New iMac

old-mac-to-new-mac-file-transfer-graphicNew iMac: a reader asks…

I have an older 2011 iMac that’s been giving me a lot of trouble, and I’m giving up. I’m going to go buy a new one. What’s the easiest way to get everything transferred over from the old iMac to the new one?

Apple’s utility program, Migration Assistant, is the easy way to get your personal files, settings and apps transferred over from the old iMac. For this process, you need to unpack the new iMac and set it up near the old iMac. Make sure you turn on the old Mac be logged in (and connected to your home Wi-Fi network). On the old Mac, open Finder and go to Applications > Utilities and run Migration Assistant. Go through the steps and choose the option “Transfer to a Mac” and click the Continue button.


macos-migration-assistantNow go to your new Mac, plug in the power and turn it on. Go through the first few initial setup screens and you’ll see an option to “Transfer from a Mac”. Choose that option, and you’ll see an icon for your old Mac. Click it to select it, and click the Continue button. Both Macs will display a security code which should match, and you can click Continue on the new Mac to have it catalog all the files and settings to transfer.

When the screen changes to show you the file folders and settings with checkboxes (checked), you can click Continue one more time to start the process. Now go have your cuppa coffee as the transfer might take an hour or two.

When it’s done, you can log into your new Mac just like the old one. The first time you may have to do a fair bit of ‘approving’ since your Apple ID is now being used on a new computer and Apple wants to make sure it’s really you and not some hacker trying to get into your account. That’s it, (almost) simple as pie!

One other thing you might need to do: some 3rd party programs may need to be re-authorized or re-licensed to run on the new Mac. You might have a license key from an installation CD you need to use on the new Mac to get the program up and running.

For folks switching from a PC to a Mac, they can (on the PC) go to and download & install the Migration Assistant. Please be aware of the limitations of transferring data from PC to Mac, laid out at the bottom of the web page.


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