Imac to Macbook Air transition

Feb 28, 2015
Reaction score

I recently bought an macbook air that has 120 gb SSD hard drive while previously owning a iMac with a 250 gb hard drive. I would like to get rid of the the iMac but I don't have enough room to directly transfer the data to the mac book. I have used time machine to back up stuff on my iMac. I have never used an external hard drive in conjunction with a computer to access files before other than time machine. I wonder how I am to organize my file on the external hard drive. How do I go about saving my files while getting rid of my iMac. I am worried about loosing some of my files. Sorry, I am not well informed about this and feel like a noob lol


Well-known member
Staff member
May 20, 2008
Reaction score
Your Mac's Specs
2017 15" MBP, 16gig ram, 1TB SSD, OS 10.15
From what you're writing it sounds like you've never had your information backed up either. If you don't have your info backed up…and the storage device crashes/dies…then you will lose 100% of everything you have. How would you feel about that??

I think that it's time to learned more about doing backups & using external drives :)...before the worst case scenario happens.:(

- Nick


The OP pretty clearly said that they do, in fact, back up to Time Machine, Nick, so it would seem to me that they have a backup that's entirely useable.

The problem comes from the fact that the iMac had a 250GB hard drive, while the MacBook Air has a 120GB SSD in it. Depending on how full the iMac was, it may not be possible for Paulreverex to move everything Migration Assistant would naturally want to move over to the Air.

The problem is (probably) fairly simple. Using Migration Assistant you can select what areas of data you want moved over. Thus:


So you get a chance to select what you want to bring over. For example, you may opt not to bring over all your applications you had on the iMac, particularly if you didn't use many third-party ones routinely.

That "other files and folders" can probably be skipped as well.

And of course, another option is to upgrade the storage in the MacBook Air to 250GB, eliminating the issue entirely, whereupon you can do a straight migration.

Shop Amazon

Shop for your Apple, Mac, iPhone and other computer products on Amazon.
We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon and affiliated sites.