Take the 2-minute tour ×
Ask Different is a question and answer site for power users of Apple hardware and software. It's 100% free, no registration required.

My Mac has started flashing the screen instead of beeping. It's exactly the same effect as you'd get if the Accessibility pref pane's "flash the screen" option was enabled, except that it's not enabled.

Accessibility settings pane

I also verified that the preferences property list file affecting this setting shows it as being off. In ~/Library/Preferences/com.apple.universalaccess.plist I see:


In case it makes any difference, the system sound is otherwise normal and not muted. I'm listening to music from iTunes, but getting screen flashes instead of beeps.

This happened a couple of weeks ago, and rebooting the Mac got things back to normal. Why does it keep happening? Is there something I can do to stop it from repeating again? The screen flash is going to give me a seizure.

share|improve this question
This is a weird suggestion so I'm not posting as an answer, but try resetting the PRAM. –  Michael Pryor Feb 22 '13 at 21:04

1 Answer 1

in case your problem still persists: I could solve it by opening the universal access plist file you mentioned in your post with xcode and deleting the flashScreen entry. after a reboot it behaved as it should. If you don't have xcode installed maybe deleting the plist file may help.

cheers, quam

share|improve this answer

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.