Your new Apple silicon Mac or MacBook Pro has arrived. And as you unbox it ready to get it set up.
You’re asking yourself. ‘Can I use Migration Assistant later?’ – after I’ve set up my Mac?
Read on for the complete answer.
Can You Use Migration Assistant After Setup?
Yes, you can use Migration Assistant after you’ve run Setup Assistant to set up your Mac. You can open Mac Migration Assistant to transfer your applications, user account and all your files. At any time after you’ve set up your new Mac computer.
Why Use The Migration Assistant App After Setup?
Personally, I’ve found Migration Assistant is better used after setup.
Your new computer comes ready installed with a factory loaded Mac OS x. And that version of Mac OS x may not be the latest available OS x version.
And the latest version will contain bug fixes that you’ll want on your new Mac.
So run your new Mac’s setup. Set your country, put in your Apple id, connect to your iCloud drive. And answer the other questions related to the setup of your Mac. Say yes, to migrating later.
And when you’ve finished that process. Your Mac will reboot and take you to the log in screen.
Log in and check if there is a later OS x version waiting for install. You can do this after you’ve logged in.
Apple menu > About this Mac > Software Update.
Install that update so that your new Mac has the very latest operating system version on it. With all the latest bug and security fixes.
Then when you’re ready and have decided how you want to migrate from your old Mac. Or if you’re moving from a Windows PC when you’re ready to do that. Open Migration Assistant by going to your Applications > Utilities > Migration Assistant.
Reasons To Run Migration Assistant After Setup
You may not be best placed to migrate during Setup Assistant. Because.
1. Your WIFI may be unreliable.
Or you know WIFI is not the best way to migrate. Because migrating can take hours over WIFI.
2. You may need to find or source some cables.
Or an adaptor if you’re planning to migrate Mac to Mac using cable. A faster way to transfer.
Just remember to put your old Mac into Target Disk Mode for your file transfer. You do that by System Preferences > Startup Disk > Target Disk Mode on your old Mac.
Your old source Mac will then boot up into Target Disk Mode.
3. You need to sort out some things on your old Mac.
Tidy it up a bit. Like get rid of old applications you no longer need. Perhaps archive some things off that you don’t need on your new Mac. Tidy up your user account.
Particularly if your new Mac has a smaller internal drive than your old Mac. And you’ve decided you would save money on buying your new Mac. Because you can do perfectly well on a smaller internal drive.
4. You may want to take a Time Machine backup of your old Mac.
As insurance if you’re doing a Mac to Mac migration of an old failing Mac.
You can take your backup to an external hard drive. Or an external SSD. Just make sure you’ve used Disk Utility to format your external drive for a Time Machine backup.
Plus, you have the option of running Migration Assistant, using that Mac Time Machine backup of your old Mac.
Then you can continue using your old Mac. While Migration Assistant runs on your new Mac. Loading up your data from that Time Machine backup.
Can You Do Migration Assistant Later From A Windows Computer?
Yes, you can. Carry out the initial setup of your new Mac. Then when you’re ready. Download Windows Migration Assistant from the Apple App Store to your Windows PC.
At any time after setting up your new Mac. You launch Migration Assistant on your new Mac. And migrate your files from Windows. By launching Windows Migration Assistant from your old PC’s control panel.
Using Migration Assistant A Long Time After Setup
There is a danger in waiting too long to migrate.
If you’ve been busily using your new Mac. Putting on new files, loading new apps.
You may then find that Migration Assistant doesn’t give you enough migration choice. Apple Migration Assistant won’t migrate individual apps for example.
Or individual files or folders.
And merging your user account on your old source mac. With your user account on your new Mac. Is more of a challenge if you’ve been busy putting lots of files and folders on your new computer.
Though Migration Assistant does help here. When it finds the same user account on the new Mac and the older Mac. You get a choice.
You can overwrite the user account on the new Mac. Not the choice you’re likely to make if you’ve been happily putting lots of files on your new Mac.
Or you can ask Migration Assistant to copy the user account. And create a copy alongside the user account on your new Mac.
That should make it easier to copy the files you want.
So, yes you can do your migration later with Migration Assistant. But not too long that you find it easier to manually migrate the rest of your files. With all that entails.
Now you know the answer to your question ‘Can I do Migration Assistant later?’
There are some real advantages to running Migration Assistant later.
And most of those reasons relate to getting your old Mac sorted first. Or deciding how you want to migrated from old Mac to new.
So, relax and know you can setup your new Mac. And migrate to your new Mac. Like an M1 Mac after setup.
About Paul Gregory
I’ve been a system administrator for various corporates for 15 years. And as admin I’ve helped many with their Mac’s and there many Apple devices.
I’m excited by watching users, armed with a little knowledge take control of their Mac’s and their files. And why not?
When I’m not at work or working on the site I like to chill with few beers. And watch a bit of car racing. From Formula 1 to stock car racing. The competition is my thing.