2

I while back I bought a 2018 Mac mini. I'd like to connect my old (2011) Mac mini as an external drive to selectively transfer photos and such.

I have found some documentation on how to do this, but it never seems to work for me. I think the main issue Im have having is finding the correct cable use.

Maybe there is a better way? I would use Ethernet but my router is too far away my work area and connecting directly between the two with an Ethernet cable didn't work (I could be doing something wrong). BT would seem to be too slow for moving data between the two. Loading the old data to iCloud would not be good a option as I have very limited data (I'm in the country so I'm limited)

If there is a better connection approach, I'm good to hear about it. Otherwise, what cable can I use to connect the two?

Thanks!

1

1 Answer 1

1

Using Thunderbolt

There is the "Apple Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) to Thunderbolt 2 Adapter" which can connect the two Macs at a transfer rate of 10 Gbps. This does require either a "0.5 m Apple Thunderbolt Cable" or a "2.0 m Apple Thunderbolt Cable" to connect between the adaptor and the 2011 Mac mini.

Since I do not have "Apple Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) to Thunderbolt 2 Adapter", I can only provide an example involving a 2011 iMac (macOS High Sierra 10.13.6) and a 2013 iMac (macOS Catalina 10.15.7), both of which are connected by a "0.5 m Apple Thunderbolt Cable". The following steps can be use to setup the 2011 iMac as the server.

  1. Connect the two Macs by a Thunderbolt cable.

  2. Set up File Sharing on the Sharing pane of the 2011 iMac's System Preferences, as shown below. If desired, you can edit the list of Shared Folders, but usually this is not necessary. Screen Sharing is also enabled, but this is not required.

  3. To get the IP address assigned to the 2011 iMac, highlight Thunderbolt Bridge on the Network pane of the 2011 iMac's System Preferences as shown below.

    The IP Address 192.168.8.1, shown in the above image, is assigned to the Thunderbolt Bridge connection on the 2011 iMac. The image also shows a Wi-Fi connection, which is not required.

  4. Connect to the server (2011 iMac). From the Finder's menu bar on the 2013 iMac, select GoConnect to Server…. You can enter the follow.

    • To access files and volumes on the 2011 iMac, enter the following in the popup window, then select the Connect button.

      The resulting list to choose from should include your home folder, as well as other folders and volumes on the 2011 iMac.

    • To share the screen on the 2011 iMac, enter the following in the popup window, then select the Connect button.

Using Ethernet with Internet Sharing

You should be able to connect the two Macs by using a ethernet cable at a transfer rate of 1 Gbps. Below is an example involving a 2011 iMac (macOS High Sierra 10.13.6) and a 2013 iMac (macOS Catalina 10.15.7), both of which are connected to the same LAN by WiFi. The following steps can be use to setup the 2011 iMac as the server.

  1. Connect the two Macs by an ordinary ethernet cable.

  2. Turned on Internet Sharing on one of the two Macs. The Mac chosen will not sleep while Internet Sharing is turned on. In this example, Internet Sharing is setup on the Sharing pane of the 2011 iMac's System Preferences as shown below.

  3. Set up File Sharing on the Sharing pane of the 2011 iMac's System Preferences, as shown below. If desired, you can edit the list of Shared Folders, but usually this is not necessary. Screen Sharing is also enabled, but this is not required.

  4. To get the IP addresses assigned to the ethernet, highlight Ethernet on the Network pane of the 2013 iMac's System Preferences as shown below.

    The IP Address 192.168.2.3, shown in the above image, is assigned to the ethernet connection on the 2013 iMac. The Router IP address 192.168.2.1, shown in the above image, is assigned to the ethernet connection on the 2011 iMac.

  5. Connect to the server (2011 iMac). From the Finder's menu bar on the 2013 iMac, select GoConnect to Server…. You can enter the follow.

    • To access files and volumes on the 2011 iMac, enter the following in the popup window, then select the Connect button.

      The resulting list to choose from should include your home folder, as well as other folders and volumes on the 2011 iMac.

    • To share the screen on the 2011 iMac, enter the following in the popup window, then select the Connect button.

Using Ethernet without Internet Sharing

Unlike the previous method, this method does not require either Mac to have another internet connection.

Like the previous method, this method connects two Macs by using a ethernet cable. Below is an example involving a 2011 iMac (macOS High Sierra 10.13.6) and a 2013 iMac (macOS Catalina 10.15.7), both of which are optionally connected to the same LAN by WiFi. The transfer rate over the ethernet cable between the two iMacs would be 1 Gbps. The transfer rate between your Mac mini computers would also be 1 Gbps. The following steps can be use to setup the 2011 iMac as the server.

  1. Manually choose an IP address for each iMac. Once possibility would be to choose 192.168.x.1 and 192.160.x.2 where x is between 0 and 254, inclusively. You should choose a value for x so that no other IP address that starts with 192.168.x. is already assigned to either Mac or any other devices that either Mac needs to reach.

    Below is the Network pane of the 2011 iMac's System Preferences. This image shows the only connection in use is Wi-Fi. Since the Wi-Fi has the IP address of 192.168.0.114, x can not have the value of 0.

    Wi-Fi 2011

    Below is the Network pane of the 2013 iMac's System Preferences. This image shows the only connection in use is Wi-Fi and also confirms x can not have the value of 0.

    Wi-Fi 2013

    Based on the two previous images, x was arbitrarily chosen to be 12.

  2. Connect the two Macs by an ordinary ethernet cable.

  3. Set up File Sharing on the Sharing pane of the 2011 iMac's System Preferences, as shown below. If desired, you can edit the list of Shared Folders, but usually this is not necessary. Screen Sharing is also enabled, but this is not required.

    Sharing 2011

  4. Configure Ethernet on the Network pane of the 2011 iMac's System Preferences, as shown below.

    Ethernet 2011

  5. Configure Ethernet on the Network pane of the 2013 iMac's System Preferences, as shown below.

    Ethernet 2013

  6. Connect to the server (2011 iMac). From the Finder's menu bar on the 2013 iMac, select GoConnect to Server…. You can enter the follow.

    • To access files and volumes on the 2011 iMac, enter the following in the popup window, then select the Connect button.

      smb

      The resulting list to choose from should include your home folder, as well as other folders and volumes on the 2011 iMac.

    • To share the screen on the 2011 iMac, enter the following in the popup window, then select the Connect button.

      vnc

1
  • Wow! thanks for the details David. I will try some of this out tonight. Dec 7, 2021 at 14:42

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .