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Migrating from a 2011 to 2012 MacBook Air

My shiney new maxed-out 2012 11″ MacBook Air arrived yesterday, which I bought to replace my 2011 MacBook Air — providing a bit more breathing room in the area of memory and SSD space. (I can once again keep my Aperture photos together with the library file, rather than “relocating” off to an external drive. Yeah!)

For other people making the same migration, I’ve been noting the issues I ran into.

  • Migration. My intention was boot the new Air off one of my two USB bootable backup drives I’d previously maintained with SuperDuper!. It didn’t work! Trying to boot, I got a gray start-up screen with an error icon (circle with a line through it)!

    For a moment, I was pretty worried. I thought perhaps it was USB-related, since the new Airs have USB 3. I thought perhaps it was due to the fact that I encrypt my external bootable drives. I thought perhaps, due to very bad luck (not unusual for me), both drives were bad.

    I resorted to using Apple’s Migration Assistant utility, and was relieved to see my backup drives appear in the source volumes list. So I ran that, and the new Air was up and running about half an hour later.

    Turns out the bootable-disk problem was related to the operating system. The 2012 Airs run a newer version of the operating system, and can’t be booted by the version currently running on the 2011 Airs. I confirmed this by later updating one of my external drives (once running on the new Air), and then booting from it.

    Which reminds me — it’s easy to forget how fast an SSD is, until you boot from a 5400rpm USB drive. I’ll be upgrading those as soon as USB 3 drives are available.

    One final tidbit about drives — I actually tried to update my two external drives with new G-Drive Slims, which are very sleek and slim. Unfortunately, Disk Utilities can not encrypt those (it returns some kind of error related to bad block-sizes). I emailed G-Technology about this, and their suggestion was to “do file security with disk images”. Yeah.

  • Cloud backups. Backblaze seems to have migrated seamlessly without having to do the usual “transfer backup state”. Same with Arq.

  • Anti-theft software. Both Prey and Undercover required reinstalling. In the case of Prey, it first required a full uninstall. (You’re probably noticing I like redundancy.)

  • Daylite. I noticed that Daylite 4 stopped syncing with the server, claiming wrong username and password. I tried logging out and back in, from a remote location over the internet. The app never appeared to login, but then claimed that the “last sync” was “1 minute ago”. Strange — it now appears to be running normally, and syncing (and the server claims its sync’d), but manual triggering of the sync results in an authentication error.

  • Bluetooth devices. I had to delete and re-pair all my bluetooth mice and keyboards, from the Bluetooth Preferences.

  • iTunes Authorization. For the first time ever, I actually remembered to de-authorize iTunes on the old machine.

  • Software updates a-plenty. First time run of Software Update, and it listed about 10 things to download and install. Done.

  • 27″ Display hiccup. The first time I connected the Air to my 27″ Cinema Display, in a booted state but with no users logged in, none of the display-attached USB devices were recognized, and the display didn’t appear as a sound output device option. A restart fixed that.

  • Pow. Pow — an open-source utility released by 37signals, making it somewhat easy to run local Rails apps — didn’t get migrated, or some combination of Pow and whatever under-the-hood stuff it uses didn’t. To get this working again, I had to re-install Pow, upgrade from Xcode 4.2.x to 4.3.x, install the Xcode command line tools, install Homebrew, then install git, and holy-moly on it went! Finally got it working.

    Apart from booting from a USB drive, this turned out to be the only time-consuming migration issue.

Published inTechnology

One Comment

  1. Chris Chris

    This is really useful, moving from a MacBook to Air this week….

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