Set the Volume Level to a Hidden Ultra Low Setting in Mac OS X

Feb 15, 2012 - 10 Comments

Super quiet Mac audio volume setting

Mac OS X has a hidden super quiet volume setting that is somewhere between completely muted and the lowest volume level, here’s how to access it:

  • Use the Volume Decrease key (F10 or F11) until the volume is muted, signified by the volume graphic with a slash through it
  • Now press the Mute key (F9 or F10) to see the slash disappear and the volume level set at zero bars

The audio output level is now set at the super quiet setting, with sounds just barely audible 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, allowing you to continue to hear audio without distracting others.

Update: The precise keys vary depending on the Mac and Apple keyboard in use. Newer MacBook models may be F10 and F11 rather than F9 and F10, you may want to focus on the keys icons rather than the label instead to be sure.

Nice tip from CultofMac

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

10 Comments

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  1. Jim Upchurch says:

    Hmmmm. My Lion iMac with wireless keyboard doesn’t behave like this AT ALL when I press the F9 key. The F10 key does ratchet the volume down to slash-mark levels. When I then press F9 key, nothing happens at all. But if I press F10 repeatedly it toggles back and forth between slash-mark and three bars.

    • Carlos Bernardo says:

      I think the correct keys, for a wireless keyboard, are F11 (Lower) and F10 (Mute). I’ve tried and it works.

      • Rick says:

        Yes, you’re right. But all the same, the result fails for me. I get nothing but silence.

        • Thomas says:

          then don’t press function also…

          I have headphone, and still, it is incredibly loud on this setting. Any way I can lower it further, as I like the music to be nearly background noise, while still taking advantage of noise cancelation.

  2. KKDK says:

    Nothing happens to me, F9 doesn’t work as explained in above article.

  3. Foobar says:

    Guys, don’t be dumb and do a little bit of thinking: obviously, the F-keys are related to the hotkeys for muting and increasing volume…

    I DONT WANT TO LIVE IN THIS WORLD ANYMORE :meme:

  4. 24"iMac says:

    Interesting that this is even needed. On my 2007 iMac it is already barely audible at 1 bar.

  5. weird_dude says:

    Oh, so that’s why when I think I have muted the sound, I sometimes hear the ghost of a sound and think I am crazy…

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