How to migrate applications between Macs


Transfer Files between Windows and MAC over WiFi

There are plenty of methods to transfer files between Mac and Windows. If you are not tech-savvy and don’t have large files, then the best choice is Cloud Drives or USB Flash Drives.

Use a Portable Hard Drive or USB drive to transfer your files, if you are ready to spend money on external discs. Transfer files via your network, if you have large size files to transfer. The alternative choice is to use NAS based drives and use as local cloud storage for the entire home network.


In the Finder, choose Go > AirDrop on both Macs; the one you want to send files to, and the one you’re sending from. Drag a file onto the icon of the computer you want to send a file to. Unfortunately, AirDrop isn’t always reliable, and it does need to be active on both Macs, so you can’t easily copy files to a server or other computer, but it can be easier that messing with File Sharing if you only need to send files occasionally.



Dropbox is an online service that makes storing and sharing files incredibly easy, and for free. All you need to do is head over to and sign up for a free account. Once you have logged on you can then upload files to folders so you can organize your data.

Dropbox acts as ‘the cloud’ so all of your information is stored on their servers. You can store up to 2GB of information on the free plan at any one time which makes it a great alternative to the Migration Assistant app.

You can then log on to Dropbox on your new Mac and download all of your data with ease. Of course, uploading data and then downloading it onto a new Mac might not be the quickest alternative to using Migration Assistant.

Part 2: How to Transfer Files from Old Mac to New Mac with AirDrop

If you only have a handful of files to transfer, then you can simply AirDrop them from one Mac to another. For this, both the Macs should be placed nearby and connected via AirDrop. Also, this method will only transfer data from old Mac to new Mac and will not set up its existing settings (like the Migration Assistant). That is why, AirDrop is only recommended to transfer from old Mac to new Mac some of our files.

Step 1: Turn on AirDrop

At first, you need to launch AirDrop from Finder on both the systems and make sure it is enabled. Also, the Bluetooth and WiFi features must be enabled on your Mac in advance. From here, you can also set the visibility of your Mac to contacts only or everyone for easy detection.

Step 2: Transfer data from old Mac to new Mac

Step 2: Transfer data from old Mac to new Mac

From the AirDrop app also, you can simply browse the Mac storage, and drag and drop any file to the available Mac. Besides that, you can explore the storage of your old Mac via Finder and select what you wish to transfer. Afterward, click on the Share icon and select your new Mac as the target system.

Once you transfer files from old Mac to new one, y

Once you transfer files from old Mac to new one, you will get a respective prompt on your new system. From here, you can just accept the incoming data and complete the transfer process.

Transfer Files From One Mac To Another Mac Wirelessly With AirDrop

Have you ever wanted to wirelessly transfer a photo or video between two Macs?

It turns out that there’s an easy way of doing this. Just AirDrop.

And no wires required.

All you need is both Macs connected to the same WIFI network. So they can discover each other. And you’ll need Bluetooth turned on, on both Macs

1. Open up a Finder window on both Mac’s. And in each finder window click on AirDrop. You’ll find it in the sidebar.

2. Then in the AirDrop window check how you’d like each Mac discovered.

Picking ‘Allow me to be discovered by: Everyone’ makes the transfer quick and easy.

You can choose ‘Contacts Only’. If you’re sure the user of the other Mac is in your contacts list.

Do this on each Mac.

3. Each Mac will then see the other Mac in their AirDrop finder window.

4. Open another finder window and navigate to the file or folder you want to wirelessly send. Or you can pick a document off your desktop.

Drag and drop it onto the picture of the other Mac in your AirDrop window.

5. The other Mac then accepts the file and the file transfer goes ahead.

For an AirDrop wireless transfer you’ll need a 2012 or later Mac or MacBook. Running the MacOS operation system of at least OS X Yosemite.

And to help you along if you’d like to see this visually. Here’s a great YouTube video all about it.

It’s 4 minutes 8 seconds long.

How to transfer files from Mac to Mac Wirelessly

Video Credit: Tech & Design

Why AirDrop is so awesome? It’s quick, easy to use and doesn’t take much technical know how at all.  Ideal for smaller file transfers. Documents, music files and photos.

And it works from your iPhone or iPad to your Mac.

Wirelessly AirDrop Transfer Files From iPhone Or iPad To Mac

Or from your Mac to your iOS device. Your iPhone or iPad.

Just quickly check your Apple device has AirDrop turned on.

You do that by going into your iPhone Settings, then General. Click on AirDrop. Then check how your mobile device is discovered.  By ‘Everyone’ makes things easy.

Pick the file, iPhone photos, contact information you want to share.

Then click on the share button and pick AirDrop.

And it’s as simple as that.

Here’s an Apple support doc you might find useful on AirDrop.

