Migrating 2012 iMac to 2018 Mac mini

Chiromac81

macrumors regular
Original poster
Nov 18, 2018
113
18
Ontario Canada
i just received a Mac mini i7 16GB ram and 1 TB and I have a old 2012 iMac that is hooked up with a external HD 2GB. I backed up iMac the other day but wondering how I get the stuff from old Mac to new. Is it best to take items a little at a time or just run a time machine on the new Mac mini from the old Mac?

2 considerations are that the old Mac doesn’t have Mojave yet and also my wife and myself both have accounts on the old Mac but I’m looking to just transfer my stuff over (my account).

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated :)
 

mikehalloran

macrumors 68000
Oct 14, 2018
1,712
435
The Sillie Con Valley
The way that Apple recommends is to use Migration Assistant to pull the old data from your old Mini or Time Machine. You can connect via ethernet. As you fire up the new machine it will ask to transfer your data from your old Mac or Time Machine—that's Migration Assistant.

There are many who will talk about cloning and bla, bla, bla. You do not want to do this. Cloning can be useful for some tasks but not here. Feel free to ignore them as they are wrong.

Apple is right. Migration Assistant is also the easiest way.
 

CoastalOR

macrumors 68030
Jan 19, 2015
2,664
974
Oregon, USA
i just received a Mac mini i7 16GB ram and 1 TB and I have a old 2012 iMac that is hooked up with a external HD 2GB. I backed up iMac the other day but wondering how I get the stuff from old Mac to new. Is it best to take items a little at a time or just run a time machine on the new Mac mini from the old Mac?
2 considerations are that the old Mac doesn’t have Mojave yet and also my wife and myself both have accounts on the old Mac but I’m looking to just transfer my stuff over (my account).
Here is a more complete Apple Support instructions on "How to move your content to a new Mac".

"2 considerations are that the old Mac doesn’t have Mojave yet and also my wife and myself both have accounts on the old Mac but I’m looking to just transfer my stuff over (my account)"
You do not need to have Mojave on the old iMac. To not transfer your wife's account then uncheck/deselect her account when using Migration Assistant "Selecting the Information to Transfer" step.
 

Fishrrman

macrumors Core
Feb 20, 2009
19,118
6,560
Fishrrman's "you can do it!" routine for migrating to a new Mac:

If you follow my instructions below, I guarantee a success rate of 98%:
PRINT OUT these instructions and check them off as you go along.

1. BEFORE you do anything else, run a "final" backup on your old Mac to an EXTERNAL drive. It can be either TM or a cloned backup using CarbonCopyCloner or SuperDuper. I prefer CCC.
2. Shut down the old Mac and disconnect the external drive
3. Take the new Mac out of the box and set it up on the table. DO NOT PRESS THE POWER ON BUTTON until step 8 (read on). You don't want to begin setup until "the right moment".
4. If you're using an external display, connect the display using the usb-c/VGA adapter/cable that you have
5. Connect the keyboard and mouse if you use them. I STRONGLY SUGGEST that you connect them DIRECTLY to the Mac.
6. If you use a hub, leave it DISCONNECTED for now
7. Connect your cloned backup or TM backup drive -- use a usb-c adapter if needed.

OK, we're ready-to-go, so let's get goin':
8. Press the power on button for the first time.
9. The new Mac may ask for help "finding" the keyboard, just follow instructions.
10. Begin setup. At the appropriate moment, setup assistant will ask if you wish to migrate from another Mac or drive. YES, you want to do this.
11. "Aim" setup assistant at the external backup. Setup assistant will need a little time to "digest it all" (be patient)
12. You will now see a list of things that can be migrated, such as applications, accounts, settings and data.
13. I suggest that you select ALL of them.
14. Let setup assistant "do its thing". It's going to TAKE A WHILE to move things over. Again, be patient.
15. When done, you should see the login screen. Go ahead and login.
16. Once logged in, things should look pretty much as they looked on your old Mac.
17. You should check all your apps. Some may not run, and may require upgrading.
18. You can set aside the old backup, or ... "repurpose it" to become the backup for the new Mac. I'd keep the old one around for a week or so, at least.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: raineysky

Chiromac81

macrumors regular
Original poster
Nov 18, 2018
113
18
Ontario Canada
Fishrrman's "you can do it!" routine for migrating to a new Mac:

If you follow my instructions below, I guarantee a success rate of 98%:
PRINT OUT these instructions and check them off as you go along.

