While newer Mac models have done away with the iconic startup chime, they do make another type of sound: a power chime. It’s a routine sound that you’ll hear on Mac notebooks when you plug a power cable in. But if you hear it at random intervals or repeatedly, there’s likely something wrong.
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Here’s how to fix it.
What are we talking about?
To be clear, we are talking about the power chime on newer Mac devices — not the startup chime. The startup chime has been removed from virtually all newer Mac devices.
When you plug a charging cable into a MacBook Pro or MacBook Air, it’ll make an iPhone-like sound to indicate that charging has started. Apple presumably added this in because the USB-C cables don’t have a charging indicator.
While the sound could just as easily be called a charging chime, it’s explicitly referred to as a power chime within macOS. (It’s also exactly the same as the charging chime in iPhones post-iOS 7.)
More specifically, we’ll walk you through how to fix any problems with a power chime that keeps going off intermittently or at random.
Troubleshooting the charging sound on MacBook
There could be quite a few reasons why you’re running into problems with the power chime. Here’s how to fix it.
Cables degrade over time — that’s just a face. If you’re using an older Thunderbolt 3 cable, it could very well be the sole cause of the problem. We recommend trying to charge your Mac device with another Thunderbolt 3 / USB-C cable and seeing if the problem persists.
Of course, the standard advice is to buy a Thunderbolt 3 cable and other charging accessories directly from Apple or another third-party brand that you trust.
Shoddy charging cables and counterfeit accessories don’t function as well. And in the worst-case scenarios, they can actually do harm to your computer.
Check your charging accessories
Speaking of counterfeit or lower-quality accessories, there’s a chance that something in the charging chain is affecting the power chime on your Mac device.
This is likely even more of an issue on modern MacBook devices since they’ve ditched all ports in favor of USB-C and Thunderbolt 3. Because of that, many users have likely resorted to third-party dongles, adapters, and USB-C hubs.
There are plenty of good quality dongles and hubs on the market. But if you’re running into issues with a repeating or random power chime, try removing the dongle or hub and assessing whether that was the problem.
The problem may also be software-based. At this point, we haven’t seen any widespread bugs with the power chime on Mac devices. But there could always be buggy behavior on your individual machine.
We recommend running through some standard troubleshooting. First off, restart your Mac. From there, you can reset the NVRAM and SMC (you can follow our previous guides on doing so). This will address a variety of software-based issues.
It’s also a best practice to download and install the latest currently available version of macOS. That will go a long way toward keeping your Mac running as smoothly and efficiently as possible.
Faulty RAM module
If your Mac or Macbook is beeping multiple times at startup and either taking a long time to boot or not booting at all, it’s possible that your Mac has a bad RAM module(s.)
Signs and Symptoms that your Mac’s RAM is failing
- Slow startups or other startup problems (like repeated chimes)
- Decreasing performance as used
- Unexpected, erratic, and random crashes
- Kernel panics
Run Apple Diagnostics (also called Apple Hardware Test) to check for any RAM and other hardware issues.
How to use Apple Diagnostics
- Keep your Mac/MacBook plugged into power and place it on a hard, flat, and stable surface with good ventilation
- Disconnect all external devices except keyboard, mouse, display, and if applicable, ethernet
- Shut down
- Turn on your Mac and immediately press and hold the D key
- Keep holding the D key until you see a screen asking you to choose your language
- Look for a progress bar showing it checking your Mac
- If any issues are found, Apple Diagnostics suggests solutions and provides reference codes–write or note these codes down
- Follow any on-screen recommendations
Internal component issue
If all else fails, there’s a chance that there’s an issue with some internal component on your MacBook. That could include problems with the logic board, charging port, or something else that isn’t the easiest to repair.
We recommend taking your device to an Apple Store or an Apple Authorized Service Provider. Bring your charging cable and power adapter, too. Apple staff will be able to test those and rule them out as the problem.
You should also bring your device in sooner than later — particularly if you’re still under warranty. If there’s a critical issue with a sensitive internal component, it’s likely to get worse over time.
Repeatedly connecting and disconnecting a device, such as when your charging port is loose, is also not great for the device.
Disabling the charging sound using macOS Terminal
Of course, if you aren’t covered under warranty and you don’t have the resources to get your device repaired, then you can always disable the power chime.
This is definitely a “throwing out the fire alarm” solution, but it could do quite a bit for your sanity if a constant power chime is annoying you. It does require that you’re comfortable enough to use the macOS Terminal, however.
- First, launch the macOS Terminal in Spotlight search or from the Launchpad.
- Then, type the following command into the terminal.
defaults write com.apple.PowerChime ChimeOnNoHardware -bool true && killall PowerChime
- Hit enter.
At this point, the power chime should be disabled — meaning you won’t hear it even when plugging in a cable.
It’s also worth noting that this will work fine if you simply don’t like the power chime and you just want to disable it.
You can make an appointment with Apple Store and talk to a specialist if you are still having the issue.
We hope that you found this article helpful in fixing any power chime issues on your MacBook. Please let us know in the comments below if you have any questions.
Mike is a freelance journalist from San Diego, California.
While he primarily covers Apple and consumer technology, he has past experience writing about public safety, local government, and education for a variety of publications.
He’s worn quite a few hats in the journalism field, including writer, editor, and news designer.