Can the Migration Assistant be stopped midway through? I began the wireless transfer from a Mac Mini to a new MacBook Air last night. It still says it's going to take 40 hours. Unfortunately, I can't wait that long, and the process is taking up both of my computers.

In case of catastrophic failure what recourse do I have, as the MacBook Air doesn't have a system restore disk?

  • Assuming you don't mind a little clean up (or are feeling lucky) you should cancel things and get back to normal fairly rapidly. What OS is in the sending mac and the receiving mac?
    – bmike
    Commented Jul 29, 2011 at 16:19
  • The sending computer is a Mac Mini running Snow Leopard. The receiving computer is a MacBook Air running Lion. Commented Jul 29, 2011 at 17:15
  • Lion's recovery is awesome (as long as it gets written in the first place) - you should have no issues cleaning up - nuke that transfer :-)
    – bmike
    Commented Jul 29, 2011 at 17:21
  • A better answer has been given than the one that was originally excepted Commented Oct 15, 2015 at 11:40

3 Answers 3


Pressing Command + Q on both machines will exit the migration assistant.

I have a feeling that it copies all files to temporary location before installing them/creating user accounts. So you should be fine. Depending on how far in you might have problems.

  • 1
    This is the correct answer.
    – podperson
    Commented Feb 4, 2015 at 7:09
  • This worked for me in OSX 10.10 mavericks. Quitting did not disturb any existing accounts on the computer, and only left the incoming migrated out partially complete — though still usable. Commented Oct 15, 2015 at 11:44

The obvious answer is the migration is not supposed to be stopped, but you might disable the network or otherwise halt the machine that is sending the data.

It should be fine since it's just sending data.

The receiving mac might handle the interruption well or not. Something was working on the mac to start the migration assistant - so you should be able to get back to that state fairly easily.

There are specific steps to clean up based on what part of the transfer was in progress.

Safest is to go back to a sane backup and attempt migration again with a faster connection or more time.

Post what happens here or as a follow on question - it's pretty easy to clean up the user accounts if they are the part that got interrupted (instead of apps, system settings, or random non-user files being transferred)

Half a user is usually what you end up with and that's not good in general.

  • Since your Air is running Lion - you should be able to boot the OS in single user mode and make a new admin account. Worst case, you can use the recovery partition (boot with the option key held - you can select either to boot) to get it working if it's interrupted in a place where it's no longer bootable from the main OS.
    – bmike
    Commented Jul 29, 2011 at 17:34

I would just stop the process , format the disk, reinstall lion , and migrade using some other method.(Format and Reinstall should take like 40 mins since Lion is downloaded). If you don't have a TM backup disk and need to do it over wifi you can connect the machines to the router using ethernet cable that should probably speed up the process quite much.

  • Hm just noticed the question is quite old ^^.
    – latusaki
    Commented Mar 25, 2012 at 12:27

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