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Why you need the Migration Assistant to move to a new Mac


Over the years I enjoyed to clone disks on my Macs. It's always good to make copies of everything with Carbon Copy Cloner or similar applications. You have a backup disk handy to boot your Mac in case of an emergency. External SSDs with USB-C or Thunderbolt interfaces got cheaper. Time Machine and an online backup are also useful, but serve a different thing. Usually before you move your stuff to a new Mac, you may want to make a copy to one of your external disks.

There are two problems with restoring from a clone to a new Mac. First, you have sometimes a MacOS version mismatch. The 10.13.6 coming with a new MacBook Pro is not the same as the one coming for an older MacOS 10.13.6. Probably some newer drivers are missing.

Second, there are Secure Tokens. If you format a Mac disk and clone from a backup, you don't get your secure tokens for the admin users. So you can't enable things like File Vault. Your user is not trusted by the OS itself. You have to go through the normal OS installer to install a fresh copy of MacOS and the installer will grant a secure token to the first user you create, later all new admin users you create get one, too. The migration assistant also grants the secure token automatically, so you get it. But if you just clone, there is no way get one.

And now a speed tip for migration assistant. You want a fast connection to clone. The fastest you can get on a Mac is usually Thunderbolt 3 with 20 Gigabits. So connect both Macs with a new Thunderbolt cable. If one Mac is older, maybe Thunderbolt 2, maybe with adapter for 10 Gigabit. If not Thunderbolt, use a good Ethernet cable, so you get gigabit connection. The worst may be to have an older Wifi network and doing migration with a 50 MBs connection.

Good luck with migration!
Keep a backup of the old state for some time in case something missed to copy to the new Mac.
18 08 18 - 22:35
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