I have – as you may recall – bought a new Mac laptop to replace my old MacBook Air. I got one of the 15″ MacBook Pro that were recently announced. It has one headphone jack, and four Thunderbolt 3 / USB Type-C ports. So it is a little different. This will be an article about moving to the new MBP and some of the changes I had to make, and some of the things I learned.
I started with a MacBook Air that was a year or two old, and plugged into a Thunderbolt monitor which is also my dock. It had network, and keyboard plugged into it along with an external Thunderbolt drive for my Time Machine backups. I would normally close my MBA and connect it to the Thunderbolt cable and power and do everything on the big Thunderbolt monitor using an external keyboard and mouse.
On my old MBA I did a number of things. I started with this doc but basically what I did was:
- I did a backup. For me, that was first a Time Machine backup, followed by a SuperDuper image backup, and making sure BackBlaze was finished. All good. I will be using the Time Machine backup to move apps and data to new computer.
- Then I signed out of iTunes.
- I signed out of iCloud. This took a little while to make sure everything was in the cloud appropriately. When I was prompted to save a copy locally I said no.
- I signed out of iMessage.
- I had a firmware password – which we all should have – as with FileVault enabled, and a firmware password set no one can boot a different drive to try and attack. I removed the firmware password with this help.
- I have now turned off the Wifi, and it is not connected to anything. I am keeping it just in case. As soon as all is good on the new MBP I will erase and reinstall macOS on it. So it is ready for a new person.
Here is what the new Mac looked like before I open it.
It is MUCH lighter than the other MBP I have had in the past – 1.83 kg /4.02 pounds in fact and sort of similar to my MBA at 1.35 kg. And the power brick and power cable don’t look like what I am used too either.
When I open it up I see how different things are.
Notice the Touch Bar? That is sort of cool. The display looks bigger to me, partially due to the resolution but also due to the fact the display ends near the edge.
The keyboard is lighted differently and feels a little different. When you turn off the lights you really can tell it is a lit keyboard but discretely.
I notice the power brick is an 85 watts one so that means I can use the three prong cable off other 85 watts bricks to increase reach of the new brick, or to plug in with three prong which is better I think. So I do and it works fine. I did buy a second 85 watt brick so it can travel with me.
I have connected the old Thunderbolt 2 drive to an Apple Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) to Thunderbolt 2 adapter.
- I work through the wizard that starts up when I power on the MBP.
- It confirms that I do want still to have FileVault.
- I get a popup about how iTunes on the source is newer and can it upgrade the iTunes on the destination. I say yes.
- It asks about using Time Machine and it let me select mine.
- It seems to take about 2 hours but the time varies a lot. It seems to work around 105 / 110 MB/s.
- It suggests a shutdown when it is done. And I head off to dinner.
- In the morning I start it up and I see right away everything I should on the desktop. But it looks really good!
- I have a popup from Garmin asking to install a new update. I say yes, and the system asks to confirm, and I get to use Touch ID to confirm yes.
- Now I need to test my apps.
- First is Slack and no issues.
- Next is Outlook and while it starts fine there is no new email and there should be. I go to send an email and see a prompt to activate. So I do and all good. We are using Office365.
- Tweetbot tells me it was purchased on a different computer and I need to authenticate with my store creds. No problem and all good.
- All my other stuff – like, Evernote, Chrome, SecureCRT, 1Password, Sublime, NetNewsWire, Sonos, Skype, View all work good. No surprise really but good to confirm.
- I see that iCloud Drive is still syncing but that is OK and doesn’t take long.
- Photos catches up really quick, but then in its Preferences I say I want originals on this Mac.
- I give my computer a new name in Sharing and in WINS on a network connection. I also change the name in BackBlaze to the same thing.
- Start iTunes than use the Account \ Authorizations to authorize this (new) computer.
- The one issue I see is that iBooks is missing the vSphere 6.5 and Veeam 9.5 books. Probably they did not finish uploading on the old computer. Easy fix is to drag and drop but I will wait a bit to see if it catches up.
- I put a firmware password back on my machine (see how here). This will make sure someone cannot boot my MBP to a different hard drive to try out some mischief.
- On my MBP System Integrity Protection was not on and it certainly should be. Use this to turn it on. I expect Apple will fix this but better to fix it yourself now.
So I have a working computer. So all my local docs, my iCloud docs, I have a new external drive and am doing my Time Machine backup on it. Will take a bit, and I will do a SuperDuper image backup on it later.
I have moved my Thunderbolt monitor up higher a wee bit, and that means my new MBP can be open and in front of it and so now I have two usable monitors. I also have the monitor connected to the MBP using the Thunderbolt 2 to Thunderbolt 3 adapter I used earlier. My new external drive came with a Thunderbolt / USB-C cable so that is directly connected to my MBP but, it could also be connected to the monitor with Thunderbolt 2 if I had too free up ports. I have another port used for power and so I have one port open and yet all is working good. The Thunderbolt monitor connection is important as it provides 1 GB network, and has a keyboard connected with it too.
