How to Transfer Files from a PC to a Mac

Did you just switch from a PC to a Mac and are wondering how to get files from your old computer to the new machine? Are you a Mac user with an old Windows PC you want to get some files from? Or are you just confused about how to transfer files from a PC to a Mac?

Don't worry! We have created a simple step-by-step guide which is sure to help you out.

External Hard Drives

One of the easiest ways to transfer files from a PC to a Mac is by using an external Hard Drive. With an external Drive, you can easily transfer data, up to 5TB at a time, making it perfect if you're looking to transfer bigger projects. If you don't own one already, we have researched the 3 best options you can buy right now.

  1. Seagate External Hard Drive

    Seagate External Hard Drive offers multiple storage options of up to 5TB, enough to transfer any file between a PC to a Mac and starts way below $100! With the huge storage space, this device is also very convenient in terms of portability as it is exceptionally lightweight and can even be used to keep backups of your data. While being endorsed by MacInfo, the device also comes with a year-long limited warranty.

    Seagate Portable 5TB External Hard Drive HDD – USB 3.0 for PC, Mac, PS4, & Xbox - 1-Year Rescue Service (STGX5000400), Black
    • Easily store and access 5TB of content on the go with the Seagate portable drive, a USB external hard Drive
    • Designed to work with Windows or Mac computers, this external hard drive makes backup a snap just drag and drop
    • To get set up, connect the portable hard drive to a computer for automatic recognition software required
    • This USB drive provides plug and play simplicity with the included 18 inch USB 3.0 cable
  2. WD My Passport Portable

    Once you use Western Digital, no other brand can get to your standards. Cheapest amongst all the options here, Western Digital's Portable Passport External Hard Drive also provides storage choices of up to 5TB, much like Seagate mentioned earlier. Designed to work efficiently with both Windows or Mac, the device is easy to use, all you have to do is plug and play. With all its advantages, we do mention that the material of the device is quite cheap- it is made of plastic which often becomes slippery and is a strong fingerprint magnet.

    WD 1TB My Passport Portable External Hard Drive HDD, USB 3.0, USB 2.0 Compatible, Black - WDBYVG0010BBK-WESN
    • Slim Design
    • Software for device management and backup with password protection. (Download and installation required. Terms and conditions apply. User account registration may be required.)
    • 256-bit AES hardware encryption
    • SuperSpeed USB port (5Gbps); USB 2.0 compatible
    • 3-year limited warranty
  3. Samsung T5 Portable SSD

    Like for every other tech gadget, Samsung has managed to become a formidable competitor in portable hard-drive space as well. Offering storage options of up to 2TB coupled with the newer SSD technology provides speeds five times greater than the traditional HDD drives. Samsung T5 Portable SSD is slightly heavier on the pocket than the other recommendations. However, it does come with a USB-C to USB-C easy connection, which helps to transfer your files in no time. A few customers have reported that the device slows down in case of any physical impact. So if you are someone who tends to be clumsy with their tech gadgets, this device may not necessarily be a good option for you.

    SAMSUNG T5 Portable SSD 500GB - Up to 540MB/s - USB 3.1 External Solid State Drive, Blue (MU-PA500B/AM)
    • Superfast read write speeds: SSD with V-NAND offers ultra-fast data transfer speeds of up to 540MB/s (up to 4.9x faster than external HDDs); Ideal for transferring large-sized data including 4K...
    • Compact and portable design: Top to bottom shock resistant metal design fits in the palm of your hand and easily slides in your pocket or purse to take work and entertainment on the go
    • Secure encryption: Optional password protection and AES 256-bit hardware encryption keeps your personal and private data more secure
    • Seamless connectivity: Includes USB type C to C and USB type C to A cables to connect to PCs, Macs, smartphones and other devices
    • Warranty and compatibility: 3-year limited warranty; Requires Windows 7, Mac OS X 10.9 (Mavericks), Android 4.4 (KitKat), or higher; Older versions of the Windows, Mac and Android operating systems...

