How to Mute the Mac Startup Sound

Jan 28, 2010 - 29 Comments

Many Mac users are fond of the Mac startup sound that chimes on system boot, but there are definitely times when booting that you’d rather just be quiet, say a library or coffee shop.

Temporarily mute the Mac startup sound

If you want to temporarily stop the Mac startup chime sound, just hold down the Mute button on your Mac keyboard, this will silence the boot sound for that particular system boot/reboot.

Note the mute key is going to be different on various Macs, sometimes it has been F3, F10, and on the newest Mac portables, it’s F9. The key looks like a speaker pointed sideways, if you press it while the Mac is turned on you’ll see the following screen:

mute

Note that you will not see that mute logo when the Mac startup has begun, it will simply just be quiet for the startup whenever the key is held down during boot.

Mute the Mac startup sound

If you want a more permanent solution to shut your Mac boot sound up, there’s a preference pane that does just that. WIth StartupSound or StartNinja you can adjust the volume of the startup chime or mute it completely.

stop mac boot chime

StartupSound home – for OS X 10.6.8
StartNinja – for OS X 10.7 Lion and later

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in Mac OS X, Tips & Tricks

29 Comments

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  1. trash says:

    Yep, and that’s the only software I found which actually works.

  2. Tom says:

    You can just turn the sound down on your Mac before shutting it down and it won’t make any noise when you turn it on.

  3. Nago says:

    i think i love you, Paul Horowitz.
    I go to the library everyday and i want to keep it nice and quiet there, but i also like to hear the mac chime when i turn it on at home.
    thx!

  4. JohnnyQ says:

    This app never worked for me, it did nothing to the startup sound when I installed it. :(

  5. Huffone says:

    No controls, mute button or anything else works. No software has worked. I’m ready to shoot this iMac. 24″ 2.4 Hz. I’m thinking of doing an internal vasectomy to the speaker wires. I have always loved Apple after many Macs. I now love them a lot less!

  6. […] Now your Mac will be silent when adjusting the volume level with the keyboard controls. This is a good feature to disable if you’re often in quiet places like a library. If you spend a lot of time in quiet areas, you can also mute your Mac startup sound. […]

  7. Newbie says:

    I found the software only allows me to go down to the lowest setting… doh…mute it is! Thanks.

  8. Usability flaw says:

    The mute button never works on my MacBook Pro, neither does this application. I can’t use my Mac without awakening my children. I want my old PC back.

  9. HÃ¥kan says:

    Nope, the mute button doesn’t work on my iMac and the application doesn’t work on Lion (according to the download page). Any other bright ideas?

    I never remember to mute the computer before shutdown and I usually wake up long before the rest of the family and I really don’t want to wake them. So far, this is the only thing that’s not perfect with my iMac, but on the other hand, it’s really really really annoying!

  10. Gehl-Gabdou says:

    Hello!
    I thought I found the right stuff to silence the opening of my new iMac version 10.7.2 Intel but it doesn’t work. And, apparently, I am not the only one.
    Very, very anoying. What do you suggest?

  11. […] in a quiet place you don’t always want that sound to play. You may know that you can temporarily mute the Mac by holding down the Mute key during boot or reboot, but if you are looking for a more permanent […]

  12. Mellington says:

    A solution for the startup sound from the early days of the Mac was to simply plug a headphone or external speaker into the sound output port (with volume set way down). Another was to plug in a mini-plug adapter into the sound port, connected to nothing. The disadvantage of these methods is that after booting, if you want to hear normal sound levels from your speakers you have to take an inconvenient action to restore the sound by unplugging something from the sound port or turning up the speakers/headphones. Alternatively, if you know Applescript/shell scripting you can write scripts to mute or lower the volume upon shutting down and to restore the volume automatically after the normal boot process.

    • Dragonfly says:

      “A solution for the startup sound from the early days of the Mac was to simply plug a headphone or external speaker into the sound output port (with volume set way down)”

      Unfortunately Apple thought of that and seems to have disabled that loophole. Now you just grit your teeth when starting at 11pm, through fear of waking neighbours. “BOOONNNGG!”

  13. […] enough that you can identify them. This is a perfect setting to couple with temporarily muting the boot sound for using a Mac in meetings, libraries, classrooms, or other places where silence is necessary, […]

  14. Koninda says:

    Muting before shut down doesn’t work for my MacBook Pros, both a 2008 model and a 2011 model. Neither does holding down the mute key at startup. Nor plugging in headphones, nor a mini-plug adapter (actually, a 1/8″/3.5mm “mini-jack” is the right size, but it doesn’t work either). Whatever settings and incantations I have tried, the startup chime comes out loud and clear through the built-in speakers. And for those who say that I shouldn’t be shutting down or restarting, it is required for many Software Updates. This is among the more user-hostile features of my Macs. I’ve talked to AppleCare, and was told that Apple doesn’t provide a method to silence the chime, and doesn’t endorse any third parter methods. I hope everyone will post a message on http://www.apple.com/feedback/macosx.html, asking for a fix to this problem.

  15. […] disabling the boot sound but don’t want to remove all system audio functionality, you can silence it on a per-boot basis or mute it completely with StartupNinja. stLight.options({ […]

  16. Nilesh Parmar says:

    Startup Sound works well for me on Lion, another tip i do is upon firing up the imac, i hold the low volume button down and this stops the startup tone.

  17. WTF is wrong with Apple? says:

    Why the hell would they not just have a setting turn startup sound off?

  18. Krazy Jay says:

    I bought an old Mac G4 it’s kinda like Windows 3.1 got frustrated with the bong…F’it…cut the wire.

  19. […] know that every time the Mac reboots or starts up it makes a startup chime sound. Though you can temporarily mute the chime by holding down the Mute key on any Mac keyboard, you can also choose to disable it completely by […]

  20. Co-ords says:

    Thanks a lot! Been looking for this since 10.8! Much appreciated!!

  21. Lloyd Sevold says:

    You “sudo” command for killing my boot chime did not work on my iMac 10.8.2

  22. […] Most longtime Apple fans have fond memories of boot chimes and the dorkiest amongst us can even identify a Mac by that startup sound alone. Interestingly, a lot of newer Mac users are annoyed with the sound, which can be stopped temporarily by holding the Mute button during boot. […]

  23. ks says:

    Works perfectly on my MacBook Pro OSX 10.8.2

    Thanks ….

  24. John says:

    Help! My Air chimes…at weird times…how do I stop it?

  25. Jeffiekins says:

    You can see a discussion of how to do it for various Macs here: http://osxdaily.com/2012/11/04/disable-mac-boot-chime/

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