M1 iMac as a portable?

I’ve got this desire to use a Mac with a bigger-than-notebook screen at home, but I also want to use it in different rooms, and outdoors.

So, is the new iMac going to be perfect for this? Here’s my thought-experiment set-up:

  • M1 iMac with VESA mount
  • A quick release VESA adapter thing
  • Several VESA arms/stands around the house (trickiest one to get past my wife I suspect)
  • Velcro a couple of SSDs to the back (bye bye beautiful back)
  • Maybe velcro a slot to hold the keyboard and trackpad on the back for easier carrying
  • Buy an extra power brick or two (ideally at each location)
    – this lets me have ethernet at every spot, and other peripherals connected too, but could be costly

To change location, I just need to turn off the iMac, unplug the power, and take the 4.5kg (1kg lighter than the 21.5") machine with keyboard and trackpad to my new location.
Plug in one cable, switch on and I’m ready to go with a really powerful machine and big(gish), beautiful display.

This could be sweet.
But is it really going to be sweeter than my M1 Air that I love to pieces?

Hmmm … sounds about as pleasant to carry around as the Compaq Luggable was when racing to catch a train.


Why not just get an A/V cart and wheel the iMac and related kit around?


If you ask me (and I am not your wife), I won’t approve such setup. Yes it is great, but it is not a portable computer, there is convenience that comes with such unplug and move around of the MacBook. With iMac, you need to Shutdown, disconnect, move around carefully because of the size, and no screen protection.

If that setup is really needed, and you need computers around the home, get a MacBook, and a screen. And the MacBook will double down as actual portable computer outside the home.

That said, good luck convincing your wife :smiley:


Yes, I’ve been thinking about a cart as well, but somehow that seems more obtrusive to me.
And as for the luggable comparison, to be fair to me, I am only thinking about using it around my own house (on a single level). Think kitchen, living room, deck.

It’s clearly not a fully formulated plan yet though (but one I first started considering 2 months ago)

Don’t be silly. Get a small UPS that goes with you, and you don’t even have to shut it down.

Something like the CyberPower CP350SLG should work for long enough to move from one spot to another.

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Why even bother with the quick release VESA and just carry the iMac with foot. Less clutter around the house.

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Then you need a stable tabletop in each location. With VESA I could tuck the arm out of sight when it’s not in use in that location. I guess.
And use a flimsy surface for the keyboard and mouse (I only need one location to have a decent desk space).

But yes, keeping the foot is a tempting simplification.

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If you’re going to do this, you might as well do it whole hog.

Get some extra Bluetooth keyboards and mice/trackballs to store near your various VESA mounts. Probably easier than lugging them around.

As for carrying the computer, would it fit in a sturdy artist’s portfolio? Those come in all kinds of sizes, and often have shoulder straps. You could improvise some padding.

Then you could even carry it to the local coffee shop or park (if you can find power).

And a VESA mount on the park bench :rofl:

My idea seems more ridiculous with every suggestion, as helpful as they are, which is telling me it’s a bad idea.
I just want that elusive ability to have a full computer wherever I want to use it (and that includes more screen real estate than a 16" notebook).

Thanks for the input everyone; I think I need to try using my M1 Air with a dock and a screen for a while, it’s starting to feel more sensible!

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Get a desk on wheels.
Leave the iMac on the desk, connect it to a UPC so you don’t even have to turn it off while carting it around. Depending on the size of the battery you can even use it a couple of hours without plugging it in.

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Not really, just keep it simple. I used to pick up an iMac, screen against my side, by putting my forearm between body and the stand. When I was setting up a new department I would occasionally move two 21.5s at a time. Both a space saving keyboard and a trackpad could travel in the back pockets of my jeans, but that was rare.

Having a spare power cord isn’t a bad idea, but with the way Apple takes every opportunity to increase prices it could get costly.


Like a BOSS!



This is the best suggestion I’ve seen yet, the UPS is genius.


Given that the iPod Pro is super portable, looks a lot like an iMac when used w/ Smart Keyboard (but half-size), is already portable (battery forever, plug in when needed) - maybe use that instead? Use in at least one spot with external monitor for when you need more screen real estate?

And 3-4 empty Vesa mounts on the wall isn’t?

I know, that’s why I said somehow. I can imagine ways to hide the mounts in the furniture etc. but I’m probably being overly optimistic with that (I’m overly confident with my diy skills).

Anyway, I’m not going to bite for a while yet, so I’m mulling things over. It’s been fun getting some varied thoughts on the idea though.

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I think that it is a great idea, but I would just stick with the foot.

The new iMac looks like a pretty easy to carry device. I vastly prefer working with a Desktop for the projects I do. I end up sometimes taking my 27" iMac to our summer house in preference to just using a portable. That trip involves a ¼ mile canoe paddle. That is doable. This new iMac would make it very doable.

Just noting that if you use an Apple keyboard / mouse / trackpad, there are vendors that make very, very nice (and reasonably priced) cases that hold all three. So if you had an easy way to grab the screen, the input devices would be pretty easy to bundle up and tuck away in a pack or something.

My concern when moving any device like this is always the screen, and the fact that Apple probably didn’t consider this use case in design. Not that I believe the iMac to be fragile or anything, but it’s worth considering that MacBooks are almost certainly jostled around, bumped, etc. quite a bit during testing whereas the iMac isn’t.

I would highly suggest trying to find something along the lines of a Pelican case or something with similar protection if you’re planning to move it much further than “around the house”.

Although the whole idea reminds me of a gaming PC I saw way back in the day when LAN parties with full size computers were a thing.

A guy took a full tower, ripped the stand off a 17" monitor, and made some brackets so the monitor would mount to the side of the case that you never really had to remove. The other side got some bent metal brackets riveted to it so the keyboard / mouse / power cord / etc. could just be tucked in there. Then he bolted a standard-issue hardware-store D handle to the top of the case. When he wanted to go to a LAN party, he just unplugged the power cord / Ethernet, wadded the cables up, dropped his mouse / keyboard in the spots designed for them, and picked up his PC by the handle.

For tech of the time, it was pretty brilliant. :smiley:


I remember this. Had 21 characters

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