How to Transfer Your Files to a New Mac: A Start-To-Finish Guide

If you’ve just bought a new Mac, you want all of your files and data to be accessible on the new machine. Learn how to transfer files to new Mac here.

Did you know that in 2018 Apple refurbished more than 7.8 million Apple devices and helped divert more than 48,000 metric tons of electronic waste from landfills?

Before you recycle your laptop, we will help you figure out how to transfer files to the new Mac.

Apple is constantly evolving and so are the ways they create to help you transfer data from your old Mac to your new Mac. Keep reading to learn how you can get everything on your new laptop with tips and tricks to make it easy and painless.

Starter Tips

Before you start the data migration, some tips can help make the process go smoother. Each one will help eliminate any missteps or confusion along the way.

Follow these quick and painless tips to help you get started.

Up-to-Date Software

Make sure both Macs have the most updated version of their software. This doesn’t mean your old high school laptop from 2014 has to be updated to High Sierra. You just need to check the App Store’s “Updates” tab to check for any incremental updates.

It’s All About the Network Connection

Connect them to an Ethernet cable, Thunderbolt or FireWire instead (with the adapters needed). Direct connection is the quickest and most efficient way to migrate data and Wi-Fi can be slow.

Power Cord

Plug both Macs into their chargers. To migrate to Mac, this is essential to keep both laptops running so that they don’t run out of battery in the middle of the migration process.

Name Your Old Computer

Go to System Preferences – Sharing – enter a name in the “Computer Name” field. This makes it easy when you’re selecting which computer to merge.

You can name your old laptop whatever you feel makes the most sense.

Tools to Make Your Life Easier

Use an Apple recommended Migration Tool or other back up instead of between machines: This will help with a direct, quick migration.

If you want to transfer files from your iPhone to your Mac before making the full transfer, there is a quick app you can download called AnyTrans.

Let’s Get Moving and Transfer Files to a New Mac

Migration Assistant will be your best friend and confidante when it comes to moving your data from one computer to another. This tool will guide you through the steps and if you follow these instructions, it should be a straightforward process.

Soon, you will be well on your way with your new laptop without having any part of the old you –images, Word Docs, videos or projects.

First, use the Migration Assistant to copy all documents, apps, user accounts, and settings to transfer everything from one Mac to another.

If your Mac is using OX X Lion v10.8 or earlier, there are other instructions you must follow and consider.

Following the tips, double-check to install any updates, including on your third-party apps as well, make sure that your old Mac has a computer name and plug both into their respective chargers.

Make the Connection

If both computers have the software macOS Sierra or a more recent update, just put them near each other and have Wi-Fi turned on.

If either is using OS X El Capitan or older software, use an Ethernet cord, the Wi-Fi may slow down the process.

Your New Personal Assistant

Follow the steps using the Migration Assistant to transfer everything to your new Mac. Migration Assistant has very easy steps to follow and will do almost everything for you, with little for you to do.

We will be switching from your old Mac to your new Mac when listing out the instructions, so make sure to follow the older that we list.

Let’s start with your new Mac:

  1. Open Migration Assistant on your new Mac: You can find this app in the Utilities folder of your Applications folder.
  2. Click Continue.
  3. You will be given options on how you want to transfer your data, select the option to transfer from a Mac, Time Machine backup or startup disk.
  4. Click the Continue arrow.

Now let’s take similar steps on your old Mac:

  1. Open Migration Assistant on your old Mac: You can find this app in the Utilities folder of your Applications folder.
  2. Click Continue.
  3. You will be given options on how you want to transfer your data, select the option to transfer to another Mac.
  4. Click Continue.

Take it back to your new Mac:

  1. When asked to select a Mac, Time Machine backup or other startup disk click on the one you’re choosing accordingly.
  2. Click Continue. You may encounter a security code.

It’s your old Mac’s turn:

  1. If you see a security code, make sure it’s the same code as on your new Mac.
  2. Click Continue.

Last stop is your new Mac:

  1. You should see your backups listed out by date and time. Choose which backup you want to use.
  2. Click Continue.
  3. Select which data you want to transfer – whether it’s all your files, applications and computer and network settings or if you are only selecting certain ones.
  4. Click Continue to officially start the transfer! If you have a lot of content, this might take multiple hours to finish.

Voila! After the Migration Assistant is done, log in to the migrated account on your new Mac to see its files.

If you’re not keeping your old Mac, make sure to follow the correct steps before you sell, give away or trade-in your old computer. This is for your file and content safety.

Alternative Ways to Migrate to Mac

You can also use Target Disk mode or a Time Machine back up. Both require extra steps that you must follow carefully.

There are more steps than using the Migration Assistant, but Apple provides other ways to migrate to Mac depending on what software you have and what is most convenient for you.

Your New Mac is Ready

Though there are multiple ways to transfer from an old Mac to a new Mac, Migration Assistant is a seamless and quick way to go about this process with the least number of steps.

Our laptops hold pictures from college to having kids and school or work projects we are proud of and never want to lose. You don’t have to lose memories, just follow the steps above and you are in good hands.

Start to transfer files to a new Mac or read more about new business names here!

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