Mac Migration Assistant: Using an Ethernet Cable to Transfer Files Between Computers

by Eric Pena on January 1, 2011

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y company gave me a new 2010 Macbook Pro and I needed to transfer all the files from my old 2007 Macbook Pro. There are several ways I can do this:

  1. Use Migration Assistant with a FireWire cable.
  2. Use Migration Assistant with a USB cable (and an External USD HD Enclosure).
  3. Restore from a Time Machine backup.
  4. Using a Wireless Network.
  5. Using an Ethernet Cable (straight or cross-over cable).

Given the above options, I went with what was immediately available… with my old Cat 5 Ethernet UTP cable.

Note: Using a Cat 6 UTP cable should speed up the transfer process quite a bit.

So I went ahead and connected together my Macbook Pros through their Ethernet ports.

Connecting two Macs with an Ethernet cable


First, make sure you update your Mac OS X to the latest possible versions (mine were both 10.6.5 at the time of this writing).
Second, make sure you disable both the WiFi connections.
Third, make sure both are on the same network (e.g. Computer-1 is and Computer-2 is Use Network Preference to manually edit the IP addresses.

Step 1. Set-up Destination Mac

On the Destination Mac, open Migration Assistant (located in /Applications/Utilities/).

Migration Assistant

Enter your system username and password.

Migration Assistant System Login

Select the Migration Method “From another Mac”.

Migration Assistant

Select “Use Network”

Migration Assistant

A Passcode will be provided that you will need to enter on the source Mac.

Migration Assistant

Step 2. Set-up the Other Mac

On the source Mac, open Migration Assistant. Select the option “To another Mac”.

Migration Assistant

Enter the Passcode from the destination Mac.

Migration Assistant

Quit all other running applications and click Continue for the migration process to begin.

Migration Assistant

Depending on the size of the files you selected to migrate, it may take a couple of hours for the migration process to finish.

Hope that helps!

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