Best way to transfer everything from one Mac to another?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by bagrov, Mar 30, 2014.

  1. bagrov macrumors member

    Mar 30, 2014
    Hello guys!

    I guess the title speaks for itself.
    What is the quickest and easiest way to transfer literally the whole OS X with every file and folder from one Macbook to another?

    As I see there are Migration Assistant and Time Machine. How exactly do they work?

    Thanks in advance.
  2. ano0oj macrumors 6502

    Apr 20, 2010
    If you bought another laptop, ask the geniuses to handle all the data transfers
  3. bagrov thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 30, 2014
    I don't know yet if I buy the new one before or after selling the old one.
  4. Freyqq macrumors 601

    Dec 13, 2004
    The easiest way is to use an external hard drive and backup the original mac. Then you can copy whatever files you want by plugging that drive into the new mac. (USB speeds x2)

    Another way that would be even faster is to use a thunderbolt cord (assuming both have thunderbolt) and use target disk mode. If you do that, then the computer "target" just appears as another hard drive on the receiving mac. (speed = up to 20 gigabit)

    A slower, but cheaper route is to use a gigabit ethernet wire between the two computers and create an ad hoc network (or use a router and have them both connected by gigabit ethernet to it). (up to 1 gigabit)


    If you create a time machine backup, then all the files on the backed-up mac have been copied to the external drive.
  5. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    Get an external USB disk and use that to make a Time Machine backup of your current Mac. Then when you get the new Mac, during system setup you will be asked if you want to import your data. Tell it yes and point it to your Time Machine disk for import. That will bring in your user account along with all your apps and data from the old machine.

    So Time Machine will make a complete backup copy of your current system, then the Migration Assistant that runs during setup will use that Time Machine backup as the source to import everything.
  6. bagrov thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 30, 2014
  7. spectreracing macrumors newbie

    Mar 29, 2014
    Are both OS X versions the same? i.e. OS X Mavericks? What I literally just did was take the HD from my mid-2010 MBP and put it in my girlfriends 2012 MBP, and it booted right up. Check out this thread:

    Seems to me it would be alot quicker to go that route if you don't want to spend hours transferring stuff. As always, make sure you have a backup before you do anything involving HDD's.
  8. bagrov thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 30, 2014
    Don't really want to mess with hardware, I had bad experience. :)
    But thanks anyway.
  9. Trek2100 macrumors 6502a


    Oct 20, 2009
    Sevierville, TN
    +1 however, if you have a windows partition, Time Machine will not back it up. I copied the data I wanted to keep from my windows partition to the Mac side.
  10. bagrov thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 30, 2014
    Nope, it's just Mac OS. Will do that. :)
  11. jbrown macrumors 6502a


    Jul 7, 2002
    Carbon Copy Cloner :D
  12. KUguardgrl13 macrumors 68020


    May 16, 2013
    Kansas, USA
    This. Especially if you're moving apps and programs over. I tried dragging and dropping from my 2009 MBP to my 2013 rMBP, and Office didn't work. I had to use Migration Assistant to get all of the program files in the correct spots.

    BTW you can move a single license of Office to a new machine as long as you delete it from the old machine ;)

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