How to sync two Macs: tips and tricks

When you've got more than one Mac, there is a good chance that you need the same information, documents, folders, and files as the other. Often, a device at work contains what you need at home — on evenings and weekends — to make sure you're fully up-to-date and ready to go at work. 

It is always useful to make sure you're always working on the latest version of a document or file, so being able to sync two Macs is a time-saving superpower that more of us need to know about. In this article, we talk about the most effective ways to sync two Macs. 

Can I sync files between two Macs? 

Yes, thankfully, you can. 

Apple has always made it easy to remotely access from one device to another, which means it's just as easy to sync up to one or more Macs. And although you can, you don't always need third-party software or apps, such as Dropbox or Google Drive. But they are options and are just as easy to set up as the systems and mechanisms built into macOS for file sharing and syncing. 

How you sync files partly depends on what you are using to work on the files in question. When collaborating with colleagues, they or you might prefer to use Microsoft Office 365 and Google Docs. Therefore, syncing files doesn't require native Apple systems or software. To access those files, you need to log in to your relevant Google or Microsoft account, which can be done in the cloud through a web browser or app. 

However, assuming you are either working offline and need to sync later or every 24 hours or are using an Apple productivity app, such as Pages or Numbers, there are macOS tools for syncing one Mac with another. 

File syncing between two Macs

Syncing files between two Macs is, thankfully, fairly simple. 

One way is to use iCloud. Providing both devices — whether a MacBook or an iPhone or iPad — are logged into the same Apple ID, a file that you've saved on one will save exactly the same on another. But remember, this also means that if you delete it on one, it will be deleted on the other device. 

This means you will always be working on the most recent version of any document or file, regardless of the device you are using. Perfect for those who need constantly updated and synced files between devices. Plus, this is surely one of the most secure methods, as you gain the benefit of everything going to the Apple iCloud. 

What happens if my Macs won't sync? 

If two Macs aren't syncing as they should, it might be that one is running an older operating system, making the connection not as compatible or secure as it should be. 

The solution is to update the macOS on the relevant device, and there are a few ways to do that. Before updating the operating system, it might also be worth cleaning up any unnecessary and duplicate files, folders, videos, apps, and backups taking up too much space. 

Delete system junk and outdated caches

Outdated caches created by your apps often cause various software conflicts. The good news is that you can delete those and refresh your Mac experience. One way to clean up a Mac and improve its performance is one of the most powerful and popular Mac cleaner apps on the market. CleanMyMac X is notarized by Apple as a safe app to use on the latest macOS versions.

  1. Run CleanMyMac X — you can download a free version here.
  2. Click System Junk.
  3. After the scan, it will show you any files and other junk and clutter that should be deleted.
CleanMyMac X - User cache files in System Junk module

Another thing to do when faced with a problem connecting two Macs is to update all your software. Normally, developers release patches for earlier discovered incompatibilities, so having everything up to date is a way to go. 

To update all software on your Mac in one go, you can again rely on CleanMyMac X. Click on the Updater tab in the sidebar. Then, select apps from the list and click Update.

Your Mac may need to restart once the updates are nearing completion. Once your Mac has restarted, syncing with another device, either using iCloud or a third-party app, shouldn't be a problem anymore.

Laptop with CleanMyMac
CleanMyMac X

Your Mac. As good as new.