Apple Updates Target Disk Mode

By Daryl McCartney – Apple Master Trainer

Hi all,

While running an ACMT course recently it became apparent that it is not so well known that when Apple released the latest MacBook (Retina, 12”, Early 2015) they also updated Target Disk Mode to support the latest USB Type C connector.

Although the USB-C connector is currently exclusive to the new MacBook, this doesn’t mean that Target Disk Mode is limited to transfer only between these new MacBooks.

If you wish to transfer all of your data using Migration Assistant then this is only achievable between new MacBooks using a separately purchased USB 3.0 or USB 3.1 USB-C Cable (USB-C to USB-C) as the USB-C charge cable supplied does not support Target Disk Mode.


If you need to transfer data from your old Mac to your new MacBook then you will need to manually copy the files across. Place the new MacBook into Target Disk Mode and then using a USB 3.0 or 3.1 USB-A to USB-C Cable you can mount the drive to your old Mac.


NOTE: To enable Target Disk Mode, hold down the ’T’ key during startup on the Mac. If you have a Firmware password then you will not be able to do this but the same can be achieved by using Startup Disk preferences.



If you are interested in learning how to repair Apple Hardware – and get certified click here. Hope to see you on one of my courses.



4 Replies to "Apple Updates Target Disk Mode"

  • Peter Wilcox

    Can you not still use an ethernet cable and USB – GigE adapter for migration assistant?

    • Alex Hawes

      Hi Peter, thanks for your question

      Migration Assistant does still work with the New MacBook Retina using LAN connections. The Blog post was aimed at the Target Disk Mode functionality itself which does not work with none USB-C devices for Migration Assistant.

      You can now purchase a Belkin USB-C to Ethernet Adaptor (available from the AppleStore) but if you do not want to make a purchase Migration Assistant also works over Wi-Fi.

  • Thanks for sharing this information. People might not have seen “Using the USB-C port and adapters on your MacBook (Retina, 12-inch, Early 2015)”, It’s too bad that there’s no Apple Support article about Migration Assistant for the MacBook that mentions that Migration Assistant supports using a USB-C to Ethernet adapter.

  • Have you tried mounting a MBP on USB A and transferring data to USB C MBP? I’m attempting to do this and it doesn’t seem to work.

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