Can Time Machine restore my MBA on a different MBA?

watermelonbook

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jan 31, 2014
173
38
I use Time Machine to do full back-ups of my MBA 2013 with 256GB SSD. (to a WD 1TB USB portable hard drive)

If my MBA dies and has to be replaced with another MBA(identical year with identical specs), can the Time Machine back-up restore everything that was on the old MBA?

THanks!
 

Boyd01

Moderator
Staff member
Feb 21, 2012
4,201
1,876
New Jersey Pine Barrens
I have been using the Migration Assistant with my Time Machine backup disk each time I upgrade to a new machine. The beauty of this approach is that it knows which files not to copy (incompatible system files from the old machine).

If you are really moving to an identical machine, then Time Machine by itself should do the job. But would a new machine really be completely identical? If it is, then you could also use a clone of the old machine with software like Carbon Copy. I have three levels of backup myself - continuous with an Airport Time Capsule, weekly with Time Machine on an external drive, and weekly clones with Carbon Copy. The nice thing about the clone is that I can actually boot off the external disk if needed.
 

Significant1

macrumors 6502a
Dec 20, 2014
710
210
I have been using the Migration Assistant with my Time Machine backup disk each time I upgrade to a new machine. The beauty of this approach is that it knows which files not to copy (incompatible system files from the old machine).
As long, as you don't install an older version os OSX than the Timemachine backup. I don't think there is a difference. First OSX is installed and then Migration Assistant is run. Running it directly at installation time saves the the extra step of setting up a temporary user account.
 

darngooddesign

macrumors G3
Jul 4, 2007
9,311
211
Atlanta, GA
As long, as you don't install an older version os OSX than the Timemachine backup...
Good point. Make sure OSX on your new laptop has all the system updates applied before restoring from the time machine backup.

Side question, can I physically plug the Time Capsule drive into my laptop to speed up a Time Machine restore?
 

Significant1

macrumors 6502a
Dec 20, 2014
710
210
Good point. Make sure OSX on your new laptop has all the system updates applied before restoring from the time machine backup.

Side question, can I physically plug the Time Capsule drive into my laptop to speed up a Time Machine restore?
I think modern OSX will check for latest OSX during installation, if connected to internet. So you always install an up to date version.

Physical connection, can only be done by ethernet. So you need to have an ethernet adapter (1Gbps to get any speed advantage). Turn off wifi before starting restore, to make sure the cable is used. On my previous generation Time Capsule I am maxing out at 50MB/s, which is well below the physical limitation of disk and 1Gbps ethernet. Computer to Computer with cable and TimeCapsule is switch is 100+MB/s, so the Time Capsule disk logic must be the limiting factor.
 

darngooddesign

macrumors G3
Jul 4, 2007
9,311
211
Atlanta, GA
I think modern OSX will check for latest OSX during installation, if connected to internet. So you always install an up to date version.
I've bought new Macs which needed system updates, and restoring from the recovery partition will also require updates. Doing an internet OSX install will give you the latest, but that can be slower than installing from recovery and updating.

Thanks for the Time Machine info.
 

Boyd01

Moderator
Staff member
Feb 21, 2012
4,201
1,876
New Jersey Pine Barrens
On my previous generation Time Capsule I am maxing out at 50MB/s, which is well below the physical limitation of disk and 1Gbps ethernet.
Don't expect any improvement from the new model. I have the current generation Time Capsule, and it also maxes out about 50MB/s.




FWIW, I get around 30MB/s accessing the Time Capsule internal disk over 802.11ac wifi

 

dkl

macrumors member
Aug 4, 2012
76
3
Good point. Make sure OSX on your new laptop has all the system updates applied before restoring from the time machine backup.

Side question, can I physically plug the Time Capsule drive into my laptop to speed up a Time Machine restore?
Not sure about the having to have the latest OS and all system updates applied. The last 2 times I had to do it, I boot my MBA into recovery (which seem to be stored in ROM) and restored from my Time Machine backup. Of which, once was because I upgraded my SSD from the stock 128GB to the Transcend 960GB stick (which contained nothing - not even a recovery partition), and just restored from my Time Machine. Worked brilliantly.

EDIT: That was OS X's Internet Recovery feature. The MBA automatically uses this feature when the Recovery System on the startup drive isn't available. More details on Apple's website - https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201314. You'll need a wifi / internet connection for this to work.
 

FuNGi

macrumors 65816
Feb 26, 2010
1,112
28
California
I've used Migration Assistant from a TimeMachine backup when moving to new machines numerous times. I even swapped a HDD from one machine to another awhile back. Just swapped, nothing else, and it worked in the new different MBP.