Talking tech since 2003

I recently did a clean install of Mountain Lion of my MacBook Air and as I was setting it up with all my settings and installing all my applications, I thought to myself, this really sucks. The whole process of setting up a computer is annoying and takes a lot of time. At the same time, I couldn’t help but think of how fast and pain-free upgrading from my iPhone 4S to my new iPhone 5 was.

Why can’t it be the same hassle-free process on a Mac?

Now I know, OS X comes with an app called Migration Assistant, but it’s really cumbersome and can sometimes bring over issues from your old Mac to your new, plus I don’t always want to copy over everything on a nice fresh install. When I’m in the process of setting up a new Mac or an old one that I just re-installed OS X on, what I really want is simple: I want all my currently installed apps and their preferences/settings, my current system settings/configurations, and my data (documents, images, music, videos, etc).

I find it hard to believe that Apple isn’t at least thinking about improving the process of setting up a new Mac, especially with their growing computer market share and the company’s push to make OS X more iOS-like. With that being said, the first two wants of mine appear to be doable, at least, I would think so.

Because of the way OS X has been designed, I would think Apple could easily manage your apps, app preferences/settings, and system settings/configurations via iCloud. Now, due to storage constraints with iCloud, I’d say the best approach would be to store a list of all apps on your Mac, their preferences files, any system configurations (that would be safe to transfer), as well as your keychain in iCloud, which would allow you to restore your Mac apps and system settings from iCloud with all of the preferences and settings intact. Just think of how much time and hassle that feature alone would save you setting up your new computer.

Even if Apple introduced this feature and it only worked on apps from the Mac App Store, it would still be a win.

Additionally, it would be great if this feature also kept your all your app preferences synced, so if you made a change on one computer, it would also be done on your other(s). This is something I’m sure could be done as well, especially since if you download an app in the Mac App Store on one computer, it will also be downloaded on another computer on the same account (it just doesn’t transfer any preferences/settings).

When it comes to data, it gets a bit trickier. The current iCloud plans may not be big enough for some users to store all their data on, making it difficult to have a universal “Restore your Mac from iCloud backup” option. However, I guess that could change in the future if Apple offers more storage options. A feature like that could also give services like Carbonite and Mozy a run for their money.

I’d imagine that your data could also be kept synced via iCloud similarly to the way it would work for apps and settings.

What do you think? Is this something you would like to see on the Mac?

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