What is the fastest way to transfer 200GB data (~ 2 million files) from 2014 Macbook Air to 2016 Macbook Pro and how long will it take?

  • 16
    No method is slower than asking a question at ASE and wait for the answer.
    – d-b
    Mar 22, 2018 at 23:01
  • 2
    Take the hard drive out of one and put it in the other. Maybe under 5 minutes?
    – Aequitas
    Mar 23, 2018 at 2:04

1 Answer 1


The fastest method is to use Target Disk Mode using the Thunderbolt ports on the machines.

You can refer to this guide from Apple:


Note that because your MacBook Pro features Thunderbolt 3, you'll need to use an adapter to interface with the older Thunderbolt port on the MacBook Air. The directions on getting the correct adapter is also in that link.

Regarding how long time it will take is hard to calculate precisely - it involves many factors such as the type of SSD in your MacBook Air, the file system used, what else the computer is doing at the same time, etc.

An estimate would be approx. 7-10 minutes.

  • 1
    This is indeed the fastest method, especially since it is the only bus that will allow full use of the SSD speeds. Mar 23, 2018 at 0:36
  • 1
    2,000,000 files occupying 200,000 MB is 0.1 MB per file on average. Any transfer method is going to be "slow" regardless of the raw speed of the interface.
    – Coxy
    Mar 23, 2018 at 7:50
  • You do not have to transfer file by file. You could choose to copy the raw disk/partition content saved as an image file.
    – jksoegaard
    Mar 23, 2018 at 9:25

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