Re-attaching an iMac Stand After VESA Mount Use

We recently purchased a new iMac to replace a old iMac. The old iMac was attached to a wall mount using Apple's VESA Mount Adapter, so I had to remove the old iMac from that adapter and attach the new iMac to it. That went fine, but then I had problems re-connecting the original stand to the old iMac. What follows is what I learned, and I hope it helps others who have the same problem.

When you connect an iMac to a VESA adapter, you first have to remove the iMac's stand. This procedure is described in the VESA adapter manual, and it is not difficult. Unfortunately, that manual does not tell you how to reattach the stand to the iMac when you no longer want it mounted to a wall, and simply following the manual in reverse doesn't work.

The complication is that there is a latch inside an iMac that keeps the stand at a range of angles that hides the screws. The VESA adapter kit comes with a little credit-card-sized plastic "access card" that you slide into the stand slot to release the latch and "lock" it into the position needed to remove the screws and connect the VESA adapter. But when you take the VESA adapter off and reconnect the stand, it is not obvious how to unlock that latch.

This was one time I really wish the back of the iMac was transparent. It would have been nice to see the latch to figure out how to unlock it.

After some head-scratching and Googling and trial and error, I got the latch unlocked. Here's how to do it:

  1. Lay the iMac face down on a table.
  2. Re-attach the iMac stand to the flange using the 8 screws. Note that you will need to position the stand such that its bottom hangs off the table.
  3. Push down slightly on the stand to expose the latch, and insert the access card at a low angle (that is, don't insert it by pressing directly toward the table, but try to slide it toward the top of the iMac).
  4. When you feel the card moving the latch, lift on the stand and it should go into the proper position. If not, repeat the previous step at a slightly different angle.

To give credit where it's due, here are the online forum postings that I found most helpful: