I need to copy a folder of 15GB in size from 1 Macbook laptop to another.

The both have wireless cards obviously. And Bluetooth. I have a normal network cable (ethernet).

What options do I have in making the transfer?

Is there anyway besides Bluetooth to make the transfer? I'm guessing Bluetooth would take many hours to do it.


Use the network cable, and configure static IP addresses (System Preferences » Network) on both machines. Then use one of the Sharing options in System Preferences » Sharing.

The computers are smart enough to detect it's a normal network cable, not crossover, and can connect anyway.

  • I like the network cable option for cross OS portability... – RobotHumans Jan 1 '11 at 2:53
  • You don't even need to configure an IP address. Mac OS X will use bonjour to assign itself an address and to resolve the name/address of the other host. – bahamat Jan 1 '11 at 22:10

You don't even need to configure static IP addresses to use a network cable. Just connect both Macs with the cable, and they will self-assign IP addresses and find each other (assuming that the network settings for that interface are still the default settings). If you don't have a FireWire cable, or one or both of the laptops don't have FireWire ports, then a wired connection will be much much faster than wifi or Bluetooth.


I would use Target Disk Mode. This is speedy, easy, and uses a FireWire cable.

  • The best option, if you have a FireWire cable and are willing to reboot one of the machines. – Daniel Beck Jan 1 '11 at 1:54
  • FireWire is only 400Mb. Even FireWire 800 is only 800Mb. Using Ethernet if you have a cat5e or cat6 cable will be 1000Mb. – bahamat Jan 1 '11 at 22:11
  • Networking over Firewire is easier than Target Disk Mode and doesn't require a restart. There are more factors than maximum line speed and Firewire will likely be faster than Ethernet. – Potatoswatter Feb 5 '11 at 9:13

Wired ethernet will by far be the fastest. OS X will use Bonjour so you don't need to configure addresses. Using rsync will give you the most reliable transfer. Enable Remote Login on othermachine and run the following command:

rsync -HEav -e ssh --partial --progress /path/to/big/dir/ user@othermachine:/destination/for/big/dir/

Note that both paths should end with a trailing /.


You have many options that are faster than Bluetooth...

Any wired network options will be your fastest choice. These avoid the overhead of Wi-Fi communication and provide faster transfer rates. Cabling the two machines together directly or through a switch is your best bet.

Wi-Fi wouldn't be a bad second choice, since (I would assume) both laptops support it. If you don't have any extra network cables lying around, this would be my second choice. LAN transfer rates of typical SOHO Wi-Fi routers aren't half bad.

If you have an external hard drive available, this would do the job as well. Keep in mind you have to bear the delay twice -- once for transferring to the device and once for transferring from it.

All of these options are much more practical and faster than Bluetooth.

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