How to Disable the Mac Boot Chime Completely
If you’re a Mac owner you 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 turning to the command line.
To be clear, this will turn off the boot chime sound entirely, at least until it has been reversed with another terminal command string on the same Mac. This works in all modern versions of OS X on any modern Mac.
Disabling the Mac Boot Chime Sound
Launch Terminal, found in /Applications/Utilities/, then enter the following command to disable the boot chime:
sudo nvram SystemAudioVolume=%80
Enter the admin password when requested, which is required by usage of the sudo command. On your next reboot the Mac will be completely silent. Adjusting the parameter at the end of that command lets you change the total volume of that boot chime, but it appears to favor ascii characters.
Note that some Macs may require slightly different syntax to disable the boot sound, another variation that works on some modern Macs is as follows:
sudo nvram SystemAudioVolume=%01
Rebooting the Mac after executing the command will demonstrate the newly silent boot process.
Re-Enabling the Mac Boot Chime Sound
To return to the default setting and get the boot sound back, you can remove the variable with the -d flag. Back in the Terminal, the command would be like so:
sudo nvram -d SystemAudioVolume
If you’re not comfortable with making tweaks to OS X with the Terminal, you’ll be better off using the one-off Mute key approach or using a simple tool like StartUp Ninja to silence the sound. StartupNinja is basically just a GUI frontend to the nvram tool discussed here.
Thanks to AnserMan for the tip left in our comments, though they suggested using %00 rather than %80 as the parameter
Personally, I kind of like the boot chimes, to me they signal the Mac is successfully starting up, and it also has a bit of a nostalgic aspect to it, but I’m a longtime Mac users. If you have another way of toggling the boot chime sound on a Mac or you just want to share your opinion of the feature, which has been around on every Mac since the very beginning, do let us know in the comments.