How to Copy Files From iPhone and iPad to Mac

  1. Plug your ‌iPhone‌, ‌iPad‌, or ‌iPod touch‌ into your Mac using the supplied cable.
  2. Open a Finder window by clicking the Finder icon in the Dock.
  3. Click your iOS device’s name in the sidebar.
  4. If this is the first time connecting your device to your Mac, click Trust in the Finder window.
  5. Tap Trust on your device when prompted, then enter your passcode to confirm.
  6. Click the Files tab to see a list of apps that can share files. If you don’t see a Files section, your device doesn’t have any apps that can share files.
  7. Click the triangle next to an app to see the files that you can share.
  8. Open another Finder window (Command-N) and navigate to the location on your Mac where you’d like to copy the files on your iOS device to.
  9. Select the files on your iOS device that you want to copy, then drag the file(s) to the open location on your Mac in the other Finder window.

Finder will automatically copy the files to your Mac. Depending on the size of the file(s), you may have to wait a while for the transfer to complete.

Transfer data between Macs online

The most popular way to transfer data between Macs is via the cloud. That could be via iCloud — Apple’s own apps use iCloud to sync between Macs and iOS devices logged into the same Apple ID — or, say, Dropbox. By saving files to your online cloud account rather than your local Mac, you’ll always be working on the most recent version of a document. Tools like Microsoft Office 365 and Google Docs work in a similar way — storing documents online so you can access them from anywhere.

If you’ve ever wondered “how do I move files from iCloud to my Mac?,” we’ll show you.

Using a cloud storage solution like iCloud, Dropbox, Google Drive, or any other service is like having an external drive you don’t have to actually carry around. Files can be stored there, and moved to any Mac you like, or multiple Macs. It’s a popular solution because cloud storage is available anywhere you go, and there’s no hardware to manage. The best solutions – like those mentioned above – can house any file type you have.

Dropbox, Google Drive, and iCloud all have the ability to select multiple files or folders for download. All you need to do is command-click or shift-click on the files you want to download, then choose the ‘download’ option. For Google Drive and Dropbox it’s on the right side of the screen. (Dropbox has a ‘download’ button; Drive has a three-dot menu with a ‘download’ option.)

For iCloud users, simply select the files you want to download, they choose the ‘download’ icon – a cloud with a downward-facing arrow – at the top center of the screen.

Cloud-based storage isn’t always the right solution. You may have large files or folders that exceed your cloud storage limit, or documents you want to view and edit locally on your Mac. These are a few occasions where you’ll need to store documents and files locally and sync them later. That could be because you work offline sometimes and need to be able to access documents or because you don’t want to store documents in the cloud.

There are solutions for that too. One of them is C

There are solutions for that too. One of them is ChronoSync Express (above), which allows you quickly and easily synchronize files between two Macs. There are a number of caveats — the Macs you sync need to be running the same version of Mac OS and the applications on them should all be the same version. In addition, you should only synchronize files in your user Home folder, with the exception of files in the Library folder. There’s an excellent guide to syncing between two Macs using ChronoSync Express here.

If you’d rather take a more manual approach to sharing files, Forklift (below) can help. Designed as a tool for managing FTP servers, Forklift can also sync and transfer files from Mac to Mac on the same network. All you need to do is connect to the Mac using AFP or SMB, log in and add the folder you want to synchronize to your Favourites in Forklift. You can then use Forklift’s sync tool to ensure the same data is always in both folders.

Part 4 : How to Transfer Files between Macs via Physical Device

If you need to access the transferred files anytime and anywhere, you can take physical storage devices like USB, SSDs, HDDs and so on into consideration. Compared with cloud service storages, physical storage device enables you to transfer huge files without an Internet connection.

The only disadvantage of using physical storage devices to share files from one Mac to another is that it is so susceptible to damage and data will be lost.

Step 1: Import file to physical storage device

Insert your physical storage device into one Mac, then find and locate a file that you are going to transfer to another Mac, drag it into the USB folders directly.

Step 2: Export file to another Mac

Then poll out the physical storage device and inset it into another Mac, open its folder, and move the converted file to the local place of your Mac.

Step 3: Open and view the file

To access the transferred file, you can easily tap on its icon. And you can also do some edits to the files later.

This method is also useful when you want to transfer files from PC to PC or from PC to Mac. But if there’s some problem with your Mac, you need to recover files from Mac first before you do the transfer.


This is a power-user feature, that most people won’t need, but some might find useful. OS X used to include an option to share files via File Transfer Protocol but this is now somewhat hidden. To turn on FTP on a Mac—more correctly, SFTP, or secure FTP—enable Remote Login in the Sharing pane of System Preferences. I use Transmit to transfer files between my iMac and my Mac mini server, and I find it practical when I have a lot of files to copy since I can control how many get sent at a time.

You can use FTP to transfer files to a Mac runni

You can use FTP to transfer files to a Mac running OS X Server.

Sync folders between Macs

Syncing and sharing are similar, but have unique differences. Sharing allows you to share files managed by a user; syncing allows other Macs to add to a folder.

The aforementioned file sharing will sync files from one Mac to another, but using a cloud storage system to sync folders is smarter. iCloud allows for this for Macs using the same iCloud account. Google Drive and Dropbox are better for managing shared folders for multiple users.