1. BEFORE you do anything else, run a "final" backup on your old Mac to an EXTERNAL drive. It can be either TM or a cloned backup using CarbonCopyCloner or SuperDuper. I prefer CCC.
2. Shut down the old Mac and disconnect the external drive
3. Take the new Mac out of the box and set it up on the table. DO NOT PRESS THE POWER ON BUTTON until step 8 (read on). You don't want to begin setup until "the right moment".
4. If you're using an external display, connect the display using the usb-c/VGA adapter/cable that you have
5. Connect the keyboard and mouse if you use them. I STRONGLY SUGGEST that you connect them DIRECTLY to the Mac.
6. If you use a hub, leave it DISCONNECTED for now
7. Connect your cloned backup or TM backup drive -- use a usb-c adapter if needed.

OK, we're ready-to-go, so let's get goin':
8. Press the power on button for the first time.
9. The new Mac may ask for help "finding" the keyboard, just follow instructions.
10. Begin setup. At the appropriate moment, setup assistant will ask if you wish to migrate from another Mac or drive. YES, you want to do this.
11. "Aim" setup assistant at the external backup. Setup assistant will need a little time to "digest it all" (be patient)
12. You will now see a list of things that can be migrated, such as applications, accounts, settings and data.
13. I suggest that you select ALL of them.
14. Let setup assistant "do its thing". It's going to TAKE A WHILE to move things over. Again, be patient.
15. When done, you should see the login screen. Go ahead and login.
16. Once logged in, things should look pretty much as they looked on your old Mac.
17. You should check all your apps. Some may not run, and may require upgrading.
18. You can set aside the old backup, or ... "repurpose it" to become the backup for the new Mac. I'd keep the old one around for a week or so, at least.
A couple questions:

1. What if I use HDMI cord? Are things the same?

2. I use/have Bluetooth mouse and keyboard only from old Mac-how does this change things?

3. If I have Hi Sierra or whatever it was before Mojave on my old Mac can I still do things the same with this or do I HAVE TO update my old Mac to do this which I don’t want to do since it will slow down the old Mac...

Thanks in advance
 

Chiromac81

macrumors regular
Original poster
Nov 18, 2018
113
18
Ontario Canada
Also another question is:
If my old iMac has any type of malware or virus that is hidden and running in the background on my old Mac-will me doing a migration assistant also transfer that malware to the new computer??
 

Fishrrman

macrumors Core
Feb 20, 2009
19,118
6,560
1. What if I use HDMI cord? Are things the same?

Not gonna work. Don't even think about it.

2. I use/have Bluetooth mouse and keyboard only from old Mac-how does this change things?

Follow my instructions, and things will go just fine.

3. If I have Hi Sierra or whatever it was before Mojave on my old Mac can I still do things the same with this or do I HAVE TO update my old Mac

NO "update" is necessary. None at all. IF you "do it my way".

If my old iMac has any type of malware or virus that is hidden and running in the background on my old Mac-will me doing a migration assistant also transfer that malware to the new computer??

Download MalwareBytes and run it.
It's free.
IGNORE the prompts to "upgrade it"
It will ALWAYS run in free mode. Forever.
If MalwareBytes doesn't find it, I wouldn't worry about it.

VIrus? There has NEVER been a Mac "virus" discovered "in the wild".
Not one.
 

Chiromac81

macrumors regular
Original poster
Nov 18, 2018
113
18
Ontario Canada
1. What if I use HDMI cord? Are things the same?

Not gonna work. Don't even think about it.

2. I use/have Bluetooth mouse and keyboard only from old Mac-how does this change things?

Follow my instructions, and things will go just fine.

3. If I have Hi Sierra or whatever it was before Mojave on my old Mac can I still do things the same with this or do I HAVE TO update my old Mac

NO "update" is necessary. None at all. IF you "do it my way".

If my old iMac has any type of malware or virus that is hidden and running in the background on my old Mac-will me doing a migration assistant also transfer that malware to the new computer??

Download MalwareBytes and run it.
It's free.
IGNORE the prompts to "upgrade it"
It will ALWAYS run in free mode. Forever.
If MalwareBytes doesn't find it, I wouldn't worry about it.

VIrus? There has NEVER been a Mac "virus" discovered "in the wild".
Not one.
I’m kinda wondering why I can’t use a HDMI cable for the monitor for the Mac mini when that’s what people use with it all the time?? I don’t think I have a USB-C cable unless that means a thunderbolt cable that charges an iPhone and I don’t really want to buy a new cable just to do migration assistant then use a HDMI right after that...

