I just got a shiny new rMBP 15" and want to migrate the account from an older Mac - I've been using a late 2010 MBA. The Migration Assistant estimated 50 hours over the WiFi, after an hour it got up to 60 hrs. It's an MBA, so no ethernet for me, also no Thunderbolt (late 2010s didn't have it yet).

Are there any other options available? Can I force the Assistant to 'migrate' to an external drive somehow, and then import that to MBP?

Maybe there is a step-by-step guide to migrate 'by hand' using a USB stick or something?

  • Do you have the data stored on a external Time Machine volume?
    – Andrew U.
    Commented May 27, 2014 at 13:26
  • 1
    There is a USB to Ethernet adaptor that you could use for the migration, but using a Time Machine backup is the best option. With Time Machine you don't need a physical connection between the machines.
    – Ɱark Ƭ
    Commented May 27, 2014 at 13:35

1 Answer 1


The best way to migrate is to make sure you have a current Time Machine backup and just restore from that volume to the new machine. I have restored from a Time Machine backup to an empty formatted hard drive and it worked perfectly, including my custom FTP, HTTP, and git configurations. It took about 10 hours for a 1TB backup.

  • It's quite a shame to admit, but I've not yet gotten around to setting up a TimeMachine during my 4 years with a Mac - just stored my projects in Dropbox. But prices are down, and a 3TB WD WiFi drive is within my reach (actually I was planning on buying it along with the MBP, but decided I'd rather have food this month, so one more week to go) - so I'll go this route.
    – pafau k.
    Commented May 27, 2014 at 15:35
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    In that case it will pay to be patient. Set up Time Machine machine drive and go to bed. Likewise with the restore.
    – Ɱark Ƭ
    Commented May 27, 2014 at 16:16

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