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I'd like to use Migration Assistant to migrate data from a Late 2016 13" MacBook Pro to a 2009 Mac Pro. The only connection options I see possibly working are gigabit ethernet or USB.

I'm not sure if Migration Assistant will even use USB to connect two Macs. Even if it did, I'm at the mercy of the slower USB 2.0 port on the Mac Pro.

Is it possible to transfer data using USB and if so, is USB faster or is it faster to use gigabit Ethernet?

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You have three options to connect two Mac's together to transfer settings via Migration Assistant:

  • Ethernet
  • Firewire
  • Thunderbolt

There's no option to connect via USB. Academically speaking, connecting via USB would be your slowest connection because it's only 480Mb/s (USB 2.0) versus Ethernet at 1Gb/s or Firewire 800 at 800Mb/s. Thunderbolt isn't available on a 2009 Mac Pro

The easiest thing to do is to get a USBC to Ethernet Adapter and connect via the onboard Ethernet on the Mac Pro. I recommend this over the Firewire for three reasons:

  1. It's faster than Firewire
  2. You probably already own a Ethernet cable; you would have to purchase a Firewire cable specifically for this
  3. You are more likely to need the Ethernet adapter than you will a Thunderbolt to Firewire adapter
  • Thanks Allan. I do have a USB-C to Ethernet cable somewhere... :) I assume I can go direct from Mac Pro to MacBook Pro? Do I need to set IPs or will it figure that out on its own via Migration Assistant? – Swisher Sweet Jun 1 '17 at 23:23
  • According to the Apple page referenced in the answer, you can "connect both computers directly using a Thunderbolt, FireWire, or Ethernet cable." – Allan Jun 1 '17 at 23:47
  • As long as both Mac's networking is set to DHCP and not a static IP they will auto negotiate a mutually agreeable network connection. I've done it this way many times, works a treat! – Steve Chambers Jun 2 '17 at 14:24

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