Migration to new iMac without all the detritus

GlennieM

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 19, 2017
8
5
Wodonga, Victoria, Australia
G’day Learned and wise Mac Rumors Forum members.

I know Just enough about PC’s and Macs to be a danger to myself and the computer and although I have built a couple of PCs and attempted a Hackintosh, my knowledge is pretty basic.

I have bought a brand spanking new 2019 iMac for my wife to replace on older 2012 model. It is scheduled to arrive on the 2nd-3rdof April. Not that it matters to my following questions but for anyone curious the build is a 27 inch 3.7 GHz i9 with 1TB SSD and extended keyboard with numeric keypad.

My questions relate to data migration.

I am aware that after originally starting with a 2007 20 inch iMac, a replacement of the HDD Fusion Drive in her current 2012 iMac and many system upgrades all the way form probably Yosemite then there is an awful lot of detritus in there.

I realise that doing a full migration will just bring all that garbage across.

My first question is:

If I use Migration Assistant and selecting or ticking boxes 2 and 4 with in the attached pix John Appleseed plus Computer and Network Settings, will this bring across the necessary information and not all the rest of what may be crap?

I am assuming that because I have selected the user John Appleseed then Photos, Safari bookmarks, Safari history and music such as iTunes would come across.

Can you drop the arrow down and select/deselect information to migrate to refine it further?



I have looked at several online articles about doing a clean install but it is a little daunting as to know which sub folders and files to select in the Home folder.


Are there any simpler ways or programs to make it easier for me to achieve my goals?

I apologise if I have not picked the correct forum and look forward with interest to any replies, thank you.
 

Fishrrman

macrumors P6
Feb 20, 2009
17,456
5,671
You DO NOT want to use Migration Assistant when you first set up the Mac.

You DO want to use SETUP Assistant (which is essentially the same thing except it runs as part of the complete setup process).

Do you currently have any kind of external backup?
Having one makes this MUCH easier.
Some folks use Time Machine, but....

THE BEST kind of backup for a smooth migration is a cloned backup created with either CarbonCopyCloner or SuperDuper. If you don't use these apps, either one is FREE to download and use for 30 days (long enough to do what you need).

My quick advice on how to do it.
1. When the new iMac comes, take it out of the box and set it up. DO NOT press the power on button yet
2. NOW is the time to do that "final backup" on the OLD iMac. So use CCC or SD to create it.
3. Power down the OLD iMac, take the cloned backup to the new iMac and connect it.
4. NOW power up the NEW iMac for the first time.
5. 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.
6. "Aim" setup assistant at the backup drive. Give it some time to "digest" everything. BE PATIENT.
7. Setup assistant will present you with a list of stuff to migrate (pretty much as above). I suggest that you migrate EVERYTHING.
8. Let setup assistant do its thing. Again, BE PATIENT. It's going to take some time.
9. When done, you should see the login screen on the new iMac. Log in and "take a good look around".
10. Some older apps may need updating or may no longer work at all. You're just going to have to poke around and discover this for yourself.
 

mikey8811

macrumors member
Mar 23, 2019
87
12
You DO want to use SETUP Assistant (which is essentially the same thing except it runs as part of the complete setup process).
Thanks for this.

I had a similar question. What's the difference between Migration Assistant and Setup Assistant? I had the impression what you described was done by Migration Assistant.

I am migrating from a 2008 MacBook. I have a current Time Machine backup on an external HDD.

However, my differences are as follows:

1. Some time in between, the version of iTunes I have on my MacBook would no longer sync to my iPhone (I couldn't update it anymore because my Mac OS X 10.6.8 couldn't be updated either).

2. I then used iTunes on a PC to sync to my iPhone. This PC currently has the latest version of my iTunes library and backups on Windows 10.

So basically, I wish to use Setup Assistant and port everything from the MacBook to the new iMac except for the iTunes library. I can then manually move the iTunes library across.

Also, what happens to my iPhone backups? I presume this isn't a big deal as I can just sync my iPhone to the new iMac and do a fresh backup.

Is this doable?
 

trifona

macrumors member
Oct 22, 2007
50
9
I'm keen on this process as well; now that the new iMacs are out, it's time to decide on what Mac will replace my 2007 24" iMac.
 
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jpm132

macrumors newbie
Dec 26, 2018
7
0
I am even less knowledgable than the original poster. As my photo and video collection has grown over the years, I am thinking of not even putting that stuff on the soon-to-be-delivered computer, and just keeping them on external hard drives to access when needed. Of course, my old imported videos from the digital camcorder days have duplicates, are .dv files, and have associated caches etc and i have no idea what to keep of those, so I am thinking I will copy all of that so as not to lose any needed data. But photos I can keep on external drives to save space on the internal drive.
So I am wondering if I should not use any setup or migration assistant at all, and instead just set it up as a new mac and port over what I need from an external drive as individual folders instead of using a TM backup or the source mac?
 

