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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Notebooks > Transferring data from iMac to new MacBook Air

Transferring data from iMac to new MacBook Air
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Jul 30, 2011, 04:29 PM
 
I should be receiving my new 13" MBA next week and will use the migration assistant to transfer all of my data over to it from my 2009 iMac. In the absence of high speed compatible ports between the two, I am stuck using the slooooooow USB 2.0. If I did not need a light weight model, I would never have bought a laptop without firewire 800 or ethernet, because for now and the near future, the Thunderbolt port is useless unless I have some deep pockets. The great failing of the new MBA is that I feel like I am between a rock and a hard place, because the MBA limits the transfer rate through the USB 2.0 port. Unless I am missing something, and I hope I am, then I am just stuck in USB purgatory until sometime in the future when Thunderbolt compatible devices become available at a reasonable price. Please correct me if I am wrong. Thanks
( Last edited by Ron K; Jul 30, 2011 at 05:28 PM. Reason: clarification)
     
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Jul 30, 2011, 06:14 PM
 
Thunderbolt with a FW800 adapter? I don't know if they're out yet.

Or is that too pricey after blowing $1200+ on the laptop?
     
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Jul 31, 2011, 02:54 AM
 
Transferring files via USB 2.0 or wireless isn't that bad. I've cloned my hard drives a few times whenI wanted to upgrade the internal hard drives. Instead of shelling out a lot of money for a FireWire enclosure, I bought a cheap USB enclosure. It takes a few hours, but it isn't all that bad.
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Ron K  (op)
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Jul 31, 2011, 01:06 PM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
Transferring files via USB 2.0 or wireless isn't that bad. I've cloned my hard drives a few times whenI wanted to upgrade the internal hard drives. Instead of shelling out a lot of money for a FireWire enclosure, I bought a cheap USB enclosure. It takes a few hours, but it isn't all that bad.
How many GB of data are you transferring?
     
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Jul 31, 2011, 01:15 PM
 
~300 GB. Took 3, 4 hours, I think. I'm not sure anymore since I went off to do something else in the meantime. Even if you have more data, it's an operation that will be finished over night.
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Jul 31, 2011, 02:17 PM
 
Migration Assistant has wireless support built in to create a ad-hoc wifi network with your new and old Macs to transfer over everything.

This is going to definitely be the most painless way to transfer your files, applications, and profile settings to your new computer.
     
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Aug 1, 2011, 02:48 AM
 
Originally Posted by shifuimam View Post
Migration Assistant has wireless support built in to create a ad-hoc wifi network with your new and old Macs to transfer over everything.

This is going to definitely be the most painless way to transfer your files, applications, and profile settings to your new computer.
That does seem like the most logical and painless way to transfer data. Does anyone know how the transfer rate via wifi compares with USB 2.0? What a blessing not to have to use cables.
     
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Aug 1, 2011, 05:08 AM
 
If you have all recent Apple kit it could be 450Mbps or so. At close range.
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Aug 1, 2011, 05:39 AM
 
In any case, if you have a moderate amount of data (in the ~100 GB range), then it'll take a few hours to transfer all your stuff.
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Aug 1, 2011, 06:41 AM
 
Originally Posted by Ron K View Post
That does seem like the most logical and painless way to transfer data. Does anyone know how the transfer rate via wifi compares with USB 2.0? What a blessing not to have to use cables.
Well, both machines have 802.11n, so it should be pretty fast. I mean, it won't be blazing, but it'll be fast enough.

For some reason I'm thinking Migration Assistant can also go over ethernet, so if you have a compatible USB ethernet adapter for the MBA, you might go that route instead - wired is always going to be faster than wireless.
     
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Aug 1, 2011, 07:15 AM
 
Except that ethernet via USB is going to be limited by the speed of the USB port to the same speed as USB. So you may as well use USB if available.
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Aug 2, 2011, 06:05 AM
 
Originally Posted by Waragainstsleep View Post
Except that ethernet via USB is going to be limited by the speed of the USB port to the same speed as USB. So you may as well use USB if available.
Migration assistant doesn't work over USB.

How to use Migration Assistant to transfer files from another Mac
     
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Aug 2, 2011, 06:50 AM
 
True enough. I thought maybe the OP planned to use an external enclosure but I see on rereading that he was unaware the MA doesn't work over USB.
Always thought USB target mode would be useful. Target mode missing from some Macs is a pain in the neck for engineers.
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Aug 2, 2011, 11:38 AM
 
It has to do with how the USB protocol works. FW was kind of designed from the start as a replacement to SCSI, so the same features were included - a single port can serve as host or slave, and devices can be daisy-chained. USB was designed as a replacement for standard serial ports found on non-Mac PCs at the time, and as such it included the features of that older standard.
     
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Aug 2, 2011, 10:26 PM
 
Originally Posted by shifuimam View Post
It has to do with how the USB protocol works. FW was kind of designed from the start as a replacement to SCSI, so the same features were included - a single port can serve as host or slave, and devices can be daisy-chained. USB was designed as a replacement for standard serial ports found on non-Mac PCs at the time, and as such it included the features of that older standard.
USB On The Go (OTG) has been around for 10 years and allows a port to act as a host or slave.
     
Ron K  (op)
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Aug 8, 2011, 11:49 PM
 
UPDATE: I have just successfully transferred all of my data from my Time Machine backup HD to my MBA using Migration Assistant via USB cable. It took just under 2 hours and I am pleased with the results. Thanks to all for the positive input.
( Last edited by Ron K; Aug 8, 2011 at 11:50 PM. Reason: left out a word)
     
   
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