I have set up my macbook with all the files, apps and configurations I like. In about a week, I am upgrading to the 15" model. Is there a way to create an easy-to-restore backup file / iOS image that I can put on an hard drive and then use for a quick and painless restore after I get the new macbook?

Appreciate any suggestions, thanks in advance

  • It looks like you've answered your own question by your choice of tags - Time Machine would appear to do everything you want, and as long as the system you're migrating your data to has a version of OS X equal to (or higher than) your current version it should a relatively quick and painless operation to restore your backup to the new MacBook... Apr 5, 2015 at 3:34
  • Thanks for the reply. So I'll need a brand new/clean external to create a time machine backup that'll allow me to easily restore on to the new system, correct? it doesn't seem to allow creating backups on a hard drive that already has some files on it, it needs to be dedicated it seems... Apr 5, 2015 at 3:40
  • Yes that's pretty much it. Take an external drive, using Disk Utility partition it as GUID and format as Mac Extended (Journaled) and as soon as the drive is ready it will ask if you wish to use that drive for Time Machine backups. The first complete backup will take a while so be patient or let it run overnight ;-) Apr 5, 2015 at 3:44
  • You can create backups on a drive with existing data, so long as the drive is correctly partitioned and formatted before trying to use it with TM. The drive doesn't have to be a dedicated backup drive as TM backups will coexist with other files without issue. Apr 5, 2015 at 3:52
  • Thank you for tips, this is likely the route I'll be pursuing Apr 5, 2015 at 15:00

1 Answer 1


The easiest way to copy your old setup (including your data) onto your new machine is to use Migration Assistant on the new model. This requires both computers to be connected "somehow" (with this "somehow" being as fast as possible, so a LAN is usually better than WLAN for instance).

If you don't have access to both machines simultaneously, I would use an external drive, use Disk Utility (or CCC or SuperDuper!) to create a full backup of the old computer and then use this backup as the data source for Migration Assistant. Creating a full image usually is faster than using Time Machine, you can then use the drive as a Time Machine destination after the migration.

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    Appreciate the response however I need to be able to backup to a hard drive as I will not be able to use both machines simultaneously and use the migrations assistant Apr 5, 2015 at 14:58
  • How can I use Disk Utility to create a full bootable system backup? I prefer to ask rather to experimenting, in order to avoid irreparable damages. Also, what advantages do CCC and Co. offer with respect to Disk Utlity to accomplish this task? Thanks.
    – MadHatter
    May 24, 2015 at 14:31
  • @madhatter See the accepted answer here.
    – nohillside
    May 24, 2015 at 14:37
  • First of all, Thanks for your reply. But, if I'm not interpreting it wrong, the accepted answer just suggest a recipe to put an OS X bootable system with a set of basic tools on an external drive (he says "Here is a simple recipe for making a USB version of the OS X installer + associated tools. "). Instead, I want to make a full image of my system with all installed apps.
    – MadHatter
    May 24, 2015 at 14:46
  • Feel free to ask it using the Ask Question button at the top right. Include a link to this question here and/or the one I linked if it helps to provide context.
    – nohillside
    May 24, 2015 at 14:47

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