Dezlboy

macrumors regular
Sep 10, 2008
229
50
I have minimal files to transfer to new iMac, and minimal applications. I'm planing to set up new iMac independently of old Mini. I don't mind "typing in" router passwords, etc. And then reinstall applications and transfer files via a thumb drive.
 

curmudgeonette

macrumors 6502a
Jan 28, 2016
507
325
California
And then reinstall applications and transfer files via a thumb drive.
You could also network the computers together, and enable file sharing on one of them. You can then log into the first computer from the other, and use the Finder to directly copy files between them.
 

mj_

macrumors 6502a
May 18, 2017
572
289
Austin, TX
I completely agree with @Fishrrman except for one thing: I would use Time Machine instead of CC or SD for my final backup. Migration assistant, or setup assistant (which is basically the same thing except that setup assistant runs at the initial setup of your Mac while migration assistant requires a user to be created under which the assistant is then launched) works brilliantly with a Time Machine backup.

And to answer the op's unanswered questions: yes, that tiny arrow next to "John Appleseed" can be used to further refine the data you want the assistant to transfer and migrate.

I've migrated numerous Macs with the assistant and only once had a problem where it would ignore my refinement and try to copy over everything regardless of my selection. If I remember correctly that was 10.14.0 so it could've simply been a bug.
 

Dezlboy

macrumors regular
Sep 10, 2008
229
50
You could also network the computers together, and enable file sharing on one of them. You can then log into the first computer from the other, and use the Finder to directly copy files between them.
Thanks, I may do that. Unless, I need to enter my administer password on the machine I am migrating off of, as I’ve liat that ability. Not worth troubleshooting. And I only have 100 files, mostly photos.
 

curmudgeonette

macrumors 6502a
Jan 28, 2016
507
325
California
Thanks, I may do that. Unless, I need to enter my administer password on the machine I am migrating off of, as I’ve liat that ability. Not worth troubleshooting. And I only have 100 files, mostly photos.
You can file share with either machine being the server. On the client machine, you only need the password of the account you wish to access. Normally, I'd set the source machine to be the server, but if you can't do that, then the destination machine can be the server.
 

GlennieM

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 19, 2017
8
5
Wodonga, Victoria, Australia
You DO NOT want to use Migration Assistant when you first set up the Mac.

You DO want to use SETUP Assistant (which is essentially the same thing except it runs as part of the complete setup process).

Do you currently have any kind of external backup?
Having one makes this MUCH easier.
Some folks use Time Machine, but....

THE BEST kind of backup for a smooth migration is a cloned backup created with either CarbonCopyCloner or SuperDuper. If you don't use these apps, either one is FREE to download and use for 30 days (long enough to do what you need).

My quick advice on how to do it.
1. When the new iMac comes, take it out of the box and set it up. DO NOT press the power on button yet
2. NOW is the time to do that "final backup" on the OLD iMac. So use CCC or SD to create it.
3. Power down the OLD iMac, take the cloned backup to the new iMac and connect it.
4. NOW power up the NEW iMac for the first time.
5. 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.
6. "Aim" setup assistant at the backup drive. Give it some time to "digest" everything. BE PATIENT.
7. Setup assistant will present you with a list of stuff to migrate (pretty much as above). I suggest that you migrate EVERYTHING.
8. Let setup assistant do its thing. Again, BE PATIENT. It's going to take some time.
9. When done, you should see the login screen on the new iMac. Log in and "take a good look around".
10. Some older apps may need updating or may no longer work at all. You're just going to have to poke around and discover this for yourself.
Thanks for your extensive reply.
I have an up to date Time Machine back-up. But as stated originally, I don’t want to bring across all the detritus from many OS upgrades, broken links etc so I am going to do a clean install and then do the rest manually. I have done extensive Googling and I think I can manage to bring across the important things that I need such as emails, photos etc without a too much troubles aggravation.
 

Chancha

macrumors 6502a
Mar 19, 2014
920
793
It is true that after a few OS X iterations, the System and User Library (particularly /Application Support and /Preferences) can be clogged up by irrelevant files. It is my understanding that a 100% Migrate or Time Machine Restore will keep and copy all those to the new machine.

If you are willing to go through the hassle of setting up as new then yes it may be the best way to ensure the new Mac starts at a clean state, then you can selectively migrate and copy files as you see fit.

If you do what the #2 screenshot suggests, which I think is to copy the entire User directory that includes all user preferences as well, I am positive that this pretty much just brings all the clog along indiscriminately.

