Migrating to a new Mac, the clean way

Guides | Tutorial By 6 years ago

When you purchase a new Mac, upon first boot you are given the option to use Migration Assistant to transfer everything from your old computer to your new computer. I’m sure this works just fine but you’re going to have a lot of clutter taking up valuable space and potentially slowing your computer down that you probably don’t want or need. When I switch computers I like to keep it as fresh as possible so I do all of the migration manually so I don’t lose anything of value in the process.

The first thing you’re probably worried about when migrating is all of your applications. The cleanest way to migrate these would to be reinstalling them, making sure you have the latest versions from the distributors website.

Some of these apps have vast amounts of data associated with them that you might want to keep. For example, a program I use as an alternative to msn is Adium. I like to keep chat transcripts when migrating, so I move these over with me each migration I do. I’ve still got transcripts back from 2005. To get this, you will need to locate the files on your computer, fortunately theres one place where (generally) all app data is stored.

In Lion this folder is hidden, but you can open it by opening up the Terminal (in the /Applications/Utilities folder) and typing in the following command.

open ~/Library/Application Support/

A new finder window will open containing all your app data. Select the folders associated with the apps you want data for and put them into the same directory on your new computer. You may also want to bring over some preferences settings for these apps, which can be found using the following command in the Terminal

open ~/Library/Preferences

The naming convention generally followed is the domain name the software came from in reverse order, followed by the application’s name. Use the search field if you are having trouble locating a particular preferences file. Copy these into the same directory on your new computer.

Lastly, music. This is actually a good use for Migration Assistant if you want to preserve your play counts and ratings, but if you want to do it yourself then you can transfer all your music onto an iPod and then use an app like iRip to pull everything from the iPod back into iTunes.

If I’ve forgotten anything you need help manually transferring, post below and I’ll walk you through it.