How to Transfer your Data from an Old Mac to New

When you buy a new Mac, the first thing that comes to your mind is — How would you transfer your existing data in your new Mac? Buying a new system is almost like redecorating your home. You would want a new machine along with your existing data to make you feel more “homely” and comfortable, right?

Everyone has memorable photos, favorite movies, songs and safari bookmarks which everyone loves to keep and have fear of losing. If you are using Mac with a business prospective then you’ve calendars, safari bookmarks, emails, pages and numbers and keynotes which you would like to transfer. However, when you move content from one device to another, the process of transferring and sharing can be a bit tricky. So, here we’ve described some steps to transfer your Important Data.


There are many ways to share data between Macs. But here you will see these simplest methods.

Tips to Transfer your Data from an Old Mac to New

1. Use File Sharing

First, connect both the Macs from the same network using Wi-Fi or Ethernet. In case if the larger network is not available you can also try an Ethernet cable to connect your two computers.


File Sharing on your old Mac:

  • Click on Apple icon
  • Go to System Preferences
  • Select on Sharing
  • Type the name of an old computer in the computer field
  • Click on File Sharing

File Sharing on your new Mac:

  • Go to Finder Icon from Dock
  • Click on “Go” and connect to Server
  • Click on the Browse button
  • Search for the other computer and double click on computer’s Icon.
  • Then it will prompt to enter username and password for the user’s files you are trying to copy.

See Also: Can’t Transfer Android Files to Your Mac? Here’s the Fix

2. Transfer Files with AirDrop


You can use AirDrop feature on OS X lion and later. This is the simplest and fastest method where you don’t need to be connected to same iCloud account, just make sure your both computers are within the range of an ad-hoc network.

From the Finder:

  • Simultaneously press Command + Shift + R and open AirDrop.
  • Wait for few seconds until another Mac to appear.
  • Drag and drop the files to new Mac icon, which you like to transfer.

Note: Accept the files from new Mac.

See Also: How to Transfer iMessages to your new Mac

3. Use Target Disk Mode

If you are using two Mac machines with FireWire or Thunderbolt ports. You can connect them so that one of them appears as an external hard disk on the new computer.


  • Connect both the Mac computers with a FireWire or Thunderbolt cable.
  • To use as the disk in target disk mode

Situation A.

If your Mac is Off: then start it up while holding down the T key.

Situation B.

If your Mac is turned on: then Go to Apple menu > System Preferences and click on Startup Disk and select Target Disk Mode.

  • When the startup disk icon appears on other Mac screen transfer the files by dragging them.
  • Eject the disk by dragging its icon to the trash

4. If you’re using an old Mac:

  • Restart your Mac and hold down the T key from the keyboard. Do not remove the “T” key until the FireWire logo doesn’t appear on the screen.
  • Connect your FireWire ports of both the computers using a Firewire cable. Use any adapter if its required.

5. Try Emails

It is the easiest way to transfer your data from an old Mac to a new Mac. Here you just need to attach the files to emails which you would like to transfer. If you are using IMAP account send the file to yourself and it will be visible in your inbox on both the Mac computers. But keep in mind that the email attachment size is limited.


  • Go to Macintosh HD then Users
  • Click on Your User Folder and select Library
  • Now copy those files which you want to transfer or Hold down the Option key and drag the mail folder to your external drive.

Note: (You can also try: Macintosh HD > Users > Your User Folder > Library >Preferences).

6. Use an external drive

In your both Macs, if the USB or FireWire connection is available you can copy your important data to an external drive to transfer your important data from an old Mac to a new Mac.


  • First, connect with an external drive to an old Mac.
  • Go to Finder and locate the external drive. In case if the external drive is not visible, Go to computer. There you will see all the drives connected to this Mac.
  • Drag the files you want to transfer to your new Mac in the external drive to copy them.
  • Once you are done copying all the files, do not forget to Eject and disconnect the external drive from your old Mac.
  • Connect the external drive to your new Mac and locate the drive in the Finder.
  • Drag and drop the files your home folder from the external drive.


Now that you know how to transfer and share data between the two Mac devices, make sure you optimize your Mac before transferring your data to a new Mac. Sometimes you might end up transferring the same issues to your new Mac which you had in pervious device and that may slow down your new Mac.

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