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Stow Your Hard Drives and Accessories on this Apple iMac Storage Shelf

Did you know you needed an iMac add-on shelf like the Twelve South BackPack? You do now.

Dan Ackerman Editorial Director / Computers and Gaming
Dan Ackerman leads CNET's coverage of computers and gaming hardware. A New York native and former radio DJ, he's also a regular TV talking head and the author of "The Tetris Effect" (Hachette/PublicAffairs), a non-fiction gaming and business history book that has earned rave reviews from the New York Times, Fortune, LA Review of Books, and many other publications. "Upends the standard Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs/Mark Zuckerberg technology-creation myth... the story shines." -- The New York Times
Expertise I've been testing and reviewing computer and gaming hardware for over 20 years, covering every console launch since the Dreamcast and every MacBook...ever. Credentials
  • Author of the award-winning, NY Times-reviewed nonfiction book The Tetris Effect; Longtime consumer technology expert for CBS Mornings
Dan Ackerman
2 min read
Backpack mounted on an iMac
Twelve South

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

A 3D-printed shelf on an iMac

My 3D-printed 27-inch iMac shelf. 

Dan Ackerman/CNET

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). 

Twelve South BackPack for iMac

It definitely holds three pounds. 

Dan Ackerman/CNET

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. 

Backpack mounted on an iMac
Twelve South

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.