3 Easy Ways to Transfer Data to a New Mac with Migration Assistant

When you buy a new Mac, you can ask the question: How do I get all my old data on the new machine? Simple best answer: Immigration Assistant.

Apple’s built-in data transfer tool is intuitive, versatile, and offers a range of migration options. Wireless, cable and time machine backup methods are all available, so you can choose the solution that best suits your needs. Let’s take an in-depth look at how to use Migration Assistant and the different migration options that are available.

1. Migrate Mac data using Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi is one of the most convenient ways to transfer data. However, wireless network connections can sometimes be unreliable, so you’ll need to make sure you have a strong signal before starting a major relay.

Related: How to Fix Unstable Wi-Fi Connection: Tips and Fixes

If both Macs are running macOS Sierra or later, you can put your devices close to each other and perform the transfer using a Wi-Fi direct connection, similar to AirDrop. However, if either device has an earlier version of macOS installed, you will need to connect both devices to a trusted wireless network. Before attempting to migrate, you must:

  1. Download and install all available software updates

  2. Make sure your old Mac has a file computer name in a System Preferences > to share.

  3. Place your devices close together if using Wi-Fi Direct, or near your router if transmitting over a wireless network.

You are now ready to begin the migration process.

Follow these steps on your old Mac:

  1. launch immigration assistant from Applications > Services.

  2. Follow the instructions and enter the administrator password if necessary.

  3. When asked how you want to transfer the information, choose to another Mac.

Move the macOS Migration Assistant to another Mac screen.

Your device should start searching for a connection. If a security code appears during setup, make sure the number on each Mac matches before starting the transfer.

Then follow these steps on your new Mac:

  1. Either launch immigration assistant from Applications > Services Or choose paging during the initial setup of the device.

  2. Follow the instructions and enter the administrator password if necessary.

  3. When asked how you want to transfer the information, choose From your Mac, Time Machine backup, or startup disk and click Complete.

  4. Select your old Mac and click Complete repeatedly.

  5. Choose the information you want to transfer, click Complete, and the migration will begin.

macOS Migration Assistant selects the Source screen.

If you are transferring a large amount of data, the transfer will take some time. Different Mac transfer protocols provide varying degrees of speed and reliability, and a wired connection may be more suitable for a major migration.

2. Migrate Mac Data Using Target Disk Mode or Disk Sharing

Migrating with a Thunderbolt cable, USB-C, or FireWire can be faster and more reliable than a Wi-Fi connection. On a new Mac, the process is similar to a wireless transfer. However, on an older Mac, you’ll need to boot into Target Disk Mode if it uses an Intel chip or a Share Disk if it’s an Apple silicone device.

You must connect your devices using the appropriate cable – Thunderbolt, USB-C, or FireWire – before proceeding.

Using Target Disk Mode with an Intel-based Mac

You can put your old Mac into target disk mode using one of two methods. Which option you choose depends on whether your Mac is off or on.

If your Mac is locked, you can press File T . key During startup until target disk mode starts.

If your Mac is on, you should:

  1. Go to System Preferences > startup disk.

  2. open file lock.

  3. Select your startup volume.

  4. click target disk mode Restart.

macOS startup disk preferences with Macintosh HD selected.

Your old Mac should now appear as a startup disk in Migration Assistant on your new machine, and you can perform the transfer by following the prompts.

Use Disk Sharing with Apple Silicon Mac

On Apple silicon Macs, disk sharing has replaced target disk mode. You can enable the feature from macOS Recovery by following these steps:

  1. Turn off your Mac.

  2. Press and hold power button until the startup options screen appears.

  3. Choose Options and click Complete.

  4. Enter the administrator password if prompted.

  5. Choose Services > Disk Sharing from the top menu bar.

  6. Select the appropriate size.

  7. click Start sharing.

Your old startup disk should now appear as a source in Migration Assistant on your new Mac. Just follow the instructions to start the transfer.

3. Migrate Mac data from a Time Machine backup

If you back up your Mac using Time Machine, moving information from the backup disk is a quick and easy migration method. First, you must make sure that your external hard drive, Apple Time Capsule, or other source is available for your new device, either through a cable connection or through your network.

Select macOS Migration Assistant on the Time Machine Backup and History screen.

When you’re ready, follow these steps to begin migrating data from your Time Machine backup:

  1. Either launch immigration assistant from Applications > Services Or choose paging during the initial setup of the device.

  2. Follow the instructions and enter the administrator password if necessary.

  3. When asked how you want to transfer the information, choose From your Mac, Time Machine backup, or startup disk and click Complete.

  4. Select your backup disk and click Complete repeatedly.

  5. Choose the backup and date you want to migrate data from and click Complete.

  6. Choose the information you want to transfer, click Complete, and the migration will begin.

Migration Assistant Tips

If you’ve never used Migration Assistant before – or it’s been a while – here are some important tips to keep in mind:

  • You will need to sign in to your migrated user accounts to access your transferred data. If you already set up your new Mac before using Migration Assistant, you will have created an empty user account by doing so that will not contain your information.

  • Apps moved from an older version of macOS may not be compatible with the new operating system. In this case, you should first try to update these apps. If that fails, you can contact the app developers for advice.

  • Sometimes migrations fail and require troubleshooting. If the wireless transmission is not completed, you should switch to a physical connection if possible. Backing up your old Mac to an external hard drive using Time Machine is an excellent way to create a cable-connected solution.

  • Big migrations take time. More data means longer transfer times, and a little patience is often the key to success.

Migrating to Mac made easy

When you need to transfer data to a new Mac, Migration Assistant is the perfect tool. With the right know-how, you can easily migrate data wirelessly, with a cable, or from a Time Machine backup. Manufacturers have simplified setup processes for new devices, and tools like Migration Assistant help make transitions easier.


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