Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

RIP, Startup Chime

Amongst a long list of transgressions, the lack of the familiar startup chime in the new MacBook Pros barely registers on my priorities. And I do mean “familiar”. Stephen Hackett:

However, the startup chime is ingrained into the experience of having a Mac, I’m sad to see it go. A Mac without the chime feels broken, even if I know it isn’t. I don’t power down my machines often, but I liked hearing the chime when I power them back up.

It’s tradition.

Whenever I reboot my Mac and I don’t hear the startup chime, I immediately fret that something is broken; usually, though, it’s because I’ve left my system muted.

But my experience with the startup chime is that it’s a greater nuisance than anything. I remember sitting in the library and other quiet study spaces in university, hearing someone power on their Mac, and immediately follow it with a hushed “sorry!” after the sound played.

It’s not exactly a congruous tradeoff, but there are some notable improvements to the power-on behaviour of new Macs. They now switch on when opening the lid, which is what I think most people expect. If you really want to reenable the startup chime, you can, but I’ll be leaving it off whenever I upgrade. Nostalgia doesn’t outweigh the expectation that technology just gets out of the way.