Continue Time Machine backups on new Mac

Hi everyone.

I just purchased a new MacBook Pro and set it up from new i.e. did NOT migrate or restore from a backup.

However, if possible, I’d like to continue my Time Machine backups from my old computer.

I tried following a few tips from articles online, however, this terminal approach didn’t work for me.

Has anyone done this before or have any ideas?


I have been using Time Machine for backups since day 1 when it shipped with OS X 10.5 Leopard. What I have learned about Time Machine over the years is this, at some point Time Machime WILL corrupt its data base meaning you will have to reformat the drive and start over. At some point the hard drive will fail, meaning you will need to start over with a new drive. Also I had to replace older drives because macOS High Sierra wouldn’t play nice anymore because of drivers, you guessed it, I had to start over. So, the conclusion I have come to with Time Machine is this, it is a great piece of software and I have recovered with it multiple times due to hardware issues or just migrating to a new machine. Just use it to keep current and recent versions of your current data environment. If you are looking to possibly keep everything you have ever done then maybe you should be looking for a more permanent solution for archiving backups. Joe Kissel and Glenn Fleishman have written books on this subject.

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Good advice Barry. I think that’s what I’m going to have to do ultimately.

I haven’t had a Mac since January 2019, as I’ve been using an iPad Pro since then. But I just ordered a new MacBook Air, so I’m back in the Mac-game.

I believe have a Time Machine backup of my old MacBook Air from that time which I sold.

Is it a good idea to use that backup to set up my new MacBook Air considering how long time has passed?

If possible it would save me a lot of time as I used to have my Mac really tailored to my needs.

I have no idea if it’s a good idea or not, but I kinda want you to try it and report back!

I’ve helped clients use Migration Assistant with Time Machine backups, but I can’t recall the last time we simultaneously moved to a new operating system (which I assume you will be doing if you purchased an M1 MacBook Air).

Over the summer I helped a client go from El Capitan to Big Sur on an M1 iMac, but that ended up being a Mac-to-Mac migration. I’m not sure if that moves the same stuff as Time Machine-to-Mac migration. But the Mac-to-Mac migration went just fine.

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