So I hurt my ears from excessively loud music last week at work. I'm well aware of the volume down key of course, but I tend to crank it up too much throughout the day without noticing it.

I need a limiter and it needs to be system-wide, since I listen to various other sound sources aside from iTunes. This isn't really an issue on my phone, since I can set a volume limit in the iOS settings.

Is there an equivalent built-in or third-party fix for OS X Lion?

  • 1
    What's wrong with the default audio settings on your Mac? You can adjust the soundlevel for you entire OS, no?
    – Michiel
    Dec 19, 2011 at 8:34
  • I tend to crank it up too much throughout the day without noticing it, ending up hurting my ears. So the same way I can limit the max volume on iOS I want to do it on OS X.
    – yusf
    Dec 19, 2011 at 8:41

5 Answers 5


I now got a working solution based on one of the links in Michiel's answer, but let's spell it out more clearly.

What I did was to

  1. Download volimiter, a faceless CLI application.
  2. Pair it upp with Lingon, a launchdaemon manager.
  3. Set volimiter to launch on login with preferred setting:

    volimiter .6

.6 means 60% of volume.

Works terrific!


If you're not satisfied with the default audio settings of your Mac (I can increase or decrease the sound for my whole OS with one key), you can try Hear. It's an equalizer (and limiter) for the sounds your Mac is producing.

If you really want to limit your sound, I'm afraid there is no app for it right now. I found some other topics however where they asked the same question as you. Here and here. Basically, it comes down to "use limited external speakers" or "be aware of your sound settings" :)

  • Thanks for pointing me in the right direction! Hear is a bit overkill so I won't try it, but the volimiter CLI app mentioned in the Ars thread was the thing I was looking for. It's not working too well though.
    – yusf
    Dec 19, 2011 at 9:33
  • Working well since I recompiled it for Lion, even though the code uses som deprecated stuff. Win.
    – yusf
    Dec 20, 2011 at 10:53

if your problem is still relevant, I created a little app called Earsafe. Basically, it's a status menu bar, which lets you limit the volume of the main output of your Mac.

Hope I could help!


We've just released Volume Limiter for Mac, available on the AppStore as well as our website. (The web version offers a free trial). It has advanced capabilities, including limiting by audio device, locking controls for all users on a computer, and 'Mute Mode' (automatic muting based on system events or a user-defined calendar).


If you're looking for a free solution, look no further:

Limiting your Mac’s volume in 2019

Limiting your Mac’s Volume in 2020, an Update

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