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... I tried to transfer my mail over to the spare. I'm still using Apple Mail (yes, a mistake). In older versions, copying ~/Library/Mail successfully transferred my account settings and mail database. No more. When starting Mail on the spare, It came up as if it had never been run and wanted me to set up from scratch. The account settings have been moved into System Preferences > Internet Accounts. I could not find where the settings are actually stored, so I tried recreating the accounts on the spare. It still won't use my mail database I copied over. Fail #2.
...
My conclusion: Apple's apps are too closely married to the OS. Recovery is far more difficult now than in previous Mac OS X versions. Thanks, Apple.
  • Apple Mail, especially on OS X, has been problematic in some versions.
  • Apple Mail, especially on macOS, has been quite good for many users.
  • Apple Mail, for many versions of OS X and macOS, has become entwined with iCloud and Mail on iOS. Trying to transfer messages or rules using file copy has long been almost guaranteed of failure.
  • Since Apple Mail has become entwined with iCloud and Mail on iOS, Migration Assistant has had good success probability. Just not always perfect.
  • Long ago it became obvious that an intermediate IMAP server was the best medium for wholesale transfers of messages between instances of Mail User Agents (MUAs) or Servers (MTAs), including Apple Mail and Microsoft Outlook. I actually created my own local IMAP server for this before iCloud was born to use as a migration tool from the Windows world.
  • Recently, I have used an iCloud account with sufficient storage as an intermediate server for non-iCloud email accounts. This works for both local and account mail folders.
    • Create a new iCloud folder
    • Drag whatever folders need to be transferred to that folder
    • Wait a long time.
    • On the target machine, drag the folders to you desired locations.
    • Clean up appropriately.
  • The bottom line for this is that IMAP accounts do not require any manual transfer processes for messages and can be used as intermediates for transferring On My Mac mailboxes.
I would rather say that many macOS applications are too closely married to iCloud (containers, anyone?), and this can make recovery sometimes difficult. Recently, Apple has been slowly adding recovery capabilities to iCloud on the web.

As an aside, my personal macOS Apple Mail has one iCloud account, one mail.com account, two Gmail accounts, and two comcast.net accounts. This fluctuates as additional accounts are added for test purposes, as in verification and diagnosis of a client's email problems. The base set has survived intact through many OS X and macOS in-place updates, migration to new OS X and macOS instances. Since they are IMAP-based, even activating one or more mail accounts on older macOS versions (Snow Leopard Server, Sierra, and High Sierra) is relatively simple.

I use iCloud Safari to synchronize bookmarks plus a third party to copy these to Firefox. I refuse to share macOS keychains in iCloud. And, I keep lots of stuff in 1Password (in AgilbitsCloud) and Dropbox.

Time Machine and Carbon Copy Cloner are my go-to backup and restore applications.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch


In fact, Emailchemy has one built in for just that purpose.
To my best recollection, I made the Outlook to Apple Mail migration after I had been disconnected from the Outlook server. Emailchemy was just being born then, and the IMAP server software was free. I connected my Windows XP laptop to the server, let it sync, and then connected Apple Mail to the server. Magic happened.

Since then, but thankfully not recently, I have repaired several clients' problems with Apple Mail, including working around the "truth" of iCloud contents, which insisted that all mailboxes (or in some cases, calendars) were empty and promptly discarded local Time Machine restores. Those were "fun" times.
 


I was able to get the 'On My Mac' Mail folders imported into Airmail. However, I still haven't figured out how to get the Mail inbox contents to transfer.

In Airmail, I created a 'local account', then in the local account settings selected 'Load Messages' and then selected ~/Library/Mail/V4. This imported from On My Mac, but not the inboxes.

Can Emailchemy get my inboxes into Airmail? I use POP, not IMAP.

Apparently there is no way to import filter rules, I will have to recreate those from scratch.

I'm not convinced that Airmail will solve the desire for the ability to transplant the setup to a second machine by simply copying the folder. It is sandboxed, the database is in ~/Library/Group Containers/2E337YPCZY.airmail. I have my doubts that it can just be copied and work.

I still haven't figured out how to transplant my local items keychain. In Keychain Access, File -> Export Items is always disabled.
 



  • Since they are IMAP-based, even activating one or more mail accounts on older macOS versions (Snow Leopard Server, Sierra, and High Sierra) is relatively simple.
I have experienced an oddity. Using Emailchemy and its built-in IMAP server, I wanted to import my mail from Yosemite Apple Mail into its Mojave counterpart.

Things appeared to go smoothly, except that I noticed some folders contained emails with incorrect "Date Received" values...some messages claiming to be dated well into the 2030s... others "merely" claiming to be from November 2019.

Emailing Weird Kid Software support, they informed me that "Date Received" is a calculated value and that Apple Mail merely guesses, sometimes incorrectly. They told me to use "Date Sent", which is indeed accurate for sorting purposes. But even if I display "Date Sent", the incorrect "Received" date is still the only one that prints out if I print a copy of the message.

