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Here's why the new MacBook Pros lost the startup chime

Best Sleeves for MacBook Pro (Late 2016)
Best Sleeves for MacBook Pro (Late 2016)

Apple nixed quite a bit of legacy technology at its October Mac event, and apparently that included legacy sound! See, when the brand new late 2016 MacBook Pros power on, they don't make that familiar startup chime we've come to know and love.

Whoa, now! Before you get up in arms over computer nostalgia, you should know there's a method to the madness.

Quiet, please!

MacBook Pro Touch Bar controls

Macbook Pro Touch ID (Image credit: iMore)

Apple's new MacBook Pros work a little differently than their older relatives — more specifically, they don't power on the same way.

You can start up the new MacBook Pro (opens in new tab) three different ways:

  1. Open the lid of your Mac, even if it's not connected to power.
  2. Connect it to a power adapter while its lid is open.
  3. Connect it to a power adapter while its lid is closed and it's connected to an external display.

As you can imagine, it'd be less-than-ideal to open up your MacBook Pro mid-meeting only to have it awkwardly blurt out the startup chime.

And here's another scenario: Say you bought a new MacBook Pro, but never come across that Apple Support Page outlining the ways to power it on. It's not hard to imagine someone being startled by the startup chime upon connecting it to a power adapter.

How to re-enable the startup chime

If you're thinking about snagging the new MacBook Pro, but just can't imagine parting with the familiar Mac startup chime, there's hope!

An article over on Pingie.com outlines the process for re-enabling the Mac startup chime. If you're not comfortable messing about in Terminal, however, you'll just have to rock a chime-free Mac.

How to Re-Enable The Startup Chime Removed on the 2016 MacBook Pros

Mikah Sargent is Senior Editor at Mobile Nations. When he's not bothering his chihuahuas, Mikah spends entirely too much time and money on HomeKit products. You can follow him on Twitter at @mikahsargent if you're so inclined.

26 Comments
  • I heard that the chime is disabled because Tim Cook has no soul.... the Jazz kind, not the religious kind. ;)
  • These reasons are seriously reaching.
  • I think the biggest reason, not mentioned in this article, is that it's more consistency with iOS devices. iOS devices could've easily had a startup chime like some Android phones do, they never did though. The same way charging the new Mac makes it turn on, just like the iOS devices. At least you can very easily turn it back on with one single command
  • Sure, I'm gonna miss that chime, especially if this "transition" to a no-chime startup will spread also to other Mac models, but IMHO it surely was annoying or a bit embarrassing when in public, crowded spaces (given that you had no control over volume before starting the Mac)
  • In all my years of owning a Mac I have never had anyone so much as tut at the sound of it powering up, nor fleeing from it thinking it might be possessed by the demon Pazzuzu. Posted via the iMore App
  • It's iconic, especially when it's been used since 1999 if I recall correctly. At least you can still turn it back on, for now. The reason I say "for now" is that there has been a lot of terminal commands used to tweak things that have been disabled in OS updates
  • If only there was some way of turning it off in the startup settings, but I guess that would require some programming, and for Apple to give a tuppeny about what it's loyal customers like about their products (however trivial they might be). If the chime was good enough for Wall-E it should be good enough for anyone. Posted via the iMore App
  • +1 for the Wall-E reference.
  • Anyone know how to disable the chime? Thanks!
  • Buy a new MacBook Pro?
  • Hah. On a more serious note, I wonder if the command to turn it back off works for older Macs? You could try it. In the terminal: sudo nvram BootAudio=%00
  • That stupid chime has been blurting out in meetings and quiet offices for years and they just now decided to remove it?
    I'm so glad to see it go. It was so annoying that to silence the chime I had to make sure rhe the vilume was all the way down before powering off.
    Good riddance.
  • Harsh, though I guess it is a problem if you're in a place where you're supposed to be quiet. Nothing more awkward than being in a library and suddenly attracting everyone's attention as they hear a big chime out of nowhere
  • Not sure I understand any of this. If there is a REAL reason for losing the startup sound, my interest is piqued, but the reasons given here seem nonsensical. 1. Maybe I am an outlier, but I effectively stopped shutting down my MacBook YEARS ago. I close the lid and it sleeps. I open the lid and it comes out of sleep. I only reboot when an update requires it. Am I missing something? Are people shutting down their systems and rebooting them so much that they actually mind hearing the startup sound? Windows has a startup sound too, or did they kill that with Win10? 2. I have my MacBook muted ALWAYS because I work in a business environment, so pretty much any audio is disruptive to someone else. I use headphone when I need to listen to something. It only takes ONE time of hitting a link to a legit work-related article with an audio flash ad before you simply leave it muted.
  • I think the startup sound in Windows was removed with Windows 8. I always found the startup noises of OS's to be quite iconic, I feel very nostalgic when I hear the Windows XP startup sound
  • It has only been a year and a half since I switched to the Mac. So it won't bother me too much to lose the chime.
  • I don't even care if my mac chimes or not but these are the worst reasons ever for justifying why Apple took something away Sent from the iMore App
  • Having nothing is not always a bad thing (Chime). People seem ok by not having the Apple logo light up as well.
  • Not everyone, a lot of people aren't happy with removing the light-up logo, especially if it was solely to make the machine incrementally thinner. However, unlike the chime noise, the light up logo can't be reversed unless you do some hardware modification, so we're just gonna have to get used to it
  • I've never liked the power on chime. Glad to see it go.
  • In all honesty, really……who cares about a silly little noise on startup. Everytime you turn on your macbook pro just make the noise yourself, or have it on your phone.
  • lol..... ok... I can see myself making that sound every time Apple had to do this i would guess because they now have a magical touch bar, u cannot guarantee that all keys will be present at all times.. Apple should of left the chime there by default...... Its like taking away the "Finder" icon and saying its new. Sure the sound was different on pre-Mac's, but its already been there for the most part. I wouldn't like a Mac to power up for no reason, and it is "no reason. if u open the lid and change your mind and using it at the current time. Just one more thing to think about, but if this was at the loss of the Touch bar. well them maybe Apple should of kept a physical home button. After all wasn't the whole idea of the Touch bar to replace the function keys ? The Home button and ESC keys are *not* function keys. They are F1 through F12 ...
  • That doesn't explain why they have taken away the chime when you are doing startup troubleshooting/maintenance like zapping the PRAM...
  • If the real reason was 'because of meetings and u don't want to disturb'... I just don't buy that...as a valid point, or 'someplace where u use your Mac' as a reason to take it away, because everyone use cause is different in different locations.. It looks like Apple has us covered already for PRAM on the new Mac without the chime: https://support.apple.com/en-au/HT204063#2016
  • If the real reason was 'because of meetings and u don't want to disturb'... I just don't buy that...as a valid point, or 'someplace where u use your Mac' as a reason to take it away, because everyone use cause is different in different locations.. It looks like Apple has us covered already for PRAM on the new Mac without the chime: https://support.apple.com/en-au/HT204063#2016 right under the old instructions .. 20 seconds seems too long
  • "If you're not comfortable messing about in Terminal, however, you'll just have to rock a chime-free Mac." It's literally 1 terminal command and you're done, you don't have to mess around with 5 config files that could break your Mac, perfectly safe