Apple's Migration Assistant

Colin Devroe:

My plan was to use [Migration Assistant] to migrate from my 13-inch MacBook Pro to the new 16-inch MacBook Pro and be up and running in the same day with every single app, preference, setting, dependency, file, password, and even session. My fear this time was if Migration Assistant did a terrible job at this, I’d have to format the computer and start over from scratch.

I’m happy to report though, that it went pretty smoothly. There were one or two apps that simply wouldn’t open (Visual Studio Code being one that comes to mind). So I simply trashed the app and reinstalled and it worked.

After reading about Colin's positive experience, I decided to give Migration Assistant a shot myself. My wife and I reorganized our office, and moved my Mac mini (previously a media server). While I love the portability of my iPad Pro, I wanted to have a consistent place in my house to get some work done on a desktop.

To that end, having no use for my aging MacBook, I decided to use Apple's Migration Assistant to move whatever work wasn't useable on my iPad to the Mac mini and, much like Colin, my experience was painless. One thing to note, as he does, is that you should definitely use a cable to complete the transfer. While I had the option to do it over wi-fi, the speed was more than doubled when I connected the two machines.

Having never been through the process before, I was surprised at how much was copied from the MacBook. For example, I had Node.js and Ghost installed on the machine via the command line and the Mac mini picked it all up without issue. I was able to jump right into Terminal and get my dev environment booted up in seconds.

I never once went back to the old Mac and ended up formatting it the same afternoon that I received the new one.

It went so well for me too, in fact, that I was able to wipe the MacBook after the transfer was complete without a fear of having missed anything.