I will have to transfer my user account and some other stuff to a new mac and I am currently considering what would be the most efficient way of doing that. The list of things I would like and wouldn't like to transfer is below:

To transfer

  • Current user documents
  • Emails
  • Photos / Music
  • Address book, preferences settings

From applications:

  • Precisely defined list of applications
  • plus corresponding application preference folders

Not to transfer

  • The whole content of the user folder as I have things that I do not need there. Like bin folder with some old stuff, Virtual Boxes, etc.

What's the best strategy to approach this problem?

  1. Clean current account leaving only stuff to transfer? I'm thinking that no matter what I do they will be orphans from software left. Also in the course of years, I made mess using homebrew and macports in the same time, instaling various python frameworks, etc.
  2. Install new clean account and copy selected things by hand. If this is better, how to efficiently copy selected application with corresponding preference folders?

1 Answer 1


Use Apple's Migration Assistant to copy all of your documents, apps, user accounts, and settings to a new Mac from another computer.


  • 1
    I did have a look at this and other discussion but I reckon that there is no way to transfer only selected applications and selected elements from the user account.
    – Konrad
    Dec 2, 2015 at 14:17
  • It's the easiest and fastest way to move a user account from one mac to another without creating problems with missing ~/Library files, corresponding application preference folders etc.. Once you move everything, then spend some time removing the stuff you don't need. In the end, you'll spend less time trouble shooting issues with missing files etc. that might be needed by applications. I've done this multiple times over the decade that I've owned Macs. Dec 2, 2015 at 14:24
  • Thanks, it's a sound point. So basically, the game plan could be to clean the current account and then move it.
    – Konrad
    Dec 2, 2015 at 14:56
  • @konrad yes, I would clean the current account -- remove apps, files in download directory, etc. -- and then migrate the account. The question was asking for the "most efficient" method and I think this is the way. Dec 4, 2015 at 11:33
  • Thanks very much for showing the interest and contribution.
    – Konrad
    Dec 4, 2015 at 11:57

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