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macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jan 6, 2009
Colleyville, TX
OK, my new 2019 16" mbp is waiting for me when I get to my vacation destination for December holiday (next week, delivered really fast). Am trying to determine the best methodology for migrating from my existing late 2013 MBP. Basically have two options, my Super-Duper backup on a usb 3 external drive, or directly connecting the late 2013 MBP via thunderbolt 2 to thunderbolt 3 on the new machine, then running migration assistant. I 'assume' that the thunderbolt connection will be faster (SSD to SSD over Thunderbolt 2), but am looking for anecdotal reports on folks that have actually migrated using migration assistant.

Will likely just use the target disk and thunderbolt 2/3 connection option, but looking for anyone that might have actual experience that would cause me to change that idea. Any and all suggestions welcomed.


macrumors Core
Feb 20, 2009
OP wrote:
"Basically have two options, my Super-Duper backup on a usb 3 external drive"

THIS is the option you want.

Following is a pre-written post I put up for migration advice:
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. Use an external drive for this. 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 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 and give setup assistant the time it needs.
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. If you have a lot "of stuff", it will take a lot of time!
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.


macrumors 65816
Mar 23, 2017
Did a time machine on old Mac on external SSD and hooked up to the new machine which I patched in with a base user... Then migration assist and full copy.

Took like 20 mins for 256gb to the 16"
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macrumors regular
Jan 11, 2015
I follow your advice but my first TM failed imediately, I'm testing my second backup but if it doesn't work will direct transfert work better?


macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jan 6, 2009
Colleyville, TX
Thanks, all. Am still thinking that using migration assistant over the Thunderbolt connection... Am 'assuming' it will considerably faster than my non-ssd Super Duper backup... But, Fishrrman, your directions are how I migrated to my existing late 2013 MBP... :)


macrumors 6502
Jul 30, 2017
Look... I speak from experience having used migration assistant from a 2019 15” MacBook Pro running Catalina to my 2019 16” MacBook Pro running Catalina. The migration seemed to go flawlessly until I started using the computer. Among the issues:

1) random CPU usage at 100% across ALL real and virtual cores.
2) fans went to max during low CPU loading... and stayed there until I rebooted the computer
3) my four external displays would change “arrangement” randomly... causing me to have to reset the arrangement. Even rebooting did not fix this problem.
4) the computer would slow down for no reason I could determine.

Additionally, DO NOT use Carbon Copy Cloner unless you backed up a 2019 16” clean install (not migrated install) and are restoring to a new 2019 16”.

Let me put this simply. Start with a clean install from the factory, or, if you have already migrated data, wipe the computer and do a fresh install using Internet recovery mode. Yes... this is more work, but you will be much happier for the effort.

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macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jan 6, 2009
Colleyville, TX
Thanks, Professor Joe, somehow I 'thought' that migration assistant was used to move all my programs, files, etc to the new 2019 16" system. My last migration was 6 years ago, from my dying 17" (sigh) to a late 2013 15" rMBP. In that I used an external disk that had been the target of super-duper (making a bootable image copy of my then startup drive) and used migration assistant (may have been the 'setup' assistant) to copy all my personalization/settings/files/programs onto the new 16". Was 'assuming' that was what I would be doing, was just looking for the fastest mechanism to make that happen...


macrumors newbie
Apr 6, 2011
From my first modern Macbook Pro (2011 15") I have been taking bootable clones and cloning them from the old system to the new system.

I take some pride in knowing every single launch daemon and program on my system, so I don't like to reinstall Macs OSs from scratch.

For Windows based systems that is still the prevailing wisdom.

For Macs, I haven't ever seen any advantage in that.

So, over the last decade or so I have cloned from 2011 -> 2015 -> 2019 (15" - purchased this past August).

Apple did me a really nice favor, and allowed me to return the 2 month old 15" model, and replace it with the 16" model.

This is the first time in a decade that an older Bootable clone would not boot the newer system (from an external drive).

This is likely due to the 16" just coming out, and the standard Catalina builds not having the required new hardware drivers.

I was able to achieve nearly the same, by using migration assistant to only migrate the apps and system from the old system to the new.

I am still a bit hesitant on APFS, so only my OS is on APFS, my user accounts, macports, VMs, media, etc are all on separate HFS+ partitions (not volumes, actual partitions).

If one were to wait a few months, I suspect the clone route would work again.

A much bigger problem came with using Winclone to setup the Windows 10 Bootcamp environment on the new system.

I paid the $20 upgrade fee for Winclone 8, and it it was a complete waste.

I ended up having to do a complete reinstall of Windows 10. Took many hours, but I did end up with a nice small Bootcamp partition.

Macs have always been much easier to manage, mainly due to the lack of the stupid Windows registry (one of the worst OS invention of all time).
My next project is to get this newest system setup to triple boot Mac, Windows, and Linux.

Why? Because it can be done, and it is fun and instructive.
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macrumors G4
Jul 11, 2009
Basically have two options, my Super-Duper backup on a usb 3 external drive, or directly connecting the late 2013 MBP via thunderbolt 2 to thunderbolt 3 on the new machine, then running migration assistant.
I migrated to the 16" from a late 2013 15" by putting the 2013 into target disk mode and connecting the two via Thunderbolt. It went quickly and the new computer is running just fine.


macrumors 601
Sep 19, 2012
If one were to wait a few months, I suspect the clone route would work again.

Might be weeks or less. 10.15.2 will/should not have a special build just for MBP16. Would solve your main issue here if everything was updated and on same build version first.

Migration assistant is great. Use it from a fresh bootable clone source and it works fantastically.


macrumors member
Feb 16, 2011
Whats wrong with using Migration assistant and hooking up to the old MacBook Pro with a thunderbolt cable? Thats what I did. No issues at all.


macrumors 6502a
Jul 22, 2008
I upgrade machines often. Upgraded form a 16 to and 18 and now to a 2019 16". I have tried migration assistant, putting the host in target mode with T3 to T3 via apple cable. I also have SuperDuper B/U just in case and two time machines. The method that consistently work best for me is running a time machine update just before transferring and restoring from Time machine (fia external SSD if available if not external Hard Drive). I always run and and keep a SuperDuper disk backup of the MAC being erased just before erasing (usually a couple of days after I am convince all is good on the new machine)
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