Migration Assistant: complete fail

My wife just purchased a new MacBook Air. I've been looking forward to firing it up to check out the solid state disk. I figured I would do this the Apple Way: use Migration Assistant to move her files and applications from the outgoing MacBook to the new machine. I started over seven hours ago. This is how it went.
  1. Over WiFi. The machines connected, and got to the stage where the Air was "Preparing information...". I think I gave it about 20 minutes, and with no progress I figured it was going to be slow over WiFi. I quit the process.
  2. Over Ethernet using the Time Capsule as a switch. I moved both machines to the office and wired them up. I gave it a short while, but the MacBook claimed it lost the connection. On a wired LAN. Incredible.
  3. I fired it up again in the same configuration, watched the "Processing information..." pinwheel spin for a while, and then quit.
  4. I had read that a direct Ethernet connection could be made between the two machines: apparently a standard cable would be sufficient, a crossover cable would not be required. This time, I let the process go. And go. But after 5.5 hours "Processing information...", I'd had enough. Frankly, there was no indication that it was proceeding normally, and for all I knew one or both sides had crashed or was sitting in an infinite loop.
Rebooting the new Air yet again, I have just started off a restore from the MacBook's latest Time Capsule backup. This seems to be proceeding, and the estimate is a mere two hours. I assume this will work, though to be honest I'm a little nervous about restoring the backup made from a completely different machine.

In any case, the bottom line here is that the Migration Assistant user experience is absolutely rock bottom. To sit for 5.5 hours in a single state with nothing more than a pinwheel to suggest anything was proceeding as designed is not just poor, it's completely broken.


  1. Hi - Really late to the party, but I have used MA literally dozens of times, with a 100% success rate and love it to bits. The number one criticality is to ensure that the two machines have exactly the same revision of the utility. The newly arrived Mac may be a version or 2 behind, so my process with a new Mac is to complete the out of the box set up, then immediately update. Then I use MA afterwards. Best is make the donor machine a FW slave, next best is direct ethernet cable, but all the methods seem to work ok.


  2. Hi! Just to help others comming in here: Apple support said to me three years ago "It is common wisdom here, firewire works but WiFi, ethernet are shaky and should be avoided!". Sad they suck at telling you up front or, why not debug wifi/ethernet! Conclusion, play safe and use firewire or migrate from TimeMachine backup.

  3. FFS, I am having similar issues. It's been saying "Transferring documents for the user x" for the last 5-6 hours, even though user x's home folder is only 4-5 GB. And before it transferred another user account of 40-50 GB in much less time. Seems to be stuck now. No "cancel" button. What do I do?

  4. Same guy again,

    I eventually forced a shutdown on the source MacBook Pro, erased the disk and reinstalled Mac OS X on the MacBook Air and then bought a USB-Ethernet adapter from Apple. Still, the migration failed at about 6 minutes from the finish line, over a direct connection. Pathetic, really fucking pathetic software. That is nothing but a fucking insult from Apple, you pay so much money and they give you a piece of crap, right in your face.

  5. Helped à lot! Thanks!

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  7. I tried it
    through a router
    didn't work
    I connected one to the other
    with an Ethernet cable

  8. I tried over the network and let it sit for 24 hours and it never got to the point of time remaining. Both Mac Minis were up to date and on the same version. They both got through the initial finding themselves in MA but it never really worked.

    I took the advice from here and instead of a Firewire cable I am using a Thunderbolt cable and it seems to be working. So, I would suggest skipping a network migration and just using the direct connection with the source Mac in target mode.


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