The Transfer Of Files From An Old Macbook To A New One: How Long Does Migration Assistant Take?

It is always a good idea to switch to a new MacBook if an opportunity arises. A new MacBook version may have better features than your old version. When you switch to a new MacBook, you should ensure you transfer all your data from the old Macbook to the new one.

Apple has designed a feature for MacBook users called migration assistant to help you transfer all the files. Most wonder how long it can take for a migration assistant to transfer all your files from the old MacBook to the new one. Here is everything you will need to know about migration assistants.

How Long Does a Migration Assistant Take?

The amount of time that a migration assistant will take to transfer your files depends on many factors. The time that the migration assistant takes might be from a few minutes to a couple of hours. The size of the files you are transferring is the main factor that determines the amount of time the migration assistant takes.

What You Can Transfer Using Migration Assistant

Many people have asked if migration assistants can transfer everything.  A migration assistant is a vital tool that you should have when you switch to a new MacBook. You can find it in the utility folder on your MacBook.

Migration assistant can completely transfer all your data from your old MacBook to your new MacBook. The tool allows you to select the data that you want to move. Here is what you can transfer and where they will go when transferred. You will also know the type of data it will move as to your new MacBook.

System Settings

Migration assistant can move your system settings such as language and location settings from your old MacBook to the new one. On your new MacBook, you can find the location and language settings on the system preferences. On the other hand, the browser homepage will move to safari preferences.


Your photos and videos will move to the home folder of your new MacBook once they get transferred. Once they are in your new MacBook, you can create a photo folder and save them there.

Itunes Content

When the migration assistant transfers your iTunes contents to your new MacBook, they will get transferred as music, videos, podcasts, and audiobooks. You will find the music on the Apple Music app, the videos on Apple TV app, the podcasts on the Apple podcast app. Moreover, you will find the audiobooks on the Apple books app.


When transferred to your new MacBook, the outlook content will move as different data types. The data types will include people, appointments, IMAP and exchange settings, pop settings, and messages. Each of the data types will go to their respective apps on your new MacBook.

You will find people on contacts, appointments on the calendar app, and pop settings and messages to Mail2. In addition, you will also find the IMAP and exchange settings on the mail app.

How To Transfer Data From Your Old Macbook To Your New Macbook Using Migration Assistant

Migration assistant is one of the best ways to transfer your files from an old MacBook to a new one. Before you start transferring files, you must make some preparations to ensure the process is successful.

  • The first thing you should ensure is that you have updated your windows. The migration assistant will only work with window seven and any other widows past that.
  • It would be best if you had the name and the password of the administrator account on your MacBook.
  • Ensure you connect the two MacBooks to the same network. You should ensure that you create a direct network connection.
  • You should ensure that you uninstall one drive if your MacBook uses it. You can reinstall it back when the transfer of files is complete.

The following are some of the steps you can follow to ensure you migrate your data to your new MacBook successfully.

  • Before you start the transferring process, first install the latest macOS version on both of your MacBooks.
  • Connect your old and new MacBooks to the same network connection after having the latest macOS version on all of them.
  • Once they get connected, go to the system preferences on your old MacBook and select sharing. It would be best to be keen to check your computer names. Clicking the sharing button will give computers around your local network access to your old MacBook.
  • On your new MacBook, go to the application folder and select utilities. You will find the migration assistant there and run it.
  • Select how you want to transfer your files by clicking the option ‘ From a Mac, Time Machine Backup or Startup Disk.’ In the transferring options, select the option of ‘’To another Mac’’ and click continue.
  • Once you do that on your old MacBook, your new MacBook will display a new screen showing available computers in the network. You will select your old MacBook and press continue.
  • A security code will pop up on your old MacBook screen. Before you click on the security, ensure the codes are the same as those on your new MacBook.
  • Your new MacBook will display a screen showing which information you can transfer. Choose the documents and system and network folders and click continue.
  • Your MacBooks will start the transferring process.

What To Do After The Transfer Of Files Is Complete

After your two MacBooks finish the transfer process, you will close the migration assistant on your old MacBook. Afterward, you will log in to the new user account on your new MacBook after providing your password. Once you are in, you will find all the transferred files from your old MacBook.

What To Do If You Face Difficulties In Transferring Your Files

There will be times that you might have issues transferring your files using migration assistant. If it happens to you, here are some things you can try to solve the problem.

  • If you have trouble transferring your files, you can quit all the open apps on your MacBook and migrate your content again.
  • In some cases, your new MacBook may not appear in the migration assistant window of your old MacBook. When this happens, check if you have correctly connected our two MacBooks to the same network. Moreover, you can also connect your two MacBooks with a single Ethernet cable. If the problem persists, check if the firewall software on your MacBook is on and turn it off.
  • Sometimes, your migration assistant might refuse to open on your new MacBook. If it happens, you can turn off any antivirus software on your MacBook.

Ways That The Migration Assistant Can Use To Connect Your Two Macbooks And Transfer Files

Migration assistant has to use several ways to connect your old and new Macbook and transfer your files. The following are some of the ways that the migration assistant uses.

The Use Of Wireless Connection

To make it possible for migration assistants to transfer files, you must connect your two MacBooks to the same local network. It is the easiest way to connect your MacBooks and move files. It would be best to have your Wi-Fi password ready since you will have to put it when you first turn on your new MacBook.

Use Of Thunderbolt And Firewire

There is another unique way of connecting two MacBooks called the Target Disk Mode. When you boot your Mac up in Target Disk Mode, it will make its startup drive available to the connected MacBook. If you want the Target Disk Mode to work, both of your MacBooks should have a set of Firewire or Thunderbolts ports. The downside of using this method is that the connection speed will not be as fast as when using the wireless connection.

Use Of Time Machine Backup

Migration Assistant can also use your Time Machine App to transfer files from your old MacBook to your new one. Your old Macbook should connect the Time Machine drive to the new MacBook for the process to be successful. It becomes even easier when your Time Machine drive is on an external drive.

What Other Transfer Apps Can You Use Apart From Migration Assistant?

You can find other MacBooks that lack a migration assistant. You can still transfer files from one MacBook to another even if your MacBook does not have a migration assistant. One of the ways you can move files without a migration assistant is through the App Store. Moreover, you can also use external devices like USB or use AirDrop.

Does The Migration Assistant Delete The Data On Your Old MacBook?

No, it does not. The work of the migration assistant is to transfer files. Therefore, it does not wipe any data from your old MacBook after the transfer process. You can still access your information on your old MacBook even after you transfer them to your new MacBook.


Having a new MacBook can be an exciting experience. Switching to a new MacBook will require you to transfer your files from your old MacBook. There are many ways you can transfer files, including using airdrops, external drives, or the App Store.

However, the best way to transfer files is through a migration assistant. The amount of time it will take the migration assistant to finish moving files depends on the size of files you transfer.


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David Huner
David Huner
David Huner is a tech lover. After completing his graduation from the University Of Phoenix, he started gather his knowledge mostly on latest technologies that keeps his life smart and cool. Now he wants to spread his knowledge with people who loves technologies.

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