Also if I have a blue tooth Mac keyboard and mouse are you telling me I have to go and buy another hard wired keyboard and mouse just to do this???

Is this for real? Does anyone else have any thoughts on this??
 

Cheapassmac

macrumors regular
Nov 5, 2018
210
139
I’m kinda wondering why I can’t use a HDMI cable for the monitor for the Mac mini when that’s what people use with it all the time?? I don’t think I have a USB-C cable unless that means a thunderbolt cable that charges an iPhone and I don’t really want to buy a new cable just to do migration assistant then use a HDMI right after that...

Also if I have a blue tooth Mac keyboard and mouse are you telling me I have to go and buy another hard wired keyboard and mouse just to do this???

Is this for real? Does anyone else have any thoughts on this??
HDMI is for audio and video data. You need something else for migration. Ideally a thunderbolt cable, but if you don't have that or usb, there's also Ethernet cable (surely you have one of these?). It's been a while since I've done a migration, but I think you can do it via wifi too, but that should be a last resort/avoided.

If you keep all your big files on the 2tb external, all you have to do is transfer your user account settings via migration assistant. I think it would take less then an hour via ethernet cable provided both machines have the same OS version.
 

Chiromac81

macrumors regular
Original poster
Nov 18, 2018
113
18
Ontario Canada
HDMI is for audio and video data. You need something else for migration. Ideally a thunderbolt cable, but if you don't have that or usb, there's also Ethernet cable (surely you have one of these?). It's been a while since I've done a migration, but I think you can do it via wifi too, but that should be a last resort/avoided.

If you keep all your big files on the 2tb external, all you have to do is transfer your user account settings via migration assistant. I think it would take less then an hour via ethernet cable provided both machines have the same OS version.
I was referring to the previous posters assertions that when HOOKING UL TO MINITOR only use VGA or usbC and NOT HDMI...why would that be

Also, contrary to what you said he said it DID NOT MATTER if old system has the latest OS to work...

So confused
 

Joestanxx

macrumors newbie
Nov 9, 2018
27
5
I was referring to the previous posters assertions that when HOOKING UL TO MINITOR only use VGA or usbC and NOT HDMI...why would that be

Also, contrary to what you said he said it DID NOT MATTER if old system has the latest OS to work...

So confused
Apple makes the migration and easy process don't over think it. Setup your new mac mini with the display HDMI is fine. Attach your backup drive and start your new mac. It will ask if you want to use migrate and old mac say yes and it will prompt you to enter the source select your back drive from the IMAC and let it run.
 

Fishrrman

macrumors Core
Feb 20, 2009
19,118
6,560
OP wrote:
"I was referring to the previous posters assertions that when HOOKING UL TO MINITOR only use VGA or usbC and NOT HDMI...why would that be"

Ah, ok -- if it's to hook up the display, of course that will work.

But you can't "migrate" via HDMI. That's what I thought you were implying.

I'm gonna say it once more:
If you print out the instructions I posted and follow them step by step, the job will go smoothly and as quickly "as the disk copies can be made".
 

Cheapassmac

macrumors regular
Nov 5, 2018
210
139
I was referring to the previous posters assertions that when HOOKING UL TO MINITOR only use VGA or usbC and NOT HDMI...why would that be

Also, contrary to what you said he said it DID NOT MATTER if old system has the latest OS to work...

So confused
I also thought you were trying to migrate via HDMI based on your wording. As for OS version, it does matter in some circumstances. I don't think you can mitgrate a new version of the OS to an older one for example. I think it does work visa versa though (if the old system has an older version of the OS). You would run into this issue if you kept your machine up to date, and you bought a brand new system with the stock operating system.

Regardless, it really should be simple to perform migration using the tool found in utilities folder (in Application folder). The program holds your hand and tells you what you can do.
 

CoastalOR

macrumors 68030
Jan 19, 2015
2,664
974
Oregon, USA
I was referring to the previous posters assertions that when HOOKING UL TO MINITOR only use VGA or usbC and NOT HDMI...why would that be
Also, contrary to what you said he said it DID NOT MATTER if old system has the latest OS to work...
So confused
There are many ways to accomplish migration to another Mac. You asked for advice on a forum and people will post how they might accomplish the task. You need to evaluate what is posted, ask questions, do your research, and pick a method. When you decide what to do then post the steps you are going to perform to see if anybody here sees a problem.

The link I posted in Post 3 is Apple's instructions.
 

