It’s Consummately Easy to purchase a new Mac, and with Apple’s new Macs sitting
seductively on the shelves, the glimmer of economic recovery on the horizon and
the stringent requirements for Mountain Lion, retailers will assure you that
there’s no better time to buy. However, before you commit your credit card to
the cost, it’s important to start planning how you’re going to put your new Mac
Before you even drool over any websites or
drive out to a store, you need to estimate how much the upgrade will really
cost. Make a list of all your key applications and the version that you have
installed and licensed. If they’re all current and compatible with Mountain
Leopard, you should be spared software upgrade tax.
If you’re still running an older version,
check whether you’ll have to upgrade in order to move the application to your
new Mac and how much that will cost. If possible, perform those upgrades on
your current Mac before migrating: most upgrade installations check the
registration on the old version before accepting the new serial number. If you
can’t move your existing application to your new Mac, you could have to arrange
transfer of its licence through phone support, which can be a slow and painful
before you commit your credit card to the cost, it’s important to start
planning how you’re going to put your new Mac to use.
The next thing to do is check that your
peripherals and other hardware will work with your new Mac. Older printers and
scanners can be a particular problem, as vendors may have discontinued support,
and you may find them unusable from Mountain Lion or stunted in features.
Third-party scanner software such as
SiIverFast (silverfast.com) and VueScan (hamrickcom), and software RIPs for
printers, can keep some models going despite loss of vendor support. Mountain
Lion does itself cater for many (see support.apple.com/kb/ HT3669). Matching
peripheral ports can also be significantly expensive for instance, if you have
to get a Thunderbolt adaptor for an eSATA device.
Plan as much time as possible for the
upgrade, with flexibility to cope with the unexpected. If your work depends on
having access to key suites such as Adobe CS, give yourself leeway to address
problems such as activating the applications on your new system. If you plan to
do most of the work over a weekend or holiday period, bear in mind that you may
be unable to call on product support to deal with issues then, and may have to
wait until the next working day. Remember, too, that a Mac can be dead on
arrival or go missing in transit: never bank on anything working perfectly
first time, and have a robust contingency plan.
Prepare Your Old Mac thoroughly before its replacement arrives. Shut it down and
give it, and everything around it, a thorough clean. Once everything is dry
again, and all the cables are untangled and identified, start it up and bring
everything on it including OS X itself fully up to date. Just before you start
to migrate to your new system, check and repair your startup disk and its
permissions, then run a full backup and/or clone its startup disk If you use
Time Machine, ensure that its current backup is fully functional.
Check through all the key user names,
passwords, and other settings that you’ll MIGRATION, need to have written down
in order to get your new Mac, its network connection, mail, and other
essentials running. Finally, deactivate but do not uninstall any software that
needs to be activated on your new Mac.
If you’re moving between two Macs that are
running the same release of OS X, or they’re consecutive releases such as Lion
and Mountain Lion, you should normally choose to transfer your documents and
applications using Apple’s Migration Assistant when first configuring the new
Mac. When it works, this usually gives the best results for the least effort on
your part, although it can take many hours to complete. The further apart the
versions of OS X are and the greater the quantity of material to be migrated,
the less its chances of success.
next thing to do is check that your peripherals and other hardware will work
with your new Mac.
If you’re going to use Migration Assistant,
you need to prepare a means of connecting your two Macs that gives the newer
computer full access to the older. The greater the bandwidth of that
connection, the quicker the transfer will be, so if possible choose Thunderbolt
or Fi re Wi re 800 target disk mode, or high speed (for example, back to back)
Although seldom an option, popping the hard
disk(s) out of your old Mac and putting them into your new one, or into a
Thunderbolt enclosure, are the quickest and neatest. Putting the drive into a
USB 2 external enclosure is usually more feasible, but is a far slower option.
Position The Two Macs carefully and get them ready before starting up the new one.
Migration Assistant will then walk you through initial steps in setting user
details, localisation, time and so on, before inviting you to migrate from
another system or disk. If you can, for the time being at least, use the same
long and short usernames for the primary admin account on your new Mac, as that
can spare you glitches later. Although you don’t have to migrate your old files
at this stage, it’s preferable to do so now, rather
than running Migration Assistant later.
