Transfer to a new Mac with Migration Assistant

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

Do you need these steps?

The steps in this article describe how to transfer content from one Mac to another Mac over Wi-Fi. It's also possible to transfer content from a Time Machine backup, or from a Windows PC, or from an iPhone.

Before you begin

  • Update the software on both computers, if possible.

  • Make sure that both computers have Wi-Fi turned on and are near each other. If either of them is using OS X El Capitan or earlier, they should also be on the same Wi-Fi network.

  • If you installed antivirus software, firewall software, or VPN software, turn that software off until you're done.

Use Migration Assistant

You're now ready to use Migration Assistant to transfer content from the old Mac to the new one. Migration Assistant copies but does not delete files from your old Mac.


On your new Mac

  1. Open Migration Assistant on your new Mac. Then click Continue.

    • Migration Assistant is in the Utilities folder of your Applications folder. To open the Utilities folder directly, you can choose Go > Utilities from the menu bar in the Finder. Or use Spotlight to search for Migration Assistant. If your Mac starts up to a setup assistant, which asks for details like your country and network, continue to the next step, because the setup assistant includes a migration assisistant.

  2. When Migration Assistant asks you for permission to make changes, enter your administrator password, then click OK.

  3. When asked how you want to transfer your information, select the option to transfer from a Mac, Time Machine backup, or startup disk. Then click Continue.


On your old Mac

  1. Open Migration Assistant on your old Mac. Then click Continue.

  2. When asked how you want to transfer your information, select the option to transfer to another Mac. Then click Continue.

On your new Mac

When asked to select a Mac, Time Machine backup, or other startup disk, select the other Mac. Then click Continue.


On your old Mac

If you see a security code, make sure that it's the same code shown on your new Mac. Then click Continue.

On your new Mac

  1. Migration Assistant now catalogs all of the content on your old Mac, and calculates how much storage space is used by your apps, user accounts, files, folders, and settings. This can take a few minutes. When ready, select the information to transfer.

  2. Before clicking Continue, learn what it means to transfer a user account. In the example pictured here, Danny Rico is a user account on the old Mac. If an account on the new Mac has the same name, Migration Assistant asks whether to rename or replace:

    • Rename: The account on your old Mac will appear as an additional user on your new Mac, with a separate login and home folder.

    • Replace: The account on your old Mac will replace the identically named account on your new Mac.

  3. Large transfers might need hours to complete, and might seem to pause occasionally. You might want to start in the evening and allow migration to complete overnight. Click Continue to start the transfer.

  4. After Migration Assistant is done, quit Migration Assistant on both computers, then log in to the migrated account on your new Mac to see its files.

If you need help, please contact Apple Support.

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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