I'm confused. If nothing happened to my data files, where has this discrepancy come from, since Yosemite Mail never did this?
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
I have experienced an oddity. Using Emailchemy and its built-in IMAP server, I wanted to import my mail from Yosemite Apple Mail into its Mojave counterpart. Things appeared to go smoothly, except that I noticed some folders contained emails with incorrect "Date Received" values...some messages claiming to be dated well into the 2030s...
For what it's worth, I also have a few messages imported from Eudora by Emailchemy into Postbox/Thunderbird that are munged with incorrect dates in the summary display, e.g. "7/12/44" with a header like this:
From - Wed Dec 31 00:00:00 0002
Subject:
From: all
Date: Wed, 31 Dec 0002 00:00:00 -0500

Fortunately, it seems to be only a few, but it's not clear what caused the problem. I never tried to figure it out, since it didn't seem to affect too many messages, and I kept my Eudora archives (I think!).
 


For what it's worth, I also have a few messages imported from Eudora by Emailchemy into Postbox/Thunderbird that are munged with incorrect dates in the summary display...
Thanks, Ric! That has saved me some time. It confirms that the IMAP server feature was not a factor. While I am glad to have bought a license, I think I will investigate importing my Apple Mail without an intermediary program, since, in theory, it needs no conversion, because I am not changing programs.
 


I have a friend running a 2010 iMac on Yosemite and a 2011 MacBook Pro on Sierra - and he's asking me if upgrading both to High Sierra would be possible.

I can't see why not, but locating a copy of the full installer application is proving very difficult - does anyone have any suggestions as to where I/he can obtain this, please?

Thanks.
 



After many years, I finally got around to upgrading my Mac Mini Server from El Capitan (OS X 10.11) to Sierra (macOS 10.12). (I won't install High Sierra, because everything I've read says that it creates more problems than it solves, and Mojave isn't compatible with a 2011 Mac Mini.)

The upgrade was mostly painless, but not entirely. Here's a quick summary of the experience.
  • Before starting, I made two full bootable backups (via Carbon Copy Cloner) and made sure Time Machine had a chance to complete a backup or two.
  • There was no problem downloading the Sierra installer via Apple's How to upgrade to macOS Sierra page. The iTunes link to the Sierra installer worked fine.
  • The installer notified me that it would be stopping Server and that I would need to restart it after the upgrade. This pretty much shut down my home LAN, since the Mac is providing my DHCP and DNS services. I could've activated these services on my router, but I didn't bother, because the rest of the family was out for the day and I was willing to put up with it. (The downside is that I couldn't stream anything on my TV until after the upgrade was complete.)
  • The installer took longer than expected. Well, longer than I would've expected, had I not read plenty of stories about long upgrades. The installer said "33 minutes remaining" for well over 45 minutes. And then it said "15 minutes remaining" for another 30 minutes. Rather than stare at the screen making myself nervous, I went into the family room and watched TV shows for a few hours.
  • After the installation, I was notified that the Gutenprint drivers I had previously installed (version 5.2.7) were not compatible. The package was moved to an "Incompatible software" folder. I didn't bother trying to find/install a newer version, because my current printer doesn't need Gutenprint drivers.
  • After the installation, Server was not running, as I was warned. I launched Server, which promptly downloaded updates to itself and re-activated its services (I'm running file sharing, web server, DNS and DHCP).
  • Although DNS was working and didn't require reconfiguration, the local network settings were changed to remove 127.0.0.1 from the DNS settings, so I couldn't resolve my LAN addresses until I put it back. Then it worked fine.
  • The web server was restarted, but Apple turned off the "userdir" feature in the Apache configuration file (so /Users/username/Sites/... is published as ~username/... by the web server).

    I had to manually edit /Library/Server/Web/Config/apache2/httpd_server_app.conf and uncomment two lines:
    Code:
    LoadModule userdir_module libexec/apache2/mod_userdir.so
    and
    Code:
    Include /private/etc/apache2/extra/httpd-userdir.conf
    in order to get the feature up and running again.
  • There were, of course, additional updates to install - a few apps and a security update.
  • I upgraded Carbon Copy Cloner to version 5 after upgrading macOS. I see now that version 4 is compatible with Sierra, although I thought it wasn't (maybe support was added at some point and I didn't notice). The upgrade process was surprisingly painless. I went to the purchase upgrade page, entered my old registration code, qualified for the discount and purcahsed the upgrade. Although I received an e-mail with the new registration code, it appears to have been unnecessary - I downloaded and installed version 5, and it auto-detected the new license as soon as I launched it. (I assume it phoned home with my name and e-mail address credentials to get this.)
  • Microsoft Office upgraded, but it was weird. I first ran Auto Update directly (I've had it as a Dock icon for many years), but it didn't find anything to update. Then I launched Excel (I assume any app would've worked) and got a screen telling me that I should upgrade. I then quit Excel and re-launched Auto Update, and it found all the installers for version 16.24 (Office 2019 equivalent). They took a while to download and install, and the first launch took a long time, but they seem to be working fine now.
  • The App Store's Updates tab listed Xcode as being incompatible with macOS 10.12, but when I went to the Xcode product page and clicked Update, it asked if I wanted to download and install the most recent compatible version. I said yes, and the upgrade installed.
  • FileMaker Pro 11 seems to still be working (at least for the basic set of features I use), even though it's definitely not supported on this version of macOS.
  • Photoshop Elements 10 (also not supported on this version of macOS) still works, as does my Silverfast 8 scanner software (which is supported) and the plugin to integrate the two. Interestingly, Elements no longer crashes when I quit it, as it had been doing ever since I upgraded the Mac to OS X 10.11, which is happy bonus.
So my Mini Server is now upgraded and seems to be working great. I may be the last person left to perform this upgrade, but just in case I'm not, the above may be of some help to the next person.
 


