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Ask Max: Using Migration Assistant

Asked on 02/05/2014:

I'm just now purchasing a 13" MacBook Pro w/Retina Display. I am trading in my current 27" iMac.

I have a WiFi network. I also have ethernet cables. I DO NOT have firewire cables.

Using Migration Assistant, which is the easiest and fastest "connection" for me to use to migrate data from my existing iMac to the new MacBook?


Apple has provided several methods for accurately migrating data from an existing machine to a new machine. The fastest would be a direct machine to machine transfer via Thunderbolt or Firewire or from an existing Time Machine backup drive with either a USB or firewire cable.

It is possible to also migrate through your local network. This can be done wirelessly (although not recommended unless you want to wait for days) or through Ethernet. This method is slower and I recommend beginning the migration late in the day or evening and letting it progress overnight.

As always, it is recommended that you always back up your system. With Apple's Time Machine, it's very simple to set up. After this set up, your computer backs up your system every hour, so you will always have a recent backup. Contact one of our Mac Experts to get an external hard drive for use with Time Machine, if you don't already have one, like this one from LaCie. Restoring from a Time Machine backup is the easiest way to migrate data using Migration Assistant.

Additional Note: Migration Assistant will provide you with a time estimate during the transfer. This estimate is just that: merely a guess...and isn’t accurate.

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