Sign up ×
Ask Different is a question and answer site for power users of Apple hardware and software. It's 100% free, no registration required.

On previous versions of Mac OS X pressing ++volume+ would adjust the volume by quarter increments. This seems to have been removed in Lion.

Is there any way to do fine volume adjustment now?

share|improve this question
as seen on SuperUser:… – ghoppe Jul 29 '11 at 0:29
I miss this feature. I can't imagine why they'd get rid of it. It was useful for brightness adjustment, too, although it never worked for keyboard backlight adjustment. – abby hairboat Jul 29 '11 at 0:41
I'm so confused. I'm on 10.7 (10.7.4, installed on a fresh 10.6), and option-shift-F11/F12 (volume keys) does indeed change volume in quarter-block increments. – Ken May 26 '12 at 16:12

5 Answers 5

up vote 14 down vote accepted

++F11 and ++F12 were restored in 10.7.4.

share|improve this answer

You can do precise volume adjustment with AppleScript, controlled on a scale of 0 thru 100.

set volume output volume 0 --mute
set volume output volume 100 --100%
set volume output volume 27 --27%

You can get the current volume (also 0 thru 100):

set currentVolume to output volume of (get volume settings)

So, you can write a little script to increment the volume by 2% (approximately what one quarter square used to be):

set currentVolume to output volume of (get volume settings)
set volume output volume (currentVolume + 2)

You can make one for decrementing by changing that plus sign to a minus sign:

set currentVolume to output volume of (get volume settings)
set volume output volume (currentVolume - 2)

If you want to get the volume sound like usual, add the following line:

do shell script "afplay /System/Library/LoginPlugins/BezelServices.loginPlugin/Contents/Resources/volume.aiff"

You can save this as a script or app, and bind it to a mouse or keyboard button (if your driver lets you), give it a keyboard shortcut (as a Service or with another app), or put it in your menu bar (with an app like FastScripts).

share|improve this answer
thanks for posting this! – abby hairboat Jul 29 '11 at 14:16
I ended up binding these scripts to F11 and F12, so that fine volume adjust is now fn+volume+ using Quicksilver. (thanks to this answer and Jurawa's). Next step is to fake the bezel window. – cobbal Aug 2 '11 at 18:39
How do I set volume above original? (as VLC does) – Davi Lima Jul 22 at 11:13

I don't have a keyboard shortcut or AppleScript for you, but I did notice - and others seem to confirm - that the slider you can use when you click the volume icon in the menu bar moves much more smoothly in Lion than it did in previous versions of OS X. As I recall it used to sort of jump from level to level, sort of like how it did when you pushed the volume buttons on the keyboard. Now it slides easily between increments.

share|improve this answer

I don't have enough reputation or else I would have entered this as a comment to Nathan Greenstein's answer.

I turned his information into a simple command line script to adjust the volume:


    echo 1>&2 "Usage:" "$0" "[relative volume change in the range -100..100 (default -2)]"
    exit -1

case $# in

## Check the VOLCHANGE parameter.
if ! ( echo "${VOLCHANGE}" | egrep '^-?[0-9]+$' > /dev/null )
    echo 1>&2 "ERROR: Bad volume adjustment parameter:" "${VOLCHANGE}"

osascript -e "set volume output volume ((output volume of (get volume settings)) + ${VOLCHANGE})"

echo "New volume:" $(osascript -e 'output volume of (get volume settings)') "(adjusted by ${VOLCHANGE})"
share|improve this answer
:) I saw the top answer and was just about to do this – Xster Jan 24 '12 at 21:07

To get much finer sound volume control I use soundflower from You have to restart after installing it. Then go to preferences/sound/output and choose soundflower(2ch). Start soundflower from the applications folder, click on the flower symbol in the top pannel and soundflower(2ch) built in output. Then go to Audio setup and change the master for soundflower(2ch). This way you can get the global sound less loud or you can amplify it.

share|improve this answer
A caveat on Soundflower - it is getting more & more broken since Mavericks & causes kernel panics on Yosemite. It is no longer supported by either Cycling74 or Rogue Amoeba. Current repo is here - but hasn't seen an update in a long time. – Tetsujin Oct 8 at 6:19

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.