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Switch to Mac: Transfer your files from a PC to a Mac

Joe Kissell | April 30, 2013
If you're switching from a PC to a Mac, one of the first things you'll want to do is to move all your data to your new computer. The process is fairly simple, but you can go down any of several paths depending on your setup and your needs.

Migration Assistant doesn't move files blindly from one computer to another. Instead, it intelligently sets up your Mac to resemble, as nearly as possible, the way your PC was configured. For example, email, contacts, and calendars (and their associated accounts) might be migrated from Outlook on a PC to Mail, Contacts, and Calendar, respectively on a Mac; bookmarks in Internet Explorer are recreated in Safari; documents are moved to analogous locations on your Mac; and even your desktop background picture is usually transferred.

To use Migration Assistant, make sure your PC and Mac are on the same Wi-Fi network or, for faster transfers, connect them with an Ethernet cable. Then, on the PC, download and install the Windows Migration Assistant. Run that app on your PC and Migration Assistant on your Mac. Follow the prompts on both computers to transfer your data; for complete details and step-by-step instructions, see About Windows Migration Assistant on Apple's website.

Move data manually

If you have only a small amount of data to transfer, or if you want complete, manual control over the process, you can connect your PC and Mac over a wireless or wired network and use file sharing to make the PC's files available to the Mac.

On the PC, make sure you've enabled file sharing and have shared the folder (such as your home folder) you want to access on your Mac. (For complete instructions, visit Microsoft's website.)

Then, on your Mac, open a new window in the Finder. In the sidebar under "Shared," click All. Then select your PC, click Connect As, enter the username and password you set up on your PC, and click Connect. The folder you shared on your PC should appear in the Finder on your Mac; you can then look through it for the items you want to copy and drag them to the location of your choice on your Mac.


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