Clix Pix

macrumors demi-goddess
Original poster
A friend of mine has an early 2009 iMac which is starting to indicate that it's ready to give up the ghost any time now. She is using Time Machine with it. At the time she purchased this machine we took her then older machine which was a 2005 PPC G5 iMac Rev B into the Apple Store and had them do the transferring of all her data, etc. from that older iMac into the 2009 iMac.

Now she's ready for a new 2013 iMac. Her current 2009 iMac is running Mavericks, which she just installed a couple of weeks ago. She was complaining of the computer now being slow to start up so I advised her on cleaning up some of the folders she had on the desktop and also cleaning up a lot of unused apps that she had sitting on the dock. Also had her run "Repair Permissions" and a PRAM reset. That's all helped somewhat so that at least now she doesn't feel as though the machine is going to croak tomorrow.

The confusion comes in because when we looked online to find out about transferring data from old machine to new machine there seemed to be conflicting information and also some potential glitches and issues. My friend does NOT want to take any chances of losing her iPhoto library contents, which we read about in one particular instance. We noticed some issues mentioned about Migration Assistant, too. Something about the user name.....?

She is using iPhoto for photos. She is using iTunes Match for her iTunes stuff. She uses iCloud to sync her computer with her iPhone and iPads. A lot of times she makes purchases directly on the iPhone or one of the iPads so sometimes the computer doesn't have quite the same contents as the devices.

I do not use Time Machine so am not quite sure of the ins-and-outs of it. My friend has a Time Capsule, an older generation, which she is planning to replace with one of the new ones. Ideally it would be great to simply dump everything from the old Time Capsule/Time Machine into the new computer and then start from scratch with the new Time Capsule and Time Machine from that point on.

Questions here are: can we just take in her old Time Capsule to the Apple store and let them use that to install all the data on the new machine or do we need to take in the old iMac. too? We both decided that we'd rather have the Apple store personnel handle the transfer of data in case of any glitches since she is not all that computer-savvy and since I am not that comfortable with using either Time Machine or Migration Assistant to transfer data. I've never done either, as my method has always been to simply start out "clean" with a new machine and then simply copy relevant folders and files over from an external drive into a new machine. This method has always worked well for me. My friend, though, does not have an external drive to use and does not want to buy one just for this purpose. She hasn't quite grasped the concept of using one for additional backup above and beyond the Time Machine/Time Capsule. Sigh....

One question we had after looking online for guidance in the process is -- does Time Machine in fact actually copy over EVERYTHING from old machine to new machine? Some things we read seemed to suggest that maybe all material from iPhoto was not copied over completely. ?? My friend has family photos and such that she definitely does not want to lose.

Something which I suspect may also play a part in all of this and add in some unwanted glitches is the fact that in the transferring of old data from an older machine to a new one, along with the data will be included a lot of old crap which isn't needed and also a lot of stuff still related to that old PPC 2005 rev B iMac. I'd think this could cause problems either with a Migration Assistant type transfer or a transfer via Time Machine. Yes?

Anyway, bottom line is that we don't know if it would be easiest to just take in the Time Capsule and let the personnel at the Apple store plug that into the new machine or if it would be better to take in the actual old computer as well.

Any advice or recommendations? Frankly, I'd just as soon have to carry in only the Time Capsule, which is a whole lot lighter weight than the old 24" iMac!


macrumors 68000
Mar 20, 2009
Near London, UK.
Some things we read seemed to suggest that maybe all material from iPhoto was not copied over completely

It will be as long as all the photos are within the iPhoto library. Its possible to run iPhoto ina mode so that the photos are not in its library, but wherever you want, perhaps scattered across any number of disks. In that case, it would be quite possible for TM to be set up so that it wasn't backing up from one or more of those locations in which case then a restore wouldn't restore all the photos. But that comes under user error, not TM error.

If you look in iPhoto, under Preferences > Advanced, the top box "import photos to library" should be ticked.

Regards more general advice
1. Don't delete anything off the old Mac until the data is safely restored to the new iMac and backed up to a new TM disk. You can also restore direct from the old Mac should all else fail.
2. I strongly recommend taking a backup by another route, as double protection. Use something like Carbon Copy Cloner.
3. There should also be an offsite method of backup. So, take the CCC (or other) backup and hold it offsite, use a cloud backup service, whatever. Otherwise, fire, flood theft or user error and all that data could be lost anyway.

Taking the TM disk in to the store should be all thats needed (though its easy enough to do at home)
Last edited:

Clix Pix

macrumors demi-goddess
Original poster
Thank you! Oh, I hear you loud and clear about the need for additional backup and other media. Indeed with my own computers I have external backups up the wazoo and in more than one place, etc. My backups are my security blanket, giving me peace of mind. Can't imagine NOT having at least three. My friend doesn't want to go to the expense of buying an external hard drive to use for doing CCC or some backup system, which I think is a grave mistake for exactly the reasons you mention. She doesn't really seem to grasp the basic concept of saving one's valuable documents, images, music, etc., in more than one location and not just having it only on her computer and one backup that is essentially connected to the computer. Sigh.... The ONLY backup she has is on her Time Machine/Time Capsule and that's it. To me, that is really risky....

I don't use iPhoto myself -- I prefer Aperture and handle my images differently -- but I think my friend has used iPhoto right from the very beginning so I imagine that all of her images are indeed in iPhoto. That's a good point about why some people have had issues with their images not all having been imported, if they were scattered around the disk. When I am over there at my friend's house I'll check her iPhoto app and preferences before we do anything to make sure that the "Import photos to library" box is checked. Thanks!

Definitely we won't be deleting anything off the old iMac until we are sure that it's all on the new machine and that everything is running smoothly.

Since this is so different from the way I do things with my own computers I'm a bit leery of doing this at her house and would just as soon take the Time Capsule in to the store and let them handle it -- that way if there are any glitches they'll know what they are doing and how to resolve it, whereas I probably would not. (Also, that way if there are any problems she can blame the Apple store Genius, not me!)
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.