MAC OS Migration Assistant?

Any experience, thoughts, problems with the migration assistant? I’ve not used it before and need to migrate from an old MacBook Pro to a new one. I’m very interested in problems or pitfalls that I might expect. Does it work well? Are there alternatives that might work better? Really appreciate any insight. Thanks!

I have used it a couple of times and it works quite well. The biggest reason I usually don’t use it is it will happily migrate all the cruft from your old Mac. I prefer clean installs for that reason

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Thanks. I agree, I’m not a fan of moving unnecessary stuff to the new Mac as well. I would probably do a new install if it was all my own. It is my wife’s computer, and there is 7 years of just about everything on it. Starting a clean install and restoring selectively would take me a long time. I’m glad to hear that the migration assistant works well.

I’m trying to use Migration Assistant to go from an older Mac Book Pro to a brand new iMac. Migration Assistant is telling me that the OS on the old Mac Book Pro needs to be updated, but it is updated as far as it can go. Will I just have to migrate manually, or is there some kind of a fix for this?

I did notice in the apple documentation that both operating systems should be updated to the same version. I’m not sure what recourse you may have otherwise.

Howard at The Eclectic Light .co has some in-dept info on Migration Assistant and a number of other ways to transfer your data on his website/blog. It’s a great source of in-dept info on the workings of Macs… His site and utilities are GOLD. And he paints too.

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I’ve used Migration Assistant maybe 30-40 times and its worked great

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Thanks for the posts and useful info. An update on my adventure. I tried to use migration assistant multiple times after making sure both computers were on the current OS. It continued to hang at a certain point and never finish. I tried several additional times without app migration, but still failed. Finally I just did a time machine backup from the old Mac and used migration assistant on the new Mac to integrate the backup. This was successful. Everything seems to be working well.


Well, I just used Migration Assistant between two brand new Mac minis with mixed results. I set up the first one, transferred to the second using Thunderbolt 3 to connect. About 25% into the transfer, suddenly the connection was showing wifi and the time to complete, several hours. I cancelled and “forgot” wifi from the older machine (which caused problems later). The transfer went through very quickly.

However, I had trouble authenticating with iCloud on the new Mac. It took several password windows and a reboot before everything was ok, including Keychain. I wonder whether logging out of iCloud is a good idea before transfer, though I don’t see it mentioned anywhere. “YMMV” seems to fit Migration Assistant very well.

My experience was less than perfect as well. At the points where the process appears to be hanging or frozen, I’ve assumed that there might be data still transferring. I wish that Apple would display a verbose output that shows the data transfer. It would be much easier to get a feel for what is going on with the visual that a verbose output would provide.

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