OS X : Disable Mac Startup Sound

Posted December 31, 2007 by risherz in Apple Mac

Every time you turn on your mac it makes a boot up chime, which has been with OS X since OS 9. Want to stop that “annoying” sound that your mac makes during boot up? Here are a couple of ways to help you do just that.

The first option is to manually stop the sound that your Mac makes simply by pressing the mute key every time you wish to shutdown or restart your mac. Then once your computer restarts, increase the sound back to normal. This way you only have to temporarily mute the sound when you find it to be distracting (for places like the library or a room filled with “mac haters”). The only downside to this is that you’ll have to preplan the “silent start-up” and do it every time if you hate the start up chime.

The second solution is a much more automated one. First get the Startup Sound PrefPane from Arcana labs. After you download it, install it. Then go to Preferences > Startup Sound and check the Mute checkbox. Make sure turn on start up volume control is checked as well.

Mac Startup Sound Prefpane

It might not start muting the startup sound the very first time to restart the computer, so I recommend doing a restart after you mute it just to make sure.

The Conversation

Follow the reactions below and share your own thoughts.

  • petitefute

    Thank you so much you are a life saver, as I live in my Unis silent library that noise is the embarrassing bane of my life, and thankfully it’s gone.

  • jeff5267

    Thank you for creating this PrefPane… The start up chime was driving me nuts… Once I installed it and did a restart the sound was no longer there… Keep up the good work your doing…

  • Anonymous

    Aaaaaack, it’s not working for me and this stupid sound is driving me nuts!
    I installed the Prepane and went to preferences and went to startup sound but it won’t let me in…I can’t click the lock to make changes.
    What can I do? Please help.

  • Andreas

    I wished more people in the library I am in would have read this article. This stupid startup sound makes me become a mac hater more and more… Apple is so proud of the useability of its products and you cant even turn this fucking sound off without downloading a special program? In stupid WIndows it takes me 20 seconds.

    • Anonymous

      For one, those mac users in your library are clearly showing off or trying to be annoying. I’ve used a mac my whole life and when it comes to portables, I NEVER turn mine off. Macbooks/Powerbooks etc. go to sleep nicely with just the close of the lid, and it eliminates the hassle of having to wait for the computer to do a full reboot.

      I have an iMac and I just NEEDed to disable the startup sound because I often forget to turn the volume off upon shutdown. I have to say… Automator is CRAP when it comes to scripting a g’damn simple script — why is it not possible to do something as simple as turning down volume upon shutdown??? Automator to me has been completely useless — even more useless than AppleScript before it during the Classic OS times.

      Speaking of Classic OS 9… where is the shutdown/startup items folder in OS X?? (answer: there is none. At least not any like the old OS 9 had… the Starup Items in the User pref pane doesn’t count as it launches all those AFTER boot, not upon boot.)

      • Anonymous

        “I’ve used a mac my whole life and when it comes to portables, I NEVER turn mine off. Macbooks/Powerbooks etc. go to sleep nicely with just the close of the lid, and it eliminates the hassle of having to wait for the computer to do a full reboot.”

        Because you know how to use a computer. The trait is sadly far from universal.

      • nooneinparticular

        You never turn your mac off? Strange, because my MBP sucks the battery even in sleep mode. It will also use about 15% of the battery in about 10-12 minutes of normal use. You either bring your mac to destinations that are 10 minutes away, or you’re able to constantly recharge it.

  • jaba

    after installing it, how do you access preferences?

    • Anonymous

      If you don’t know how to access your System Preferences, you probably shouldn’t be allowed to install things like this app (or any other app for that matter).

      • Kebyars10

        What a jerk. After using PCs for 20 years I finally decided to try a Mac. I have had it over a year and still seemingly easy things to figure out are just done in such a screwed way only to be different and snotty. I usually figure it out because I have a brain but theanimaster, that was just uncalled for and things like that is just what give mac users there snooty vibe. Lay off, you were in the perfect position to be polite and helpful and you really blew it. You came on here to help, why did you turn so cruel. Was so uncalled for. You should apologize.

