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How to mute the startup chime: iMac w/10.6.3

by Art Hawley / April 16, 2010 11:42 PM PDT

I like to use my iMac 24" at odd times and wish to mute the startup chime (or at least make it quieter) so I won't wake up my spouse. Apple Tech support helped me do that when I had 10.5.8 but they deleted several cache files buried deep within the OS. My tech support has expired and I wonder if any of you can help?

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by Jimmy Greystone / April 17, 2010 1:49 AM PDT

Generally the only way to do this is to turn the volume down the last time you used it. The boot chime is part of the firmware, it exists independent of the OS.

Still, there's not all that much different between 10.5 and 10.6 really. All 10.6 was, was a cleanup and optimization of 10.5. They dropped PPC support, finally got rid of a few depreciated APIs, and did some performance tuning. Virtually every tip and trick that worked in 10.5 will work in 10.6. Just repeat what you did earlier.

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Or plug a headset/earphones in to the audio out
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / April 17, 2010 4:11 AM PDT
In reply to: Generally

and the speakers will be muted


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Well sure
by Jimmy Greystone / April 17, 2010 4:20 AM PDT

Well sure, but where's the fun in a simple answer?

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It doesn't work :-(
by Art Hawley / April 17, 2010 4:28 AM PDT

Okay, I tried muting every sound-related option and re-started the iMac. The chime sound is still there and as loud as ever. I have a pair of headphones plugged into the headphone jack and that does not change the startup chime sound at all. Any other suggestions since neither of these work?

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by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / April 17, 2010 6:52 AM PDT
In reply to: It doesn't work :-(

are you getting sound out of the headphones?

I'm pretty sure that a 3.5mm plug, correctly plugged into the audio out socket, will shut off the speakers.


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You have to
by Jimmy Greystone / April 17, 2010 7:38 AM PDT
In reply to: It doesn't work :-(

You have to turn the main volume down or mute everything to affect the boot chime. Like I said, it exists independent of the OS. There are no in-OS settings that will change this.

If you want to take your chances voiding the warranty, you can look for some EFI hacking program that might let you cut out the boot chime, but it can be a useful diagnostic tool, so think it through before you do anything.

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Still Too Loud
by Art Hawley / April 17, 2010 11:46 PM PDT
In reply to: You have to

Thanks for the attempt to help but the volume of the startup chime is simply too loud. Every user accessible sound control has been muted or turned to its lowest setting, a headphone is plugged into the headphone jack. I even tried plugging the headphones into the jack outlet next to the headphones. None of these has affected the sound volume of the startup chime. While I agree that it can be helpful, there MUST be someway to lower the sound level!

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Like I said
by Jimmy Greystone / April 18, 2010 3:23 AM PDT
In reply to: Still Too Loud

Like I said, MASTER VOLUME CONTROL. Use the speaker icon on the menu bar or the volume control buttons on the keyboard. Forget about everything in the Sound section of the System Preferences. Hit the mute button on the keyboard, or use the speaker icon on the menu bar to lower the volume to zero. Then, next time you reboot, it should mute the boot chime. And make sure that you aren't plugging the headphones into a microphone jack or anything like that.

If all of that fails, you probably need to zap your PRAM.

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I agree with Art
by mark_linsey / April 18, 2010 3:28 AM PDT
In reply to: Still Too Loud

No sound control I've found has anything to do with the start up chime. It's somehow different completely. I have my sound set up to play through a stereo amp. All alert sounds, app sounds and media plays through my amp speakers. My start up chime is loud and it comes from internal computer speakers on my Intel MacPro. Unaffected by any sound preference I can think of. I'm thinking it will require some set of Console command line changes to the System programming to change the start up chime volume.

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You both might want to try this
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / April 18, 2010 5:58 AM PDT
In reply to: I agree with Art
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Preference pane
by mark_linsey / April 18, 2010 6:54 AM PDT

Thanks for the preference pane link. This is a much better solution. I've installed it on my intel macPro and it has indeed silenced the start up chime. When I click on the preference pane itself I get a message that it doesn't work on an Intel Mac but silencing the chime is all I wanted it to do. I hope there aren't some as yet unforeseen compatibility issues that it causes but for now it's all good. Great suggestion.

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Sound Muted--Apple Support
by Art Hawley / April 19, 2010 12:42 AM PDT
In reply to: Preference pane

Sorry for starting a forum that was not necessary. I tried the startup sound link and installed the software but it too failed to modify the startup chime on MY iMac. However, a search of the Apple Support pages uncovered the solution. Holding down the F10 key on the keyboard (the one with the muted speaker symbol above the F10) while starting successfully muted the startup chime. Thanks to all for your contributions. It appears that several paths are possible to mute the sound, depending upon your machine. One note of caution: the F10 mute key appears to be a toggle since pushing it once muted the sound but pushing it again produces full volume on the briefly appearing speaker symbol on the screen. Be certain that you have the muted symbol when you shut down.

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That's what I said
by Jimmy Greystone / April 19, 2010 1:16 AM PDT

That's what I said way back at the beginning! But I suppose the important thing is that you ultimately found the solution.

You may want to consider zapping your PRAM though if you haven't been ale to get any of the other solutions to work.

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by brean2 / April 23, 2010 10:54 AM PDT
In reply to: That's what I said

I know this is late..but I press F11 to mute volume every time I shut down at night, for the same reasons, not to wake household.I thought every iMac user would know that?

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Or at least
by Jimmy Greystone / April 23, 2010 11:30 AM PDT
In reply to: muting

Or at least take the hint after 2-3 posts. I can see not knowing this if you're a new Mac owner, but when someone tells you the same thing 2-3 times, and in different ways each time... I personally just tend to keep the volume level down as a general rule, unless I'm doing something like watching a movie, playing a game, etc. That way, I don't have to remember to hit a button or something at the end of the day when I may be tired, sleepy even, and not necessarily thinking too clearly.

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Muting startup sound on a Mac
by e3954 / April 23, 2010 4:46 PM PDT

Here's a little app I have been using for years: It's been upgraded to cover 10.6 and works with both my desktop and laptop.

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by Brunel2 / April 23, 2010 5:32 PM PDT

I also have been using this on my MBP for years and as you say it works. Nothing complicated nothing to remember.


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I see you BOTH missed my link
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / April 23, 2010 11:14 PM PDT

to exactly this app. (Preference Pane)


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