Transfer Everything from an Old Mac to a New Mac with Migration Assistant
The simplest way to move from an old Mac to a new Mac is to use the built-in Migration Assistant tool. Migration Assistant can be used at any time, but ideally, it will be used on first boot of the new Mac, that way when it’s finished everything will be exactly where you left off on the old machine, except all your files, documents, and apps, will be on the new Mac. This is what I recently used to migrate from a failing old MacBook Air to a new MacBook Air (a technically used Certified Refurbished model from Apple), and it allowed me to never miss a beat.
Using Migration Assistant is extremely easy, here is how to move everything from one Mac to another:
- Launch Migration Assistant on both Macs, the new and old one
- Connect both Macs to the same network, either through Wi-Fi or ethernet
- On the new Mac (called the Target), choose “From another Mac, PC, Time Machine backup or other disk” then click “Continue”, enter the admin password when requested
- At the next screen, select “From another Mac or PC” then choose Continue again
- Now on the old Mac, choose “To another Mac” from the primary Migration Assistant window, enter the administrator password on request
- Quit out of any other apps if you haven’t yet, then on the target Mac wait until Migration Assistant shows a passcode, enter that on the old Mac to confirm
- Now select the info to transfer, including user data, applications, and settings
- When satisfied with the settings to transfer (I generally select everything), click “Transfer”
Now you only need to wait until the transfer is completed. This may take a while, because everything is copying from the old Mac to the new Mac over the network, meaning if you have a fast wireless-N network it will move quicker than a slower wireless-B network.
Once finished, the target (new) Mac will reboot and include everything the old Mac had. This is by far the easiest way to get every single thing from an older Mac to a new Mac. If you didn’t select everything to be migrated initially, you can transfer a file or folder later using something like AirDrop or network sharing.
iOS users can perform a similar migration of iPhones and iPads with iCloud or iTunes.