I want to transfer files between two late 2016 MacBook Pros. I have a USB-C data cable from my external USB-C hard drive.

Can I connect the Macs using that USB-C data cable to transfer files? Or do I need to put one of the Macs in target disk mode?

1 Answer 1


You needs to put one of the computer in Target Disk Mode (Press T on startup) and connect another USB-C equipped Mac with a USB-C cable (or USB-C to USB Adapter/Cable for older computer) Note that the USB-C cable that come with your MacBook Pro 2016 does not work.

There are a more complicated method (and this requires a Thunderbolt 3 Cable (or use a Thunderbolt 3 to Thunderbolt 2 Adapter and a Thunderbolt 2 Cable for older computers) and both computer have to be a Mac that support Thunderbolt. But this does not requires Target Disk Mode. Connect both Macs with the Thunderbolt cable (or with the adapter) and go to System Preferences > Network on both Mac. Go to Thunderbolt bridge (add one if it doesn't exist) and there set configure IPv4 to manually on both. Now set Subnet Mask on both to, now give two IPs to both computer (i.e. and Now you can use File Sharing (and other shadings) with the two Macs by Thunderbolt when you use the IP address.

  • 3
    Does target disk mode work if I have FileVault enabled?
    – lukas
    Jan 8, 2017 at 12:57
  • 1
    @Lukas I don't have a FileVault enabled Mac with me at the moment, you can trying though. If that doesn't work than you need to use the second method.
    – Tom Shen
    Jan 8, 2017 at 12:59
  • 3
    @Lukas Yes, Target Mode does work when FileVault 2 enabled. But you may need another USB-C to USB-C cable, the one from Apple with MacBook Pro with Touch Bar doesn't work with Target Mode.
    – Vincent
    Jan 8, 2017 at 13:27
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    Slight variation on what Tom Shen said: If you have an Apple Thunderbolt 3 cable, you may not even need to configure IPV4 manually. Apple's USB-C power cables won't work for this, but if you connect two Macs with a Thunderbolt 3 cable (the one with a lightning-bolt icon on the connectors), then you can leave Thunderbolt bridge's IPV4 setting set to DHCP, and it will give you a self-assigned IP address. Then you can use Sharing as described by Tom Shen. Nov 21, 2018 at 19:23
  • 7
    Some explanation on why Apple's USB-C power cables won't work would be great.
    – hmijail
    Jan 21, 2019 at 5:24

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