Hardware

How do I silence the Mac startup sound?

Silence the Mac startup
Banish the annoying startup “bong”

BLANG. For almost three decades, the iconic (or, according to its creator Jim Reekes, “earconic”) Mac startup chime heralded the beginning of working days, long essay-writing sessions and gaming marathons. For some, it was like a war cry for creatives – the noise Steve Wozniak might have made whilst riding into battle against Microsoft. For others, it was just bloody irritating.

I’m in the latter camp, having repeatedly been left red-faced by the noise in libraries, university lectures and early-morning commuter trains. Consequently, I did a mini leap of joy when Apple canned the famous F-sharp major note in its latest devices (with the very notable exception of the MacBook Air 13in 2017), meaning that I could now boot up in blissful silence… if I had one of its latest devices.

Silence the Mac startup

So, if like me, you have a pre-2016 Mac and are still living under the tyranny of the BLANG, there’s a very simple technique you can deploy to get some peace and quiet: simply muting the volume before restarting or switching off is enough to silence the Mac startup chime. If you’ve forgotten to pre-mute your Mac, you can also hold down F10 (the mute button) during startup.

If you want to take the more drastic step of permanently disabling the startup chime, you’re out of luck. In macOS Sierra, the old trick of copying “sudo nvram SystemAudioVolume=%80” or “sudo nvram SystemAudioVolume=%00” into a Terminal window, typing in your password and pressing Enter no longer works. If you’ve somehow managed to linger on an older version of macOS (something we wouldn’t recommend), that process may still work, but the rest of us are stuck with the more temporary solution of muting during startup.

Moreover, there are plenty of programs (such as StartNinja) that promise to disable the chime, but I found that they didn’t work with macOS versions after 10.10.

About the author

Max Figgett

Max has written for numerous websites and magazines over the years. Whether it’s about ancient hardware or software secrets, no Big Tech Question is too obscure for him to tackle.

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  • So are we out of luck if we have a Mac that’s newer than10.10? I’ve tried half a dozen sites that claim to solve the problem of BLANG but none work and they seem to only apply to older models.

    • I’m in the same boat and would love to bin the BLANG forever. However, the simple trick of muting the volume before switching off the Mac (or, if I forget, holding down F10 during setup) works for me

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