It depends on how the data you want to keep are currently stored, for instance, if cloud is involved then it is much easier, like Safari Bookmarks and Photos.app can be migrated over iCloud. Same with icloud mails, or even your own server's emails if they are IMAP not POP3.

Having a bootclone is essential for this kind of procedures because you may want to roll back entirely in case something goes totally wrong.
 
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GlennieM

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 19, 2017
8
5
Wodonga, Victoria, Australia
It is true that after a few OS X iterations, the System and User Library (particularly /Application Support and /Preferences) can be clogged up by irrelevant files. It is my understanding that a 100% Migrate or Time Machine Restore will keep and copy all those to the new machine.

If you are willing to go through the hassle of setting up as new then yes it may be the best way to ensure the new Mac starts at a clean state, then you can selectively migrate and copy files as you see fit.

If you do what the #2 screenshot suggests, which I think is to copy the entire User directory that includes all user preferences as well, I am positive that this pretty much just brings all the clog along indiscriminately.

It depends on how the data you want to keep are currently stored, for instance, if cloud is involved then it is much easier, like Safari Bookmarks and Photos.app can be migrated over iCloud. Same with icloud mails, or even your own server's emails if they are IMAP not POP3.

Having a bootclone is essential for this kind of procedures because you may want to roll back entirely in case something goes totally wrong.
Thanks Chancha. What you have described makes a lot of sense. I think you have made my mind up for me, clean install the copy the files across that I need. BTW just received a shipping notice to say computer will be here next Monday so I am looking forward to the challenge of setting it up.
 

Crash Davis

macrumors member
Feb 23, 2008
75
18
Austin, Texas
I like to do a clean install every few OS upgrades. I clone my main drive to a sparsebundle named for the OS and keep it on my external Data drive. Then I can grab things from the sparsebundle as needed over the next few days, weeks, etc. Works pretty well. :)
 
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remiller

macrumors newbie
Mar 22, 2019
15
2
USA
Like others, I am debating how best to migrate over to my new iMac. I’m coming from a 2007 iMac, used extensively, and no doubt containing all sorts of unused detritus, orphan files, and orphans of orphans. 12 years is a long time in the life of a computer. So Time Machine back up, iCloud Backup, Carbon Copy, and manual file transfer? Some sort of combination of these? I honestly don’t know how I will proceed. Very open to thoughts and suggestions. Thanks.
 

goldbuffalo

macrumors member
Jun 8, 2017
51
22
Don’t forget when you set up your iCloud account on your new iMac it’s going to sync with your phone and iPad or whatever so give it time to do that you might have more things on it than you know.
 
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hpucker99

macrumors member
Nov 20, 2009
44
4
You DO NOT want to use Migration Assistant when you first set up the Mac.

You DO want to use SETUP Assistant (which is essentially the same thing except it runs as part of the complete setup process).

Do you currently have any kind of external backup?
Having one makes this MUCH easier.
Some folks use Time Machine, but....

THE BEST kind of backup for a smooth migration is a cloned backup created with either CarbonCopyCloner or SuperDuper. If you don't use these apps, either one is FREE to download and use for 30 days (long enough to do what you need).

My quick advice on how to do it.
1. When the new iMac comes, take it out of the box and set it up. DO NOT press the power on button yet
2. NOW is the time to do that "final backup" on the OLD iMac. So use CCC or SD to create it.
3. Power down the OLD iMac, take the cloned backup to the new iMac and connect it.
4. NOW power up the NEW iMac for the first time.
5. 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.
6. "Aim" setup assistant at the backup drive. Give it some time to "digest" everything. BE PATIENT.
7. Setup assistant will present you with a list of stuff to migrate (pretty much as above). I suggest that you migrate EVERYTHING.
8. Let setup assistant do its thing. Again, BE PATIENT. It's going to take some time.
9. When done, you should see the login screen on the new iMac. Log in and "take a good look around".
10. Some older apps may need updating or may no longer work at all. You're just going to have to poke around and discover this for yourself.
Won't this method also transfer all the junk that the OP didn't want to transfer. I would think the final backup off the old machine would transfer everything. As another poster suggested, you could network the two machines and just manually transfer what you wanted on the new machine.This will take more time, but give the results you want.
 

drewaz

macrumors 6502
Dec 4, 2012
307
196
Phoenix
Won't this method also transfer all the junk that the OP didn't want to transfer. I would think the final backup off the old machine would transfer everything. As another poster suggested, you could network the two machines and just manually transfer what you wanted on the new machine.This will take more time, but give the results you want.
Question: I plan to back up my old iMac with SuperDuper to an external drive, plug it into my new iMac and drag over what I want. I'm sure files and folders will cross but will this work for Mail and applications too?