From an Old HD to a New MacBook Pro: The Fastest Ways to Transfer Files

If you want to transfer data from an old hard drive to a new MacBook pro, there’s several ways to go about it.

  • Using Wi-Fi or an Ethernet cable
  • Via Target Disk Mode using the Thunderbolt and Firewire ports
  • Via the Time Machine
  • Via an external drive

Regardless of which option you choose, it is important that you carry out a few preliminary tasks that will make migration easier and quicker.

In preparing your old Mac, update the installed operating system. It doesn’t have to be the latest version.

When using OS X Mavericks, update to the last version of the operating system.

When running a version of Mac OS that is earlier than OS X Snow Leopard, upgrade to Snow Leopard.

It would also help if you remove apps that you no longer use before transferring files. Doing so will slim down data and speed up transfer.

Let’s get started …

How to transfer data to a new MacBook Pro using Wi-Fi and Ethernet cable

  1. Make sure both the old and new computers are connected to the same network.
  2. On your new computer, open migration assistant and select the option “From another Mac, PC, Time Machine backup or other disk”
  3. Click continue.
  4. When prompted, type in your administrator password and select “From another Mac, PC, Time Machine backup or other disk.” Then, click continue.
  5. On your old computer, open migration assistant and select the option “To Another Mac”
  6. Enter your administrator password when prompted and then click OK.
  7. On your new MacBook Pro, click the continue button. This will connect the two machines.
  8. Make sure that both machines have matching passcodes. Then, click Continue on the old computer.
  9. A window will open where you can select all the items you want to transfer. Go through the list, and then click continue to start the file transfer.

How to transfer data to a new MacBook Pro using Target Disk Mode

  1. Check that both computers have a set of Firewire ports or Thunderbolt ports. Use an adapter if one computer has a Firewire port and the other a Thunderbolt port.

Note: The adapter can be quite expensive and can cause a drop of connection speed. Many would recommend using the network method instead.

  1. To boot your computer in Target Disk Mode, hold down the T key on your old Mac and then restart the machine.
  2. On the new computer, open Migration Assistant.
  3. Make sure that the option “From another Mac, PC, Time Machine backup or other disk” is selected. Click Continue.
  4. Type in the administrative password and choose the same option specified in the previous step. Click Continue.
  5. From the options available, select your system, which, by default, will be marked as Macintosh HD.
  6. A window will open where you can select all the items you want to transfer. Go through the list, and then click continue to start the file transfer.

In target disk mode, your computer’s OS will not load. Only the startup drive will be available, transforming the machine into an external drive.

FireWire ports are common in older Macs, while Thunderbolt ports are used in newer Macs and offer a much faster connection.

How to transfer data to a new MacBook Pro via Time Machine

  1. Install time machine in the external hard drive that contains the data that you want to transfer to your new MacBook Pro.
  2. Open Migration Assistant and select the option “From another Mac, PC, Time Machine backup or other disk.” Click Continue.
  3. Type in your administrator password and select again the option “From another Mac, PC, Time Machine backup or other disk.”
  4. Select the Time Machine backup. Click Continue.
  5. From the list of items, select those you want to transfer, and then click continue.

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