How Do I Migrate Accounts From Two Macs Without Duplicating Applications? [Ask MacRx]

Migrate Two User Accounts

Apple’s Migration Assistant is a handy utility for moving data between old and new Macs, but sometimes you can get duplicates of existing applications. Here’s one way to avoid the issue:

I’ve transferred over my user account from old to new mac. I’m just about to transfer a second user account from another mac to this same new mac. The new Mac has all the applications from the first transfer in the System level Applications folder.

The second user account that I’m about to transfer also has apps in the System Level Application folder. I was wondering what would happen, would they replace the existing apps on the new Mac when I transfer the second user account using Migration Assistant? – Phillip

Hi Phillip,

If Migration Assistant finds an existing copy of a third-party app on the destination system, it will copy the application again with a (1) appended to its name. You can then delete the redundant copies after the transfer. Apple’s own programs won’t get replaced unless the source system contains a newer version.

You may just want to run Migration Assistant the second time and only select the user account for transfer. Uncheck the box for Applications. That will prevent any duplication and if needed you can copy any missing items manually.

About the author

Adam RosenAdam Rosen is an Apple certified IT consultant specializing in Macintosh systems new and old. He lives in Boston with two cats and too many possessions. In addition to membership in the Cult of Mac, Adam has written for Low End Mac and is curator of the Vintage Mac Museum. He also enjoys a good libation.

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