Muting the Mac's startup sound

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Reader Stephen Mette faces the age-old problem of how to shut up the Mac when it first boots. He writes:

I’ve always loved the Mac’s opening chime. But I’m the early riser in my family, and the volume of my new iMac’s chime is very loud. For the sake of family harmony (excuse the pun) is there a way—a terminal command or something—that I can reduce the volume?

You can solve this problem with a little forethought. On a newish Mac just press the Mute key on the keyboard before you shut down the Mac. When you next boot the Mac, you’ll hear nothing more than the Mac’s fans and hard drive.

If you’ve neglected to take this step and face a Mac that will bong with the best of ‘em on startup you can mute it by slipping a miniplug (found on a set of iPod headphones, for example) into the sound output port.

Finally, if you’re forgetful both on the back and front end, you can use this AppleScript, courtesy of Mac Developer Tips, to shut down your Mac and, in the process, turn off its volume so you hear no startup sound when it boots.

tell application "Finder"
	display dialog "What would you like to do?" buttons {"Shutdown", "Restart", "Cancel"} default button "Shutdown" with icon caution
	if button returned of result is "Shutdown" then
		set volume 0
		shut down
	else if button returned of result is "Restart" then
		set volume 0
	end if
end tell

Save the script as an application, make it Run Only, and use it to shut down or restart your Mac rather than the standard Shut Down and Restart commands under the Apple menu.

If you’d like to also automate returning your Mac’s volume to audible levels, create yet another AppleScript, save it as a Run Only Application, and make it a Login Item in your user account. That script simply reads:

set volume 5
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