I have another issue with my iMac, the issue is that it beeps 3 times and they repeat when I start up from a Mac OS X install disc. Recently, I inserted a Mac OS X install disc into my computer, and used the Startup Manager to select the install disc and start/boot up from it. After a while at the grey Apple logo screen, the Mac played 3 tones, and then after 5 seconds, the tones played again/repeated, indicating a POSSIBLE hardware issue, and the startup procedure halted. Do you know what three tones, then a five second pause mean on a Mac? Might be an issue with the RAM. Do any of YOU know?

2 Answers 2


3 tones indicate a RAM failure, my recommendation is to remove all the RAM sticks and verify one by one; to identify which one is damaged.

If you need more information check this useful link: About Mac startup tones

  • Thanks for your answer! For now, I'm not going to tear down my iMac to remove the RAM sticks.
    – user388114
    Oct 2, 2020 at 12:51
  • 1
    If one of the RAM sticks is dead, you don't necessarily have a choice... Oct 5, 2020 at 18:14

Anyone might know that this solution would be helpful. Try holding down the C key at startup to start from a bootable CD or DVD.

  • Let us know if this is the answer you was looking for ;)
    – elulcao
    Oct 6, 2020 at 0:46
  • Eh. My brother has an iMac from early 2009. I tried booting from the DVD, and then, it seemed to work fine.
    – user388114
    Oct 19, 2020 at 23:04
  • The requirement needed to boot from the Mac OS X install disc I have in my house: you need an iMac from 2009.
    – user388114
    Oct 19, 2020 at 23:06
  • I tried "C" on my iMac and it did boot from the CD, but, the same problem occurs again. Too bad!
    – user388114
    Oct 19, 2020 at 23:24
  • Will the Mac boot from the retail DVD my dad brought home? I hope so...
    – user388114
    Feb 14, 2021 at 17:27

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