I've been searching around for the little sound (the default one) when a notification is presented (on Mountain Lion Notification Center) but I can't find it.
Example: http://d.pr/a/P5xo (sound recorded)
Any ideas? Thanks!

  • What app is displaying that notification? Is it playing a different sound from the one selected in System Preferences? Commented Feb 11, 2013 at 16:56
  • 1
    It's an application that i'm developing. I have this code to present it: NSUserNotification *notification = [[NSUserNotification alloc] init]; notification.title = @"Plugout enabled"; notification.informativeText = @"Have fun!"; notification.soundName = NSUserNotificationDefaultSoundName; [[NSUserNotificationCenter defaultUserNotificationCenter] deliverNotification:notification]; And it's playing the default notification sound. Commented Feb 11, 2013 at 17:00
  • edited question with sound recorded Commented Feb 11, 2013 at 17:08
  • I ran your code with the same results. This sound must not be considered an "alert" sound, so it must be somewhere else. When I NSLoged the "DefaultSoundName," that's all I got. DefaultSoundName. Interestingly, I was able to play Basso by using @"Basso.aiff" instead. Commented Feb 11, 2013 at 17:33
  • yes, you can use your 'own' sounds for the notification, even system sounds. but I can't find the default one anywhere Commented Feb 11, 2013 at 17:34

4 Answers 4


In OS X 10.8 it's called burn complete.aif (or burn failed.aif–they are the same sound) and is found in /System/Library/Components/CoreAudio.component/Contents/SharedSupport/SystemSounds/system/.

To get into CoreAudio.component, right-click the file and select Show Package Contents.

  • awesome! that's what I was looking for in the beginning! thanks! Commented Feb 11, 2013 at 18:09
  • For reference this system file converted to MP3 can be viewed or downloaded here: cl.ly/Mr9q
    – Alec Rust
    Commented Feb 12, 2013 at 19:18

The notification center uses the sound from your alert preferences, so you just need to check the sound being used in the system preferences and get it (or change it):

Go to the Apple menu;

Select "System Preferences" then "Sound";

The first tab shows the alert sound.

Note the name of the sound.

Go to /System/Library/Sounds and get/copy/change your file.

If you don't see any file in that location, and you do have sound files in the system preferences, that means you have the files hidden.

To show the invisible files, do this:

  1. Open Finder
  2. Open the Utilities folder
  3. Open a terminal window

  4. Copy and paste the following line in:

     defaults write com.apple.Finder AppleShowAllFiles YES
  5. Press return; Now hold alt on the keyboard and right click on the Finder icon; Click on Relaunch

You will now be able to see any hidden files or folders. When done, perform steps from the begining, however, replace the terminal command with:

defaults write com.apple.Finder AppleShowAllFiles NO

Notice that you can have more info about setting up the notification center here: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT5362

  • Thanks for you answer, but I'm afraid I can't find the sound that I'm looking for. I can see a lot of sound files inside the folder, like Basso, Glass, Hero, etc... But I can't find the one that is played when a notification (default sound) is presented (Notification Center) Commented Feb 11, 2013 at 16:32
  • @PedroVieira the sound is from that library. Try to listen to every sound file (press the space bar and quick preview allows you to preview the sound) and check if any file coincides with the one you are after.
    – jackJoe
    Commented Feb 11, 2013 at 16:35
  • yes, I did that, but I still can't find it :/ Commented Feb 11, 2013 at 16:49

That sound file should be located inside /System/Library/Sounds. Go to that folder and have a look.

  • Yes, I'm looking for the sound file on my mac (or online if it's already uploaded). I have already searched inside that folder, but it's not there :/ Commented Feb 11, 2013 at 15:51

Found it! But not inside OSX. I searched on google and downloaded it from a sound pack of iOS system sounds and there was it. Boom!
If you're interested, https://sites.google.com/site/iphonesounds/iPhoneOriginalSystemSounds_WAV.zip?attredirects=0
It's called 'Voicemail.wav'. Have fun!

  • 1
    I was going to tell you that some sounds are related to the specific app calling them, and that one is the sound used by the mail.app! others use different sounds not found in the system sounds library. Good that you found it!
    – jackJoe
    Commented Feb 11, 2013 at 18:05

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