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How to turn on the startup chime on your new mac

Chris Hoffman
How to turn on the startup chime on your new macChris Hoffman
Editor-in-Chief

Chris Hoffman is Editor-in-Chief of How-To Geek. He’s written about technology for over a decade and was a PCWorld columnist for two years. Chris has written for The New York Times, been interviewed as a technology expert on TV stations like Miami’s NBC 6, and had his work covered by news outlets like the BBC. Since 2011, Chris has written over 2,000 articles that have been read nearly one billion times—and that’s just here at How-To Geek. Read more.

How to turn on the startup chime on your new mac

Boot up or restart your Mac and it’ll make the traditional “startup chime” sound”. This lets you know the Mac is starting up properly, but it isn’t appropriate if you’re booting up your Mac in a quiet location like a library, or if someone is sleeping nearby.

You can easily silence the sound on your next boot, if you know what to do. But silencing the sound permanently will require a terminal command that changes a hidden setting.

How to Temporarily Disable the Startup Sound

Your Mac’s startup sound depends on the volume level your Mac was set to when it was shut down. If your Mac was set to maximum volume level, the boot chime will be played at maximum volume. If your Mac was muted, the startup chime will be silenced.

To disable the startup sound, just press the “Mute” button on your keyboard (that’s the F10 key on a MacBook) before shutting down or restarting your Mac. If you ever have to restart your Mac for some reason but you don’t want it making any noise, just do this.

If you don’t have a Mute key on your keyboard, you can always just set the volume slider to the lowest level it will go. That accomplishes the same thing.

How to turn on the startup chime on your new mac

How to Permanently Disable the Startup Sound

To permanently disable the startup sound so it isn’t played at startup, even if you have your volume level set to maximum volume when you shut down, you need to use a terminal command.

To do this, open a Terminal window. Press Command + Space to open Spotlight search, type Terminal, and press Enter. Or, you can open a Finder window and head to Applications > Utilities > Terminal.

How to turn on the startup chime on your new mac

Run the following command in the terminal window:

Enter your password when prompted and press Enter. Restart your Mac and you won’t hear the sound.

How to turn on the startup chime on your new mac

If you’d like to undo your change later and have the startup chime play normally when you boot your Mac, run the following command:

Help, the Command Didn’t Work!

Some people report that the above command doesn’t work on their Macs. If it didn’t silence the startup chime on your system, you may want to try running one of these other commands instead. These reportedly work for some people. This may be hardware-dependent, and certain commands may only work on certain hardware.

(In the above command, that’s a single space character between the quotation marks.)

Many websites say you can silence your Mac at boot by pressing the “Mute” button on your keyboard and holding it down right after you boot the Mac up. However, this didn’t work for us. Perhaps it only works on older versions of Mac OS X, or with older Mac hardware.

Bear in mind that you won’t hear the startup chime when resuming from sleep or standby mode. That’s another good reason to just put your Mac to sleep rather than completely shutting it down, although everyone needs to perform a full shutdown occasionally–if only for a system update.

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How to turn on the startup chime on your new mac Chris Hoffman
Chris Hoffman is Editor-in-Chief of How-To Geek. He’s written about technology for over a decade and was a PCWorld columnist for two years. Chris has written for The New York Times, been interviewed as a technology expert on TV stations like Miami’s NBC 6, and had his work covered by news outlets like the BBC. Since 2011, Chris has written over 2,000 articles that have been read nearly one billion times—and that’s just here at How-To Geek.
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How to turn on the startup chime on your new macWesley Hilliard | Feb 22, 2020

How to turn on the startup chime on your new mac

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The discovery of a simple Terminal command will allow users to bring back the iconic Mac startup sound.

The startup chime was a central part of Apple marketing and an iconic sound associated with the Mac. An update in 2016 removed the startup chime and was thought to be lost to the product for good, unil now.

An update to macOS Catalina has appeared to restore the sound to the operating system, but left it muted. A twitter user discovered this, and shared a video and a sudo command to bring it back.

AppleInsider has tested this on a few machines, and it works with most. It failed to work on a 2018 Mac mini with 10-gig Ethernet, but did work on an i7 2018 Mac mini with gigabit Ethernet. Similarly, it worked on a 2018 15-inch i9 MacBook Pro, but didn’t on a 2016 i7 15-inch MacBook Pro. It worked on every late-model iMac we tried.

How to turn your Mac startup chime on

  • Open the Applications folder
  • Open the Utilities folder
  • Launch the Terminal application
  • Enter sudo nvram StartupMute=%00 in the terminal, and hit return

If you want to remove the chime after re-activating it, use the command sudo nvram StartupMute=%01 in terminal.

A terminal command was discovered shortly after the removal of the chime in 2016 that restored the chime, but was removed in a macOS update. It is unknown if the chimes return was intentional, or will be removed yet again in a future update.

