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Articles: The Great Data Migration

Seagulls Migration

At least several times a week, I get tech calls asking for help transferring files from one computer to another. This usually happens when someone gets a new computer, and they want to transfer files from their old computer.

Apple has created such a simple way to do this, and it's built right into OS X. It's called Migration Assistant. You can find Migration Assistant in your Applications folder (Applications > Utilitues > Migration Assistant).

The best and simplest way to transfer data from one machine to another is from a Time Machine backup.


If you're not already backing up your data via Time Machine in conjunction with an external hard drive, it's time to start. Right now. Get this set up immediately. You can configure Time Machine very easily. Just plug in an external drive and open Time Machine (Applications > Time Machine). Once it's set up, you don't have to think about backing up or securing your data anymore. Time Machine does it for you, automatically every hour, so you will always have the latest version of your documents, music, and pictures. Protect your precious memories, photos, and videos.

Transferring data from a Time Machine backup is by far the easiest, but you can also transfer data Mac to Mac (if you have the cable to connect the two. If not, we do). This might be Thunderbolt to Thunderbolt or Thunderbolt to Firewire. There are various choices between all the connections Apple has used throughout the years. If you don't have the exact match, PowerMax also has adapters available.

I bet you're starting to see why migrating data with a Time Machine backup is the best method. USB external HD. Done.

Once your old computer has backed up to the external HD via Time Machine, eject it from that computer (drag to trash or right-click > eject), and plug it in to your new machine. If you have questions regarding FireVault or other things, this Apple Support Article will be helpful.


  1. Open Migration Assistant (Applications > Utilitues > Migration Assistant).
  2. It will ask you how to proceed: Time Machine backup, Mac to Mac, or Other Startup Disk.
  3. Start the transfer.

It's really that easy.

Protect your documents. Protect your precious memories. Protect your hard work.

Use Time Machine to backup your data, and make an easy transition to your new machine.


ChristineChristine is a Technical Support Specialist and Content Writer for PowerMax. Follow her articles as she takes you “Behind the Sasquatch: A Look Inside PowerMax,” an inside look at the day-to-day operations from the perspective of a Woman in Tech. She’ll also post great Tech Tips, helping you get the most of your Mac apps as well as write about some common technical issues and how to fix them. Finally, Christine will periodically post some Tutorials that teach readers how to do things like make podcasts and iPhone apps. Find what you’re looking for in the categories on the right. 

If you have a tech question or issue, please don’t hesitate to contact Christine for help.

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