This is because if you delay migration, you may find it less reliable, and may
have to install Home folder contents into a second user account rather than the
initial one. That can leave you with a lot of work to do once migration is
If Migration Assistant becomes stuck for
several hours without performing any transfers, or you haven’t attempted to use
it, you’ll need to spend a bit of time manually transferring those documents
and applications that you need on your new system. This can be an extremely
time-consuming process, depending on how much there is to transfer, and whether
you have complex music libraries and files synchronised from iOS and other
A simple rule of thumb for manual transfers
is that you should copy across everything in your Home folder and the top level
Library folder, except for files such as? Library/Keychains/login.keychain and
components of OS X that already exist on the new Mac. However, you’ll also want
to weed out old, unused and potentially incompatible software at the same time.
You won’t want your old Adobe CS2 preferences and utilities, PowerPC-only
applications, nor creaky old System Preferences panes that could cause
Once You Have commissioned your new Mac, keep a watch on its logs by browsing
them in Console. Recurrent entries recording problems or crashes there should
draw your attention to their cause. Spotlight’s back ground indexing daemon
mdworker might be choking on a broken old file somewhere, or another process
could be in distress and requiring your attention.
Running each of your key applications for
the first time will confirm whether their licensing has transferred properly,
and you should soon be enjoying the fruits of your investment and labour.
If you can, keep your old Mac ready, or at
least its startup disk in an external drive case. Then whenever you discover
something that you forgot to move across, or can’t find an important piece of
information, you have it to hand.
If You Know
what you’re doing, copying files over to your new Mac can be quicker and more
reliable than using Migration Assistant, but it’s seldom as simple as copying
your Documents folder and applications. Among the easiest products to move to
your new Mac are those purchased through Apple’s Mac App Store. Once you’ve
signed on with your Apple ID and password, all your purchases are available to
download and install on your new Mac. If you want to save time with huge apps
such as Xcode that would take a long time to download, you can simply copy the
app across to the same location (usually the Applications folder) on your new
Mac, which is just what the Migration Manager does. Xcode is one of the few
Store products that also keeps large files outside the Applications folder, so
you may wish to copy those into the correct locations. It helps if you
understand where such apps store their files, which can be outside the usual
Library/Application Support and Library/Preferences.
xcode in mac app store.
One valuable file to copy from your old
system is your user keychain, found at /Library/Keychains/login.keychain.
However, you must rename this before placing it in the same folder on your new
Mac, lest it replace the keychain built on that system. You can then open both
old and new, and copy across connection and other details from one to the
other. You’ll need to authenticate keychains repeatedly, but it will save you a
lot of time as you start using your new Mac.
iTunes folders can normally be moved
intact, but you’ll need to check that you still have sufficient authorisation
lives left with the iTunes Store; check support information for further advice.
Some Products Are harder work. Adobe CS6 and its predecessors use an online
activation scheme that can trip you up, as regular single user licences can be
activated simultaneously on just two Macs. If you have only activated on one,
and are keeping your old Mac, you may prefer to leave the suite activated on the
old system as a fall back. However, if you have activated the software on your
desktop and laptop Macs, you’ll have to deactivate one before you can activate
on your new Mac. Adobe’s phone support can help you through problems, but
you’ll need the activation key provided with your original install disc. If you
can’t find that, log onto your Adobe account and you can view the key in the
list of your activated products.
Microsoft Office 2011 and a few other
products are licensed to a single Mac at a time, but don’t provide any easy way
of unlicensing them on your old system. If the product is relatively cheap, as
with most shareware, you’ll probably be happy to purchase another licence.
Unfortunately, the only way of getting a single copy of Office 2011 to work on
your new Mac is to phone Microsoft support and get them to help you.
You may prefer either to abandon Office
altogether or to purchase one of the more deeply discounted presentations of
Office. Although you can forgive small developers for not providing an easy way
to move their products from one system to another, Microsoft has no excuse. If
you do migrate Office 2011, you’ll have to reinstall it from disc before it
will accept a new licence code. However, reinstalling over a migrated updated
installation preserves updates and saves you having to download and install all
the updates again.