One of the most iconic features of the Mac and Macbook devices is the iconic startup chime that plays every time that the machine was booted up. The startup chimes distinguished the Mac, from the rest of the competition, and users around the world were fans of this humble little chime. However, when Apple launched their new MacBook lineup in 2016, users noticed that the startup chime was now gone and the laptop booted up silently. This was instantly taken up on social media, and after a considerable movement from the fans, the Cupertino Giant released a Fix that enabled the startup chime but gave users the option to disable it if needed.

On the current macOS Big Sur operating system, the startup chime can be turned on or off, depending on the user preference, and this can be done any number of times. If you are wondering how to get this done for your Mac or MacBook, this tutorial is the one for you.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at how you can turn on or turn off, the startup chime on the Mac.

Table of Contents

Open the ‘System Preferences‘ app on the Mac or Macbook.

How to turn on the startup chime on your new mac

In the system preferences window, click on the ‘Sound‘ option.

How to turn on the startup chime on your new mac

Check or Uncheck the tick box next to the ‘Play sound on startup‘ option.

How to turn on the startup chime on your new mac

Depending on your choice to tick or untick the check box, the startup chime will be either turned on or off respectively. This setting can be changed any number of times, and it’s a good little feature that Apple decided to add, as there was a bracket of users who didn’t really like the startup chime and preferred a silent boot procedure.

Also, while you are in the sound settings, you can also decide whether you want to turn on or turn off other sounds across the system, and these too can be changed any number of times.

The discovery of a simple Terminal command will allow users to bring back the iconic Mac startup sound.

How to turn on the startup chime on your new mac
The MacBook Pro with Touchbar does not have a startup chime by default

The startup chime was a central part of Apple marketing and an iconic sound associated with the Mac. An update in 2016 removed the startup chime and was thought to be lost to the product for good, unil now.

An update to macOS Catalina has appeared to restore the sound to the operating system, but left it muted. A twitter user discovered this, and shared a video and a sudo command to bring it back.

AppleInsider has tested this on a few machines, and it works with most. It failed to work on a 2018 Mac mini with 10-gig Ethernet, but did work on an i7 2018 Mac mini with gigabit Ethernet. Similarly, it worked on a 2018 15-inch i9 MacBook Pro, but didn’t on a 2016 i7 15-inch MacBook Pro. It worked on every late-model iMac we tried.

How to turn your Mac startup chime on

  • Open the Applications folder
  • Open the Utilities folder
  • Launch the Terminal application
  • Enter sudo nvram StartupMute=%00 in the terminal, and hit return

A terminal command was discovered shortly after the removal of the chime in 2016 that restored the chime, but was removed in a macOS update. It is unknown if the chimes return was intentional, or will be removed yet again in a future update.

How to turn on the startup chime on your new mac

The new 15-inch and 13-inch Touch Bar Retina MacBook Pro, along with their 13-inch function key sibling, do away with the Mac startup chime. Turns out the chime isn’t gone, but is only disabled—and it’s easy to re-enable with a quick trip to the Terminal. Read on to learn how.

How to turn on the startup chime on your new mac

The new MacBook Pro’s startup chime isn’t gone, just disabled

Here’s how to re-enable the startup chime on late 2016 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pro models:

  • Launch Terminal. It’s hiding in Applications/Utilities
  • Type this command: sudo nvram BootAudio=%01
  • Enter your administrator password when prompted

How to turn on the startup chime on your new mac

Use the BootAudio nvram setting to bring back the new MacBook Pro’s startup chime

That’s it! Now your fancy new MacBook Pro will chime on startup, just like previous models. If you decide you don’t want the chime, just change the %01 at the end of the sudo command to %00 .

Why did Apple take away the startup chime, you ask? It’s most likely because the new MacBook Pro models don’t have a traditional power button and instead turn on when you lift the laptop lid, or connect the charger cable.

Presumably Apple figured users would hear the startup chime more often than they’d like. Also, Macs start up much faster than they did back in 1984, so an audio alert signaling the computer is on and booting up isn’t as necessary as it once was. Still, it’s nice to know we can turn the chime back on if we want.

Disabling the startup chime on older Mac models with this command doesn’t work—or, at least it didn’t on the Macs The Mac Observer tested. We also found changing the old school SystemAudioVolume nvram setting didn’t work, nor did holding down the Mute key after starting up. It’s as if Apple really wants us to hear the startup chime on every Mac prior to the late 2016 refresh.

The discovery of a simple Terminal command that brings back the classic startup chime on newer Macs has gone viral in recent days. Apple disabled the startup sound on new Macs in 2016, and while a couple of tricks have worked in the past to get the chime back, updates to macOS appear to have stopped them working.

alt=”16 inch macbook pro orange background” width=”1128″ height=”1062″ />
However, the latest trick – first shared in the MacRumors Forums by BigMcGuire – appears to have a high success rate, although depending on your Mac model, your mileage may vary.

