I cannot recall precisely, but while attempting to type "9" or "0" or hit the Delete key or other keys in that area of the top row, I just fat-fingered my headphone volume to maximum on the touch bar. It greatly startled me and caused me to shout out loud at work.

I love using the touch bar. I am never going to improve my clumsy hand movements. I require constant headphones at work to concentrate. I need my headphones plugging into my laptop so I can hear the occasional audio cue from other apps.

However, I absolutely cannot let this happen again. I scared all my nearby teammates with my sudden loud shout. I had to assure them it was OK, explain what happened, and apologize for the disturbance.

I recalled my iPod shuffle has a feature to limit the maximum volume on it, and I figured an even more feature-full OS would surely also have that feature, but I cannot seem to find it in System Preferences.

Am I missing the feature? Is there a Terminal command I can type that limits the maximum volume to a lower level?

  • 1
    I had a similar experience after leaning on my headphone's volume control and pressing play. I made a small status bar app which allows you to set a volume limit: itunes.apple.com/us/app/whisper-volume-limiter/id1438132944
    – odlp
    Oct 11, 2018 at 14:34
  • @odlp I think your comment can be a full fledged answer, if you are interested in gaining SE points and better marketing for your app.
    – Jeff
    Oct 11, 2018 at 14:40

4 Answers 4


If you're still on the hunt for such an application, I have great news. I wrote a simple status menu bar app, which lets you limit the main output volume of your Mac. The app is called Earsafe, check it out if you have time.

All the best!

  • Can you set a limit in decibels? I don't really understand what "40%" means in terms of limit.
    – bbxdesign
    Jun 27, 2018 at 13:25
  • You can't set the limit in decibels, unfortunately. When you set the volume on your Mac, you set it to a certain percentage value (0.37 or 0.4). It's only displayed in the sound settings for end-users. Basically, my app sets your volume to a certain limit (which you can set through its menu) everytime your current volume exceeds that value. Jun 28, 2018 at 12:29
  • I love it! Does this also answer Audio output limiter for Mac? NOT volume control
    – uhoh
    Aug 25, 2018 at 18:16
  • Yes, it does! It basically limits the currently selected output on your Mac. Aug 27, 2018 at 20:16
  • Please can you update it for Catalina? Since I updated my MacBook, I have to restart Earsafe everytime I use my computer after it was put in sleep mode.
    – 118218
    Nov 3, 2019 at 11:12

I had a similar issue and it was solved (not intentionally, just a happy by-product) by using a 3rd party media player.

In my case, I used Vox. It has it's own volume control which I set at a level that no matter if the system is set to "max" it won't be any louder than what is set in the app.

enter image description here

The best part is Vox is free (as in beer).

  • iTunes can do this as well. Its volume is independent of the system one.
    – SilverWolf
    Nov 10, 2017 at 19:49
  • @seaturtle - True...iTunes is just a horrible interface, so there's that.
    – Allan
    Nov 10, 2017 at 20:21
  • I find iTunes quite nice, but I'm keeping a slightly older version around (v12.3.2.35) because I don't like the newer changes. (:
    – SilverWolf
    Nov 10, 2017 at 20:25

So this solves my clumsy typing problem, but it does not answer my question of limiting maximum audio volume.

I went into System Preferences > Keyboard and tapped the "Customize Control Strip..." button. From there I dragged the volume slider from my touch bar to the "Remove from touch bar" area.

Now I have greatly reduced my chance of accidentally engaging that control and then inadvertantly swiping right dramatically. And now that I think about it, I'll remove Siri from a nearby spot also.


I had a similar experience after leaning on my headphone's volume control and pressing play. I made a small status bar app which allows you to set a volume limit: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/whisper-volume-limiter/id1438132944

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