Languages

Archived - Mac OS X v10.6: How to use Migration Assistant to transfer files from another Mac

You can use Migration Assistant to transfer important information, such as user accounts, applications, network and computer settings, and files, from one Mac computer to another via a FireWire cable or over a wired or wireless network.

This article has been archived and is no longer updated by Apple.

Note: For OS X Lion information, see this article instead.

To use Migration Assistant you have four options for connecting the computers:

Before you begin the migration:

  • If you're using a portable Mac, make sure the power cable is connected.
  • Run Software Update on the source Mac to confirm that the latest updates are installed.
  • On the source Mac, make sure that you have the latest version of any third-party software.
  • On the source Mac, open System Preferences, click Sharing, and make sure there is a name in the Computer Name field.
  • Do not let either computer go to sleep while you are attempting to migrate. To disable sleep on both computers: 
  • Choose System Preferences from the Apple () menu. 
  • Choose Energy Saver from the View menu.
  • Select Custom in Optimization.
  • Adjust the slider to Never for "Put the computer asleep when it is inactive for..."
  • To use Ethernet for migration, connect the two computers with a single ethernet cable; you don't need to connect the computers to a hub, switch, or router. This should be faster than using a wireless connection. For the best experience, be sure to attach your source and target computers to the wired network before you start.
  • If you choose a wireless migration, make sure you are on the best wireless connection available. Use the Signal Strength meter in the upper right corner of your screen to find a location that provides the best signal to your source computer before you start. You may also want to eliminate potential sources of interference as well. The best wireless migration experience will be on an 802.11n network.

 FireWire Migration Assistant

  1. Make sure both computers are connected via FireWire.
  2. Restart the source (original) Mac while pressing and holding the "T" key.
  3. On your target (new) Mac, open Migration Assistant (located in /Applications/Utilities/), then click Continue.
    Migration Assistant introductory screen
  4. Type in your Admin Password when prompted, and click OK.
    Password box
     
  5. When the target Mac asks you for a migration method, select "From another Mac", and click Continue.
  6. Select "Use FireWire".
    Choose FireWire or Use Network
  7. On your target Mac, close all other applications, then click Continue to start the migration options.
    Quit other applications
  8. Your target Mac will ask you to select items to migrate.
    Customize the items you wish to migrate
  9. You can customize your selection by clicking to open the disclosure triangles.
    Disclosure triangles opened up
  10. After you click Continue, the Migration Assistant will begin to transfer files to your new Mac. The amount of time that it takes for migration to complete depends on the amount of data being transferred.
    Progress indicator
    Your other Mac is ready.
    Successful migration message

 Wireless or Ethernet Migration Assistant

  1. If you are migrating from a Mac with Mac OS X v10.5 Leopard, first update it to Mac OS X v10.5.8 or later.
  2. If you are migrating from a Mac with Mac OS X v10.4 or later, update it to Mac OS X v10.4.11, then install Migration and DVD and CD Sharing Update.
  3. Make sure that the source Mac and target Macs are connected to the same network, either wirelessly or via Ethernet. (You can directly connect the two Macs via an Ethernet cable if both are Ethernet capable. To make MacBook Air Ethernet capable, connect using the Apple USB Ethernet Adapter.)
  4. On the target Mac open Migration Assistant (located in /Applications/Utilities/), then click Continue.
    Migration Assistant introductory screen
  5. Type in your Admin Password when prompted and click OK.

    Password box
  6. When the target Mac asks you for a migration method, select "From another Mac", then click Continue.
  7. Select "Use Network" if necessary.

    Choose FireWire or Use Network

  8. On the source Mac, open Migration Assistant (located in /Applications/Utilities/), then click Continue.
    Migration Assistant introductory screen
  9. Type in your Admin password when prompted and click OK.
     
  10. When the source Mac asks you for a migration method, select "To another Mac", and click Continue.
    Select "to another Mac"
  11. A passcode should appear on the target Mac in the Connect Your Computers screen, as shown below.
    Passcode as seen on the source computer
  12. On the source Mac, type in the passcode that appeared on the target Mac.
    Enter the passcode on the target computer
  13. On the source Mac, close all other applications, then click Continue to start the migration options.
    Quit other applications
  14. The target Mac will ask you to Select Items to Migrate.
    Customize the items you wish to migrate
  15. You can customize your selection by clicking to open the disclosure triangles.
    Disclosure triangles opened up
  16. After you click Continue, the Migration Assistant will begin to transfer files to the target Mac. The amount of time that it takes for migration to complete depends on the amount of data being transferred and the speed of the network.
    Progress indicator
    Your other Mac is ready.
    Successful migration message

Time Machine or other disk:  

  1. On the target Mac, open Migration Assistant (located in /Applications/Utilities/), then click Continue.
  2. Connect your external hard drive if necessary.
    Migration Assistant introductory screen
  3. Type in your Admin Password when prompted and click OK.

    Password box
  4.  When the target Mac asks you for a migration method, select "From a Time Machine backup or other disk", then click Continue.
    Selecting Time Machine or disk backup
  5. Select the Drive, Time Machine backup, or Time Capsule. If you select Time Capsule you will be prompted to enter the Time Capsule password. After entering the password, select the Time Machine backup.
    Select your Time Machine disk 
  6. Close all other applications on the source Mac, then click Continue to start the migration options.
    Quit other applications
  7. The source Mac will ask you to select items to migrate.
    Customize the items you wish to migrate
  8. You can customize your selection by clicking to open the disclosure triangles.
    Disclosure triangles opened up
  9. After you click Continue, the Migration Assistant will begin to transfer files to the target Mac. The amount of time that it takes for migration to complete depends on the amount of data being transferred and the speed of the network.
    Progress indicator
    Your other Mac is ready.
    Successful migration message

 

Additional Information

The instructions above use the term "Migration Assistant" but they also apply to migrations performed using the Setup Assistant. Setup Assistant starts the first time you start up your new Mac and helps you enter your Internet information and set up a user account on your computer. If you don't use Setup Assistant to transfer information when you first setup your new Mac, you can do it later using Migration Assistant. 

Learn what to do if a migrated Application does not open or function correctly.

When you install Mac OS X v10.6 Snow Leopard or migrate to Snow Leopard, known-incompatible software is moved to a folder named Incompatible Software. Learn more about incompatible software.

If you are having issues migrating using your Ethernet or wireless network, try migration using Internet Sharing from your source computer.

  1. Set up a home connection from your source computer.
  2. Choose System Preferences from the Apple () menu, then Sharing from the View menu.
  3. Select Internet Sharing.
  4. Select a network service from the “Share your connection from” menu. Do not choose AirPort for this step.
    Note: You can use built-in FireWire for example.  You do not need to be connected to the Internet to transmit data for data migration.
  5. Select AirPort to share your Internet connection from the “To computers using” list.
  6. Click AirPort Options and give your network a name and password.
  7. On your target computer, connect to the AirPort network you created
Last Modified: Mar 3, 2014
Helpful?
Yes
No
  • Last Modified: Mar 3, 2014
  • Article: HT4413
  • Views:

    null

Additional Product Support Information

Start a Discussion
in Apple Support Communities
See all questions on this article See all questions I have asked