Scrap the Mac Start-up Chime – Mac Kung Fu, 2nd Edition

Tip 269Scrap the Mac Start-up Chime

Macs are distinctive among the computing fraternity in the melodious chime they make while booting. While PCs that do nothing more than beep might look on enviously, the fact is that the chime isn’t always welcome—boot your MacBook Pro in a library, for example, and several annoyed faces will willingly hand out censure.

Creating a Silent Boot

Here’s how to deactivate the chime. Because there’s no official way of doing this (via a hardware switch, for example), the following solution is a hack that works by muting your computer’s volume when you shut down and then unmuting it when you log in again upon rebooting. Unfortunately, this works only if you don’t have FileVault turned on, because that uses a different login procedure.

  1. Open Terminal (open Finder, select the Applications list, and then in the list of applications double-click Terminal within the Utilities folder), and type nano to open the nano command-line text editor. Then type the following within nano:

     
    #!/bin/bash
     
    osascript -e 'set volume with output muted'
  2. When you’ve finished typing, hit Control+O, and then type the following for the filename: ~/Documents/mute.sh. Hit Return to save the file.

  3. Don’t close the Terminal window, but alter the second line within nano to read as follows (that is, change with to read without):

     
    #!/bin/bash
     
    osascript -e 'set volume without output muted'
  4. When you’ve finished typing, hit Control+X, hit Y, and then type the following for the filename: ~/Documents/unmute.sh. Hit Return to save the file, and then hit Y to confirm you want to save the file with a different name. nano will quit after this.

  5. In the Terminal window, type the following series of commands, typing your login password when prompted:

     
    sudo chmod u+x ~/Documents/mute.sh
     
    sudo chmod u+x ~/Documents/unmute.sh
     
    sudo mv ~/Documents/mute.sh /Library/Scripts/
     
    sudo mv ~/Documents/unmute.sh /Library/Scripts/
     
    sudo defaults write com.apple.loginwindow LogoutHook /Library/Scripts/
     
    mute.sh
     
    sudo defaults write com.apple.loginwindow LoginHook /Library/Scripts/
     
    unmute.sh

If you reboot, you should find the chime volume is now muted.

Reactivating the Chime

To restore the chime at a future date, open a Terminal window, and type the following series of commands, again typing your login password when prompted:

 
sudo defaults delete com.apple.loginwindow LogoutHook
 
sudo defaults delete com.apple.loginwindow LoginHook