So my Mini Server is now upgraded and seems to be working great. I may be the last person left to perform this upgrade, but just in case I'm not, the above may be of some help to the next person.
I reply because David is not the only one. I've been moving from OS X 10.8.5 to macOS 10.12.6 on a classic Mac Pro (Mid 2010) since 2019-04-20 (six days ago).

My experience is similar and relatively smooth. Local wrinkles include migrating users by keeping symlinks on boot disk to home directories on a separate disk (not using Apple's migration tools1), keeping Office 2011 (moving license file from backup to new OS disk worked).

Setting up a local web server on macOS 10.12 "Sierra" (found via web search) helped me re-set up local web server quickly (details similar to David's). All this went (surprisingly) well.

Took the Homebrew plunge, after reviewing it for months and getting comfortable with package-installs on a Debian server. Up to this point, I doggedly did the manual download-configure-compile-install dance. Homebrew is a nice respite and well-stocked2.

Had a hiccup with SSH keys and the Mac keychain, solved with

Code:
sudo trimforce enable
('nuff said.)

Currently wrestling with AppleScripts and Keyboard Maestro macros that got borked by changes to iTunes, among other applications.

I don't love iTunes enough to worry much about its changes as a music player, but still… iTunes 11.4 in old setup, iTunes 12.8.2 in new, then downgraded to iTunes 12.6.5 – hooray for backups and the Previous iTunes Libraries folder.

Still to do: deal with local backups of various iOS devices of various vintages and widely-varying iOS versions.

1Not that I distrust Apple's tools. This seemed the path of least effort. So far, so good.
2RCS no longer in Apple command line tools?
Code:
brew install rcs
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
I've been moving from OS X 10.8.5 to macOS 10.12.6 on a classic Mac Pro (Mid 2010) since 2019-04-20 (six days ago). My experience is similar and relatively smooth. Local wrinkles include migrating users by keeping symlinks on boot disk to home directories on a separate disk...
I like the idea of linking big personal directories to separate drives/volumes for many reasons, but it seems problematic to me because Apple manages certain files and folders within your "personal" home directory, and Apple's constant changes create compatibility problems (e.g. with iTunes), such that I'm afraid that two different OS X/macOS versions using the same user folder could conflict and screw up personal preferences or data.
 


I like the idea of linking big personal directories to separate drives/volumes for many reasons, but it seems problematic to me because Apple manages certain files and folders within your "personal" home directory, and Apple's constant changes create compatibility problems (e.g. with iTunes), such that I'm afraid that two different OS X/macOS versions using the same user folder could conflict and screw up personal preferences or data.
This is a legitimate concern, which I share. My method includes never booting from the prior OS with the symlinked home directories used with the newer OS, whose Library files may have been made incompatible by the new OS and upgraded applications1.

I also have a complete bootable backup with the old OS and home directories on a single volume. The main reason for the OS/symlink-homes split is a holdover from “SSDs are expensive2, so buy a smaller-cheaper one for the OS.”

With backups galore, I am willing to risk that old-OS settings won't break new-OS stuff. For example, I noted that Terminal Profiles seem to have transitioned without problems.

I will not delete the old-OS backup for a very long time. It's nice that disk is cheap and only gets cheaper over time. (I still have a home/Library directory backup from a 2014 upgrade!)

1That said, my experience indicates that Mac preferences and settings files (usually plists) tend to be robust across version changes.
2Things change: prices are dropping precipitously.
 


…my experience indicates that Mac preferences and settings files (usually plists) tend to be robust across version changes.
But, I am wrestling with an Excel preference issue: in spite of my setting the date format to yyyy-mm-dd in System Preferences > Language & Region > Advanced > Dates > Short, Excel defaults dates to yy-mm-dd. My prior setup defaulted to the preferred yyyy-mm-dd. I've fiddled with Excel Preferences > Edit date-related stuff with no joy. Can anyone help with this?
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
This is a legitimate concern, which I share. My method includes never booting from the prior OS with the symlinked home directories used with the newer OS, whose Library files may have been made incompatible by the new OS and upgraded applications
So, the issue I have is: How do you work on a new system (e.g. Mojave), making changes all the time, and then seamlessly switch back to the old system, after finding a problem, without losing your work and changes?

Here's the critical potential problem: The new macOS needs a different app version from the earlier OS X, and its file formats have changed, so the new files don't work with the old app, and the new app doesn't work on the old system. (This applies to both Apple and third-party apps.)

In addition, any changes to Apple-managed preferences in the new system will be lost in a switch back to the old system. Other preference files (Apple and third-party) may be incompatible between OS versions.

There are probably additional issues that I'm not thinking of, at the moment. I suppose Spotlight indexes, Time Machine backups, disk formats (APFS vs. HFS+), security issues (e.g. FileVault support), drivers (e.g. Mac Pro graphics), 32-bit compatibility (e.g. QuickTime files), and other things could all be problematic in switching back and forth.

But it's user documents and data (including preferences) that seem most critical, as far as not losing work.
 