        • Anonymous

          My heart bleeds for you.

          But that was an honest reply. I wasn’t trying to be a prick, that’s just your own assumption of me, which I am perfectly at ease with. Everyone is entitled to their own assumptions.

          After 20 years on the PC, I hope you’re prepared to deal with several more years of the Internet. There are much nastier replies waiting out there. Some of them may include profanities.

          • withabeat

            >>I wasn’t trying to be a prick

          • Auste

            Withabeat – you are right – some of these guys are pricks. You ask a silly question and get an a-hole reply…

          • http://twitter.com/purobox Puro Box

            I’m also using mac for the first time and I agree totally with you. Some mac fans are like brain-washed religious dudes who don’t see evil in their god (Steve Jobs). For them, steve jobs is so perfect that they think he will never, never make a mistake like this stupid annoying sound. (it sounds even if the earphones are plugged in !). There are many things that I just don’t like about MAC OSX, the main reason I bought an iMac is because its great hardware and system stability. Currently I’m using Parallels with Windows 7 on my iMac. So I use OSX and Win7 at the same time with Coherence. It is just amazing. I’m getting the best of both worlds.

  • Timmer

    Does anyone know if there are problems using this v. 10.6.2?

  • 1

    Another very easy way to silence the startup sound, especially if the computer is off, and was previously used by someone else so you don’t know what the volume level was when they shut down last…

    Plug a pair of headphones into the headphone jack before you turn on the computer.

    A pair of iPod earbuds would work fine, or any other kind.

    • Avery St. Clair

      Have you done that, or are you just talking? It doesn’t work on my Mac, where we keep headphones plugged in always. Neither does muting the volume work. The startup BONG happens regardless.

    • Guest

      Nope. That does not work at all. The sound simply routes out through the speakers whether or not you have heaphones jacked in, which is all-the-more annoying.

    • Anonymous

      That technique ~used~ to work at some point (with older systems) but doesn’t with the newer OS X’s. Hence the need for this nifty control panel.

  • Edward

    This is an useful application. but I can’t understand why this is basic sound settings.

  • Sziminsky

    Thank you – I just set up my Imac yesterday – my first Apple product. It is hooked into a sound system, which is turned off. My roommate sleeps nearby and it was a real SURPRISE to hear the internal speakers make that start-up noise. So far – so very good with the new I-Mac – thanks again for your solution.

  • suparups

    Thanks for this….loving to wake up to a silent Mac 🙂

    • Anonymous

      You are welcome. Thanks for visiting tech-recipes.

  • Rebeccamedina0


  • Gring0

    You mean you have to download a separate programme just to disable the sound? That kind of disdain for users is what I expect from Microsoft.

    • Newkid

      I agree. I am a recent Mac convert. For years I have been watching friends and colleagues sing praises about the Mac and I have been secretly wishing I could ditch my XP/Vista. Now that I have a MacBookPro, I am beginning to realise it’s not all super-magical after-all. I mean I love it, I’m not going back to Windows for a loooong time, but some of the features missing on a Mac seem silly for a usability-guru like Apple.

    • CJ

      Hold on a sec.
      The startup sound reflects the result of the startup sequence test. Different problems are signaled by different startup tones. If there was a problem with the sound system or RAM or whatever, it would be pointless for the startup sound to be easily bypassed. It is a geeky thing I know, and since these kinds of problems are very rare, most people don’t know that the Mac is saying “Good morning! I am fine today!”

      If the Mac starts up with a different tone, you know that it needs repair.

  • Alex

    The program worked for my MacBook Pro but isn’t working for my iMac. It’s driving me nuts in the morning; I don’t want to disturb the person sleeping next door and we have pretty thin walls.

    Honestly, this should be something that is a regular Mac setting.



