Migration assistant is one of Apple’s most valuable utilities. I’ve used it frequently over the years to migrate my user accounts, applications, etc. between two Macs and I’ve never had any problems with it until now.
I picked up a new 13-inch MacBook Air this week and tried to migrate my data from my 2010 13-inch MacBook Air to the new one. Both of my MacBook Airs were running Mac OS X Lion. I wasn’t able to get Migration Assistant to work over a Wi-Fi connection. It just flat-out refused to work, but here is the work around that finally got my data moved to the new MacBook Air.
There are a number of different ways to get Migration Assistant to work and the most obvious one to use between two MacBook Airs would be the Wi-Fi method. Well that failed continuously and while I’m not sure it might have been related to reported Wi-Fi problems on systems upgraded from Snow Leopard to Lion. That scenario applied to my older MacBook Air. So I gave up on the Wi-Fi method even after trying another Migration Assistant trick that involved setting up internet sharing on one Mac along with a Wi-Fi peer-to-peer network.
Here is the work around or fix that I suggest you try whenever Migration Assistant isn’t working.
The first thing I did was to create a fully bootable backup image of my 2010 MacBook Air onto an external 1TB USB drive using one of my favorite utilities: SuperDuper! Once the image was created I shutdown the 2010 MacBook Air and set it aside.
Next, I plugged the backup drive into the new 2011 MacBook Air and used Migration Assistant to copy my user accounts, applications, etc. onto the new computer from that drive. In about one and a half hours the migration completed and I was on my way.
Needless to say I’ll be using this method along with Migration Assistant from now on because it was considerably faster than performing the same task over Wi-Fi.