Twelve South’s BackPack 2 Is The iMac Shelf You Probably Never Knew You Needed [Review]

The BackPack 2 shelf hanging on a 27-inch iMac.

Twelve South is really good at making attractive, beautifully packaged and well marketed accessories for Apple lovers.

Often, their accessories seem born from a small idea — what if your MacBook could look like a book, or what if you could attach your iPad to an arm connected to your Mac — but through excellence in execution, these small ideas quickly become indispensible.

The BackPack, first released in late 2009, is such an indispensible small idea: a little shelf to for your iMac or Apple Display. It doesn’t sound like much, but if you’ve ever struggled with a way to manage the external drives or devices connected to your desktop, that little aluminum shelf quickly became such an integral element to your Mac that it’s as if Apple had built one into every Mac.

Now here comes the BackPack 2, and it’s better than the original in every way.

The BackPack 2 is less a sequel than a refinement of the BackPack. It’s still just as good at keeping your external drives and devices out of the way when they are plugged into the USB, Firewire or Thunderbolt ports in the back of your Mac, but the addition of some new rails at the side of the shelf help you keep your cables a bit more organized and prevent devices from sliding off the shelf accidentally. And the BackPack 2’s new support pegs mean that you can now have a vertical hard drive or MacBook Air on the shelf.

Twelve South’s BackPack 2 Is The iMac Shelf You Probably Never Knew You Needed [Review]

Easy access, ready for action.

The best new feature of the BackPack 2, though, is the fact that it can now be installed on the front of your Mac, facing the user and hanging below the display. There’s not a lot of room down there, but for keeping the front of your Mac organized, it’s incredibly useful. I already tended to use the bottom of the L-shaped iMac desk stand as a little shelf to keep my iPhone when it was charging, or my Apple Wireless Keyboard when I wasn’t otherwise using it. The BackPack 2’s ability to hang on to the front effectively gives you twice the space to keep things tidy.

Otherwise, this is the same BackPack we already love. It’s made from a single sheet of aluminum and attaches to your iMac or Apple Cinema Display’s L-shaped desk stand using two adjustable clips. Installation is a breeze, and once it’s lodged onto your Mac, the BackPack 2 is a lovely little accessory. Should everyone with an iMac or Apple Cinema Display buy one? Not at all. But if you do buy one, and if you’re inclined towards keeping your Mac organized and tidy, the BackPack 2 will be worth every penny.

The BackPack 2 is available for sale directly from Twelve South for just $34.99.

Rating: ★★★★☆

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  • Edwin Torres

    That iMac an keyboard are dirty as hell!

  • dougscripts

    That’s a great place to keep yer wine nice and warm. :P

  • Kenton Presbrey

    I got the original, its awesome, love it.

About the author

John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his girlfriend and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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