How to permanently turn off your Mac’s startup sound

Every time you power up your Mac, it greets you with that distinctive chime that Apple computers have become known for.

This startup tone lets you know that your Mac has passed a pre-boot test and that everything is working fine, but after a while the startup sound can become annoying – and perhaps even embarrassing if you regularly use your Mac in quiet locations such as libraries and classrooms.

In this article, I’ll show you how to permanently disable macOS’ startup chime, so you can boot up your Mac at any time, in any location, confident that it won’t make a sound.

Want an easy way of disabling the startup sound?

The volume of the startup sound is determined by the volume your Mac was set to when it was last shut down. If the volume was set to maximum, then the startup sound is going to play at maximum volume, but if the volume was muted then the startup sound is also going to be muted. This means that the easiest way of disabling the startup chime, is to get into the habit of hitting your Mac’s ‘Mute’ key (F10) before switching it off.

If your model of Mac doesn’t have a ‘Mute’ key, or you’ve remapped F10 to perform some other action, then you can mute your Mac by adding a ‘Volume’ slider to the menu bar:

  • Open your Mac’s ‘System Preferences…’
  • Select ‘Sound.’
  • Make sure the ‘Output’ tab is selected.
  • Select ‘Show volume in menu bar.’

Now, whenever you’re craving some silence, simply click the ‘Volume’ icon in the menu bar and drag the slider all the way to ‘0.’

Keep forgetting to mute?

Pressing the ‘F10’ key or dragging the volume slider isn’t exactly difficult, but remembering to perform these actions every single time you shut down your Mac? That might be a completely different story!

If you’re struggling to make mute a habit, then you might want to try ‘Auto Mute,’ which is a third party app that can mute your Mac automatically, just before it shuts down.

  • Download and install the latest version of Auto Mute.
  • Select the ‘Auto Mute’ icon from your Mac’s menu bar.
  • Click ‘Preferences…’
  • Select both the following checkboxes: ‘Automatically run program on startup,’ and ‘Mute sound on log off, suspend, and shutdown.’

Silence your Mac – permanently!

If you want something more permanent, then you can use a Terminal command to disable the startup sound so that it never plays, regardless of your Mac’s volume level. The exact command you need to use may vary, depending on your model of Mac and version of macOS, so it may take some trial and error to find the command that works for you.

  • Open a new Finder window.
  • Navigate to ‘Applications > Utilities’ and launch the Terminal app.
  • Type the following command into the Terminal window:

sudo nvram SystemAudioVolume=%80

  • Press the ‘Enter’ key on your keyboard.
  • Enter your admin password when prompted, and then press ‘Enter’ again.

If the above command doesn’t work for your particular Mac, then try repeating the above steps, but replace the Terminal command with one of the following:

  • sudo nvram SystemAudioVolume=%01
  • sudo nvram SystemAudioVolume=%00
  • sudo nvram SystemAudioVolume=” “

If at any point you want to re-enable the startup sound, then simply launch a Terminal window and run the following command:

sudo nvram -d SystemAudioVolume

Before you go

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About the author


I've been a passionate evangelist for Apple and the Macintosh throughout my working life, my first love was a Quadra 605 working with a small creative agency in the south of Norfolk UK in the mid 1990's, I later progressed to other roles in other Macintosh dominated industries, first as a Senior graphic designer at a small printing company and then a production manager at Guardian Media Group. As the publishing and printing sector wained I moved into Internet Marketing and in 2006 co-founded which grew to become one the top 200 visited sites in the US (according to Quantcast), at its peak receiving over 15 million visits per month. For the last ten years I have worked as an Affiliate and Consultant to many different business and start ups, my key skill set being online marketing, on page monetisation, landing page optimisation and traffic generation, if you would like to hire me or discuss your current project please reach out to me here.

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