We prefer ChronoSync Express for syncing folders across multiple Macs. It has time-based event handling for backup and sync, and runs on any Mac with ChronoSync Express installed. It’s a great option for those who have multiple iMacs or Mac Pros that aren’t portable; if you have an iMac at work and a MacBook at home, ChronoSync Express is perfect.

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 Transfer Files from Mac to iPhone or Conversely with Dropbox

Supported Files: Photos, Videos, Word Documents, Excel Files, PPTs, Text Files, Zip Files, Audio Files…

Other than iCloud, other cloud storage services like Dropbox and Google Drive also allow you to transfer files between an iPhone and Mac. Let’s take Dropbox as an example.

To share files between iPhone and Mac via Dropbox:

Step 1. Download and install Dropbox on both your Mac and iPhone. And log in to the app with the same Dropbox account.

Step 2. To transfer files from Mac to iPhone, upload the items to Dropbox from the Mac; To send files from iPhone to Mac, upload the data from iPhone to Dropbox.

Step 3. Go to the Dropbox app on the target device to check and download the files. (Ensure the devices are under stable network connections.)

Which Modes are available?

There are two modes in which we can use this setup:

I consider Target Disk Mode, the quick and easy mode, where the drives of one Mac are mounted (completely!) on the other. The IP over Thunderbolt method works with network file sharing which requires you to define what files and folders are being shared, which gives you more options (like “read-only”) but also more work to setup.

Target Disk Mode

So one method is the so called “Target Disk Mode” or TDM, that we’ve mentioned earlier. In that case one Mac (Mac-A) becomes the “slave” of the other (Mac-B), allowing you access to the drives (harddisk, CD/DVD) on the other.

So keep in mind: the drives of Mac-A will appear on Mac-B!

Which Mac is which Mac? 

For your convenience, I’ve named both Mac’s … in writing this article I have noticed how easy it is to confuse both Mac’s when referring to it. So in this article:

Mac-A is the Mac that holds the drives you’d like to access – this is the Mac that will be put in Target Disk Mode. So Mac-A could be seen as “the source”,..

Mac-B is the Mac that will see the drives of Mac-A. So this would then be “the destination”.

Disable FileVault! 

One thing to keep in mind, for this to work, is that the “FileVault” has to be disabled, if you’d like to access the harddrive of the other Mac. By default, during setup of your Mac, this is enabled, which encrypts your files.

You can disable encyption (FileVault) as follows:

Go to ”  ”   System Preferences Security & Privacy File Vault“. Click the pad-lock in the lower left corner, enter your password, and click “Turn OFF Filevault“.

Note: If it already says “Turn ON Filevault” then Filevault is already disabled.

Least understood … yet EASIEST to use … 

Target Disk Mode is probably the mode that is least used and most misunderstood. When you want to copy a few files and don’t want to bother with all kinds of settings, then this is definitely the fastest and easiest way to quickly access files on one Mac to transfer to another Mac.

Step 1 – Power down the Mac you’d like to access

This would be the Mac (Mac-A) who’s disks you’d like to access from the other Mac (Mac-B).

Step 2 – Connect the Thunderbolt cable to both Mac’s

Use a standard Thunderbolt cable and connect one end to Mac-A and the other to Mac-B.

Step 3 – Boot the Mac you want to access while holding the “T” key

Start the Mac (Mac-A) you’d like to access, and hold down the “T” key while booting, you should see a screen like this:

Your Mac in Target Disk Mode

Your Mac in Target Disk Mode

Step 4 – Access the files and/or drives

Now in this step, it all depends how you wanted to use the Target Disk Mode. This can be during the boot of the Mac (Mac-B) you want to use to access the other Mac, or you just want to access files when the your Mac (Mac-B) is already running. In the latter you’d see the drives appear in Finder.

If you’ve called your hard disk on both Mac’s the same (stupid idea that I had), then things might be a bit confusing, since both drives will appear in the Finder and it might be tricky to identify which is which. Just remember that there will be an Eject symbol next to the drives that can be written to Mac-A,… Read-only drives will not show an eject symbol.

Target Disk Mode – Drives visible!

Target Disk Mode – Drives visible!

Step 5 – Closing the connection

Properly Eject Writable Drives! 

Now this part you should pay attention to … Like with a USB drive, on Mac-B, you will need to eject the drives that are writable properly before powering down the other Mac (Mac-A). Once ejected, you can power down Mac-A by pressing and holding the Power Button until the Mac shuts down (takes about 8 seconds) and reboot to Mac OS X if needed.

Getting Your App Back

The application in question and all its associated preference files will go to the Trash. Once there, simply pick them up and copy them somewhere safe. Knowing these files’ locations, you could always hunt for them in their corresponding folders of course, but picking them up from the trash is just faster.

Then, place those files into a flash drive or anywhere where you can pull them out from on your new Mac.

Once done, head to your new Mac and drag the appli

Once done, head to your new Mac and drag the application from your flash drive to the Applications folder. Then, drag the preference files to the exact paths shown on the screenshot you took earlier on.

Start the app and all your preferences should be r

Start the app and all your preferences should be right there as if you had never changed Macs. Enjoy!