I have a TM HD from an old iMac I want to transfer only photos and some documents... it only give me to transfer all the backup without files and folders selection

  1. is there's away to do it ?
  2. if I define the old HD as the new TM HD, will it still see the old backups , so I can upload selectively... ?


  • 3
    You don't need to use the Time Machine app; simply mount the drive and look in the backup folder. You should be able to find the file your looking for.
    – Allan
    Sep 12, 2020 at 19:14

2 Answers 2


Option-click the Time Machine icon in your menu bar with your Time Machine disk connected, then choose Browse Other Backup Disks and select your TM disk from the list.

This lets you browse the backed up data on the TM disk from your new machine using Time Machine.app and choose individual files or folders to restore to the new Mac.

If you choose to add the Time Machine disk as a backup disk to your Mac, this will create a separate backup history for your new Mac alongside the old backups, not merge the two. You can manually associate the old backups with your new Mac to use a single history (How to reassociate Time Machine backup with the computer), but I wouldn't recommend this unless you restore the entire backup to your new Mac first.

  • 1
    Excellent advice for after you’ve gotten your new system set up. I find browsing the old backup confusing when I teach it so I prefer to have people use the Migration Assistant or Finder but if you are able to navigate between the old and new Macintosh HD this works well
    – bmike
    Sep 13, 2020 at 15:07

Yes. Apple’s migration assistant lets you choose to only migrate a subset of files.

  • System Settings
  • Applications
  • User(s)

Skip all you don’t want migrated. The rest you can copy over using Finder from whichever backup time interval/folder you want once the assistant is done or skipped entirely. You can also run the tool more than once if you don’t like the first result. (Erasing your mac if needed before the next run).

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