After many years, I finally got around to upgrading my Mac Mini Server from El Capitan (OS X 10.11) to Sierra (macOS 10.12). (I won't install High Sierra, because everything I've read says that it creates more problems than it solves, and Mojave isn't compatible with a 2011 Mac Mini.) The upgrade was mostly painless, but not entirely. Here's a quick summary of the experience...
This week, I noticed another issue after the upgrade. My color calibration profile got deselected.

For the first few days, I noticed that everything looked washed out - far more than the usual gray-on-gray Apple UI. I opened up the Displays system setting and went to the Color tab. The screen immediately loaded my profile (that I created several years ago). I then selected a different profile (which looked terrible) and then re-selected mine, just in case doing so was necessary to re-write whatever internal file the system uses to load the calibration at startup.

The settings seem to have stuck now, so hopefully the problem won't return again.
 


A few questions about migrating from a 2011 iMac to a much more "current" 2017 iMac — I'd welcome suggestions from the MacInTouch crowd:

1. Aside from multiple, complete backups (of course), would you recommend I turn Off “FileVault” encryption before “migrating” from my old iMac to the new one (and then re-enabling FileVault on the new machine)?

2. Would you recommend wiping the new machine clean before doing anything, then installing fresh system software and only then “migrating?” Or “migrate" first, then update system software? (I don’t know yet which system will come installed on the new machine, but I probably will want to put Mojave on it.)

3. Any other hot tips for “migration” like this, from a High Sierra machine to a Mojave machine?

4. I wish I could dismantle-and-reuse the optical drive from the old (2011) machine for installation in an external enclosure. Should I just dismantle the old iMac (following the OWC video instructions) and forget about re-closing the machine before disposal/recycling? If I did that, I could save the 1TB internal SSD, also. Or do you think I should just “dispose”/recycle the old machine and not try to "rescue" any of its parts?
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
1. Aside from multiple, complete backups (of course), would you recommend I turn Off “FileVault” encryption before “migrating” from my old iMac to the new one (and then re-enabling FileVault on the new machine)?
Bombich (Carbon Copy Cloner) recommends disabling FileVault to avoid problems then reenabling it. However, I really don't like having unencrypted data (e.g. passwords and financial account data) hanging around, and I don't like waiting days for encryption to complete, so I generally format the drive as FileVault-encrypted before I install anything. Both should work. (APFS is different from HFS+, and T2 is different from non-T2. With T2, you don't have to wait days for decryption/encryption to complete.)
2. Would you recommend wiping the new machine clean before doing anything, then installing fresh system software and only then “migrating?” Or “migrate" first, then update system software? (I don’t know yet which system will come installed on the new machine, but I probably will want to put Mojave on it.)
I always certify a new drive (via SoftRAID), which wipes the drive, then format, install, and finally migrate (via Migration Assitant). But cloning your existing system first (if it's compatible/bootable), then updating via App Store may work better, if your current system is in good shape. The 2017 iMac should arrive with Mojave on it, but it may not have the latest updates, so installing those is the first thing I'd do before migrating, if you're not starting with a clone.
3. Any other hot tips for “migration” like this, from a High Sierra machine to a Mojave machine?
I'd suggest having some dedicated folder - on a spare drive or Dropbox or whatever, to log things as you go. Lots of screenshots, etc. Expect to have to deal with new security configuration issues in Mojave, as well as needing some app updates.
4. I wish I could dismantle-and-reuse the optical drive from the old (2011) machine for installation in an external enclosure. Should I just dismantle the old iMac (following the OWC video instructions) and forget about re-closing the machine before disposal/recycling? If I did that, I could save the 1TB internal SSD, also. Or do you think I should just “dispose”/recycle the old machine and not try to "rescue" any of its parts?
You can buy a tiny little USB optical drive for very little money (or more money, if you buy it from Apple). I doubt it's worth fooling around with an old, and probably dusty/dirty, SuperDrive, unless I'm missing something.

The one thing I'd do before any recycling is to very thoroughly wipe any drive you're recycling. SoftRAID is good for that (Certify), and there are other options if needed.
 


A few questions about migrating from a 2011 iMac to a much more "current" 2017 iMac...
I don't know what reason there would be to turn off FileVault on the old machine before doing a file-based migration. In theory, it would be more secure to turn FileVault on the new machine before migrating, but that's not feasible if you're doing a first-boot migration.

First-boot migration is best, because your user account can transfer with the same UID (assuming that your account on the old machine was also the first account created).

A cleaner migration is if both the source and target are at the same macOS release. It may work to migrate to a higher release; it did for me going from Sierra to High Sierra, but Apple doesn't recommend that. So, if the new machine comes with High Sierra, the way to do it would be a first-boot migration to High Sierra, then an in-place upgrade to Mojave.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
In theory, it would be more secure to turn FileVault on the new machine before migrating, but that's not feasible if you're doing a first-boot migration.
In this case, with no T2 involved, it may be possible, if not particularly easy.
  1. Boot from an external drive.
  2. Clone the virgin internal drive to an external drive.
  3. Optionally, certify the internal drive.
  4. Reformat the internal drive with encryption.
  5. Clone back the virgin system to the now-encrypted internal drive.
  6. Reboot from the now-encrypted internal drive and proceed through "first" boot migration.
 



I'm running El Capitan 10.11.6 on a Late 2009 Mac Mini 3,1 and I keep getting nag messages to upgrade to Mojave. I'd love to, Apple, but gee, you didn't choose to support Mojave on my "vintage" Mac (which can natively run the latest distros of Linux Mint, Ubuntu, Elementary and even Windows 10 just fine, thanks).

