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Ask Max: Data Transfer from G4 iBook to a MacBook Air

Asked on 10/10/2011:

Our MacBook Air will be delivered today so I'd like to know how data (pictures & bookmarks) in a used G4 iBook running OS 10.3.9 can be transferred to the new MacBook Air.

I have 400 to 800 FireWire cables from the last time but forgot how to specifically do it.

Any suggestions appreciated.



The new MacBook Air that you're receiving has an application that provides for "Over the Air" network-based migration, as the MacBook Air does not have a FireWire port included. However, in order to use the "Over the Air" method, the originating machine must have an operating system of 10.4.6 or later. Because your iBook G4 has 10.3.9 installed, the automatic migration isn't an option.

Unfortunately, 10.3.9 doesn't have Time Machine yet, or this would be much simpler.

You will have to use a manual migration method. Using a USB external drive, back up your data from your home folder. Then go through the standard setup process with your MacBook Air. Once your account is created on the new machine, you can connect your external drive and move the backed up data to the correct folders. It's not exactly seamless or automatic, but it can provide a safe way to move your data and build a nice, stable system.

Your new system does have Time Machine, so take full advantage of that. Use that USB external drive to back up your hard drive automatically and regularly. The next time you have to transfer data, you will have a seamless, simple solution.

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