I am trying to migrate my data from my old MacBook (12-inch Retina Mid 2017) to a new Apple MacBook Air (Retina, 13-inch, 2020). I am using the USB port on an Apple AV Adapter on the MB connected using this Amazon cable and the drive never shows up when using Apple Migration Assistant on the new MBA.

I have reseated the cables multiple times and used multiple Apple and non Apple adapters and it doesnt work. Has anyone successfully completed this migration using USB cables and if so, what cables did you use?

I'd love to use the Apple Thunderbolt yet the MB only has one port and it's USB-C, so I need an adapter for power during the transfer.

Thanks for any assistance.

  • Migration only takes a few minutes, not hours. Why not fully charge your Mac before migration? This way you won't need the AV adapter to have it plugged into mains.
    – Allan
    Dec 1 '20 at 16:31
  • See my comment on Allan’s excellent answer.
    – bmike
    Dec 1 '20 at 17:34
  • I used the Amazon cable to transfer 500GB of data without issue from an old iMac to a brand new Intel MacBook Air so I know it works - this is all I had to test with during COVID work from home (no MacBook). The transfer takes at least an hour when laptop is powered. The data that needs to transfer is 176GB in this case. I was hoping someone had already solved this issue... I'll likely send the users the Apple cable without power (unless someone knows of a USBC hub/splitter so I can use data and power on the lone USBC port?? Dec 2 '20 at 16:23
  • i will also send this cable yet Starlink support has no idea if it will work.... Dec 2 '20 at 16:27

The problem is your cable

AmazonBasics USB Type-C to USB-A Male 3.1 Gen2 Adapter Charger Cable

Emphasis mine

You need a proper USB cable, not a charger cable. A charger cable only provides the connections to send power, not data.

A USB cable for data will typicaly not need a descriptor (like "data") because it's assumed USB cables carry data. However, Amazon sellers may describe it as "sync" in their products title.

  • Allan is right, also I would boot the old MacBook safe boot one time and then try again to run migration assistant with them connected. Or you could try target disk mode and repair the old Mac from the new one in Disk Utility before you attempt the transfer @laynestaley
    – bmike
    Dec 1 '20 at 17:34
  • As I mentioned above the Amazon cable works - yet just not for MacBooks with one USBC port it seems. I will try and boot the MB into safe mode. I can't use the new one until I get accounts on it and I can't get accounts on it until I migrate the user data from the old one. I understand I can create a temp account and do all of it yet I'm working remotely with end-user with a limited capacity to troubleshoot. All I need is a cable that works for a process that is outlined by Apple. Dec 2 '20 at 16:30
  • And for the record, before Big Sur release Apple had instructions where they specifilcally suggested these cables in their support docs (which has since disappeared) showing how to migrate data. That cable didnt work. So this has been a serious fiasco from jump street. Dec 2 '20 at 16:38

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