View Full Version : Macbook Pro to Air file transfer help

Oct 2, 2011, 01:41 PM
Hello guys.
First post on here, looking to become a regular as I enjoy reading through the forums and am a fan of all things Apple! :) :apple:

Anyway, I currently have a 2009 13' Macbook Pro.

Am looking to replace this with a 2011 11' Macbook Air - top spec.

I use my Macbook for internet browsing, music downloads and iPhone/Pod syncing. It's always on and I spend a lot of time with it.
I had an iPad 2 but have recently sold it as I wasn't using it half as much as I thought I would.
It was great for quick browsing but I found myself just opening the lid of my MBP and using that instead. So it's sold.

Anyway I know the MBA will be more than capable for my current needs but I have one question:

I have around 1500 songs (About 8gb) of iTunes music on my MBP. I would like to transfer all of this to the Air, but could do with selling the MBP before I buy the Air.
My question is, what do I do with my music on my MBP until I get my Air?

External storage? Or, as the music is all on my iPhone 4 is there a way to get it off that onto the new laptop?

I appreciate this may be a silly question, and may have been answered several times before in other threads but wondered if anyone could help.

I don't have any means of external storage but am happy to get hold of some as it may come in handy for the Air later on down the line.
Any suggestions on which is best?

Hope you guys can help, i'd really appreciate any advice you can give.

Many thanks. :D

Oct 2, 2011, 01:52 PM
Your best bet is to purchase an external USB drive that is double the size of your anticipated purchase drive or more. Use Time Machine to do a full backup of your existing computer to the external drive. Be sure to "secure erase" your old computer and reinstall a fresh copy of the OS before selling it.

When you receive your new Air, as part of the initialization process it will offer to transfer your data from your old computer or from a TM backup. Plug in your external drive and it will transfer all your personal data including music and photos plus installed apps to your new Air.

Now you can use your external drive as a backup drive for your new Air, which everyone should have especially if they have a valuable music library stored there. Run TM every few days or so to be sure your data is safely backed up in case of a computer malfunction or theft.

Enjoy your new Air...:cool:


Oct 2, 2011, 01:52 PM
External hard drives are too cheap NOT to have for regular backups of your computer. What would you about all your music, pictures, documents, etc. when your computer hard disk fails? (All drives fail eventually, the only question is whether they do so before you replace the system with something newer.)

So with that in mind, pick up a 500GB to 1TB external drive for $50-$80 and use that for a Time Machine backup of your current computer.

When you get your new one, plug the drive into it as you start it up and it'll ask about transferring files/settings and such -- as part of the new Mac setup it will pull all your stuff from the other computer's Time Machine backup.

My only reservation is to suggest trying to avoid getting rid of the old computer before getting the new one. I'd be real nervous about backing stuff up to a drive and it being the only copy I had since you'll want to completely/securely wipe and reinstall the old computer before it leaves your possession.

Oct 2, 2011, 02:02 PM
Hey Howard thank you for the response :)

It's that simple then?!

So buy a USB external storage - plug it in.
When you say run Time Machine you mean configure it to the external device that I buy? Then just whack it into the Air and away I go?!

Sounds good! Thank you. :)

Oct 2, 2011, 02:13 PM
Yep ... it is that simple!

Since you are going to be using the drive exclusively with OS X, I would probably plug it in and use "Disk Utility" to reformat it as "OSX Journaled" for maximum performance. Then open Time Machine Preferences and your drive will be listed under the "Select Disk" button. Once selected, TM will start the first backup in about a minute or so. The first one will take awhile if you have a lot of stuff, but subsequent incremental backups only take a minute or so.


Oct 2, 2011, 02:24 PM
Since you are going to be using the drive exclusively with OS X, I would probably plug it in and use "Disk Utility" to reformat it as "OSX Journaled" for maximum performance. Then open Time Machine Preferences and your drive will be listed under the "Select Disk" button.

OK a bit lost now :eek: lol.
I'm guessing it is a simple procedure? But what are the benefits of doing it this way and would it still then be a case of plugging it into the new Air and just clicking to transfer?

Thanks again for the help!

Oct 2, 2011, 02:33 PM
Once you select the external drive as your TM backup drive, it will automatically perform the first backup, which will take awhile.

From then on, all you have to do is plug the drive into your USB port, and TM will see it mount and automatically do a incremental backup of anything which has been changed since it last saw the drive mounted. If you leave it plugged in while you work, it will update the backup every hour while it is plugged in.

It is really transparent to the user at that point ... it just happens!:)


Oct 2, 2011, 03:06 PM
What about this?


Would this do the trick?

It says it is Time Machine compatible. :)

Thanks again

Oct 2, 2011, 03:33 PM
That would work, although any inexpensive Seagate or Western Digital portable drive would be fine too. I can't give purchase advice for Europe, but in the US you could get a 500 - 750GB drive for about $50 at Amazon, Best Buy, Staples, etc. which would all work just fine.


Oct 2, 2011, 03:56 PM
Yeah it did seem quite expensive...
Found this now:


Would this be ok as it doesn't say anything about bein 'time machine ready'.
Or does that not matter?
Sorry for all the silly questions! And thanks again for your help. :)

Oct 2, 2011, 05:12 PM
That should work fine, although at 1TB it may be more than you need just for TM and is physically thicker than a 500-750GB drive if portability is paramont. It appears to be low priced compared to smaller drives on that site. I am not sure from the description if it is USB bus powered (it includes a power supply).

Here is a bus powered 1TB drive:


I have one of those drives and I partitioned it into 2 drives ... half for TM and half for general file storage. In use, TM will gradually consume the entire partition before it starts discarding old data to preserve the maximum file version history. Using the whole drive is fine ... it is just a really large amount of backup for a 256GB computer drive. I think Apple recommends a drive 1.5 to 2 times the size of your primary drive.

Here is a smaller one: