How to Enable Startup Boot Sound Chime on Newer Macs

Apr 29, 2020 - 12 Comments

How to enable boot chime sound on newer Macs

Want to re-enable the startup boot chime sound effect on a new Mac? You can do that with a command line string entered into the Macs Terminal. As you may know, new Macs default to not making a startup boot chime sound effect, this is in contrast to every prior Mac model which included a boot sound effect.

With a little effort, you can enable the boot startup sound effect on modern Macs however, including newer model MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, MacBook, iMac, Mac mini, and Mac Pro.

How to Enable Startup Chime on Macs

Here is how you can enable the Mac startup boot sound effect again on modern Macs:

  1. Open the “Terminal” application on the Mac through Spotlight, Launchpad, or the Utilities folder
  2. At the command line prompt, enter the following:
  3. sudo nvram StartupMute=%00

  4. Hit the Return key to execute the command, then provide admin credentials when requested as necessary to use sudo
  5. Enable the boot chime on newer Macs with a terminal command

  6. To confirm the startup boot chime is working, restart the Mac as usual or turn it on from an off state

Now anytime you reboot or startup the Mac, the boot sound effect will chime.

Note that because this uses the nvram command to enable the sound effect, if you ever reset the PRAM or NVRAM on the Mac the boot sound will become silent again and you’d have to enable it again.

The classic boot sound has been a part of the Mac experience since the original Macintosh and even many other Apple products, it was removed from modern Macs for no obvious reason or stated purpose, much to the dismay of many longtime Mac users and fans who have since wondered where the startup sound went on their new hardware. If you fall into that group, you’ll undoubtedly appreciate having this boot sound effect back again on your new model Mac.

Aside from the classical aspect and audiophile component of hearing a nice boot sound when starting up or rebooting a Mac, the boot chime has long been used as a troubleshooting indicator for Macs as well, since if the computer did not produce a boot sound effect it was typically an indicator that something was awry.

How to Disable Startup Chime on New Macs

If you enabled the startup boot chime on a new Mac but now decide you do not want to hear it anymore, you can turn it off again.

Launch the Terminal and enter the following command:

sudo nvram StartupMute=%01

Hit return to execute and enter the admin password to confirm the command can run with administrator privileges as required by sudo.

This is a different command from what was possible in prior versions of Mac OS X that allowed for the disabling of the boot chime.

Recall as mentioned earlier, you can also reset PRAM to silence the boot chime again and return to the current default on modern Macs.

Mac users with this feature enabled, and with Macs that have the boot sound by default (basically anything made prior to 2016), can continue to manually mute the boot sound by holding down the Mute key or by turning the volume all the way down before rebooting the computer, which will temporarily silence it for that particular boot or restart.

If you enjoy the boot sounds or just have some nostalgia for them, you may like taking a trip down memory lane and listening to a video of all of the startup chimes too.

This trick works for turning on the boot chime sound on any newer model Mac, including MacBook Pro (2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 and newer), MacBook Air (2018, 2019, and newer), MacBook, iMac (2018 and newer), Mac mini (2018 and newer), and Mac Pro (2019 and newer). If you have any experience otherwise or any additional tips or info on the topic, please share in the comments below.

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

12 Comments

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  1. Pete says:

    I have an iMac Retina 5K, 27 inch, 2019. The procedure works, but I usually have an external headphone plugged in. I was able to direct “system sounds” to the high-def LG monitor that I operate as a second monitor. However, if the volume as turned down (as it often is) then the start up sound is barely audible or not audible. Is there a way to set a separate volume level for sounds directed to a different speaker? (I don’t mind if the other sounds the Mac makes are heard. But I often listen to podcasts and other audible material that I don’t want to burden others with hearing.) Ideas?

  2. James says:

    I found for my MacBook Air (2018), once it will only chime when the sound is turned up to near max before the shutdown is done.

  3. Mike says:

    2019 5K iMac with Mojave that shipped without boot sound. Works as advertised…

  4. Ralph Blair says:

    Worked only once then imac went back to silent the next time. Any advice?

  5. Daniel P says:

    I have a 2019 iMac and I don’t miss the chime, especially when I start it in the middle of the night and all the house is asleep…

  6. Rich Sefcik says:

    Nope. Didn’t fly on my MacBook Pro 15inch 2017, Catalina 10.15.4. I did it a couple times, even shut down, not just a restart. No problem with password display. I miss the sound also.

    • pab says:

      Worked for me, I’m happy to have the startup sound back!

      If you reset PRAM it will reset, remember that!

  7. Bill says:

    After entering the command in terminal, I hit return and terminal asks for Password: and shows a small icon of a key. When I enter the password for my MacBookPro nothing happens–no letters are entered. When I hit return, it says Sorry, try again. What else am I supposed to do?

  8. David says:

    It didn’t work. I miss the chimes. I have an iMac with Catalina v. 10.14.4.

  9. Doug says:

    Does not work on my macOS Catalina Version 10.15.3

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