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I need to transfer some large files from an Early 2009 Mac mini to a 2019 iMac. The Mac mini has FireWire 800, Ethernet, and USB-1. The iMac has USB-C and USB-3 and Ethernet.

Is this the best way to do it? Is this string of dongles likely to work? Would you risk using Migration Assistant for this, or just transfer the files you need (mostly photos).

FireWire 800 cable --> Apple FireWire 800 to Thunderbolt adaptor --> Apple Thunderbolt to USB-C adaptor

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  • If you don't already own all those bits, I'd go with a USB drive or Ethernet.
    – Tetsujin
    Jan 28, 2020 at 18:45
  • With @Tetsujin here: Ethernet will almost certainly be easier and faster. One note though: You said it's an early 2009 Mac mini, however that model has a FireWire 800 port. Are you sure it's not a Mid 2007 model?
    – JMY1000
    Jan 28, 2020 at 20:46
  • Thanks both - please add as an answer. You’re right about the FireWire 800. I’ve edited the question to correct this.
    – tomh
    Jan 28, 2020 at 23:11

2 Answers 2

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You should be able to connect the two machines directly with an Ethernet cable (if you do not have cabling already) and then enable file sharing on one machine, and locate that machine on the other so it shows up in Finder as a mounted disk.

Then you can just drag and drop the files.

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FireWire 800 cable --> Apple FireWire 800 to Thunderbolt adaptor --> Apple Thunderbolt to USB-C adaptor

That should work for you, it worked for me with similar vintage hardware. When comparing the speeds of 800 Mbps Firewire to 1000 Mbps Ethernet (or even either compared to 480 Mbps USB 2.0 using an appropriate cable) it's possible you won't see much of a difference.

One difference is that you can keep the FireWire connection in place and keep your Ethernet port free for your network. If you just use WiFi for internet then this is not likely a concern.

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