How to Transfer Using an External Hard Drive

You can transfer files from a PC to a Mac using an External Hard Drive in seven easy steps:

  1. Connect the External Hard Drive to your PC.
  2. Navigate to the files you want to copy.
  3. Right click on the files and select ‘Copy.’
  4. Navigate to the external hard drive.
  5. Right click and select ‘Paste.’
  6. Disconnect the Drive from your PC and connect it to your Mac.
  7. From Finder, copy files from the Hard Drive on to your Mac.

USB Drive

USB drives are another great way of transferring data. They are small and compact and can hold a decent amount of storage. They are great travel companions too, easily finding a home in your wallet or back pocked because of their compact size. We have researched the three best USB options if you are looking to buy one.

  1. Samsung FIT Plus USB

    With its compact size, this Samsung USB offers storage options of up to 256 GB and is perfect for transferring files from your PC to your Mac too, as it offers speeds of up to 300 MBs/s. However, we have noted some files missing on rare occasions, so if you are working with super-sensitive data, this USB might not be for you.

    SAMSUNG FIT Plus 128GB - 400 MB/s USB 3.1 Flash Drive (MUF-128AB/AM)
    29,053 Reviews
    SAMSUNG FIT Plus 128GB - 400 MB/s USB 3.1 Flash Drive (MUF-128AB/AM)
    • Redefine everyday file transfers with speeds up to 300MB/s
    • Exceptionally compact USB flash drive for an unnoticeable, seamless fit, designed with a key ring to prevent loss
    • Reliable and secure storage for your photos, videos, music, and files
    • USB 3.1 flash drive with backwards compatibility (USB 3.0, USB 2.0)
    • Compatible Devices: Television;Tablet;Laptop
  2. SanDisk Ultra Dual Drive

    SanDisk dominates the global market of SD cards and USBs. It does not disappoint when it comes to Ultra Dual Drive. The USB offers storage options of up to 256 GB. Not only that, but it also has dual ports – USB type A, and USB type C. That means, if you're transferring from an older PC with a traditional USB port, to a newer Mac with a USB C port, all you have to do is flip the USB, and you will be good to go. This USB is definitely MacInfo recommended.

    SanDisk 64GB Ultra Dual Drive USB Type-C - USB-C, USB 3.1 - SDDDC2-064G-G46
    62,253 Reviews
    SanDisk 64GB Ultra Dual Drive USB Type-C - USB-C, USB 3.1 - SDDDC2-064G-G46
    • The flash drive for USB Type-C devices
    • Easily transfer files between smartphones, tablets and computers
    • Free up space on your Android smartphone
    • Compatible devices: Compatible with Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 10, Mac OS X v10.6 and higher. Also compatible with Smartphones, tablets, and other host devices with USB Type-C ports
    • System ram type: ddr3_sdram
  3. PNY Pro Elite

    This USB manages to provide storage options of up to 1TB and transfer speeds of 400 MBs/s. All that without compromising on the classy traditional USB look. So if you are a person who values looks of their accessories as well as their functionality, the PNY Pro Elite is the perfect USB for you.

    PNY 512GB PRO Elite USB 3.1 Flash Drive - 400MB/s
    1,925 Reviews
    PNY 512GB PRO Elite USB 3.1 Flash Drive - 400MB/s
    • The premium, metal design of the PNY PRO Elite USB 3.1 Gen 1 Flash Drive is the ultimate mobile storage solution.
    • Store and transfer large files faster than ever with USB 3.1 technology
    • USB 3.1 Gen 1 offers identical performance as USB 3.0, but under a new name
    • Read speeds of 400MB/s and write speeds of 250MB/s make the PRO Elite up to 80x faster than standard PNY USB 2.0 Flash Drives
    • Extreme performance for the most demanding applications – ideal for extreme users, gamers, and business professionals

How to Transfer Using a USB

You can transfer files from a PC to a Mac using a USB in 7 easy steps:

  1. Connect the USB to your PC.
  2. Navigate to the files you want to copy.
  3. Right click on the files and select ‘Copy.’
  4. Navigate to the external USB.
  5. Right click and select ‘Paste.’
  6. Disconnect the USB from your PC and connect it to your Mac.
  7. From Finder, copy files from the USB on to your Mac.

