Fed up with your Mac making a deafening noise every time you start it up? Waking up your partner? Even worse, waking the baby! Or, horror of horrors, alerting your colleagues to the fact that you only just arrived at work! You can stop the Mac making a sound when you turn it on. Here’s how:

First up, here’s why you can’t stop your Mac making a boot up sound by leaving your headphones plugged in: The reason why the Mac makes the start up sound - even if you have headphones plugged in to it - is because the default output source for startup chimes is the external speaker.

And the reason why you can’t even hit the volume down button during start up to silence it is that the volume control is software-based and therefore doesn’t function during start up.

However, your Mac can remember the last volume setting from when you shut it down. So, the trick is to turn the sound right down on your Mac before shutting it down at night.

  • Just press the mute button (likely F10) and turn the sound right off before you shut down your Mac it should remember this setting when you turn it on again.

That might be a good enough fix for you, but what if you are forgetful and muting your Mac before you shut down isn’t really the solution you were looking for? We have the fix for that below!

Permanently turn off the Mac startup sound

You can permanently turn off the Mac startup sound using a terminal command.

Here's how to silence the Mac startup chime for good:

  1. Open a Terminal window by pressing Command + Space, start typing Terminal and select that app when it appears.
  2. Type this command into the terminal window
    sudo nvram SystemAudioVolume=%80
  3. You will need to enter your password at the prompt and then press Enter.
  4. Now when you Mac starts up it will do so quietly.
  5. If you want to hear the chime again you can get it back by typing the following into Terminal:
    sudo nvram -d SystemAudioVolume

Another way to avoid the start up chime is to just put your Mac to sleep rather than completely shutting it down when you have finished with it.

For more useful Mac tips read our Best Mac tips, tricks and timesavers. We also have these handy Mac power user tips and hidden tricks.