How Long Does Migration Assistant Take?

Trying to move your data from your old Mac to your new Mac using Migration Assistant. And it is taking way too much time? If yes, then it is obvious to ask how long does migration assistant take?

Migration Assistant is the quickest yet easiest way to migrate your data across Mac computers. However, when it comes to the time for the migration process – well, it completely depends on what Macs you have, what is the backup file size limit and more.

However, to help you out, I am going to share some overview of how much time migration assistant is going to take below:

How Does Migration Assistant Work?

With Migration Assistant, moving your files from one computer to another is super easy. But before you do so, there are a few things to be checked. These things are as follows:

Name your old Mac:

You need to name your old Mac before starting the process. Naming Mac helps you identify your device quickly. If you have been using Mac for a while, then I am sure you have a name for your Mac.

If you are using the same name for both of your Macs, you can change it following this: Apple Menu System Preferences Sharing and type a new name in the Computer Name field. 

Update To Latest Version:

Before copying files, ensure you have updated the latest firmware updates on both Macs. The same version will help you complete the process more smoothly.

To check for updates, go to Apple Menu System Preferences Software Update to update or check. 

If it says that your Mac is up to date, you have to do nothing. If there is an option of Update Now, click on that. It will take some time to download the Update. After installing the Update, you need to restart your Mac.

Disable antivirus or firewall software:

Antivirus or firewall software can prevent you from using Migration Assistant. If you have antivirus or firewall software installed on your Mac, disable it till the migration process is completed.

Connect to a power source:

The migration process consumes too much battery. To prevent failure, ensure your MacBooks are connected to a power source.

Back up:

Back up is always a good idea to secure your data. Ensure you have a backup done before you start the migration process.

What is Migration Assistant?

Migration Assistant is an essential tool offered by Apple. It allows you to copy every setting from your old Mac to the new one. Its working capacity is not just limited to Mac, you can also copy data from a windows PC. Hence, it is the one-stop solution for all your migration needs.

Migration Assistant helps you copy your files from your old Mac or computer to your new computer pretty easily.

You can copy your documents, apps, accounts, settings, calendars, bookmarks, pictures, and iTunes content. So, there is no need to copy every file manually. You can continue working on your new Mac where you left the old one.

Migration Assistant is easy to use, and it comes with easy to follow onscreen instructions. You get several ways to connect your computers like Wi-Fi and Ethernet.

Simply connect your computers and start copying files. If you have an external backup drive, a migration assistant can also extract data from that drive and restore data on your computer.

How Long Does Migration Assistant Take Over WiFi, Ethernet & Time Machine Backup?

On Wi-Fi:

The simplest way of migrating data from your old Mac to your new Mac is Wi-Fi. Ensure you are connected with the same Wi-Fi network from both Macs.

The transfer speed is proportional to the speed of your Wi-Fi. You can keep your machines close to the Wi-Fi hotspot to get a faster transfer rate.

The speed also depends on the router you are using. If it is 802.11ac standard, you can get a 1GB per minute transfer rate, which is reasonable. If you are using an old standard router, then it will take you some more time.

On an average, transferring 250GB of data over 802.11ac Wi-Fi takes approximately 2 hours and 44 minutes.

On Ethernet:

Transferring files over Ethernet is faster than Wi-Fi. This process is also known as peer-to-peer transfer.

You will need an Ethernet cable to transfer files from your old Mac to the new one. To get the maximum transfer rate, use Thunderbolt 3 or above standard cable.

However, you might have to buy an Ethernet adapter as your Mac or MacBook might not come with an Ethernet port.

Also, the transfer speed depends on your Mac. If you use a 2010 or older Mac, you will need 1 hour and 30 minutes to transfer 250GB of data.

If you are using a 2015 or newer Mac, you can transfer 250GB of files in approximately 30 minutes.

Time Machine Backup:

You need an external backup drive for this. First, backup all the files on this drive, and then you can use this to migrate all of them to your new Mac with Migration Assistant.

The transfer speed of this process depends on the drive you use. The transfer rate in this method is directly proportional to the read speed of the external drive you use.


The transfer speed of Migration Assistant depends on what type of Mac you have, in which way you are transferring your data, and the data size. However, on average, the migration process should not take more than 2:30 hours. In case you wish to ask anything else, feel free to drop a comment below.

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