover is on (i.e., the lever is pressed down) will allow the Streak to stay on when the cover is really off.


6. Here's where you can get creative. MoDaCo forum member tomqman, who was the first to do this mod (original thread here), used some hot glue to hold the lever down. Other members used a tiny piece of paper.

7. Reassemble your Streak.

If done correctly, you should now be able to take off the back cover whenever you want to without the system knowing about or being affected by it. Good luck!

Nice work, tomqman!

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Jenn K. Lee

Jenn K. Lee is the founder of Pocketables. She loves gadgets the way most women love shoes and purses. The pieces in her tech wardrobe that go with everything are currently the Samsung Galaxy Note II, Sony Tablet P, and Nexus 7, but there are still a couple of vintage UMPCs/MIDs in the back of her closet.

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28 thoughts on “How to keep Dell Streak on when back cover is off

  • Avatar of Paulien

    Dont mean to rude but this is just ridiculous. Its something for people with to much time on their hands.

  • Avatar of QuilPill

    I happen to lead a very full life and I think this mod is really cool. It is good for people who like to hack and tinker with their Streaks. It is more useful than the LED color mod, even though that one looked sweet.

    It’s good to see stuff like this available to anyone. Usually all the cool stuff is only for people who root and install custom roms.

  • And if you’re at it, why not go a step further and replace the built in 2GB MicroSD card with a 16 or 32GB MicroSDHC Card?
    You won’t have access to the space, but you will have more space for apps and the such.

  • Avatar of meralias

    Alternatively, just install the latest version (1.4.6) of DJ_Steve’s Froyo ROM as it has the back sensor disabled.

  • Avatar of filotti

    Please don’t torture your Streak like this, I had to do it for the Axim but now Steve has a software fix…

    Just install the latest firmware from Steve or wait for a patch for 2.2 official.

  • Avatar of Captain America

    Why all the fuzz???? If you do not feel like opening your Streak, do not do it. Opening a piece of electronic equipment to better tailor it to your needs is not “torture”, if you know what you are doing.

    Just do not overestimate your ability, take your time and most importantly USE THE RIGHT TOOLS, as properly suggested in the step by step instructions.

    Knowing how to do it at least give you a choice, just like you have a choice to install or not the alternate ROM.

  • Avatar of maddog

    Just saying… Steven Hyde’s 1.4.6 solves this problem…

    And if I may…
    Hyde solves problems that dell creates.

  • Avatar of maddog

    Ah.. I didn’t see Jenn’s note.

  • Avatar of Andrew

    What holds that piece down?

  • Avatar of commanderastig

    hello everyone, phandroid.com reported that the froyo update fit att Dell streak has just been released. jenn, can you confirm this to be true. please. thanks.

  • Avatar of WinningStreak

    Any word if there will be a mod for the official 2.2 update? I’m confident in opening the streak, but would much rather a soft hack. Great article though :)

  • Avatar of lurch519

    If I remember correctly, Stephen’s 2.2 1.4.6 has this built into the software. I don’t think it will turn on if the back cover is off, but i believe it won’t turn off if you remove the back cover with the phone already on.

  • Avatar of lurch519

    Whoops. Gotta scan through a little slower

  • Seriously wow! can we do that?

    and Jenn, great article!

    It would be really cool if you could write an article on replacing the built in microSD !

  • You may not need to disamssable the phone.
    Just put a tiny piece of tissue into the hole.
    It works for me.

  • Avatar of stooge

    I doubt this mod is for most Streak users. I am an engineer, but I won’t do it simply because I cannot be bothered no matter how annoying the feature is, not to mention that it’s not worth voiding your warranty over.

    Am I the only one wondering why there isn’t an app to disable this in software? Even if it’s just for rooted Streaks. I am sure DJ_Steve could have done this if he really wanted to.

    There are people out there, like myself, who prefers to stick with official firmware (mine now finally OTA’ed to Froyo) rather than d**king around with custom firmware in a hope that the Streak will start to make your tea in the morning too.

  • Avatar of Ricoks

    becareful tho, the screws that Dell used are VERY soft, and the head strips easily.
    Sometimes they are stipped before you even get a chance to unscrew it (it’s as if Dell assembly screwed too far and stipped the heads.)
    unfortunate, to say the least, as you can’t unassemble without destroying the screws in the process.

  • Dj steve did do this, it says that multiple times if you bothered to read it, and there are many other reasons to use a custom rom, like releasing att’s death grip without paying $500…

  • Avatar of stooge

    I said an app for official froyo. I said that multiple times if you bothered to read.

    If you know something the rest of us don’t, send a url.

    OK. USA users crack open your Streaks. everyone else in the world go snap up Torx(tm) stock on NASDAQ

  • ” Am I the only one wondering why there isn’t an app to disable this in software? Even if it’s just for rooted Streaks. I am sure DJ_Steve could have done this if he really wanted to.”
    as I said before he did do this becuase he wanted to…

    Hence… US streaks can simply use 1.4.6 to bypass this..
    in conclusion…. do your research, try ed u ma cating yourself..

  • Note: DJ_Steve’s latest Froyo build (version 1.4.6) already keeps the Streak on when the back cover is off because the system’s”check for rear panel placement” has been disabled/removed. The following tutorial, then, is not for anyone using this version of Steve’s amazing ROM.—- You are so smart, S M R T

  • Avatar of stooge

    DJ_Steve’s fix is part and parcel of his custom rom. There isn’t a standalone APP that will do this on official Froyo.

    And rooted does not mean custom rom. You understand that, right?

    What the hell are you smoking?

  • Some reallllllly fucking good weed, but thats beside the point, if you could read your own post above you would see that you said “dj_steve could have done this if he wanted to” and my response was “he did”, you describe yourself as an engineer, so why not do some research and make your own fix, or better yet stay out of the conversation since this article is obviously not for you. I suggest you hit some of what I’m smoking, maybe you can chill for a sec.

  • I’m with Nathan, a lot of us DO like to take apart our electronics- I’m an electrical engineering undergrad, and have been modding my electronics with a soldering iron and an interweb full of knowledge since I was 14. If it’s not for you, ignore the article- no reason to dog on Jenn because you’re afraid of the warranty monster. Take a chill pill (i.e. bong hit) and browse somewhere else.


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