How To Data Migrate To Your New Mac

So you’ve just bought a brand new MacBook Pro but you want to transfer all of your old data from your iMac over to your new MacBook. Well, you’re in luck. In this blog, we’ve taken a look at the two best methods that Apple provides to help you transfer all of your data from one Mac to another. Whether you want to simply transfer data from one Mac to another or you’re upgrading, these processes may come in handy for you.

 

 

Migration Assistant

Perhaps the easiest of the two methods, Migration Assistant is a free piece of software that Apple provides and it even comes built into your Mac, so you won’t have to download any additional software. To find the Migration Assistant app, all you need to do is hit Command + spacebar to bring up spotlight search. And then simply search for “Migration Assistant” and then hit enter. Alternatively, you can navigate to your Applications folder and then the Utilities folder. Here you should find the Migration Assistant.

This would also be a good time to power on your new Mac and run through some initial set up screens; select your language, region and most importantly, connecting to your WiFi network. You’ll then be presented with the “Transfer Information to This Mac” screen from which you’ll want to select the option that says “From a Mac, Time Machine back or startup disk”.

Head on back to your old Mac and click Continue within the Migration Assistant app, it will probably ask you to log in. You’ll then be presented with a new Migration Assistant window with three options; you’ll want to select “To another Mac”.

If both Mac’s are connected to the same WiFi network, a passcode should appear on both your old and new Macs. Make sure that the code is identical on both of your Macs and then hit continue. You’ll then be able to choose what data you want to transfer across to your new Mac, you can simply select all, or you may only want to copy across your applications for example.

Now depending on the amount of data that you are transferring across and also your network connection speed, this process could take several hours to complete, so it may be a good idea to leave it to complete overnight. But once the migration is complete and you’ve signed in with your Apple ID you’ll be ready to go, with all your favourite apps exactly where you left them but this time, on a shiny new Mac.

While the Migration Assistant is certainly the easiest method to transfer all of your data, it does somewhat lack control over the data that you do and do not want to transfer over. While there is an option to choose whether you want to copy across your applications, computer and network settings and your files and folders, it lacks control at a more granular level. Migration Assistant will copy over all your files, including the older, unused junk that has no purpose other than to take up space on your hard drive. If therefore, you don’t mind re-downloading your applications, configuring your settings, or transferring across your files manually, it may be a better option to opt for a clean start. That way, any old junk that you no longer need isn’t copied across and your new Mac will only have the necessary files and applications that you use on a daily basis, saving storage space and improving performance.

 

 

Time Machine

A similar method to Migration Assistant, in the sense that it is a free piece of software that comes pre-downloaded with your Mac. Time Machine, however, does require an external hard drive or a network drive, something that you will need to purchase if you don’t have one already. It is recommended that your external hard drive is at least double the storage capacity of your internal hard drive found inside your Mac, especially if your internal drive is full.

Once you have sourced a suitable external drive, go ahead and connect it to your Mac. Then, navigate to your System Preferences and select the Time Machine app. If you haven’t used Time Machine before, you will be prompted to select the drive you wish to back up to, in this case, it will be your external hard drive. Once you have selected the right drive, check the “Back Up Automatically” box and Time Machine will begin backing up your data.

By selecting the “Options” button at the bottom of the Time Machine window, you can select specific files that you do not want to appear in the backup, something that Migration Assistant does not offer. For example, you may want to check certain cache folders as these can often build up over time and will save you a lot of space on your new Mac. The entire backup process will take some time depending on how much data you have to back-up but this process is generally quicker than using Migration Assistant.

Once the backup is complete, you have everything you need to transfer to your new Mac. Once your new Mac is switched on, you’ll need to follow the same process that we used for the Migration Assistant. Select your language, region and WiFi network, then you will arrive at the same “Transfer Information to This Mac” screen again. Again, select the first option; “From a Mac, Time Machine back or startup disk” and ensure that your external hard drive is connected. Your new Mac will then automatically detect the backup, press continue and the data migration will begin. Again, depending on the size of the backup, this process may take some time but once complete, you’ll be good to go.

Both Migration Assistant and Time Machine are great options and each has its own individual benefits. If you’re looking for a more automated process, then Migration Assistant is likely the best option for you but be mindful that you have limited control over what data is transferred across. This is where Time Machine comes in. You do have a greater level of oversight as to what data you do and do not want to be copied across, however, this method does require an additional purchase. While the cost of hard drives and SSDs have fallen in recent years, ensuring that you have enough capacity to transfer all of your data can be relatively costly.