So I just got a new Macbook and rather than restore my previous setup from a Time Machine backup, I opted to do a fresh install. Maybe it’s not necessary, but chalk it up to all my years on Windows. I didn’t want to carry over the crud that comes along with an old install. I wanted a fresh start. But that meant reinstalling all my software and their settings, customizations, etc. Ugh.
But I found a simple way to do it and it’s worked 100% of the time for me. Your mileage may vary.
1) Install the app on the new computer as you normally would.
2) You need to look in two places:
(NOTE: ~ is your home user directory – it’s usually your name)
The Library folder may be hidden. You need to show System files. If you don’t know how to do that or don’t have a program that will toggle it for you, Google it. It’s easy to find. Here’s an example.
3) In ~/Library/Application Support, look for a folder named the same as the app you are migrating. Simply copy and paste that folder to your new computer, overwriting the old folder (you may opt to first rename the folder on the new computer before you copy/paste so you don’t overwrite it. If all works well, delete the renamed folder).
4) In ~/Libary/Preferences, look for files corresponding to your app. Look for a folder named the same as your app and/or files with the .plist or .lockfile extension. Often the files will have a format like “com.adobe.Photoshop.plist”. So you need to look first for the company name, THEN the product name. Not all apps use this file naming convention, but most do. Anyway, copy all those files to the new computer in the same corresponding location. Again, you may want to rename the original files on the new computer before you copy/paste. I’ve always just overwritten them and everything has worked. Considering I just installed the program, the worst that can happen is I have to uninstall the program and try again.
5) Hooray! That’s it. Fire up the app and be amazed.
I have noticed that passwords do not transfer. I think there’s a way to add them to your keychain, but I found it easier and safer to simply re-enter those manually.