Moving from 2009 MacBook Pro to M2 MacBook Air: Migration Assistant or manual

My wife (got to get this right or dog house for me) has a 2009 MBP, running High Sierra (using the hacked installer), the last couple of updates and security updates did not work, she just got a M2 Air. How should I move over all her files? I was fairly knowledgeable about system software back in the Classic (pre OS10) days, but haven’t kept up with newer stuff. A relative whom is a audio/video engineer that uses Macs a lot, and seems to much more knowledgeable than I, suggested not using Migration Assistant as that would move over a lot of outdated system stuff. She doesn’t have anything on iCloud as she doesn’t need to sync to an iPhone :^( So what is the opinion/suggestion here? MA or Manual?

If I move her over manually,

I’m not worried about about moving 3rd party apps.

how do I move the data files for Apple apps:

Mail (she is on imap, but does still has folders from an old pop server, there is a folder labeled old mail, its under ‘on my mac’ Can I just export those folders and then import them on the new Air?

I image for Notes, reminders, contacts, Safari bookmarks, keychain, calendars, Photos; I can put those on iCloud then connect the new Air to her iCloud/Apple ID.

How do I move over her music that is on iTunes?

How would I move over FireFox bookmarks and username/passwords?

Of course I know I need to move over all the documents in her user folder, but do I need to worry about anything in her user library?

Are there system folders (i.e. library) or part there of, that need to be moved over and how do I do that?

Any advise/suggestions would be appreciated.

I would disregard the relative. Migration Assistant may move over some defunct apps, but they can simply be deleted as you discover/encounter them. I just used Migration Assistant to go from a 2010 iMac running High Sierra to an M1 Max Studio running Monterey had have had absolutely zero trouble with the results. Even things that maybe shouldn’t have worked (BackBlaze) seem to have converted over just fine.

As far as any system extensions that are outdated or incompatible – either Migration Assistant won’t install them or the newer OS will ignore them. Migration Assistant will handle all the data files, music, bookmarks browser settings, and so forth.

(The only trouble I did have was on a first attempt where I tried to do it over ethernet, and the migration timed out. I switched to doing it using an external hard drive, and it was a quick and painless process.)

This sounds like a textbook case for Migration Assistant.



If I were moving stuff for someone else, I would 100% just use Migration Assistant. (I also use it when migrating my own stuff to a new machine.) It’s a very good tool, and is likely to create fewer issues than if you try to manually copy “just the right things” over.

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@dave6 's advice is the way to go.

Apps that won’t work on the new machine will have a new icon with a prohibition symbol over them. Easy to spot, and easy to remove or seek an update. Most often that will be for the 32-bit apps that won’t run on newer systems.

Migration Assistant will also create a folder on the desktop with a report of what was moved and what won’t work, if I recall correctly.

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Migration Assistant will also create a . . . report of … what won’t work

Will this report also include other parts of the system that won’t work? Will MA include in the report all third party software that is somewhat hidden in other places than the main application folder that are 32 bit.

My recollection is that it won’t.

This utility will:

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:point_up_2: What they all said.

Original poster here: report after using MA. To connect the 2009 MBP and 2022 Mac Air I removed the SSD out of the 2009 MBP and put into an USB 3.1 exterior drive case. (Earlier I tested other means suggested by MA to connect the two Macs, like over WiFi (I imagine that would be slow) and using an ethernet cable. In my testing of that later method (before the MacAir arrived) I could not get the ethernet cable to work (even using a cross over cable), and when I tried using a stand alone router I blew either the thunderbolt doggle or the thunderbolt interface on my 2015 MBP). Booting the 2022 MacAir initially I pointed MA to the drive and the transfer went quickly. I didn’t see a report from MA afterwords, and if what I did see was it, it was very short. I did not use the utility that Jeff Fischer suggested. What I did do was go to About This Mac/System Information/software/Applications and sort by 64 bit to find all those that needed to be updated/deleted on the new MacAir. While here, clicking on Legacy Software and Preference Panes will each show you 32 bit items that need to be updated/removed. Strangely, on the M2 MacAir, About This Mac/System Information/software/Preference Panes only specifies 32 or 64 bit, it does say Apple Silicon, Universal or Intel.

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Yeah, fine about all the techy stuff, but how about the most important thing? Is the wife happy?

Top appreciation/feedback is she does really like the finger print to log in feature of the M2 MacAir. She hasn’t said much of no spinning wheels that she was getting though. I just asked her, and she said she is happy, thank-you dear. Note when we were initializing the new Air, the fingerprint set up wanted about 10 fingerprints of the same finger, much more than my iPhone 6.