Is there any way to turn off these nag messages? I mean, other than using dosdude's patch to install Mojave.
 


I'm running El Capitan 10.11.6 on a Late 2009 Mac Mini 3,1 and I keep getting nag messages to upgrade to Mojave. I'd love to, Apple, but gee, you didn't choose to support Mojave on my "vintage" Mac (which can natively run the latest distros of Linux Mint, Ubuntu, Elementary and even Windows 10 just fine, thanks). Is there any way to turn off these nag messages? I mean, other than using dosdude's patch to install Mojave.
They nagged me for over a year (and are still) to update to printer drivers that weren't as new as the ones I installed from the printer manufacturers. Nagged me to enable Siri, when my system doesn't have a microphone, Facebook, when it doesn't have a camera, but the processes are running and trying to phone home anyway. By the way, it gets much worse in macOS 10.14.6. Good luck.
 


Here are just a few utilities that may be handy for setting up and checking new systems:
I find I always need a password manager right away, too (for license keys, etc.).
I find DaisyDisk's graphics somewhat easier to interpret for action than those of GrandPerspective, but both are useful for disk management. And, of course, LockRattler and SystHist help me keep track of Apple. But the first two applications installed are Dropbox and 1Password. My toolkit shared through Dropbox includes downloaded software kits and personalized command procedures for configuration; 1Password is my memory for all those cryptic passwords and also for software keys.
 



It would be worthwhile to review the good advice here:
I didn't see that Ralph told us anything about his old Mac, other than it's a 2011 model. The mid-2011's came with Snow Leopard, so Ralph may have a Snow Leopard install DVD. That suggests two paths, after being very sure you have everything you need off the system.

1. If there's a spinning hard drive in the Mac, boot from the Snow Leopard install disk, choose Disk Utility, and use the now-deprecated Erase function with multiple over-writes. Then consider installing Snow Leopard and updating to Mac OS X 10.6.8 via a Combo Updater. Choose if you want to update the Mac to its last OS (Yosemite?) which may be no safer now than Snow Leopard, but would enable a subsequent user to (possibly) install a modern browser and (insecurely) browse the Internet.

2. If you upgraded to an SSD, you may want to extract the drive for your own use. If you want to leave it in, but possibly pass it on, if Trim is enabled (Mac OS X 10.6.8 minimum), erasing your data from the drive and letting the computer run and not sleep for a day or so should guarantee your data is gone. All that might be left is what's in the cells reserved for garbage collection, which is why leeaving it on and active is important as that may let the drive controller empty "garbage." I've read a bunch of forensics blogs that say once a file is deleted with Trim active, it isn't coming back.

There are shops that would want your Mac, possibly for parts, possibly to do any necessary refurbishment then sell. After a computer is five years old in most of the US, Apple won't provide parts, so that system working, or as parts, may be a "life-saver" for someone who needs a way to run old programs to rescue old data.

We've been donating our old Macs to a local third-party shop. Yes, it's for-profit but a place where users in our area can find parts and repairs. I extract the drives, which enables us to boot and run old software, using them as externals. Unfortunately, with old iMacs, it is darn hard to open them, as the ones I've opened have solidified glue, and opening has been destructive.
 



I didn't see that Ralph told us anything about his old Mac, other than it's a 2011 model. The mid-2011's came with Snow Leopard, so Ralph may have a Snow Leopard install DVD. That suggests two paths, after being very sure you have everything you need off the system...
2. If you upgraded to an SSD, you may want to extract the drive for your own use...
There are shops that would want your Mac, possibly for parts, possibly to do any necessary refurbishment then sell. After a computer is five years old in most of the US, Apple won't provide parts, so that system working, or as parts, may be a "life-saver" for someone who needs a way to run old programs to rescue old data.
We've been donating our old Macs to a local third-party shop. Yes, it's for-profit but a place where users in our area can find parts and repairs. I extract the drives, which enables us to boot and run old software, using them as externals. Unfortunately, with old iMacs, it is darn hard to open them, as the ones I've opened have solidified glue, and opening has been destructive.
Thanks, George! Mine is a "mid-2011" (Model 12,2). I had previously replaced the spinning 1TB drive with a 1TB SSD. Yes, I'd like to salvage that SSD. (I've already salvaged the spinner, but I don't use it for anything critical.) You're right; I probably do have the Snow Leopard install disk around somewhere! But this machine is running High Sierra now.

I have wondered whether a repair shop might like to have this machine for spare parts. I will ask my local guy, who has been very helpful to me in several ways. (So I don't mind giving to a "for profit" place. Besides, this old machine is so slow and getting so dated that I wouldn't want to saddle a non-profit with its maintenance hassles.)

I've carefully reviewed the iFixit dismantling instructions, and I believe I should be able to do this. (Apparently my model does not have the adhesive technology for the glass, but is held in place by a bunch of screws.) Your comments may have given me the courage. And the stakes are low; if I can recover my SSD, I'll be happy, even if I break the glass in the process.

