Is it possible to clone a Mac directly to another Mac with Carbon Copy Cloner? I just need an answer for macOS 10.13.6. Both machines have exactly the same hardware and OS, except that one of them is running with CPU Intel i7, the other with i9, and one has 512GB disk capacity and the other 256GB. Everything else, including the model A1990, and all other specs are the same.

I am thinking of this so I can bypass the hassle of cloning to an external harddrive first and then restore to the 2nd Mac.

I just need both Macbooks to be synced, so that if one is down for repair, there's practically no downtime.

If CCCloner does not offer this, is there any other way to do this?

P.S.: I am intending to always restrict my disk space usage to less than 256GB so I do not face problem of no disk space on the Mac that has lower disk capacity.

P.S. No 2: I intend to do this syncing between machines on a regular basis (say once a day). Some have mentioned Migration Assistant. Is Migration Assistant suitable for such a frequent task?

  • I'd say 'no'. See bombich.com/kb/ccc5/… They make no mention of using Target Disk mode, which might be an alternative, but you'd think they'd mention it if it would work.
    – Tetsujin
    Apr 3, 2022 at 9:09

4 Answers 4


Here I assume both Macs are Mid-2018 15" (Touch Bar) models.

If one of the Macs were to have macOS installed twice in different partitions, then you could connect the Macs by a Thunderbolt 3 cable and clone between the two machines. The Procedure would be something like this.

First, assume Mac A has High Sierra installed in two different partitions. The one to be cloned is named Main and the other is named Backup. Mac B just has one High Sierra installed.

Execute the following steps.

  1. Boot Mac A from the Backup volume.
  2. Boot Mac B in Target Disk Mode.
  3. Use the asr command or Disk Utility to clone Mac A's Main to or from Mac B.
  • can I use a USB-C to USB-C cable to connect the two? since USB-C is now interchangeable with Thunderbolt 3? Apr 18, 2022 at 5:42

Maybe not. I used CCC 5 to clone a machine running 10.14 to an external disk. That Mac can boot off that drive, and all is well, but when I tried to boot another Mac off that drive I got tons of errors.

If you just want to clone Documents and stuff that'll work.


The short answer to your question is ”No.”

The long answer is more complicated, and it is possible using a MDM-ish solution where the system for the machines is managed from other computer(s) and the User accounts are stored on your network. I doubt that it was what want to do, however.

The built-in way to do this is via Apple Configurator 2, Remote Desktop, and profiles that restrict the users of the target machines from changing the system. You’ll still need another machine for the network user storage and to administer the machines you want locked down, but you won’t need to pay for a subscription to an MDM enterprise tool.

It’s all a matter of how much control you have to exert.


The current macOS versions have separated the OS from the user data. This means that the OS is located in a separate sealed area that cannot be overwritten. I therefore think that transferring a clone copy of the full machine is not possible.

That doesn’t apply to earlier versions, but if you have different CPUs, then the hardware is not identical, so the OS configuration will probably be different.

Instead, use one of the provided, supported and recommended options that Apple provides, one of them being the Migration Assistant which allows you to directly move all users and their data to a new machine.

  • 1
    the OP is on an non current macOS - 10.13.6 The Migration Assistant though is probably the best idea
    – mmmmmm
    Apr 3, 2022 at 10:26
  • @mmmmmm That’s right. Edited my answer wrt OS version.
    – not2savvy
    Apr 3, 2022 at 10:43
  • I intend to do this syncing between machines on a regular basis (say once a day). Is Migration Assistant suitable for such a frequent task? Apr 3, 2022 at 10:46
  • @forgodsakehold Okay, that’s a different scenario. I don’t think Migration Assistant is a feasible solution for that requirement. Would it be enough to sync data, or do you want all users and settings to be synced as well?
    – not2savvy
    Apr 3, 2022 at 11:27
  • Wonder though why my answer had been downvoted. Any explanation, please?
    – not2savvy
    Apr 3, 2022 at 11:30

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