How to move your content to a new Mac

Use Migration Assistant to copy all of your documents, apps, user accounts and settings to a new Mac from another computer.

Migration Assistant copies all of your files to your new Mac so that you don't have to copy your files manually.


Check software, settings and power

  • Install all available Apple software updates on both Mac computers. Install any updates for your third-party apps as well.
  • Make sure that your old Mac is using OS X Lion or later
  • Make sure that your old Mac has a computer name: Choose Apple menu  > System Preferences, then click Sharing and check the Computer Name field.
  • Connect both computers to AC power.


Connect the computers to each other

  • If both computers are using macOS Sierra or later, just make sure that they're near each other and have Wi-Fi turned on. If either is using OS X El Capitan or earlier, connect them to the same network using Wi-Fi or Ethernet.
  • Or connect them using target disk mode and the appropriate cable or adaptor. Then start up your old computer in target disk mode.
  • Or connect your new Mac to a Time Machine backup of your old Mac.


Use Migration Assistant

On your new Mac:

  1. Open Migration Assistant, which is in the Utilities folder of your Applications folder.
  2. Click Continue.
  3. When asked how you want to transfer your information, select the option to transfer from a Mac, Time Machine backup or startup disk.
  4. Click Continue.

On your old Mac:
If you started your old Mac in target disk mode or are migrating from a Time Machine backup, skip these four steps.

  1. Open Migration Assistant.
  2. Click Continue.
  3. When asked how you want to transfer your information, select the option to transfer to another Mac.
  4. Click Continue. 

On your new Mac:

  1. When asked to select a Mac, Time Machine backup or other startup disk, click the appropriate icon.
  2. Click Continue. You might see a security code.

On your old Mac:
If you started your old Mac in target disk mode or are migrating from a Time Machine backup, skip these two steps.

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

On your new Mac:

  1. Choose the backup to transfer information from.
  2. Click Continue.

Continuing on your new Mac:

  1. Select the information to transfer from the backup.
  2. Click Continue to start the transfer. If you have a lot of content, the transfer might take several hours to finish.


In the example above, John Appleseed is a macOS user account. If you transfer an account that has the same name as an account on your new Mac, you're asked to rename the old account or replace the one on your new Mac. If you rename, the old account appears as a separate user on your new Mac, with a separate home folder and login. If you replace, the old account overwrites the account on your new Mac, including everything in its home folder.

After Migration Assistant has finished, log in to the migrated account on your new Mac to see its files. If you're not keeping your old Mac, learn what to do before you sell, give away or trade in your old Mac.

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