Thank you again!
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
I saw your recommendation against "rescuing" a dusty old optical drive. What about my relatively new (2 year old) 1TB SSD, which I had professionally installed? Seems it might be worth dismantling the old iMac at least far enough to grab that SSD. No?
It's a question of:

time to securely erase SSD plus the cost of a replacement (e.g. Samsung T5)...

vs.

time and cost to dismantle the iMac plus cost of enclosure/adapter for the old SSD plus wear on the old SSD...
 


A few questions about migrating from a 2011 iMac to a much more "current" 2017 iMac — I'd welcome suggestions from the MacInTouch crowd:
... I wish I could dismantle-and-reuse the optical drive from the old (2011) machine for installation in an external enclosure. Should I just dismantle the old iMac (following the OWC video instructions) and forget about re-closing the machine before disposal/recycling? If I did that, I could save the 1TB internal SSD, also. Or do you think I should just “dispose”/recycle the old machine and not try to "rescue" any of its parts?
  • As noted elsewhere, a new external optical drive is cheaper than parts and your time. Newer optical drives are generally faster and have a mechanical eject mechanism for when you need it.
  • As to "rescuing" old parts, a 8-year-old hard disk drive is at or near reasonable lifetime, as [might be an] SSD. New drives with new drive reliability are less expensive for more capacity than the old drives. If Smart Utility shows more than 30,000 hours on the old drives, definitely retire them if you care about your data.
  • The only really "valuable" part is the screen. If there is a nearby non-Apple Mac service shop near you, I would ask them if they want it for parts before taking it to the recycle yard.
The opinions above are my own based on many years of using, servicing, and recycling iMacs, beginning with 'gumdrops' and continuing to a local iMac 13.2. Notable items over the years include both learning experiences and harsh economic judgements.
  • 2007 21.5" iMac - I refused to open it to replace bad drive and had client run on external drive until the iMac was replaced with a new iMac.
  • G5 iMac - I replaced bad capacitors, and it was used until the power supply died — a little more than a year for $35 worth of parts. It was easy to upgrade the internal drive at that time.
  • Flex-arm iMac - recycled as not upgradeable in any way.
  • Various G3 iMacs - upgraded memory and RAM and finally recycled, because no one wanted to wait that long anymore.
Bottom line: Servicing an older iMac is both risky and, even if successful, not always cost-effective as more Apple products migrate to Vintage or Obsolete or are abandoned by software updates.
 


I saw your recommendation against "rescuing" a dusty old optical drive. What about my relatively new (2 year old) 1TB SSD, which I had professionally installed? Seems it might be worth dismantling the old iMac at least far enough to grab that SSD. No?
New Samsung 1TB SSD: $110.
OWC chassis for the [optical] drive: $85.
New Dell DVD burner $30.
Over to you for the math.
 


For anyone who cares (warning, long post)...

I bought one of Ric's suggested "slam dunk" refurbished iMac 2017 retina models from Apple — 27" mid-2017, i7, 16GB RAM, 2TB SSD, Radeon Pro 580 8GB. I'm replacing a mid-2011 iMac, which can't run Mojave and is increasingly being left behind because of its hardware's age.

The 2017 iMac arrived in "like-new" condition from Apple in California, with its "Built" date showing at "March 2019." Very impressive. No indication (of course) which components had failed and were replaced by Apple in the refurbishment. Absolutely nothing visibly "refurbished."

I like the fact that the 2017 iMac still has four standard USB ports, plus two USB-C Thunderbolt 3 ports, plus a SD Card slot. Retaining the "old" USB ports means I can continue to use my peripherals without the USB-C dongle/cable/dock mess, for the moment. It came with rechargeable wireless bluetooth keyboard and mouse (charged using an included standard USB-lightning cable). The keyboard, regrettably, is not the "extended" keyboard, so I am retaining mine from the 2011 machine, because I like the extended keys. I also think the newer keyboard has shorter-travel chiclet keys, and I kept making typing errors because of the different "feel."

I regret losing the 2011 machine's 1TB SSD (which I installed 3 years ago, and which helped the 2011 iMac remain somewhat faster than its original spinning hard disk drive). I also regret losing the 2011 iMac's internal optical disk "SuperDrive." Although I don't use it often, it still has its uses (for instance, when I wanted to install my Adobe CS6 on the new 2017 iMac from its install disks).I haven't decided yet whether I will attempt to cannibalize the 2011 iMac for those parts. Naturally, new versions of those are available, at extra cost. But I don't "need" them right now, so salvaging the old parts could serve the "rarely-needed-but-occasionally-useful" role, at no extra cost.

The 2017 machine feels superfast. I haven’t done any benchmarking yet, because I'm still getting it configured. But everything from opening large files to copying thousands of files proceeds lickety-split (how's that for outdated terminology?). Even wifi connectivity seems faster, probably because of more robust software and hardware in the 2017 machine. My several backup disks and my Time Machine disk all load quickly on startup. File sharing and remote access from my laptop now work again (they didn't connect with the 2011 iMac).

I know that the 2017 iMac remains backward-compatible to the Sierra/High Sierra macOSes. But, honestly, I haven't had any problems with Mojave on my (older) laptop, so I was pleased that the refurbished 2017 iMac came with Mojave installed. I had to do the update to 10.14.6, but that went smoothly. I made a Mojave install disk promptly, then checked the 2TB SSD with TechTool Pro. Installed Dropbox and Google Drive. Did all that before beginning "migration."

