Miss the Apple Mac Startup "chime" / "bong"?

Up until recently when a Mac (laptop or desktop) started up there was an audio signal (Chime or bong) to confirm that startup or restart had begun. Unfortunately one of the “improvements” to the Mac product line was the removal of this signal of progress.

I have discovered a visual signal(s) that lets me know that Restart (or Power UP) has started. If you would like a signal of these events read on

I, and perhaps you, Restart (or Power Up) the Mac and need to hold down a key or two to facilitate starting up in a specific mode like Recovery, Safe Boot, etc. In the good old days the Mac would issue an audio sound at that point to trigger the key depression. (I did have an associate that hated the sound as he had his iMac in the bedroom and the sound would wake his wife.)

I have discovered an alternative “alert” and want to share it with you.

I have an extra, wired USB mouse that I keep connected to my iMac so I have a mouse available when my Magic Mouse is charging.

I noticed that the ‘light’ of the mouse will serve as an alert of when the Mac is powered. Thus I now have a alert signal


It’s funny you mention this. I always missed the LED light that would let you know if your Mac had booted or if it was asleep. Every once in a while when I hook my MBP up to my clamshell setup (with TB2 dock) and the external screen won’t come on, I’m left wondering if it’s a display issue or if hasn’t woke or what. In those moments I’m reminded that I really miss that LED older MBPs had.

Getting rid of the startup chime was a completely silly move. Hopefully it will be returned one day when Apple gets new leadership.

If your Mac used to chime but didn’t after a macOS upgrade (starting with Sierra?) , you can restore it by opening Terminal and typing:

sudo nvram BootAudio=%01

You can disable it with:

sudo nvram BootAudio=%00

This also applies to certain Macs shipped around 2016/17 where the Startup Chime was disabled by default from the factory. I can’t recall the cutoff date where the chime simply no longer exists.

Nice tip about the mouse; it indeed is an accurate indicator of when you can press the buttons; other wired USB devices with LEDs will also provide this hint.

Also, on most models, a blank gray screen, immediately before the Apple logo appears, is also your safe window to interrupt with Startup Option Keys. Though with incredibly fast SSDs in the latest models, that’s a tight window to beat.

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Thanks. My iMac is a 2017 model and never chimed

Do you think the Terminal command will bring it back or not likely?


As noted, I can’t recall the cutoff date. But it only takes two minutes to find out; the command is harmless if it doesn’t apply.

My 2017 iMac18,3 never chimed and in searching the NVRAM contents, there is no “BootAudio” parameter.

I’m glad you reminded me of this. It’s not surprising the command isn’t there by default, in the same way many other parameters aren’t present unless the user customized them from the firmware (not the same as NVRAM) defaults.

I’m pretty sure it was a revA 2017 5K that i tried the terminal command above, and it didn’t work, so I did the following dance:

— boot into Recovery Mode, and disable SIP using Terminal:

csrutil disable

— Reboot into macOS normally; open Terminal and verify SIP is disabled:

sudo csrutil status

— then run the boot chime command:

sudo nvram BootAudio=%01

— Restart, and there will (hopefully) be a chime

— return to Recovery Mode->Terminal:

csrutil enable

— Restart

I know this worked, but I can’t confirm the exact model until I’m home again ( or maybe i guess drop a note and ask).

I forgot to mention that I had previously disabled only the NVRAM modification aspect of SIP in order to provide verbose login/reboot/shutdown.

csrutil enable --without nvram


I’ve always disabled the chime on start up. Used Terminal commands or Cocktail or Oynx or whatever if it ever got enable after an OS update. It supposedly allows you to “hear” that the startup process (memory scan/check?) failed. Not very useful if you have the Mac startup on a schedule. meh…

As for holding various keys down at specific instances, I’ve never seen one where holding them down as soon as possible ever failed. It’s a Mac, you don’t have to worry about split-second (or micro-second in case of an SSD boot up) timing. You can usually even hold the special keys down during the Restart sequence! :+1:

If there was a problem with the startup process during a scheduled start, then you will find the computer shut down. I would guess you would then try a manual startup where counting the chimes (if available) would indicate why it was failing. Admittedly, that’s a rare occurrence and one that I’ve only seen once a few years back.

Thanks, Mr. Varnell!

Ah yes! The “no-screen-needed” trouble-shooting method! :crazy_face: I had forgot the exact purpose for the chime.

There is another Start Up method that is somewhat pointless on my new SSD iMac. “Verbose” prints to the screen actions taking place during the Start Up. The problem is that, assuming there is no problem, there is no human capable of reading the text as it scrolls up and off the screen at 4.2 GHz!! :astonished: One would probably need a magnifying glass, also. The 6 pt text is barely legible! Oh well, if there is a problem, the speed of the Start Up means we will know about it in less than a second! :blush:

I had to visit a client who had a 21" iMac a recent refurb) that was running very erratically. I tried resting the PRAM and there was no sound or when starting up in normal boot. This iMac had a hard disk failing which we got replaced by Apple under warranty.

I had not until I searched the web known about the deprication of the startup chime (I run a 2009 iMac 27) so had no occasion to be aware of the missing chime. I wasted a lot of my time so please can we press Apple to restore this facility and when doing so make it optional to silence the sound in the Systems Prefs

How can we get the message to Apple?

I agree with the sentiment. A good place to start is
https://www.apple.com/feedback/ > Mac model > …

I doubt this will get them to reconsider since getting rid of the chime was to make Macs more like iOS devices (as in appear to be always on), but it’s always worth trying.

Thanks Simon - already done but what good!!! Just hoping