If you yearn for that classic Mac sound, follow these steps to re-instate it.

  1. Launch the Terminal app, which can be found in the Applications/Utilities folder. This will open a Terminal window and a command prompt for you to begin typing.
  2. Input the following command and then press Return: sudo nvram StartupMute=%00
  3. Enter your admin user password when prompted.
  4. Close Terminal, then restart your Mac.

Make sure the volume is up, and with a little bit of luck, you’ll hear that soothing F-sharp chord sound the next time your Mac boots up.

If you want to get rid of the chime after re-activating it, simply repeat the steps above but replace the Terminal command in step 2 with the following: sudo nvram StartupMute=%01.

The iconic chiming startup sound was originally made to indicate that diagnostic tests had found no hardware or software issues. A similar sound accompanied almost every Mac boot sequence since 1991 and the most recent F-sharp chord incarnation was first used in the iMac G3.

Originally, a C major chord was recorded by Apple engineer Jim Reekes using a Korg keyboard, but what most users will hear these days is a pitch-shifted version of the sound made by the Macintosh Quadra family of professional computers, first released in 1991.

How to turn on the startup chime on your new mac

Want to re-enable the startup boot chime sound effect on a new Mac? You can do that with a command line string entered into the Macs Terminal. As you may know, new Macs default to not making a startup boot chime sound effect, this is in contrast to every prior Mac model which included a boot sound effect.

With a little effort, you can enable the boot startup sound effect on modern Macs however, including newer model MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, MacBook, iMac, Mac mini, and Mac Pro.

How to Enable Startup Chime on Macs

Here is how you can enable the Mac startup boot sound effect again on modern Macs:

    1. Open the “Terminal” application on the Mac through Spotlight, Launchpad, or the Utilities folder
    2. At the command line prompt, enter the following:

    sudo nvram StartupMute=%00

      1. Hit the Return key to execute the command, then provide admin credentials when requested as necessary to use sudo
      1. To confirm the startup boot chime is working, restart the Mac as usual or turn it on from an off state

      Now anytime you reboot or startup the Mac, the boot sound effect will chime.

      Note that because this uses the nvram command to enable the sound effect, if you ever reset the PRAM or NVRAM on the Mac the boot sound will become silent again and you’d have to enable it again.

      The classic boot sound has been a part of the Mac experience since the original Macintosh and even many other Apple products, it was removed from modern Macs for no obvious reason or stated purpose, much to the dismay of many longtime Mac users and fans who have since wondered where the startup sound went on their new hardware. If you fall into that group, you’ll undoubtedly appreciate having this boot sound effect back again on your new model Mac.

      Aside from the classical aspect and audiophile component of hearing a nice boot sound when starting up or rebooting a Mac, the boot chime has long been used as a troubleshooting indicator for Macs as well, since if the computer did not produce a boot sound effect it was typically an indicator that something was awry.

      How to Disable Startup Chime on New Macs

      If you enabled the startup boot chime on a new Mac but now decide you do not want to hear it anymore, you can turn it off again.

      Launch the Terminal and enter the following command:

      sudo nvram StartupMute=%01

      See Also How to turn on the startup chime on your new mac

      How to Install MAMP on your Mac in 7 Easy Steps

      Hit return to execute and enter the admin password to confirm the command can run with administrator privileges as required by sudo.

      This is a different command from what was possible in prior versions of Mac OS X that allowed for the disabling of the boot chime.

      Recall as mentioned earlier, you can also reset PRAM to silence the boot chime again and return to the current default on modern Macs.

      Mac users with this feature enabled, and with Macs that have the boot sound by default (basically anything made prior to 2016), can continue to manually mute the boot sound by holding down the Mute key or by turning the volume all the way down before rebooting the computer, which will temporarily silence it for that particular boot or restart.

      If you enjoy the boot sounds or just have some nostalgia for them, you may like taking a trip down memory lane and listening to a video of all of the startup chimes too.

      This trick works for turning on the boot chime sound on any newer model Mac, including MacBook Pro (2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 and newer), MacBook Air (2018, 2019, and newer), MacBook, iMac (2018 and newer), Mac mini (2018 and newer), and Mac Pro (2019 and newer). If you have any experience otherwise or any additional tips or info on the topic, please share in the comments below.

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      Not that I badly want to enable the classic startup chime on newer Macs, I have indeed missed this unique sound ever since Apple removed it in 2016. While a few hacks about getting the chime back on macOS surfaced online, their joy was short-lived as macOS updates rendered them useless. But guess what, an all-new Terminal command trick, which brings back the startup chime quite reliably, has been getting plenty of traction for the past few days. If you wish to get this iconic sound on your Mac, let’s unravel this hack right away!

