Is there any way I can change the startup bong on my Early 2011 MBP 8,2 to something custom? Like, The Final Countdown?

  • It wouldn't really make sense to be able to - the startup chime is held in firmware, I believe, so you'd have to flash a custom chime in, which only the great and mighty Apple can do. I'll look around more, though. – Addison Crump Jan 20 '16 at 20:50
  • I mean, this is on a MBP with the documented GPU issue (screen distorts and all) so I'm basically installing various OSs and seeing what's stable, then I'm just going to have fun with it. I mean, a startup sound of Thunderstruck would be awesome. Or Dixie: youtube.com/watch?v=RLjMRHiY0UU – Daniel Jan 20 '16 at 21:09
  • As far as I know, there is no way to modify the startup chime. However, you can totally silence the original startup chime (not recommended, but you don't seem bothered by that) and simply use a cron job on startup as root to run a sound file through Afplay. – Addison Crump Jan 20 '16 at 21:21
  • Good point. Not exact timing, but it's interesting enough. Make it an answer and I'll accept. – Daniel Jan 20 '16 at 21:38
  • BTW, OS X is long gone on this thing. I put Windows 10 on it (yes, I did - don't panic, it's not here to stay) to see if it was stablish, and it seems to go unstable once it switches to the dedicated GPU. – Daniel Jan 20 '16 at 21:39

You technically can't...

But there are a few things you can do instead.

Using a few techniques I picked up on the interwebs, I've figured out a way to both

  1. Disable the boot chime (seriously, I don't recommend this. This is here for debug purposes, disabling it can be a very bad plan)
  2. Run a sound at login (not boot - for some reason, at least in El Capitan, using Afplay at boot through crontab and LaunchDaemons is not working. If someone else can get it to work, lemme know, I'll add it)

Disabling the boot chime

I seriously recommend not doing this. Debug is important, and if there's a hardware issue, you need to know what startup chime you have. Turn back, ye who fear.

  1. Go into Terminal.app.
  2. Run the command
    sudo nvram SystemAudioVolume=%80
    • This can be undone with
      sudo nvram -d SystemAudioVolume
    • Note that this does not work in OS X El Capitan (because changes ಠ_ಠ)

The boot chime is now disabled.

Adding a login chime

  1. Go into Automator.app.
  2. Hit New Document
  3. Select Application, and hit Choose.
  4. Drag Run Shell Script in the second left-hand column into the main pane.
  5. Type in the command
    Afplay -q 1 /path/to/sound/file
    obviously replacing /path/to/sound/file with the path to the sound file.
  6. Save as an Application and place it in your Applications folder.
  7. Quit Automator.app
  8. Go to System Preferences.
  9. Click on Users and Groups.
  10. Click on your user in the left-hand-most column.
    • If necessary, click the lock in the lower-left corner to allow for a preferences change.
  11. Click the + underneath the main pane on the right.
  12. Select the Application you just made and hit Add.
  13. Click the Hide checkbox.

That's it.

You now have no startup chime(use caution) and a login chime. Hooray!


This doesn't change the boot sound, but it lets you set up a login sound: http://www.iclarified.com/49328/how-to-add-a-startup-sound-to-mac-os-x Worked on El Capitan. No way to edit the boot sound though..

  • 1
    It's better to include the relevant details here rather than redirect users to an external link. Often times links go stale making the answer useless. – Allan Oct 28 '17 at 1:21

You need to downgrade to versions older than El Captain (you need to reinstall macOS).

Press Shift-Option-Command-R (Option-Command-R if your macOS version is older than Sierra) while booting to install the macOS that came with your Mac, or the version closest to it that is still available.

Then run this in Terminal.app

sudo nvram SystemAudioVolume=%80
  • Ignoring for a moment that downgrading the OS for something like this seems to be kind of extreme: how does setting the volume solve the problem asked in the question? – nohillside Jun 10 '18 at 15:23

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