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by Jason Snell & Dan Moren

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By Dan Moren

Quick Tip: Adjust startup sound volume

When I visited my parents this weekend, they—as ever—had their fair share of technology questions for me to resolve. In particular, my mom wondered if there was any way to adjust the volume of the startup chime for her iMac, which was quite loud. I was a little puzzled, since she has speakers connected to the Mac and they’re generally off, but she said the sound seemed to be coming from the iMac’s own speakers. Fortunately, a little digging yielded a tip from good old Mac OS X Hints.

Sound Preference Pane

Long story short, even if you have external speakers connected to your Mac, OS X still has a volume level for the internal speakers. But, if you go to System Preferences > Sound and select the Output pane, you might not see an option to adjust the internal speaker volume if your external speakers are still plugged in.

So here’s the fix: unplug the speakers and wait until you see the option for internal speakers. Then adjust the volume using the slider at the bottom, which will control how loud the startup chime is—if you don’t want a startup chime at all, just lower the volume all the way or select Mute. Afterwards, you can plug the external speakers back in and, if need be, adjust their output level separately.

And voilà: your Mac’s startup chime will now stay at the level you want it.

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[Dan Moren is a tech writer, novelist, podcaster, and the Official Dan of Six Colors. You can email him at or find him on Twitter at @dmoren.]