How to move to a new Mac without Migration Assistant

Last summer I got a new MacBook Pro M2 and decided to go with a fresh install. With my previous MacBooks, I used Migration Assistant and it worked well. But this time it was a switch from Intel and I wanted to clean unnecessary files, applications, and settings.

Here is the list of files I moved and apps I installed.

The Documents and Desktop directories I have in iCloud. They synced automatically.

The YouTube projects I have on the external SSD drive.

Apple Photos library I have in iCloud, but I copied it manually. There are 230Gb, and it takes a long time to download it.

The other big directory is Projects

Projects I moved. To do this, I cleaned all Python environments and node_modules. The problem with them is not the size, but the quantity of small files, that make it long to copy.

find . -name 'env' -type d -prune -exec rm -rf '{}' \;
find . -name 'node_modules' -type d -prune -exec rm -rf '{}' \;

I used AirDrop to copy them. I tried target disk mode, but it was not faster.

I installed brew and the tools I need.

/bin/bash -c "$(curl -fsSL"
brew install zsh openforti pyenv hugo

Then I copied some hidden folders and files like private/public keys in .ssh, shell profile .zshrc, .oh-my-zsh, and .gitconfig. History for CoconutBattery from /Users/<username>/Library/Application Support/coconutBattery

ssh-add --apple-use-keychain ~/.ssh/id_rsa
ssh-add --apple-load-keychain

I installed macOS apps.

  • iterm2
  • vscode - For VSCode settings and plugins, I set up automatic sync. I just redownloaded JetBrains Mono font.
  • docker
  • microsoft teams
  • studio 3T
  • sequel pro
  • xcode
  • SF Symbols beta
  • toggl track
  • davinci resolve
  • 1password
  • arc
  • alfred
  • goodnotes
  • notion
  • electrum
  • plex
  • vlc
  • zoom
  • whatsapp
  • telegram
  • spotify
  • transmission
  • daisy disk
  • coconutBattery
  • hazeover
  • hazel
  • istatmenu

I mostly use the defaults for the system settings. So, I didn’t look for a solution for automatic transfer and changed them for the trackpad and keyboard by hand.

After that, it was ready to work.

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