Manual Migration iMac to Macbooks?


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Hi everyone - first post here goes

I have a 2013 iMac which 2 of us share. It is showing some signs of ageing, and we have decided to get 2 x Macbook Air M1, and thus have one each to avoid the daily "queue for the computer". I am reeling from the anticipation, and also the expense..

I have seen differing advice about how to migrate to the new Macbooks

MIGRATION ASSISTANT
I used Migration Assistant back in 2013 to transfer stuff from a Windows PC to the iMAc with a LAN cable and it seemed to work well. So the obvious solution is to use it again, I believe you can migrate individual users separately, so I guess it would be OK to migrate to the 2 new machines one user at a time. Lots of folk say that is the best and most reliable way. Does that sound reasonable?

Question about that - I read that you should start up a new mac with a temporary user account and update the OS in case there has been a recent upgrade before attempting to use Migration Assist. The temp user account means that the Assistant won't get confused trying to send user info to the same name as on the old machine. If I did that would I need to enter my Apple ID as part of that temp account, and would that then be problematic when trying to do anything with the old machine or the real user account when I finally transferred it? Or can you update the OS without a Apple ID - does that even make sense? - I may be overthinking it..

MANUAL MIGRATION
However I guess after all this time the old mac is probably filled up with slime and sediment from updates and old apps and the like, and I sort of like the idea of setting up the new Macbooks nice and clean, and then transferring just the necessary files using a SSD external drive backup or similar. However I am not sure if this is easy, or only for very brainy mac users who would know what the necessary files were.

APPS - I know I can download purchased and free apps from the App store again, and non store apps will need the activation codes so I can download them again and fire them up on the new machines. We don't have any paid 3rd party apps in common so should be OK

FILES - I understand that you can copy the contents of Music , Documents, Pictures, folders into their equivalent on the new machines.

BUT - I am not 100% sure about what else will need moving and how - so Mail, Passwords, Internet connecting and other stuff

Does anyone know of an up to date step by step guide, or should I just stick with MIGRATION ASSISTANT and live some unwanted bilge in the corners of my shiny new MacBooks?

Any advice most gratefully received thanks!
 
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Migration Assistant is by far the easiest way to set up a new Mac. It's best to do it right at the beginning as you do the initial setup, then the Assistant won't get confused trying to send user info to the same name as on the old machine.

You could do it manually, by going through the Apps and files on your old Mac and deciding what to transfer. Trouble is, at some later date you'll decide that you should have really transferred THAT file which is still on the old Mac which you may not have or have wiped it clean.

Also, using Migration Assistant transfers all your Account settings, including all of your internet passwords that are store in Safari's Preferences file. You won't have that doing it manually.
 
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Thanks for your reply MightyGem I am thinking there is a lot to fret about if you go it alone unless you know what you are doing! I suppose the question I have to ask myself is ‘do I feel lucky?’ to borrow a phrase! Thanks again
 

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