Bottom line: The BackPack is a handy little shelf that can help you keep your desk looking a little more organized or just let you show off a few trinkets if you want.
Easy to install
Holds hard drive, hubs, and more
Help with cable management
Strap is very useful
A tad expensive -The included cable ties aren't great.
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While buying the right computer for your needs is always important, we all know that accessories are what really make your Mac your Mac. From a wide array of USB-C hubs to external monitors, to different keyboards, there are plenty of accessories for your Mac that I would classic as essential. Still, necessity doesn't have to be the only you use an accessory. Sometimes, a little fun is in order.
When I got my blue iMac (2021) last year, I doubt I would have said that I wanted a shelf for it, but now that I have the Twelve South BackPack, I'm not sure I'll ever take it off my iMac. It's not an essential accessory, but it's fun and surprisingly useful in my current home office setup.
Twelve South BackPack for iMac: Price and availability
This version of the Twelve South BackPack is only for the 24-inch M1 iMac that came out in 2021, and it's currently only available through Twelve South. Twelve South products usually hit Amazon sometime after their initial release (a few months), but that's not a guarantee, so the best place to snag one right now is from the manufacturer's website.
It costs $45, but the shelf isn't the only thing in the package. You'll get a strap meant to hold your hard drives and hubs in place on the shelf and some cable ties to help with cable management as well.
Twelve South BackPack for iMac: What you'll like
I was impressed by how easy it was to install, especially since I knew it was supported by the power cable hole in the iMac stand. You don't need any tools to get the job done. You just need to push the bracket through the power cable hole, clip it together with the locking clip on the other side, and then slide the shelf into the little slot at the top. You do need to put a little force to get the bracket into the power cable hole on the stand, so don't be afraid of that.
The ability to keep my desk looking neat and tidy by being able to put my external hard drive and USB-C on the shelf out of sight has been awesome. I'm a true believer that a cluttered desk isn't conducive to productivity, so I try to keep my home office as clean as I can. Of course, if you do put your hubs or hard drives on the BackPack, you'll need to be aware that anytime you want to plug something into or take something out, you'll need to reach behind your Mac to do it. Whether or not that works in your setup is a question only you can answer, but it does mean that the BackPack is a little more useful for accessories you always want to be plugged into your Mac.
I also am a big fan of the included strap. It's so helpful in stacking your hubs or hard drives together and will keep them secure, so they don't accidentally slip off the BackPack. Not that you need the strap for your hard drive to stay put, the shelf is plenty sturdy. Still, in case someone accidentally bumps your iMac, or you want to move it to a different position on your desk, the strap provides that extra stability, which is appreciated. Plus, it looks like an Apple Watch band, so much so that I thought that's what it was when I first opened the package. It's a neat touch that shows why Twelve South is one of the best Mac accessories makers out there — that attention to detail.
Twelve South BackPack for iMac: What you won't like
There's not much to the BackPack, so it's hard to say anything bad about it. The only real complaint I have is the cable ties included in the box aren't very high-quality. If you're super serious about your cable management, there are other options out there that will likely serve your needs better. That being said, there are better than nothing, so if you don't have any ties already, at least the BackPack comes with some.
Twelve South BackPack for iMac: Competition
Twelve South's biggest competition is likely another product they make called the Twelve South Curve Riser. It's a stand for your iMac that not only allows you to raise the height of your Mac on your desk but also has a little shelf for storage where you could easily place a hub or a hard drive. Of course, this doesn't get your hubs or hard drive out of sight, as the BackPack does, but it still gives you a place to put them instead of on your desk.
Twelve South BackPack for iMac: Should you buy it?
You should buy this if ...
- You want a place to keep your hubs and hard drives
- You think it looks neat
You shouldn't buy this if...
- You don't think you need to have your accessories out of sight
The Twelve South BackPack for iMac is not the kind of product anyone needs, but it certainly is handy if you're looking for a way to keep your desk tidy. It's the type of product you likely already know if you want to drop the $45 on it or not, just by looking at it.
The BackPack does what it sets out to do, and because Twelve South is a great accessory maker, it does it well. The included strap is awesome for keeping all your accessories on the shelf in one place, and even though the cable ties aren't the greatest, they can help you with cable management if you need them. The added bonus of it being a shelf to display things if you want, maybe you want your office mate to see a cool nick-nack you have, is just a little icing on the cake.
While you wouldn't have been able to convince me I needed a shelf for my iMac before, now that I have the BackPack, I can't imagine ever taking it off.
Luke Filipowicz has been a writer at iMore, covering Apple for nearly a decade now. He writes a lot about Apple Watch and iPad but covers the iPhone and Mac as well. He often describes himself as an "Apple user on a budget" and firmly believes that great technology can be affordable if you know where to look. Luke also heads up the iMore Show — a weekly podcast focusing on Apple news, rumors, and products but likes to have some fun along the way.
Luke knows he spends more time on Twitter than he probably should, so feel free to follow him or give him a shout on social media @LukeFilipowicz.
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