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snowyjoey

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Original poster
Jan 15, 2012
40
4
Hi all, wondering if anyone has ever had a need to do this, and maybe some tips if so.

I have two macs. I need to sell one, and move all it's data to a second user account on the other mac.
I have CCC and TM backups. I know you can use Migration Assistant, but I am confused about the situation with apps.

Let's say Mac1 is the one I am keeping, Mac2 is the one with the data which needs to moving to Mac1 (separate user).
There are more apps on Mac2 than Mac1, but only ten or fifteen, 90% of the apps on Mac2 are already installed on Mac1.
I think, if I just let Migration Assistant do it's thing from Mac2 to Mac1 second user, I will end up with duplicated apps and lots of space wasted on Mac1's hard drive as both machines have mostly the same apps.

Is there a simple way to achieve what I need without duplicating and taking up valuable HDD space?

thanks
 

Fishrrman

macrumors Penryn
Feb 20, 2009
28,761
12,867
My opinion is that you're probably better off moving things from Mac2 "by hand", a little-at-a-time.

It's not all that difficult, but it IS a bit tedious, and I would advise you to keep some handwritten notes to keep track of what's done and what's not.

I would also recommend using the CCC cloned backup of Mac2, and the best possible way to make the move.

A VERY IMPORTANT STEP TO TAKE when you get the Mac2 cloned backup connected to Mac1:
- connect the Mac2 backup and let the icon appear on the desktop
- click ONE TIME on the icon to select it
- bring up the "get info" box for the icon (command-i)
- at the bottom of get info, click the lock and enter the password you're using for your account on Mac1
- put a check into "ignore ownership on this volume"
- close get info
You need to do this in order to avoid permissions problems when moving files from one account to the other.

ANOTHER IMPORTANT THING to be aware of:
You CANNOT copy "the first level of folders" from one home folder to another.
That is, you cannot copy those folders named "movies", "documents", "music", "pictures", etc. These are "more than" just folders. They represent "symbolic links" to the particular account they're in.

HOWEVER...
You CAN copy files and folders that are INSIDE OF these folders.
For example, you could open the "pictures" folder (from your Mac2 account), and copy items inside it to the pictures folder on your Mac1 account.

I'm thinking that if you use iTunes, Apple Music, Photos, iPhoto, etc., that "the easiest way" to get music, pics, etc., from your Mac2 account into your Mac1 account might be to:
- Open the app (example: Photos) on your Mac1 account
- Go to the "import" menu choice
- Direct Photos to the Photos library (on the CCC backup) from Mac2
- See if Photos can import all the photos from that account.
You will probably have some duplicates that you'll have to remove.

As I said above, it will be a slow and tedious process, but not really all that difficult. So long as you have Mac2's "stuff" on a cloned backup, you can take your time and get it right...
 

snowyjoey

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Original poster
Jan 15, 2012
40
4
Thanks for such a generous post. I have done a fait bit of this and I actually moved from Mac1 to Mac2 completely by hand! (Don't ask, it was a mistake and now i need to move back to one machine for biz and personal with two accounts, I did try to separate by machine and wish I hadn't!) It sure was "tedious"!!
I just wanted to avoid all that work again but I think you're probably right. I don't use many Apple services, I avoid them as much as possible, but I do use some, mail, Photos, mainly those which don't use icloud as i dont want to use that at all.

One issue for example....

Mac2's Photos dbase is a successor to Mac1's photos dbase! I brought the one from Mac1 about 6 months ago, and have only added to the Photos Dbase on mac2, so it's basically a duplicate of a pretty huge photo library on Mac1, plus 6 months worth of images (I added none to Mac1 Photos database since then).
So am I right in thinking I can probably do this your way but with some prep, for example:

Clean out Mac1's files where they will be superceded by Mac2s data - such as deleting Photos database, and bring the other one from Mac2.

The confusion for me comes in the fact that I want BOTH user accounts to have access to that one photos database, if that's even possible!
But for other things, like Mac Mail, I want one user account to have a totally different setup (and accounts) to the other user account. It's all a bit of a headache as you can see!

Probably the single biggest question I have is regarding APPS.

I want ALL apps I have on both machines, available to BOTH users on the iMac (Mac1) when I am done.
I think Mac1 has say 69 apps, Mac2 has THOSE same 69 apps (from when I exported to it from Mac1 originally) PLUS another 10-20 apps. Oh I am losing the plot even trying to explain it! I think I may need to take a break and come back to this!!
 

Fishrrman

macrumors Penryn
Feb 20, 2009
28,761
12,867
If you're going to keep both Macs going, the best advice I can give is:
Let each Mac, be its own Mac.

Or... don't try to make them "identical".
It's a wild goose chase and more trouble than it's worth.
 

snowyjoey

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Original poster
Jan 15, 2012
40
4
Thanks, not sure you understand what I am trying to do though. I don't want to make them identical. I want the data from the Macbook into a second user on the iMac, so I can sell the Macbook. I need the money and can't afford to keep both machines, so no choice unfortunately.
 

appltech

macrumors 6502a
Apr 23, 2020
688
167
As far as I know, there's no way you can automatically move data from the old mac to a new one (via Migration Assistant) to a specific user (without creating a new separate one, or replacing the old one). It seems like you want too much to happen at once.
So I agree with Fishrrman - manual tinkering is required. The most optimal way I see this happening - 1. Install those extra apps on the Mac you're keeping (admin user will install it for all other users); 2) transfer photos to that mac's main user to the main library; 3) move all necessary files wherever you need; 4) create a separate user for all those Mail and other accounts.
 

snowyjoey

Suspended
Original poster
Jan 15, 2012
40
4
As far as I know, there's no way you can automatically move data from the old mac to a new one (via Migration Assistant) to a specific user (without creating a new separate one, or replacing the old one).
I do intend to create a new user. Just to recap:

I have a user on my iMac (by business machine). I want to keep that account just as it is, but add another user into which I want all data from the Macbook (personal machine, becomes personal user account on iMac) :)
Thanks
 

appltech

macrumors 6502a
Apr 23, 2020
688
167
Well, in this case you can use Migration Assistant (either from Time Machine, or by connecting Macs via Thunderbolt). When it launches, it gives you a choice of what to transfer - select only user data on this step. That will create a new user, with all the data that was on it on older Mac. That will not merge photos into one Library though, I think. Again, you will need to install those 10 extra apps manually afterwards.
Hope I did not miss anything.
 

snowyjoey

Suspended
Original poster
Jan 15, 2012
40
4
Great, yes that would be a good solution if it works. I expect some manual cleanup/txfers anyway.
The only thing I am not clear on is whether to create the second user and then import using MA from inside that account, or to do it from the only user on the machine currently
 

Fishrrman

macrumors Penryn
Feb 20, 2009
28,761
12,867
Do the two accounts have DIFFERENT USERNAMES?
That's important.

If they DO, then you should be able to connect the backup, and use migration assistant to move the "personal account" over, lock, stock and barrel. The business account should be left "untouched".

The problems occur when two accounts HAVE THE SAME USERNAME.
But so long as they don't, things should go smoothly.

You should have told us this in the first place...
 

snowyjoey

Suspended
Original poster
Jan 15, 2012
40
4
No, different usernames involved thankfully, good call.
Re "lock, stock and barrel" - the point of the question is that, yes I could do that, but since the two profiles have 90% identical apps, I dont want to waste a ton of space with duplicated apps. But if as has been said the apps are installed in one central place and not inside user accounts then this could definitely work. thanks
 
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