  • Paul du Long


  • Meuequals1

    I have just recently started playing with a G4 mac after 25+ yrs on PCs. I find that the O/S is very similar to BeOS and maybe thats why I like it.
    I was intrigued by the deafening chorus of Mac users re how good Macs were and never a problem was seen or heard of. What a load of crock! After playing with this Mac and then reading around the Mac forums I realised that this Mac hype was a total load of Bull excrement! Macs have just as many probs as PCs.
    I use Vista, Suse 11.3 64 bit, Haiku and now Mac

  • http://twitter.com/ismikhair khairuddin

    that’s NICE ! really simple

  • Anonymous

    am lookin for an app which can play different sound on app startup !?

    this app is great but i need one for app

    any idea ?



  • Jan

    does not work with lion

  • felix

    Does not work on Tiger

  • antonio

    thank you risherz

  • Evan John

    Thank you so much! Worked like a charm. Hopefully in the future Apple will figure out that maybe some people don’t want to wake up everyone in the house on startup. Oddly, I had originally started turning down the volume on shutdown, but it stopped working and still played the chime. For a while, the chime didn’t start when I had my Mac hooked to the stereo even though the volume was maxed…then that stopped working. Thanks again!

  • jerrold fogarty

    Congratulations to all those who finally resolved your issue with the Startup Volume control using your Apple products. Kudos….
    I feel left out I am using my iMac, running OSX Lion. This software that was suggested from Arcana is not compatible with Lion!
    Does anyone have any thoughts as to where I can achieve some silence at startup too please. Thank You In Advance

  • rich4321

    I have been a Mac user all my life. I have to say the start up sound is the MOST annoying thing on the Mac. I totally agree with the first post – embarrassed in the library. On top of that, I am a software developer, I work at night often. When I start up my iMac, I am always afraid to wake up every body in the house. And oh, my god, anyone every dare to try to point out the short coming of the Mac will trigger some with this defensive reaction, Mac is good, I like it much better then Windows, but Mac is not Perfect! So please Mac fan boys, stop being so touchy!

  • José

    Hi! Does this work with Mountain Lion? 10.8.1? I used this with Snow Leopard and then with Lion, but after upgrading to ML it haven’t been working. What’s up? Do I have to reinstall it or something? I just doesn’t seem to work. Whatever files this is meant to have effect on, it’s somehow changed or path has changed.

    Any advice? Insight? Thanks for the answers!

  • James Smith

    If you only put your Mac to sleep, there is no start-up sound. I also have a nice little program called SafeSleepOnce that actually hibernates your Mac. Start up is slower than sleep (closing the laptop or a short press on the power key) but faster than a cold boot. Even better, everything is right where you left it. Applications, web browser, everything.

    Apple even advising not restarting the Mac unless you intend to be away fro it a considerable time.

    I restart mine about once a week. Once a month, I run Applejack or Onyx on it and everything continues to run smoothly.

    • Rob

      > Have you ever heard of climate change? And the impact of having electrical devices as computers 24/7 on? Probably not…

  • Ralph

    These discussions would be so much more helpful if they addressed both MacBooks and iMacs and addressed the Mavericks OS. A lot of these comments are really dated, and there is no date on the written copy. I can’t use the “plug in a headphone adaptor” suggestion because I have my auxiliary speakers plugged in there. I haven’t had the chimes since I bought my iMac in ’09 (I think I probably installed a third party software program to take care of the chimes), but three days ago (Jan. 2014), my iMac suddenly started the damned startup chimes again! I don’t know what happened, but it really is a nasty feature if you have a work situation that demands silent computer operation. C’mon Apple, get on it and just patch it up! If it’s important to have some startup indication, how about … a small graphic with a basic animation that would give the operator the same information, only SILENTLY and VISUALLY? Remember — Mac is famous for its GRAPHIC USER INTERFACE, so what’s with the antiquated 1980’s chimes? Everyone seems to be recommending the Arcana Labs patch, but it won’t work on iMacs!

  • PeNnY4dLiving

    Thanks it works…