How to Transfer Applications to New Mac Without Migration Assistant

Buying a new Mac is always exciting but there will be some admin jobs that need to be done before you can enjoy it. One of these things is transferring all of your files, apps, and data from your old Mac to your new Mac. Luckily, Apple makes this incredibly easy through the use of Migration Assistant, a free app that helps transfer your precious information over. However, there may be instances where the Migration Assistant app doesn’t work on one of your Macs and you’re left scratching your head as to what to do next.

File Sharing

File sharing allows you to transfer data from one computer to another when both machines are connected to the same network.

system preferences

Here’s how to do it;

  • Open your old Mac’s System preferences and select Sharing.
  • Make a note of your Mac’s ‘Computer Name’ as you’ll need this to identify your Mac later on.
  • Select File Sharing from the left-hand menu.
  • Open the ‘Finder’ on your new Mac, and then select Go from the menu bar, followed by Connect to Server.
  • Click Browse.
  • Find your Mac’s ‘Computer Name,’ (which you identified in Step 2), and double-click it.
  • If prompted, enter your username and password.

Your two Macs are now connected, and you can drag and drop files between them.

Airdrop

Airdrop is a useful option if you’re only needing to transfer a small number of files between your two Macs.

Here’s how to do it;

Make sure Bluetooth and Wi-Fi are enabled on both Macs.

  • Open a ‘Finder’ window on your old Mac and select Go from the menu bar, followed by Airdrop. This opens a new window where you can see all nearby devices.
  • Repeat Step 2 on your new Mac.

Once you have done this on both Macs you can pick up and drop files between the two.

Airdrop

Airdrop is a useful option if you’re only needing to transfer a small number of files between your two Macs.

Here’s how to do it;

Make sure Bluetooth and Wi-Fi are enabled on both Macs.

  • Open a ‘Finder’ window on your old Mac and select Go from the menu bar, followed by Airdrop. This opens a new window where you can see all nearby devices.
  • Repeat Step 2 on your new Mac.

Once you have done this on both Macs you can pick up and drop files between the two.

Dropbox

dropbox

Dropbox is an online service that makes storing and sharing files incredibly easy, and for free. All you need to do is head over to Dropbox.com and sign up for a free account. Once you have logged on you can then upload files to folders so you can organize your data.

Dropbox acts as ‘the cloud’ so all of your information is stored on their servers. You can store up to 2GB of information on the free plan at any one time which makes it a great alternative to the Migration Assistant app.

You can then log on to Dropbox on your new Mac and download all of your data with ease. Of course, uploading data and then downloading it onto a new Mac might not be the quickest alternative to using Migration Assistant.

iCloud

iCloud is another good option for the Migration Assistant but you’ll only want to use it if you’re trying to transfer a small number of files. This is because you’ll be spending time uploading and then downloading on your new Mac which takes a fair amount of time, just like it would with Dropbox.

iCloud is probably even easier to use than Dropbox because it’s built into your Mac.

Make sure you have an active iCloud account and then;

To use Apple’s iCloud Drive service, open a ‘Finder’ window on your old Mac and select Go > iCloud Drive from the menu bar. You can then drag your files into the window that appears.

External Drive

eternal drive

If you’re not a fan of having to sign up for online services to transfer your files, you could always get yourself an external drive. This could make transferring your files even faster. All you need to do is drag the files you want to transfer over to your new Mac into your external drive folder, unplug it from your old Mac and then plug it into your new Mac and reverse the process.

Having an external drive can be very useful in the future too.

Conclusion

All of the alternatives to the Migration Assistant app here are free, except for the external drive option. If you can’t use the Migration Assistant then we recommend trying out iCloud first because it’s another one of Apple’s own products and so it should make the process as smooth as it can be.

Categories Mac
About S. Santos

I am a tech columnist and blogger by trade, but I'm also an avid tennis player. In my spare time, I enjoy reviewing gadgets and gizmos from the world of tech. A lot has changed in the field since I started out as a writer back in 2009, so it's always exciting to keep up with all that's new. To me, there's nothing quite like getting my hands on a brand-new gadget or piece of software for the first time -- it's like Christmas morning every day!

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