Nervous About New MacBook Arrival. I Don't Want to Screw This Up

The day is coming. It’s real. I just got notice my 16" MacBook Pro with M1 chip is arriving soon.

Ideally, I’d like to start from scratch as I’ve had some good success with that method in the past but this time I don’t think I can because I have adopted the use of embedding links to emails, documents and folders in DevonThink, Obsidian, OmniOutliner.

I use mostly Hook to create these links. I also right click in DevonThink to get links. I then paste those links in Obsidian, Calendar events, Omnifocus, OmniOutliner outlines, etc. I also link notes within Obsidian.

I use Dropbox and those above-referenced some of those links link to files stored on my hard drive that are also on Dropbox.

I THINK in order to be able to access all these links on the new MBPro, I’ll have to use Migration Assistant.

My questions:

  1. Am I correct I need to should/need Migration Assistant?

  2. If not, how should I proceed with making sure those links work on the new MBPro?

  3. If I have to use Migration Assistant, any tips?

Migration assistant can be slow, but I would use it.

I would first clean up my “old” drive, organizing and removing dead files, and use something like Clean My Mac to get rid of kruft. I’d also check the disc with Disc Utility.

I would make an additional backup using disc imaging software, backing up to an external SSD drive. I use Carbon Copy Cloner; there are others.

I would make a file backup of my data that would be hard to replace; documents, photos, etc.

I would write down the logins for anything crucial, most particularly your Apple account, because you will be asked for it.

I would wait at lwast two weeks before reformatting etc. the old Mac.

Belt and suspenders are not redundant enough for me.


Too add to the excellent suggestions by @Medievalist, you can also go through the applications you have installed and delete any you no longer use.

And have your license info handy as even with Migration Assistant I’ve found that some settings don’t migrate over.

Good luck and have fun!

1 Like

Awesome suggestions. Thanks!

Thanks for that and I assume Clean My Mac will take care of the leftover dead files/folders, etc.?

I believe it will, although I have Hazel set to do that for me.

In 2019 I set up my MacBook Pro without using Migration Assistant to move data from the previous computer.

It was pretty time-consuming, though not horrendously so. The biggest problem I had was with the tiny apps I use that are heavily customized. Getting those customizations over was tedious, and in once case completely impossible.

I’m pretty sure it was Hazel that had no way to export and import, and no way to get at the app’s data and settings. I contacted the developer and this feature was added in the next version. But for me, I had to re-create all of that.

My point is not to call out a specific product, but to say that I did a lot of research to prepare to rebuild, and I still ran into a significant problem. If you go this route, be sure to clone your old system if it will not be accessible. And then keep that clone untouched for months (because it might take you that long to discover a missing key file; this happened to me more than once.)

Migration Assistant continues to improve. I just used it a few months ago to set up my Mac Studio, and it’s even better at making connections between Macs (the most fraught part of the process) and estimating completion time. It took me less than an hour to move 800 GB of stuff over.

One tip is to make sure you have the highest-speed wired connection possible. For higher-end Macs that means Thunderbolt. So make sure you have a Thunderbolt cable. I thought mine was Thunderbolt, but it turned out to be just a heavily-shielded USB-C cable. I scrounged around and found an (annoyingly unmarked) Thunderbolt cable, and the transfer rate sped up considerably. The nice thing is that with the latest Migration Assistant, you can change the type of connection during the transfer. No need to restart it.