Migration Assistant (Apple)

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Migration Assistant
Migration Assistant.png
Migration Assistant basic info screen.png
Migration Assistant's summary window.
Developer(s) Apple Inc.
Stable release 4.1.1 / February 1, 2012
Operating system Mac OS X
Type utility
Website Apple - Mac OS X Leopard

Migration Assistant is a utility by Apple Inc. that copies user accounts, user files, applications, printer and fax descriptions (printer and fax drivers), network settings and other system and user settings from one Macintosh computer to another computer, or from a full drive backup. As of OS X Lion and later, it can also migrate contacts, calendars, and email accounts and other files from Microsoft Windows.[1] Migration Assistant can be used during initial setup of a new computer or run manually on a system that has already been set up. It may be used multiple times to copy only applications, user account(s), or settings. Its primary purpose is to duplicate the contents and configuration of an existing computer user account(s) on a new one.

The Migration Assistant does not transfer the operating system of the old computer to the new one. Similarly, applications and utilities bundled by Apple with the operating system (e.g. Safari) are not transferred, based on the assumption that the newer machine has the same or newer version already installed. However, settings for these applications (e.g. bookmarks) are transferred.


It is located at /Applications/Utilities/Migration Assistant.app.

If transferring from a full drive backup, the full drive backup can be created by applications such as Disk Utility, SuperDuper! or Carbon Copy Cloner, or starting with Mac OS X Leopard, from the most recent Time Machine backup. The backup can be on an external storage device connected via FireWire or USB or Ethernet on a Share Point [2]

If transferring from an older computer, Migration Assistant is run from the newer computer, with the older one connected to it by Ethernet cable, over a network, or by FireWire cable and running the older computer in Target Disk Mode. If you want transfer your entire iTunes library of music, movies, etc. to your new iMac, you would use Migration Assistant to do so.

Special usage[edit]

If the user is migrating data because of systemwide issues, it is best to copy only user accounts and reinstall applications with the original installation process, first noting the settings and then re-entering them manually. At least one account being migrated should be an administration-level account, or one should be created after user accounts have been migrated. A user account protected by FileVault can be migrated only during the initial Setup Assistant process of a new Mac, or the first time Mac OS X is started after a fresh install of the operating system. It cannot be done later by going to Migration Assistant application in the /Applications/Utilities folder. The full disk encryption FileVault 2 introduced in OS X Lion does not have this limitation, after a password for the whole disk is entered there is no difference to a normal disk for any application. User files located on FileVault 2 system disks can be migrated at any time.