Q. I’m moving from a Mac to an iPad. How do I make sure I don’t leave anything important behind?

A. This cross-platform transition has to happen one app, file and service at a time, so let’s start with one of the biggest timesucks on any device: e-mail.

If you access your e-mail only via the Web, you have nothing to worry about. Type your Web-mail service’s address into the iPad’s Safari, log in, there is no step three.

If, however, you’ve been downloading mail to a program like Apple’s Mail — and especially if you’ve saved messages from either your Internet provider’s e-mail or accounts you’ve since closed — you need to get those messages off your computer and back up to the Internet.

The simplest way to do that is with a Web-mail service that also syncs your messages to Mail, where you get the bonus of an ad-free experience. Google’s Gmail, Microsoft’s Outlook.com and Yahoo Mail can all do that — and if you’ve been using your ISP’s e-mail, now is an excellent time to move to an account that will keep working even if you switch Internet providers.

(Disclosure: I write for Yahoo’s Yahoo Tech news site, but I have nothing to do with Yahoo Mail.)

Set up Mail for your Web-mail account, then drag those old messages to its online inbox. If you also have sent messages stored only on your Mac, drag those to that account’s sent folder. You can also archive these old e-mails in their own folder: Go to the Mailbox menu, select “New Mailbox…” and create one with a name like “Old messages” in your Web-mail account, then drag the messages over to that.

Next come your files. They fall into two buckets: things you can easily transfer with iTunes, and everything else that you can’t.

Music, photos and video fall into the first category, although you will need to check for any outside your Mac’s Music, Pictures and Video folders. Plug the new iPad into the old computer, then follow Apple’s instructions on using iTunes to sync them over.

Put all of your other documents on an online-storage service like Google Drive, Microsoft’s OneDrive or Dropbox. I prefer the first two because they include free iPad apps to view and edit the most common word-processing, spreadsheet and presentation files: Google’s Docs/Sheets/Slides trio and Microsoft’s quartet of Word, Excel and PowerPoint.

Why not Apple’s own iCloud? Its iCloud Drive feature, the only way to move all those different document files from a Mac to iCloud, only works on Macs running OS X Yosemite and OS X El Capitan, and many people doing a Mac-to-iPad move run older versions of OS X.

Last come the various services you’ve used either online or in apps on your Mac, such as Facebook and Evernote. The hard part here may not be finding iPad apps for them (which usually offer more functions than tablet versions of their sites) so much as remembering the saved app or site passwords you haven’t typed in years.

Fortunately, OS X’s Keychain Access app lets you view and edit almost all of these saved passwords (Skype is a notable exception). Open this app from the Utilities sub-folder of your Mac’s Applications folder and type the name of a site or app into its search box. When you find a match, double-click it, click the checkbox next to “Show password.”

Rob Pegoraro is a tech writer based out of Washington, D.C. To submit a tech question, e-mail Rob at rob@robpegoraro.com. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/robpegoraro.

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