I have also a HDMI Apple USB-C adapter (from Monoprice and it works great) for the times I need to connect another monitor to my MBP but that is not common.
I do have a lighting to USB-C cable for a variety of reasons.
- Charge my Apple mouse
- Upgrade my iPhone and iPad as necessary – an encrypted backup and not using the OTA method means I get much better / smoother backups.
- Charge my AirPods.
I really want to buy a dock so that I have only one cable connected to my MBP. But there is not many available yet, and the one that I hear the best things about is the Belkin Thunderbolt 3 one but it is going to be pricey I think. The Thunderbolt monitor is also a dock and I was quite happy with that functionality so I would like to get back to that or better.
Holy Crap. The bigger display with more resolution is very nice to have again! And the disk speed improvement is noticeable as is the improved processor. My pictures really look great on this display. The USB-C stuff is a bit of a pain, but I think I have it worked out well, and I do believe it is better but that will take time to be seen as obvious.
So this was a big improvement for me and I am very happy with it. If you have a MBP 15″ already, I would hesitate to jump to this one. The Touch ID and Touch Bar are nice, and handy, but them and the new processor and updated disk / video may not be enough to justify the price. Unless your MBP 15 was several years old than yes, I would say this is a worthy upgrade if you have the money.
BTW, I am using only two new adapters right now and I am working good. For travel I will need more. I will cover that off later and elsewhere.
I do have in my desk drawer a new lighting to USB-C, as well as a USB-C to USB-A for any unexpected memory sticks I need to deal with.
The Touch Bar is very interesting. At the very least it has what I am used to and need. The ESC key and volume, and mute. But it already has more than that. In my stuff 1Password, Chrome and Office support it. So I think it is somewhat useful now, and it can and likely, will get much more useful.
The keyboard is a little different but it is not hard to get used to it and comfortable. It is a bit more noisy than the past but nothing serious.
- If you have to buy a cable to connect a drive – for example, or a monitor, make sure to buy a 3.1 USB-C to USB-C as it will support the highest bandwidth. Monoprice has them (here).
- You cannot at this time use the Touch ID to log in but you can to unlock the screen, make a purchase in iTunes and App store, and for Apple Pay. So like an Apple Watch. But unlike an Apple watch there is a few system prompts you can use it at too.
- The 85 Watt power brick for USB-C connections does NOT come with a USB-C power cable – so I need to buy one from here.
In case this helps here are some interesting links.
- Set a firmware password – article
- What to do before selling your Mac – here – and don’t forget to remove firmware password
- Tidbits.com – Explaining Thunderbolt 3, USB-C, and everything in between – here – must read this!
- Lacie – frequently asked questions about USB-C – here
- Stephen Foskett says Apple USB-C Digital multi port adapter is poor, and you should use instead the MonoPrice cable USB-C HDMI for 15 US$ – seen here.
- Macbook Pro USB-c Thunderbolt survival guide – here, very good reading!
- MacStories – new MacBook Pro – complete review – here
- Macworld – review of MBP with touch bar – here
- Check your System Integrity Protection setting – and fix it if necessary – here
- Best Touch Bar apps for MacBook Pro – here
- The fastest stock laptop – here
- Best price on an amazing 4K display – 659 CAD – here
- Truly disappointing: Getting Apple’s strategy wrong – here
- MacBook Pro Thunderbolt 3 adapter guide – How to connect an iPhone, display, hard drive and more – here
- Moving to a new MacBook Pro – here
- The New Touch-Bar-Equiped MacBook Pros and the State of the Mac – Daring Fireball
- iMore MacBook Pro 2016 review – the love / hate future of laptops
- How Apple’s Apps will Use the Touch Bar – here, very worth reading this one to see all the different examples for Touch Bar.
- This may be the USB-C hub we have been waiting for – here
- But here is the one I want – Belkin’s
- MacBook Pro external display support explained: 4k, 5K, adapters and other requirements – here
- Force touch Trackpad for Mac: Ultimate guide – here
- Making Better Use of the Touch Bar – here
- 9/17/17 – The OWC has none of the issues that the Belkin has. So it is pretty good and now is my recommended doc. I also added the link above about making better use of the Touch Bar.
- 9/17/17 – I have mentioned that I have had troubles with connecting via HDMI AND watching iTune content. I have that now working just fine. I had to get an Apple USB-C Digital AV Multiport adapter and that works. The third-party stuff worked fine to connect to HDMI and display PowerPoint for example, but the protected content of iTunes not so much. So I am very glad it works good now with this Apple adapter.
