Apple’s iMac all-in-one desktop is a marvel of minimalist design. But it’s so minimalist, sometimes you might want a few extras. For example, I see people store tons of stuff on the iMac’s curved foot all the time, from hard drives to USB hubs to notepads.
Accessory maker Twelve South thinks you might need an extra shelf attached to the back of the iMac, so it offers the BackPack, a small metal shelf that sits behind the iMac’s screen.
Read more: Apple iMac 24-Inch Review
I must have thought it was a good idea, too, because I 3D printed a similar shelf for the 27-inch iMac a couple of years ago. You can find that, and my other suggestions for 3D-printed iMac accessories here.
My 3D-printed shelf was made of PLA plastic and just clipped on the sides of the iMac’s foot. The Twelve South version is metal and actually affixes itself to the same opening in the foot the power cord goes through. It includes a Velcro strap for securely affixing your hard drive or USB hub.
Another big difference: My 3D-printed version cost a few pennies worth of PLA filament. Keep in mind that’s after you’ve already purchased a 3D printer (and some of our favorite cheap 3D printers are here). The Twelve South BackPack for current 24-inch iMacs is $45 (or $35 for the older 27-inch iMac design).
Making the case for choosing it over my 3D-printed version, the BackPack is made of aluminum, has a surface area of 5.125 inches by 4 inches and supports up to 3 pounds.
Naturally I found a 3-pound weight and tried this. It seemed stable with the small hand weight on it, but I wouldn’t push it much further.
Do you need a $45 shelf to sit on the back of your 24-inch iMac? I’m not going to insist that you do, but I’ve found it pretty handy for keeping everything from an Elgato capture card to a USB-C external hard drive connected but out of the way. And if that sounds like too much to spend on a fairly minor convenience, you can always try 3D printing one yourself, or just go back to leaving everything sitting on the iMac’s foot.
The aluminum Backpack attaches to the rear of a 24-inch M1 iMac (there’s also a version for older Intel 27-inch iMacs), and provides a space for storing hard drives, hubs or other small items. An included Velcro strap can tie your items down if needed.
The shelf holds up to three pounds (yes, we tested it with a 3-pound weight), and the matte while finish goes well with the multicolored 24-inch iMac.
The only real knock against the Backpack is that it costs $45, making it something you’ll actually have to consider investing in, versus a fun and potentially useful impulse purchase.