So … you know that process where you use migration assistant to move an account from one Mac to a new one? With the MacBook this can be done via one of the following methods.

  • Connect both computers to the same local Wi-Fi or Ethernet network.
  • Or connect both computers directly using a Thunderbolt, FireWire, or Ethernet cable.
  • Or connect the new Mac to a Time Capsule or external drive that has a Time Machine backup of your old Mac.

With the exception of Wi-Fi, none of the options work well when you need the USB-C port to connect the external hard drive or Ethernet cable (via an adapter) or USB-C to USB-C but the MacBook battery needs to be charged. I had planned on using Migration Assitant to transfer my son's account from the family iMac to his new MacBook. The MacBook only has one USB-C port. The 2013 iMac has USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt ports. It seemed to me the most practical migration path was to use a USB-C to Ethernet adapter. I picked on up at the Apple Store in the Quaker Bridge Mall. When I explaiend what it was for, the Apple genius tried to convince that I did not need an adapter. He told me to use a backup from Time Machine. I tried to explain that I would still need an adapter since my 2013 iMac did not have USB-C. Apple doesn’t sell those adapters.

I didn't have any problems connecting the two Macs via the Ethernet cable but before I could start the MacBook complained that the battery was low and I needed to charge it before Migration Assitant could continue. That meant that I could no longer use the USB-C to Ethernet adapter. I could either wait to do the migration after the battery was charged or I could use the ONE AND ONLY USB-C port to charge the MacBook and do the migration over Wi-Fi. Sigh.

I decided to use Wi-Fi to do the migration while the MacBook charged. I didn't know how long that would take but I had no choice but to migrate my son’s account info using Wi-Fi. But almost as soon as I started I had to stop. The new MacBook has an older version of macOS than the iMac. Migration Assistant could not continue until after I updated the macOS on the MacBook. Downloading and installing macOS to the MacBook took over 45 minutes.

Once the macOS update complete I was finally able to start migrating the account. According to Migration Assistant the process would take fours hours over Wi-Fi. Both Macs will be tied up during the process.

This experience has me thinking about how my son will backup his MacBook during the school year. Apple would most likely suggest backing up wireless to a Time Capsule. Wi-Fi is included in his residence hall room. There is no need for an access point. A Time Capsule would be useless.

I think the only option is to buy a $150 USB-C dock so that my son can charge the MacBook while he connects an external hard drive for use with Time Machine backup. Backing up to an external hard drive is the practical thing to do.

NOTE: In case you think this is a case of sour grapes consider this: Apple is offering back-to-school bundles that include a MacBook and Beats headphones. The Beats uses a USB to USB-mini cable. You can't charge your Beats via a MacBook. The iPhone is offered with a USB to Lightning cable. You can't charge your iPhone via a MacBook. What the fuck is Jonny Ive thinking!

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Backing up your computer is important. However, many view it as difficult, complicated, expensive, or all the above. The truth is, creating a good backup system doesn’t have to be any of these things. Stephen Hackett

For my iMac, I have an external 500GB external disk to back the internal SSD via Time Machine. I have separate external FireWire 800 drives for Documents (500GB), Photos and Video (2TB), and iTunes (1TB). My Adobe Lightroom Catalog is on the Photos & Video drive. I backup each external disk to another 5TB external FW800 drive using CrashPlan. The entire 5TB drive is backed-up to the cloud via CrashPlan.

These multiple backups reduce the risk of a single point of failure. If the internal SSD fails I can boot and run from the Time Machine drive until I get a replacement or I can recover from the Time Machine drive.

Using CrashPlan and the backup from the external 5TB drive I can recover data for any of the other drives should they fail.

iPad, MacBook Pro

Any day now, Apple will release iOS 8. I am sure Apple's update servers will be slammed and for many of us the download will take forever. I've owned iOS devices since the first iPad was released in April 2010. Over the years I've learned that there are certain things I can do to make updating my iOS devices easier.

Backup

The first thing I do before applying any iOS update is to back up my current device. My first backup is to iCloud. If you don't have an iCloud account, create one. It's free and a requirement in my home. We have eight iOS devices in our home (one iPad and one iPhone per person) and each one is backed up to an iCloud account. I explained it to my family this way. If you have important photos and videos on your device and that device is lost, stolen or damaged all those photos are gone. Toast. Never existed. Upgrading to iOS 8 is free.

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iCloud
iCloud

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Storage & Backup
Storage & Backup

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Back Up Now
Back Up Now

Once you have your iCloud account setup, launch the Settings app. Tap the iCloud icon and then Storage & Backup. From that screen, enable iCloud Backup and then tap Back Up Now. Your iOS device needs to be plugged in and connected to a wi-fi network. The iPhone will not backup over a cellular network.

Once my iCloud backup is complete, I repeat the process to create another backup. Yes, I'm a bit paranoid. But I want to make sure that I have a good useable back up of my iOS device.

One I have completed the second iCloud backup of my device I connect the device to my computer and launch iTunes. I'm a Mac but the process should be the same for Windows. From iTunes, select the device and click to view the Info screen. Click the "Back Up Now" button to start the back up.

Backup to iTunes

Just like I did for the iCloud backup, I do this twice. When I'm all done, I will have 4 recent backups of my iOS device; two in iCloud and two in iTunes on my local machine. Now I can go ahead and update to the new OS.

Updating

In my experience, updating one iOS device is easier if done directly over a stable wi-fi connection. From the Settings app, tap General, then Software Update. The update will show up and you can tap to start the installation process. NOTE: You iOS device will need to be plugged in and on wi-fi to download the update.

However, I have eight devices to update and on the first day of a new iOS release, Apple's update servers are usually flooded with requests. For me it's more efficient to use iTunes to download the update once from Apple's servers and then do the updates on each device independently while connected to iTunes and my Mac. Instead of eight devices fighting for network bandwidth on my home network while also fighting for a place in the download queue at Apple's servers, I download once and deploy multiple times. This also give me the advantage of seeing if update caused any issues. One device hosed is bad, eight devices hosed is a disaster.

To download an update a device using iTunes the device must be plugged into a computer running iTunes. Once your device is connected to your computer, launch iTunes, select the device icon, and then click the info tab. If there is an update for your device, iTunes will indicate that and prompt you to download and install the update. I usually download the update first and then I use that one download to apply it to each device.

All done

Good luck. Hopefully the iOS update will be out in a few hours and we'll all get to enjoy it's new features.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]