      Enable the Classic Startup Chime on Newer Macs

      For those unfamiliar, the chiming startup sound was actually (C-major chord) developed to let macOS users know that the diagnostic tests didn’t find any software or hardware issues. And it had existed on almost every Mac boot since 1991. One more thing worth noting is that the most recent F-sharp chord had first forayed into iMac G3 (1998) which was the first consumer-facing product to launch under the recently returned CEO Steve Jobs. Moreover, G3 proved to be a game-changer for Apple, saving the company from the impending financial ruin in the late 1990s. Now that you’ve got a fair amount of history behind this iconic sound, let’s get on with the quick steps!

      1. Launch the Terminal app on your Mac.

      How to turn on the startup chime on your new mac

      Note: Ensure that the volume of your Mac is up so that you can hear the classy chime sound.

      2. Now, enter the following command and hit the Enter/Return key.

      3. Next, enter your admin password.

      How to turn on the startup chime on your new mac

      4. Next, close the Terminal app and restart your Mac (Apple menu -> Restart).

      How to turn on the startup chime on your new mac

      Now, wait for the familiar chime sound to ring your ears when the Mac boots up.

      Disable Classic Startup Chime on Newer Macs

      If you ever wish to get rid of the chime sound, you can do so just as easily.

      1. Open the Terminal app on your macOS device. Then, paste the following command and hit Enter/Return.

      2. Now, you need to enter your admin password.

      How to turn on the startup chime on your new mac

      3. Next, quit the Terminal app and restart your Mac.

      How to turn on the startup chime on your new mac

      Get the Classy Startup Chime on Newer Macs

      So, that’s the way you can enable the iconic chiming startup sound on your newer Macs. Hopefully, the upcoming macOS updates don’t render it useless. As quite a lot of macOS users like this sound, it would be better if Apple offered an option to turn it on/off from the system preferences. What’s your take on it? And more importantly, have you found this trick worth giving a try? Do share your feedback with us in the comments below.

      How to turn on the startup chime on your new mac

      Want to re-enable the startup boot chime sound effect on a new Mac? You can do that with a command line string entered into the Macs Terminal. As you may know, new Macs default to not making a startup boot chime sound effect, this is in contrast to every prior Mac model which included a boot sound effect.

      With a little effort, you can enable the boot startup sound effect on modern Macs however, including newer model MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, MacBook, iMac, Mac mini, and Mac Pro.

      How to Enable Startup Chime on Macs

      Here is how you can enable the Mac startup boot sound effect again on modern Macs:

      1. Open the “Terminal” application on the Mac through Spotlight, Launchpad, or the Utilities folder
      2. At the command line prompt, enter the following:

      sudo nvram StartupMute=%00

      How to turn on the startup chime on your new mac

      Now anytime you reboot or startup the Mac, the boot sound effect will chime.

      Note that because this uses the nvram command to enable the sound effect, if you ever reset the PRAM or NVRAM on the Mac the boot sound will become silent again and you’d have to enable it again.

      The classic boot sound has been a part of the Mac experience since the original Macintosh and even many other Apple products, it was removed from modern Macs for no obvious reason or stated purpose, much to the dismay of many longtime Mac users and fans who have since wondered where the startup sound went on their new hardware. If you fall into that group, you’ll undoubtedly appreciate having this boot sound effect back again on your new model Mac.

      Aside from the classical aspect and audiophile component of hearing a nice boot sound when starting up or rebooting a Mac, the boot chime has long been used as a troubleshooting indicator for Macs as well, since if the computer did not produce a boot sound effect it was typically an indicator that something was awry.

      How to Disable Startup Chime on New Macs

      If you enabled the startup boot chime on a new Mac but now decide you do not want to hear it anymore, you can turn it off again.

      Launch the Terminal and enter the following command:

      sudo nvram StartupMute=%01

      Hit return to execute and enter the admin password to confirm the command can run with administrator privileges as required by sudo.

      This is a different command from what was possible in prior versions of Mac OS X that allowed for the disabling of the boot chime.

      Recall as mentioned earlier, you can also reset PRAM to silence the boot chime again and return to the current default on modern Macs.

      Mac users with this feature enabled, and with Macs that have the boot sound by default (basically anything made prior to 2016), can continue to manually mute the boot sound by holding down the Mute key or by turning the volume all the way down before rebooting the computer, which will temporarily silence it for that particular boot or restart.

      If you enjoy the boot sounds or just have some nostalgia for them, you may like taking a trip down memory lane and listening to a video of all of the startup chimes too.

      This trick works for turning on the boot chime sound on any newer model Mac, including MacBook Pro (2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 and newer), MacBook Air (2018, 2019, and newer), MacBook, iMac (2018 and newer), Mac mini (2018 and newer), and Mac Pro (2019 and newer). If you have any experience otherwise or any additional tips or info on the topic, please share in the comments below.