Stop the Mac Startup Sound on Older Macs with a Preference Panel

Jan 13, 2010 - 14 Comments

stop mac startup sound

Mac’s have a very distinct startup sound that chimes whenever they boot, this is fine for most people but if you’re in a quiet office or library it can be very obnoxious to have the loud startup sound announcing to the world that you are on a Mac. Thankfully there’s a nice little utility that’s easy to install and works just like any other Preference Pane on your Mac. Aptly named StartupSound lets you adjust the volume of your Mac’s startup sound, and of course to stop it chiming and mute it entirely.

Installation is really easy, you just need to double-click it to install the Preference Pane, then if you want to stop the Mac startup sound simply click the ‘Mute’ button alongside the volume slider. StartupSound works in Mac OS X 10.4, 10.5 and 10.6.

Because of it’s ease of use and seamless integration into Mac OS X, I recommend StartupSound. However, I have heard reports that the StartupSound preference pane doesn’t work for everyone for whatever reason, it works on every machine I’ve installed it with but obviously your mileage may very. If you are having troubles with StartupSound, try another app called Psst which also mutes the Mac startup sound, it’s just a tiny application that runs and is very easy to use.

Psst developer home
Download Psst Now


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Posted by: Manish Patel in Tips & Tricks, Utilities


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  1. Dany says:

    i use OS X 10.9.1, even I plug earphone or keep pressing the key F10 but it still has the start sound, so what should I do?

  2. Dave says:

    Thanks, works well on my 10.6.8. Just needed to ‘require password’ for preference changes then as stated in your bug fixes, I left the lock icon open then closed out of systems preferences.

  3. Alex says:

    I’m really frustrated with this. I’m using 10.6.8 with an early 2011 MacBook Pro and for the life of me nothing can stop that @#$%!! startup chime.

    I tried holding down the mute button, doesn’t work. I plug in headphones, doesn’t work.

    I remember with all my Mac before I just plugged in my headphones if I wanted to quietly boot, now I’m stuck with this and it’s highly annoying.

    God forbid I need to zap my pram at a library. Ugh.

  4. SimonL says:

    Well Tommy, unless Steve Jobs was the very worst type of micro-manager, I don’t suppose he was personally responsible for the startup sound

  5. Fem_Tek says:

    Perhaps this will help:

    The Application works fine on my MBP’ OS X LP, 2010.
    What I’ve noticed is that whenever you install, update or navigate certain applications, and if you have your KEYCHAIN Locked before allowing Applications to be installed, once you “unlock” the keychain it leaves your system preferences unlocked as well.

    In saying this, under the Startup Sound App, you must “Lock” your preferences back after choosing to mute the sound in order for OS X to disable the sound.

    This works almost everytime! Good luck!

  6. Minnox says:

    I installed StartupSound.prefPane in my MacBook Air 10.6.7 and some times it will boot quietly and some times it won’t.
    Holding the mute button down won’t work either, so, if I really wanna make sure it won’t make the startup sound, I boot it with the earphones plugged. There you have my five pence…

    • Tommy says:

      Plugging in earphones doesn’t work on my MBA. The startup sound comes out of the speakers anyway.

      I agree with Seb. It’s ridiculous that you can’t just switch the thing off. What was Steve Jobs thinking?

  7. seb says:

    Doesn’t work for me (10.6.6). The sound still appears at start.

    Quite strange that you can’t disable that by default…I don’t want to hold any button at boot…or mute before restarting…ridiculous…

  8. All-Purpose Guru says:

    Easter Egg alert.

    Hold down the mute button while booting. No sound. I generally only hold it down for a few seconds.

    This doesn’t alter anything, it just tells it to boot “quietly” this time.

  9. Patrick says:

    Personally, I LOVE the startup sound of any mac. It warms my heart to hear it.

    But I found an easy way to stop it. I just mute the sound before I shut down and when it starts up again it is silent.

  10. Motley says:

    You could just turn the sound down on the computer and it won’t make any noise when it starts. Free. Easy. Works on all system iterations.

    • Cátia says:

      I did that and it still doesn’t work.
      That means that even i mute the sound in the last session it still had the sound of the initial Boing”

  11. Dingone says:

    Well it would be really useful when in the middle of the night I’m rebooting my MacBook. Unfortunately it doesn’t work. I have OSX 10.6.2 over MacBook Pro 2.26 GHz installed. I didn’t try Psst even because the developers didn’t mention my system in their compatibility list.

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