After you have migrated to a new Mac there are a few things to do or to check on. This list is by no means comprehensive because every person will have a slightly different setup and their experience will be slightly different. But these are the things that nearly everyone has to check.

Setup Questions

At the end of the transfer process, your computer will ask you a series of questions. These will be different for everyone, depending on what system version you are coming from or to, or what model of Mac you have. But this should get you started.

Accessibility. Most people can just choose “Not Now”. If you do use these features you are likely already familiar with them. You can make adjustments to these settings later in Apple menu > System Preferences > Accessibility.
Data & Privacy. There is nothing to do here but click “Continue”. This screen is just for informational purposes, letting you know that Apple collects as little information about you as possible.
Sign in with your Apple ID if you use one. 99% of Apple users do. This relates to iCloud, the iTunes Store, and the App Store. If you already have an Apple ID set up on your old computer your new computer should have your ID filled in and you just have to input your password. You can make adjustments to your iCloud settings later in Apple menu > System Preferences > Apple ID.

Screenshot coming soon: FileVault. I recommend you enable this feature. Without it, anyone who steals your computer can easily bypass your password and gain access to your files, photos, etc. You can set this up later or make adjustments in Apple menu > System Preferences > Security & Privacy > FileVault. For more details you can read the blog post I wrote about it.

Screenshot coming soon: Touch ID. I recommend you enable this feature. It makes entering your password much easier. This data is not stored on your computer’s drive, it is not stored in your backup, and it is not shared with Apple. It lives just in the fingerprint chip. You can set up as many as five fingerprints per computer in case you are sharing it with someone else. And if your fingerprint isn’t working you can always use your login password. You can set this up later or add additional fingerprints in Apple menu > System Preferences > Touch ID.

Analytics. This lets you choose whether your computer shares anonymized usage and crash data with Apple or with third-party software developers. This doesn’t affect how your computer works but it can help future versions of your software work better. In general, I recommend you have this on. If you have extremely sensitive information such as a doctor who has patient information, I recommend you turn these options off. But you should make your own decision based on your comfort level. You can change this later in the Apple menu > System Preferences > Security & Privacy > Privacy > Analytics & Improvement.
Screen Time tracks how long you are using what apps and websites. This can be useful to put limits on children (or yourself!) or to understand how much you use your computer. To enable it click “Continue”. To disable it choose “Set Up Later”. You can configure specific settings in System Preferences. You can make adjustments to this later in Apple menu > System Preferences > Screen Time.
Enable Ask Siri. This is up to you but you might as well set it up if you ever use Siri. This allows you to invoke Siri by saying something like “Hey Siri, show me files I edited yesterday” without having to touch your computer.
Select a Siri Voice. Voice 1 is the classic Siri voice. Click on each one to hear the alternatives.
Improve Siri & Dictation. Enabling this will share anonymous voice recordings with Apple so that they can be analyzed to improve Siri in the future. Whatever you choose here will not affect how your computer operates. You can change this later in the Apple menu > System Preferences > Security & Privacy > Privacy > Analytics & Improvement.
Choose Your Look. Most people operate in “Light” mode so if you are unfamiliar that is probably the option you want to choose. Dark mode flips many of the colors so you have light text on dark backgrounds. Some people find it to be easier on the eyes. You can also choose Automatic so that it switches automatically at sunset and sunrise. You can change this in the future in Apple menu > System Preferences > General.

Once you are logged in

  1. Install Rosetta if prompted. Older Mac apps sometimes need a translation program called Rosetta to run on a newer Mac. You will be prompted to install it the first time it is needed.
  2. Update your computer. I know it may sound silly to have to update your brand new computer, but Apple releases updates every month or two, and there is a good chance that a new update has been released since your computer was assembled. To check, go to the Apple menu > System Preferences > Software Update. If it says you are up-to-date then leave the window open for about 10 to 20 seconds just to be sure it doesn’t change its mind. I suggest you go ahead and update before continuing with the remaining steps, as they will be more likely to go smoothly.
  3. Reconnect your Internet Accounts if necessary. Go to the Apple menu > System Preferences > Internet accounts. On the left column, you will see a list of all accounts attached to Mail, Calendar, Contacts, Reminders, and Notes. Go through the accounts one-by-one. When you click on one it may pop up asking you to sign in again. If it does, go ahead and do so, granting full permission. If the sign-in does not pop up, just continue on to the next one.
  4. Activate Microsoft Office, if you use it. Simply open up a Microsoft Office program such as Word or Excel, and click the button to activate. You will be asked to log in using your Microsoft account. Your Office license is attached to your Microsoft account, not to your computer, so you can easily activate it without buying a new copy, assuming the version you have is compatible with your new Mac.
  5. Activate Adobe Creative Cloud if you use it. Just open up one of the Adobe CC apps and you’ll be prompted to sign in using your Adobe ID. It might prompt you to reinstall Creative Cloud, which you can easily do just by following their steps.
  6. Sign in to Dropbox if you use it. The Dropbox login screen will appear every time you restart your computer until you log in or uninstall it.
  7. Test your printer and scanner if you have them. Sometimes the software you have for those is not compatible with your new computer which might have come with newer system software. Better to find out now rather than in a couple of weeks when you must print something immediately.
  8. Test each program that you rely on. There could be apps that you use that are either not compatible with your new computer or need to be reactivated. Go through each of the apps that you know you use and see if they are all behaving normally.
  9. Transfer your backup drive. If you normally connect a wired backup drive to your computer, go ahead and plug it into your new computer. Once you do that, or if you have a wireless drive, your new computer at some point will ask you if you wish to inherit or take over the drive. You do. Once you do that, your old computer will no longer back up to that drive.
  10. Erase your old computer. Once your data has been copied to your new computer you con continue to use your old computer if necessary, but I strongly discourage it because even though some things will sync other things will not. You may end up with different files on different computers. In most cases, my recommendation is that you wait for a week or two just to be sure that your new computer is working to your liking, and then erase your old computer using my instructions.

Further help

If you are an existing customer who needs help with this or if you have other questions, or if you are in San Francisco and interested in becoming a client I invite you to book an appointment with me. Otherwise, you may wish to contact Apple Support or find a local Apple consultant.

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