Chiromac81

macrumors regular
Original poster
Nov 18, 2018
113
18
Ontario Canada
There are many ways to accomplish migration to another Mac. You asked for advice on a forum and people will post how they might accomplish the task. You need to evaluate what is posted, ask questions, do your research, and pick a method. When you decide what to do then post the steps you are going to perform to see if anybody here sees a problem.

The link I posted in Post 3 is Apple's instructions.
Thank you for your help
 
  • Like
Reactions: CoastalOR

stillcrazyman

macrumors 68030
Oct 10, 2014
2,823
19,881
In Exile
I recently moved from a Late 2012 iMac 27" to a new Mini i7.
On the iMac I only had programs. Data files were on an external 2TB SSD.

I chose to do a clean install of all the apps I use and restore the appropriate files from a Time Machine backup. Once everything was installed, setup and sorted, I made a new Time Machine backup. I also have Backblaze as part of a backup system.

So far, after about 6 weeks, I've not had any issues.
 

harriska2

macrumors 65816
Mar 16, 2011
1,248
631
Oregon
I recently moved from a Late 2012 iMac 27" to a new Mini i7.
On the iMac I only had programs. Data files were on an external 2TB SSD.

I chose to do a clean install of all the apps I use and restore the appropriate files from a Time Machine backup. Once everything was installed, setup and sorted, I made a new Time Machine backup. I also have Backblaze as part of a backup system.

So far, after about 6 weeks, I've not had any issues.
I’m curious why someone couldn’t just clean install apps and simply plug in the external data drive. Why does there need to be a Time Machine restore.
 

FreakinEurekan

macrumors 68040
Sep 8, 2011
3,426
387
Eureka Springs, Arkansas
I guarantee a success rate of 98%:
I can see the 2% in your process, which won't affect this specific user because his old Mac is not updated. The new Mac must be on the same or higher version of macOS as the old one. Frequently (my guess is more than 2% of the time), the old Mac is fully updated (10.14.2 as I type this) but the new one out of the box left manufacturing before the latest update, maybe it's on 10.14.1 or just 10.14. So, what I suggest is on the new Mac create a user account, but with a WAY different name - I use "Test Tester". Then in that user, Apple menu > System Preferences > Software Update to get it up to 10.14.2, THEN open Finder, Command-Shift-U for the Utilities folder, run Migration Assistant manually, and.... the rest is just like yours. Once the old account(s) are migrated, log into that and remove the Test Tester user.
[doublepost=1548070161][/doublepost]
I’m curious why someone couldn’t just clean install apps and simply plug in the external data drive. Why does there need to be a Time Machine restore.
"Just clean install" the 30 or so apps on my Mac, and "just reset" all of my preferences the way I like them.... No thanks. I like to USE my Mac, not set it up for a few days.
 

harriska2

macrumors 65816
Mar 16, 2011
1,248
631
Oregon
I can see the 2% in your process, which won't affect this specific user because his old Mac is not updated. The new Mac must be on the same or higher version of macOS as the old one. Frequently (my guess is more than 2% of the time), the old Mac is fully updated (10.14.2 as I type this) but the new one out of the box left manufacturing before the latest update, maybe it's on 10.14.1 or just 10.14. So, what I suggest is on the new Mac create a user account, but with a WAY different name - I use "Test Tester". Then in that user, Apple menu > System Preferences > Software Update to get it up to 10.14.2, THEN open Finder, Command-Shift-U for the Utilities folder, run Migration Assistant manually, and.... the rest is just like yours. Once the old account(s) are migrated, log into that and remove the Test Tester user.
[doublepost=1548070161][/doublepost]
"Just clean install" the 30 or so apps on my Mac, and "just reset" all of my preferences the way I like them.... No thanks. I like to USE my Mac, not set it up for a few days.
My concern is that by carrying forward old settings and with lots of old software, you might create problems in Mojave. Although Mojave is field tested with a beta program, it likely is not field tested with Migration Assisted nearly as well as simply an upgrade. I don’t like to invite trouble so I’d rather slowly reinstall programs to make sure they don’t cause system instability. People are really having issues with Mojave and I wonder how much of it is software related. On my PC I would reinstall my 20 or so apps every 5 years. Took about 4 hours and about a week to get settings where I liked them (menus, defaults, etc). I took that time to cull out apps I just don’t use.
 

