For iPhone users, one of the most convenient aspects of owning this device is the ability to use the iCloud backup service. This allows them to, literally, save everything on their device to the cloud, erase everything and reset your settings, get a new phone, and then use their iCloud account to transfer all the apps and settings as you left them on the previous device.
With the advent of the Mac App Store, transferring apps from one Mac to another is unusually easy and can be done entirely through the App Store. This is due to the Mac App Store license agreement, which allows you to download and install Mac OS X apps on all of your personal computers, although they must all have the same Apple ID. Alternatively, you can transfer apps manually over the network or using an external USB drive, but this method doesn’t work with all apps and is therefore not fully recommended.
Many people know that macOS also has a great migration tool called the Migration Assistant. The tool allows you to “move” from your old Mac to the new one in no time at all. So, here’s how to migrate your apps and files from one Mac to another in different ways.
How to migrate apps from one Mac to another using Mac App Store
If you want to migrate apps from one Mac to another using Mac App Store, you have to follow these steps:
- First of all, open the App Store on your Mac.
- Then, go to the “Purchases” tab. The list with all your installed Mac apps will appear.
- After that, search for the apps you want to install on another Mac and click on the “Install” button on the left.
The disadvantage of the Mac App Store method is that it re-downloads the app for users with limited bandwidth as well, which may not be the best solution. In such situations, you can try doing a manual transfer via network or USB, but the reliability of this next method will depend on the app itself.
How to migrate apps from one Mac to another using Migration Assistant
The first time you turn on your new Mac, you will be prompted to use the Migration Assistant during the Initial Setup Wizard. You can start Migration Assistant on your new Mac at any time. First, plug your Mac in. This will take a while if you don’t want the battery to run out halfway through. Then in the Finder, go to Applications. Then go to Utilities. There you will find the Migration Assistant program.
So, if you want to migrate your apps and files from one Mac to another using Migration Assistant, you have to follow these steps:
- Run the Migration Assistant app on your new Mac and you will see the message in the window, which will alert you that all other apps will quit when you click “Continue”.
- So, click on the “Continue” button.
- Then, select “From a Mac, Time Machine backup, or startup disk” and click “Continue” again.
- After that, launch Migration Assistant on your old Mac and click “Continue”.
- In the window for selecting the data transfer method, select “To another Mac” and click “Continue” again to confirm.
- Next, on the new Mac, you will need to select the source. Select your old Mac.
- Finally, choose the data you want to migrate on your new computer and click “Continue”.
Immediately after this, the data transfer process will begin. This may take several hours if the amount of information is significant. Once the process is complete, you will have a fully configured system with all your files and programs.
Once the process is complete, you’ll be able to log into your old accounts on your new Mac and find that everything is right where you left it. Your documents and apps will be in the same place, and the wallpaper and layout of the icons in the dock will be identical.
Problem with settings files on Mac
Perhaps the hardest part of trying to move an app and its settings to another Mac is finding the app settings file, which is usually in the “Preferences” folder in your user’s library. The problem here’s that the “Preferences” folder is full of files, all named differently, which makes it very difficult to find the one you want.
The situation is even worse when several apps on your Mac store information in other folders, making it nearly impossible to find all the files associated with them. Oddly enough, the solution to this problem comes from an app designed to remove other apps. The app is called AppCleaner.
The main convenience of AppCleaner and similar apps is that they’re designed to perform an exhaustive, system-wide search of an app’s settings files and delete them along with the app itself. The files found by AppCleaner are exactly what you need.
So, in order to find the settings files and folders, just drag the app whose settings you want to move to AppCleaner. There, all the related app settings files will be displayed with their paths listed in detail. Make sure you save them or take a screenshot of the window. Once you have done this, click the “Delete” button.