- 7/7/17 – I need to share that I am not so happy with my Belkin dock. My second monitor – connected via DisplayPort will sometimes go to black, and them come back. Disconcerting. As well, my beautiful Bose speaker setup doesn’t work well connected to the Belkin (strange noises and sometimes no sound). I noticed today that I did in fact – long ago – order the OWC so we will see how it works when it shows up next week. I do not know if the Belkin can be firmware updated to fix this sort of thing but I am hopeful.
- 6/23/17 – there is only one thing that I have not been able to fix or adjust. I have for a bunch of years used a HDMI cable from my Mac to TV’s in hotel rooms and that is how I deal with being on the road so much. With some Mac’s that was an HDMI port in the computer, and in some cases it was a dongle. It all worked great. Now with this new Mac it does not. All my presentations via the HDMI dongle work fine. The issues is that iTunes doesn’t see it as a legal place to play a movie. I will continue to test this. But it is the only irritation in this very nice computer!
- 6/21/19 – Stephen has tested the OWC Thunderbolt 3 dock and he confirmed it works great. See his video here. Unfortunately 3 days ago I ordered the Belkin one. In Canada it was available before the OWC one that Stephen got. I think that these two are the only real choices for port replication and increase in ports in the USB-C space worth looking at.
- 5/29/17 – I saw the new Skype today, updated in the last couple of days, and it uses the Touchbar really nicely. It has a mute button which is real handy, and a picture / timer of whom I am talking too.
- 5/21/17 – I now have the Hyper Drive Hub (not the OWC TB 3 dock). It looks pretty cool – with its nice leather sheath, and it works with all I have EXCEPT for one of my monitors. Not sure if the dock has firmware that can be upgraded to improve it but, this is too bad. It would have been a good traveling dock.
- 5/21/17 – I am still very happy. Most of my apps now support the touch bar, and the battery life has consisteny been very good. Definitely still a very good purchase!
- 12/30/16 – I saw this review of the MacBook I have and it said battery life was 18.5 to 8 hours in its tests. I think it a very flawed review (see this for more info) and I can say that I am more like 7 – 10 hours on my laptop.
- 12/25/16 – I have both an Apple, and a Monoprice, Thunderbolt 2 to Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) cable that I use to connect to a HDMI to Thunderbolt 2 cable. I use this in my travels to play movies / TV on the in-room TV. That is not working with either adapter – both show as no signal on the TV. I take the dongle off the cable and plug it directly into my wife’s MacBook Air and it works as expected. With two dongles behaving the same I suspect the port, and not the dongles. I have tried to ports with no change in behavior. This is a big deal for me as I spend a lot of time in hotel rooms and being able to watch a movie on the big TV is very nice indeed. I need to add to this – if I use a USB-C to HDMI dongle from Monoprice and connect it to the HDMI cable connected to a TV that works fine. So the issue is when Thunderbolt 2 is in the mix I guess.
- 12/10/16 – added the comment above about how my HDMI – USB-C adapter from Monoprice works very good and is found here.
- 12/5/16 – Still going well. OmniGraffle now has touch bar support, and I quite like using it with Evernote. It is not the same writing style in Evernote so the keys are quite useful there. And I have been working remote with just the laptop and not the nice keyboard. So I can confirm I really like the somewhat noisy keyboard, and I like how the touch bar changes and how I can do different things very easily with it.
- 12/5/16 – added some in the impressions section above.
- 11/25/16 – I saw this article about things that did not work. I thought it well done and worth sharing. Also updated my impressions above.
- 11/25/16 – It is now about a week later, and wow. I am very happy indeed. I have roughly the same number of dongles – maybe 1 extra, but I have a big beautiful screen that is very bright and is amazing. Everything really does look better. The processor is quite fast and I can see things opening faster – which may also be the very fast SSD too. I like the Touch ID a lot. I am using it for unlocking my screen, and for unlocking 1Password too, as well as purchases. So pretty handy. I also like the Touch Bar as I have what I used to use on it, and yet I have so much more. I used to look at the function keys, and I still do as the Touch Bar. The keyboard is a bit noisy, but I used it in a public place yesterday and no one noticed and I don’t mind. The battery life is not 10 hours for me, but maybe 7 hours, which is still pretty good. I suspect that will vary a lot depending what I am doing. My cable organization is not what it used to be when I was able to directly connect to the Thunderbolt Display, but it is not so bad. And I will get a dock at some point and then everything will be tidy again. But I should add that I am very happy I bought this laptop.
- 11/23/16 – I have seen this new Thunderbolt 3 dock that looks pretty good. Lots of ports – including SD. It is from OWC. It is not available yet, but it may be better for me than the Belkin – I like the extra ports it has, and the SD slot.
- 11/21/16 – Just discovered that Location Services was disabled. So that did not come over with the migration. I had to enable it. It is on the Privacy tab of Security.
And that is it for now!
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