Migration has gone pretty well over the past few days, but not flawlessly. Naturally, my 2011 iMac held a lot of very dated software (some of which I almost never actually use). So, about a dozen system-level extensions caused Migration Assistant to choke, twice. I got multiple messages about extensions which couldn't be installed. I had to dismiss those and restart Migration Assistant. (The extensions were for HP printers I no longer have, for Logitech equipment I no longer use, and, of course, for Adobe's "Updater" program for older versions, which chokes on Mojave.) Minor inconveniences, in my view.

Eventually, Migration Assistant concluded its work, and the new 2017 machine started up looking just about identical to my 2011 iMac, screen-saver, desktop and folder arrangement, and all. Applications all seem to be in place. Things seem to be working just fine.

The new iTunes connected immediately to my previous library, which I keep on an external drive, as did Photos (library also kept externally). I had logged out of iCloud on my old machine before logging in on the new one; that was an excellent piece of advice I got from MacInTouch, among many others.

Unfortunately, Migration Assistant doesn't allow much flexibility in creating "new" user accounts on the target iMac. I was forced to create a "new user" account upon initial startup of the new iMac. Didn't seem to be any way around that. Then, when migrating, Migration Assistant required me to migrate everything to an identical user account with the same name (and other attributes) as on the old machine. I've had that problem before. It's more of an inconvenience than a problem, but it's annoying. I'd prefer to be able to "migrate" from the old machine to a "fresh" user on the new machine.

In that connection: I noticed in the Users and Groups preference pane that Control-click on each user magically allows configuration of "Advanced options..." But Apple posts a dire warning that "changing these settings might damage this account and prevent the user from logging in." I'd love to change the "account name" and maybe even the "group," but I don't dare lose access to all my stuff. (Any suggestions from experience changing those "advanced options?") I'd love to know what the "startup shell" settings accomplish, and why are they different between my "migrated" account and the account I was forced to create upon first startup?

Configuring various passwords and accounts has been time-consuming. And it's hard, really, to remember all the places that's necessary – Apple, of course, but also 1Password, Dropbox, Box, Sync, several Google Drive(s), and Mail's accounts. The prevalence of two-factor authentication makes this process even more confusing, with one-time codes popping up constantly on my other devices. But, hopefully it's secure.

Configuring Mail is a royal pain, especially with 6-7 different accounts. The confusing interaction among Mail's own preferences and "accounts" settings... and those shown in the System Preference iCloud pane is logically challenging. And the many places to enter passwords and authentication codes and even email addresses made this perhaps the most annoying part of migration.

Configuring Chronosync was logically challenging, but it all worked smoothly and properly. I had changed the name (only the name) of the new "home" internal SSD, so Chronosync had to learn the new destination. Then, because "migration" had caused every file's modification/creation date to change, I had to do a "first run" trial of each synchronization task, to be sure I'd be keeping the "old" files and not replacing them with the "new" ones. But it seems to have worked just fine.

Again, thanks to all the MacInTouchers who offered excellent advice about migration in the past few days, and especially to Ric for providing excellent resources to read, as well as the "menu" of refurbished Apple machines with excellent backward-compatible characteristics yet without many of the limitations impending with T2 and Catalina.

Still to be determined: how to dispose of the old 2011 iMac, and whether to try to salvage a couple of key components.
 



Still to be determined: how to dispose of the old 2011 iMac, and whether to try to salvage a couple of key components.
One possibility for the old iMac (if you have room) is to keep it around for a while, since it has the optical drive. You can always use that on the new iMac through sharing. I have a (very) old iMac that is still running Mac OS X 10.6.8 (Snow Leopard). The screen is failing (lots of stripes), but one reason I keep it around is that it has the optical drive. I have used that drive from my MacBook Pro by sharing it on the iMac. It may not be quite as fast as a direct connect, but if you only need it occasionally, it can fill the bill.
 


