How to silence your Mac’s startup sound

When you press the power button to start up your Mac, you will be met with a boot chime that lets you know your system is healthy and ready to load macOS.

However, this sound can be a bit intrusive, and there may be times when you would prefer to not have it play.

Since sleep mode will not make such sounds when waking, you can always use it instead of shutting down your Mac; however, if you need to cold-boot your Mac, then you have a couple of approaches for muting that boot chime.

Turn off system volume

In newer versions of macOS, you can turn off the Startup sound from your System Settings. You can do this by first clicking on this option from within your menu bar.


Next, you can select the Sound option, which gives you various ways to alter the sound effects of your Macbook. Here, you’ll find a “Play Sound on Startup” option to toggle off.


On onlder versions of macOS, this wasn’t quite as simple. However now, we’re fortunate enough to be able to turn the startup sound off within just a few clicks.

Hold the Mute key

Another option you have is to press and hold the mute key immediately after you press your power button or restart your Mac.

Remembering this is best if you have to start up your Mac and you know the boot chime will sound.

Disable the Boot Chimes completely– Expert

The system’s boot chimes are sounded by firmware, and the system uses a parameter RAM (PRAM) variable to set the volume of the boot chimes.

Therefore, while you cannot technically prevent the sound from playing, you can turn off the system’s default audio volume to mute the sound when it plays.

To do this, open the Terminal and run the following command:

nvram SystemAudioVolume

Make a note of the value of this setting, which should be some hexadecimal value following a percent symbol. Now run the following command, to change the setting to 0:

sudo nvram SystemAudioVolume=%00

The value %00 may not work for some Macs, so you can also try %80, or some other pair of characters from 0-9 and a-f, which may work depending on your system. You can always run the command and set the value back to the original value, or reset your Mac’s PRAM to have the system load defaults.

The SystemAudioVolume setting will be output when you run this command, and you can use this to revert any manual changes you make to this setting.

After making any changes to the system audio volume settings in the Terminal, be sure to shut down your Mac and start it up cold in order to test the change, and do not simply reboot your system. Your Mac will likely preserve the current audio volume when only restarting, and this may change when you start up from scratch.

Can you change the boot chime?

As with a ringtone, you might be interested in changing your Mac’s boot chime to something more unique; however, this sound is stored in the system’s firmware and cannot be accessed by users.

Therefore while possible, you will very likely do more damage than good in an attempt to modify this aspect of your system.

Are there benefits to the boot chime?

While it may seem pointless, the boot chime is a status indicator and not just a welcoming sound.

When it sounds, the system is telling you that all hardware components have checked out and the system is ready to load the system software. If there are hardware problems, then you will otherwise get beeps that indicate the error at hand.

By completely disabling the system volume using the terminal commands above, you chance not hearing these sounds as well.


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