Carlos51

macrumors member
Oct 13, 2017
55
17
Argentina
I took the clean install path after having done my homework on my old Mac mini 2012.
This was the previous homework:
- List of all the programs, either downloaded from the Internet or the Mac App Store, with their corresponding registration data (if required).
- Backup (to external usb disk) of installation programs, documents, photos, music and mail
- Take note of all the settings required for my programs and Mojave
- Deactivated the licenses of programs like Office 365 and Downie
- Prepared old Mac mini for sale
After plugging all the accessories to my new Mac mini I fired it up, installed Mojave updates and started the process of adding my apps, documents, photos, music and mail
Everything went smoothly though it took me around one full day. I can spare the time, I am retired.
Carlos
 
  • Like
Reactions: raineysky

harriska2

macrumors 65816
Mar 16, 2011
1,248
631
Oregon
I took the clean install path after having done my homework on my old Mac mini 2012.
This was the previous homework:
- List of all the programs, either downloaded from the Internet or the Mac App Store, with their corresponding registration data (if required).
- Backup (to external usb disk) of installation programs, documents, photos, music and mail
- Take note of all the settings required for my programs and Mojave
- Deactivated the licenses of programs like Office 365 and Downie
- Prepared old Mac mini for sale
After plugging all the accessories to my new Mac mini I fired it up, installed Mojave updates and started the process of adding my apps, documents, photos, music and mail
Everything went smoothly though it took me around one full day. I can spare the time, I am retired.
Carlos
<snicker> That is my *exact* upgrade path (and simply start from scratch on a new machine) that I use on Windows. It has served me well for 25+ years.
 

Carlos51

macrumors member
Oct 13, 2017
55
17
Argentina
<snicker> That is my *exact* upgrade path (and simply start from scratch on a new machine) that I use on Windows. It has served me well for 25+ years.
I had not done a clean install since I bought my Mac mini back there early 2013. Every next MacOS got installed "on top" of the previous one, a feat you can't achieve in Windows.
This fresh install ironed out a few small nuisances and got rid of whatever leftovers I had accumulated after 6 years in my 2012 mini.
Carlos
 

Micky Do

macrumors 68000
Aug 31, 2012
1,905
1,783
An island in the Pacific Ocean
i just received a Mac mini i7 16GB ram and 1 TB and I have a old 2012 iMac that is hooked up with a external HD 2GB. I backed up iMac the other day but wondering how I get the stuff from old Mac to new. Is it best to take items a little at a time or just run a time machine on the new Mac mini from the old Mac?

2 considerations are that the old Mac doesn’t have Mojave yet and also my wife and myself both have accounts on the old Mac but I’m looking to just transfer my stuff over (my account).

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated :)
The way that Apple recommends is to use Migration Assistant to pull the old data from your old Mini or Time Machine. You can connect via ethernet. As you fire up the new machine it will ask to transfer your data from your old Mac or Time Machine—that's Migration Assistant.

There are many who will talk about cloning and bla, bla, bla. You do not want to do this. Cloning can be useful for some tasks but not here. Feel free to ignore them as they are wrong.

Apple is right. Migration Assistant is also the easiest way.
Yup, Migration Assistant makes the transfer straight forward and easy.

No problem transferring from and older version of MacOS / OS X. Last year I used Migration Assistant to transfer files from my 2009 Mac Mini running El Capitan to a 2017 MacBook Air running Mojave.

With Migration Assistant you can choose what you want transferred, and what you don't want. Just follow the instructions and set it going.

If you have a lot to transfer it will take a while....... Just let it get on with the job and go off to do something else for a couple of hours or more.
 

AZRob

macrumors member
Jul 9, 2011
53
1
Yup, Migration Assistant makes the transfer straight forward and easy.

No problem transferring from and older version of MacOS / OS X. Last year I used Migration Assistant to transfer files from my 2009 Mac Mini running El Capitan to a 2017 MacBook Air running Mojave.

With Migration Assistant you can choose what you want transferred, and what you don't want. Just follow the instructions and set it going.

If you have a lot to transfer it will take a while....... Just let it get on with the job and go off to do something else for a couple of hours or more.
Could someone please clarify: does Migration Assistant let you choose WHICH applications, or is it only set up to take ALL of them? If the latter, it might behoove me to clear out ones that I don't want to migrate on the old system first. If the former, it doesn't matter.
 

Fishrrman

macrumors Core
Feb 20, 2009
19,118
6,560
I believe Migration Assistant (and Setup Assistant) will "migrate over" -ALL- your applications. You can't pick-and-choose them.

The "basic Apple apps" (such as Safari) won't be migrated, because the newer version will already be on the new Mac.
 

Similar threads

Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.