With Apple’s integrated system, it is quite easy to transfer files and folders between its devices. So, if you have recently bought a new Mac and want to transfer some documents from your old device to the new one, it should be relatively straightforward to execute.
Now, for the transfer process, you can choose between different options. In this article, we have included both wired and wireless methods. So, depending on your preference and convenience, you can apply any of the below-mentioned methods.
So, without further ado, let us explore the different ways to transfer files between your Macs.
How to Transfer Files Between Macs?
Before we begin, there are a few things you should take into consideration while starting the transfer. First, make sure you are updated to the latest operating software. In some instances, with outdated operating software, you might face compatibility issues.
Likewise, most of the mentioned methods require an active and stable internet connection. Also, ensure you are connected to power throughout the transfer process, especially if you’re dealing with large files.
Now, let us learn about each of the methods in more detail.
Use Migration Assistant
Instead of manually transferring your documents, user accounts, and settings, you can use Apple’s built-in application, Migration Assistant. This application is specifically designed to help ease the transfer of your files between Macs and other PCs.
If you have already set up your new Mac, then here are some steps you can follow to transfer files between these devices.
- On both your new and old Macs, open up the Spotlight Search by using the Command + Space Bar keys.
- Enter Recovery Assistant and hit the return or enter key.
- Click on the Continue button.
- If prompted, enter in your account passwords.
- Select the From a Mac, Time Machine backup, or Startup Disk option from your old Mac and hit the Continue button.
- As for your new Mac, from the same prompt, select the To another Mac option and click Continue.
- Now, on your new Mac, select the icon for your old Mac when asked where you want to transfer this information, and then click on Continue.
- Next, a 6-digit code will appear on both your Macs. Confirm that they match, and click Continue on your old Mac.
- On your new Mac, this information will appear and will all be selected by default. Click Continue to proceed.
- Once the transfer is complete, your new Mac will automatically restart.
- Click on Done to proceed with accessing all your old files.
Use File Sharing
Another quick and easy way to transfer files between Macs is to enable File Sharing on your devices. With this method, the only requirement is to be on the same network connection. So, here are some steps you can follow.
- Navigate over to the menu bar and click on the Apple logo.
- Select the System Preferences option.
- Click on the Sharing icon.
- Here, check the option for File Sharing. It should now indicate a greenlight displaying that File Sharing is on.
- Now, follow the same process for the other Mac you want to share the files to.
- Next, open Finder and head over to the Go menu.
- Select the Network option.
- You should be able to see the Macbook you have enabled File Sharing with.
- Click on the icon and click on the Connect As button.
- Enter the username and password you use to log in with the other Mac.
- Hit the Connect button.
- Now, you will have access to all the files and folders on that Mac.
- To transfer the files, copy or drag them to your desired location.
With AirDrop, you can instantly share files, photos, and more with nearby Apple devices. Before starting the process, ensure you are near the Mac device you plan to transfer the files to. You’ll also need to activate Wi-Fi and Bluetooth to access this functionality.
Here is how you can turn on AirDrop and share your files.
- Open Finder.
- Head over to the Go menu and select the AirDrop option.
- Alternatively, you can use the shortcut Command + Shift + R to open the same window.
- From the Allow me to be Discovered By hyperlink, click on Everyone.
- Head over to the files or folders you want to share.
- Control-click on the file/folder and click on the Share option.
- From the drop-down menu, select AirDrop.
- Alternatively, you can click on the Share icon in the top-right corner of your screen’s finder window and select AirDrop.
- Now, click on your Mac from the window.
- Click on Accept to download the file to your device.
If you have activated the same iCloud account on your Mac, you can use the iMessage app to send and receive files on both Macs. This method is especially useful if you only need to transfer a few files. To do so,
- Navigate to the file you want to share.
- Control-click on it, and click on the Share option.
- Now, from the drop-down menu, select Messages.
- Add in a recipient. Here, you can also add in yourself.
- Finally, hit the Send button.
If you have enabled and stored files on iCloud Drive, you can easily view and transfer files between your Mac devices. Here is how you can enable it.
- Navigate over to the top-left corner and click on the Apple Logo.
- Select the System Preferences option.
- Now, click on the Apple ID icon.
- From the left panel, click on iCloud.
- Ensure that the iCloud Drive is ticked and click on the Options button.
- Next, check the box for Desktop and Document Folders.
If you have certain files outside these folders, you can simply drag them into the iCloud Drive pane.
Use Time Machine
Time Machine is a built-in app on every Mac designed to back up your information. But you can also use the same option to migrate all your data from one Mac to another. You need an external hard drive to store your files for this method.
Also, in many instances, the default external drive format is not supported by your Mac devices. So, you will have to configure its format.
Here are some step-by-step guides you can follow.
Step 1: Format your Device
- Use the Shortcut Command + Space bar to open the Disk Utility.
- From the left panel, under External, click on your External Drive.
- Click on the Erase option from the top menu bar.
- Select the Mac OS Extended (Journaled) option from the Format section.
- Click on the Erase button to confirm your action.
Step 2: Backup through Time Machine
- Now, head over to the Apple Logo and select System Preferences.
- Click on the Time Machine icon.
- Next, click on the Select Backup Disk button.
- Select your External Drive from the list of options and click on the Use this Disk button.
- Once the backup process is complete, eject the external drive from your current Mac device.
Step 3: Transfer Time Machine Backup
- Next, connect your external drive to the other Mac.
- Now, If you are dealing with a new Mac, you must first complete the setup process.
- From the Transfer Information to This Mac page, select the From a Mac, Time Machine, or Startup Disk option and hit the Continue button.
- Now, it should auto-detect the Time Machine Backup from your external hard drive.
- Select the backup and click on Continue.
- Finally, follow the on-screen instructions to complete the process.
Alternatively, if it is not a new Mac device, you can head over to the Migration Assitant and select the From a Mac, Time Machine, or Startup Disk option and follow the same procedure.
Use Cloud-Based Services
Other than iCloud, you can also use other alternative cloud-based services. These can include Dropbox, Google Drive, and so on. Since these services tend to store all uploaded contents online, so all you need to do is head to its website or application and download your needed files.
Use Thunderbolt 3 Cable
If you have a thunderbolt cable 3, you can easily use this wired connection to transfer files between your Macs. You will only need to configure certain settings on your Network. Here is how you can do it.
- First, connect your Thunderbolt 3 cable to your devices.
- Head over to the Apple logo and click on System Preferences.
- Click on the Network icon.
- Now, click on the + icon from the bottom-left corner.
- From the interface section, click the Thunderbolt Bridge from the drop-down menu.
- Click on the Create > Apply button.
- Next, follow the same process for the other Mac.
- Your status should now show Self-Assigned IP in the Network Preferences on both devices.
- Now, select the ThunderBolt connection and click on the Advanced button.
- Take a note of the IPv4 Address.
- Head back to System Preferences and click on File Sharing.
- Enable the option for File Sharing for the Mac to which you want to transfer files.
- Now, switch to the Mac for which you have not enabled File Sharing.
- Open Finder and head over to the Go menu.
- Select the Connect to Server option.
- Now, under the Server Address, type in the IP address you had just noted and click Connect.
- Wait for a few seconds, and you should see the log-in prompt. Enter in your name and password and click on Connect.
- Now, you will see a list of Volumes you can Mount. Click on Macintosh HD and hit OK.
- Now, copy the files you want to share from your device.
- Head to Finder, and from the left panel, under the Shared section, you can see the Mac device.
- Locate the folder and hit Paste. The transfer should automatically start.