For anyone who cares (warning, long post)...
I bought one of Ric's suggested "slam dunk" refurbished iMac 2017 retina models from Apple — 27" mid-2017, i7, 16GB RAM, 2TB SSD, Radeon Pro 580 8GB. I'm replacing a mid-2011 iMac, which can't run Mojave and is increasingly being left behind because of its hardware's age.
... Naturally, my 2011 iMac held a lot of very dated software (some of which I almost never actually use). So, about a dozen system-level extensions caused Migration Assistant to choke, twice. I got multiple messages about extensions which couldn't be installed. I had to dismiss those and restart Migration Assistant. (The extensions were for HP printers I no longer have, for Logitech equipment I no longer use, and, of course, for Adobe's "Updater" program for older versions, which chokes on Mojave.) Minor inconveniences, in my view.
Jim's tip 1
When migrating a system which has been used for some time, install the OS fresh and migrate only user accounts. This gives the opportunity to clean up accumulated cruft and verify that you have the most recent versions of all your applications. It also forces you to rely on your documentation (software keys and support credentials, stored in 1Password) so you are ready for the next major OS change.
... Unfortunately, Migration Assistant doesn't allow much flexibility in creating "new" user accounts on the target iMac. I was forced to create a "new user" account upon initial startup of the new iMac. Didn't seem to be any way around that. Then, when migrating, Migration Assistant required me to migrate everything to an identical user account with the same name (and other attributes) as on the old machine. I've had that problem before. It's more of an inconvenience than a problem, but it's annoying. I'd prefer to be able to "migrate" from the old machine to a "fresh" user on the new machine.
Jim's tip 2
It is a little late for this tip for you, but at first boot of a new macOS install, create an administrative user and do all the macOS updates. Then create/migrate the regular users. This avoids conflicts at the next major OS change.
In that connection: I noticed in the Users and Groups preference pane that Control-click on each user magically allows configuration of "Advanced options..." But Apple posts a dire warning that "changing these settings might damage this account and prevent the user from logging in." I'd love to change the "account name" and maybe even the "group," but I don't dare lose access to all my stuff. (Any suggestions from experience changing those "advanced options?") I'd love to know what the "startup shell" settings accomplish, and why are they different between my "migrated" account and the account I was forced to create upon first startup?
Jim's tip 3
I don't recommend messing with the advanced options except as part of a serious corrective action. The "startup shell" setting determines the default Unix shell used for Terminal operations. Apple changes the default interactive shell at undefined intervals. For Catalina ,the default will be zsh. There are minor differences in some shell commands and parsing that can have a major influence on script behavior. Many shell scripts include a shebang (#!) first line to specify which shell to use for the script. An example would be "#! /bin/sh"
Configuring various passwords and accounts has been time-consuming. And it's hard, really, to remember all the places that's necessary – Apple, of course, but also 1Password, Dropbox, Box, Sync, several Google Drive(s), and Mail's accounts. The prevalence of two-factor authentication makes this process even more confusing, with one-time codes popping up constantly on my other devices. But, hopefully it's secure.
Configuring Mail is a royal pain, especially with 6-7 different accounts. The confusing interaction among Mail's own preferences and "accounts" settings... and those shown in the System Preference iCloud pane is logically challenging. And the many places to enter passwords and authentication codes and even email addresses made this perhaps the most annoying part of migration.
Jim's Tip 4
Before any major migration, especially to new hardware or OS, take time to make a checklist with several sections to guide your work. Apple Notes is a good to for this. Sections include something like the examples below.
  • Preparation
    • List all applications to be migrated/retained/installed new.​
    • Verify application function in new OS.​
    • Download latest application versions (where possible).​
    • Verify software license and support credentials - these should be in 1Password.​
  • Update Procedure
    • Recovery Boot​
    • Initialize boot drive​
    • Install OS​
    • First boot​
    • Apple updates​
    • Migrate users​
  • Applications
    • Reboot​
    • Install and authorize applications​
    • Dropbox​
    • 1Password​
    • All the rest​
Configuring Chronosync was logically challenging, but it all worked smoothly and properly. I had changed the name (only the name) of the new "home" internal SSD, so Chronosync had to learn the new destination. Then, because "migration" had caused every file's modification/creation date to change, I had to do a "first run" trial of each synchronization task, to be sure I'd be keeping the "old" files and not replacing them with the "new" ones. But it seems to have worked just fine.
Jim's tip 5
There is some advantage to keeping the boot volume name the same. Your experience reinforces this. A little late for you, but a good lesson for others.
Again, thanks to all the MacInTouchers who offered excellent advice about migration in the past few days, and especially to Ric for providing excellent resources to read, as well as the "menu" of refurbished Apple machines with excellent backward-compatible characteristics yet without many of the limitations impending with T2 and Catalina.
Jim's tip 6
This is why we all read and participate in MacInTouch.
 


Many shell scripts include a shebang (#!) first line to specify which shell to use for the script.
Every well-written script should do this. Without that, the script will run in whatever shell you happen to be running at the time you launch the script, and that could literally be anything— one of the Bourne-like shells (sh, bash, dash), one of the C-like shells (csh, tcsh), or it could be something completely different. It might even be a shell that a user installed for himself (you can't configure the system to use a user-provided shell, but a user can make his login script launch one).

A script that assumes a particular shell without specifying it is broken by design and will fail sooner or later (and probably when used by someone who doesn't understand the system well enough to figure out why).
 


It would be worthwhile to review the good advice here:
That's a terrific guide! Thanks!
I saw your recommendation against "rescuing" a dusty old optical drive. What about my relatively new (2 year old) 1TB SSD, which I had professionally installed? Seems it might be worth dismantling the old iMac at least far enough to grab that SSD. No?
I've also got useful information over on MacStrategy:
 


Jim's Tip 4
Before any major migration, especially to new hardware or OS, take time to make a checklist with several sections to guide your work. Apple Notes is a good to for this. Sections include something like the examples below.
I like James R. Cutler's approach of listing all apps and otherwise planning a migration in detail. One thing I would add to his list of tips is to go through the apps and utilities on the old machine and identify any that may need to be de-authorized and then making sure that they are de-authorized before disposing the old machine or otherwise making the files on the original drive inaccessible. You may even run into cases where you must de-authorize the app on the old machine before you can authorize it on the new machine. Obviously, that's easiest to accomplish when the old machine is still available and functioning. (Check Adobe apps in particular, though there are others.)

While it may be more material than some would like to review, I encourage folks considering a migration to look through Howard Oakley's series of eight articles on the subject, listed on his blog under the migration tag.
 


I haven't seen anyone mention it, but the Apple trade-in program will bring you $100-$200 for an iMac of that age, I would guess. A 2010 MacBook Pro earned us $125, and a 2012 Mac Mini earned us $155, and there is no cost involved, since they send you the box to return it in.
 


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