Logistics for transferring between iMacs?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by MacAlien, Jan 15, 2013.

  1. macrumors regular


    Oct 17, 2012
    So, I have a 27" on order and I keep wondering exactly how to get my stuff transferred to it from my current mid-2007 21" iMac. I won't pretend I know much about Thunderbolt but from briefly looking, I'm assuming I can use my FW cords between the two iMacs, right? Or is there a faster alternative to moving everything over?
  2. macrumors 603

    Nov 25, 2012
    United States
    Logistics? That's an interesting word. I guess it does involve "transferring" but I would've used a different word for what you're trying to do....enough of my grammar lessons, haha. If you have your stuff backed up onto an external drive (especially via Time Machine) you can easily transfer all that stuff during your first time set up of your new iMac. If you haven't done so use Time Machine and backup all your stuff on the old iMac. During setup of the new one it will ask you if you want to transfer your stuff from another Mac or via Time Machine backup. Whichever one you choose it will walk you through.
  3. macrumors 6502a

    Feb 28, 2012
    In theory, plugging an ethernet cable between the two boxes would be faster than firewire, but in practise you may not notice much difference. I moved from my mid 2007 to my current 2012 model with Migration Assistant and a standard ethernet cable with no problems.
  4. macrumors newbie

    Jan 14, 2013
    I'm in the same boat, I have a even older iMac and it's backed up with Time Machine backups. But the problem is, it's only a USB 2.0 external drive. I'm dreading transferring all my data over USB 2.0 and am thinking about just going ethernet to ethernet between the two machines? Are there any advantages to time machine backups vs direct transferring?
  5. macrumors 68000


    Jun 29, 2007
    assuming your iMac is the aluminum one and has a firewire 800 port you'll want to get a thunderbolt to firewire 800 adapter and a firewire 800 cable if you don't already have one.

    Shut down your old iMac and connect it to the new imac via the adapter. Power on your old iMac while holding T on the keyboard and the screen should power on with a firewire logo bouncing around.

    If you'd like to migrate the old iMac onto the new one you'll want to hook this up before even booting the new iMac for the first time and then follow the steps when you get to the migration assistant in setup. This will allow you to copy your whole user account with settings from the old iMac.

    your other choice would be to set the iMac up as new then you can copy only the folders you want off the old drive as if it were hooked up as an external. This option will allow you to copy all of your files but wont transfer things like settings.

    you can also use an ethernet cable or if you wanted to pull the drive and put it in an external enclosure you could do this as well.
  6. macrumors 6502a


    Sep 16, 2006
  7. macrumors 6502

    Oct 11, 2012
    The new iMacs don't have a built-in FW port, so you'd need a thunderbolt-FW adapter. Unless you need that adapter for something else, don't buy it just for migrating.

    If your old iMac supports Gbit ethernet, just connect the two macs with an ordinary ethernet cable. It will be fast enough. Ethernet is much faster than using a Time Machine backup on a USB 2.0 disk.

    I migrated my old iMac to my new 2012 model over ethernet. I think it took about 2 hours to move 700 GB or so of stuff. I started it and went to bed.

    The migration worked flawlessly; my whole environment came over, down to little details like placement of icons on my desktop. The Safari tabs that were open on the old mac opened on the new one the first time I launched Safari. 3rd-party apps kept their license keys. Etc. etc. etc.


    You don't have to do the migration the first time you boot the new mac. You can set the mac up, then migrate later. This seems to work easiest if you make a TEMPORARY administrator login on the new mac at first using setup assistant. Then you can use migration assistant to move your REAL login later. Once you have your real account the way you want it, you can disable or delete the temporary user.
  8. macrumors Core


    Jan 23, 2005
    Unless you want to spend money on adaptors, just plug and ethernet cable in between the two machines then run Migration Assisant during the setup process on the new machine. That will move all your settings/apps/data over.

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