Cloud Storage

These days there are dozens, if not hundreds, of cloud storage providers. We're talking products like Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, Dropbox, Box, etc. However, whether this method is workable for you will depend largely on your internet connection's speed. We recommend that you have a connection speed of at least 10 MBs/s before you try it, and depending on the amount of data you want to transfer, you might also need some sort of "premium" plan with your cloud storage service.

How to Transfer Using Cloud Storage

You can transfer files from a PC to a Mac using Cloud Storage in 5 easy steps:

  1. Login to your Cloud Storage account on your PC.
  2. Upload the files you want to transfer.
  3. Login to your Cloud Storage account on your Mac.
  4. Navigate to the uploaded files.
  5. Save the files to your Mac

Windows Migration Assistant

Windows Migration Assistant is a Windows application (as the name suggests) that can transfer data from your PC to your Mac. First, you need to install the correct version on your PC (which will depend on which version of macOS you are running):

On the Mac side of thing, you will see that Migration Assistant is a built-in application and can be found in the Utilities folder, or you can access it quickly via Spotlight.

How to Transfer Using Migration Assistant

You can transfer files from a PC to a Mac using Migration Assistant in 9 easy steps:

    On your new Mac:

  1. Open Migration Assistant.
  2. Click Continue.
  3. Click "From a PC". when prompted to select how you want to transfer your information.
  4. Click Continue.
  5. On your PC:

  6. Make sure you've downloaded and installed Migration Assistant on your PC.
  7. Launch Migration Assistant on your PC.
  8. Confirm that the code on your PC is the same on your Mac.
  9. Select the files, folders, and settings you want to transfer from your PC to your Mac.
  10. Click continue.


Email is perhaps the oldest, most traditional way of file transfer. Even though the service is still widely available, you will struggle to transfer large amounts of data using this method. If you are looking to transfer documents however, email will work perfectly for you.

How to Transfer Using Email

You can transfer files from a PC to a Mac using Email in 7 easy steps:

  1. Login to your email account on your PC.
  2. Compose a new email.
  3. Add your file(s) as attachment.
  4. Save the email to Drafts.
  5. Login to your email account on your Mac.
  6. Navigate to the Drafts folder.
  7. Look for the draft email, save the attachments to your Mac.


There are numerous that you can transfer files from a PC to a Mac. Which method you choose will depend largely on how much data you have to transfer, what type of data it is that you want to transfer and, to a lesser extend, how tech savvy you are.

Muaz Ashrafi

Hi! I am Muaz, a Mass Communication major. I like to think I am a free urban spirit. I write blogs with a focus on tech and gadgets. When I'm not writing, you can find me with my headphones on, relaxing to some good house EDM music. I'm also a hobbyist photographer, you can find me on Instagram @mzwithacamera.


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  1. I got my first Mac last week and tried moving my files over to it with the Windows Migration Assistant. It was giving me issues and I didn’t know what to do. That’s when I found this article and tried your cloud storage recommendation. Dropbox made it really easy and now I’m fully set up with my new Mac!

  2. A USB stick has always been reliable for me but they are quite slow unless you spend quite a lot for one of those SSD style sticks. I never thought to use cloud storage but it seems like it’ll be much easier actually. I’ll have to check each one to see which would be cheapest, there would be around 70GB of data to store.

  3. I recently completed a switch from Windows to a Mac and Google Drive made it really easy for me. I paid for extra storage since I needed it and everything worked flawlessly. Files uploaded and downloaded really quickly and I got setup in less than an hour. I’m really enjoying the Mac experience so far!