The Mac’s iconic startup chime is back in macOS Big Sur

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Apple is bringing back the Mac’s iconic startup chime in macOS Big Sur. The company hinted it might return by playing the chime very prominently during yesterday’s Worldwide Developers Conference keynote, and people who have installed the first Big Sur developer beta have reported that it’s back. You can see a Mac on Big Sur play the chime while booting up in the video at the top of this post.

The startup chime was first removed from Macs in 2016 with the redesigned MacBook Pros released that year, and Macs released since then (with the exception of the 2017 13-inch MacBook Air) didn’t play the chime when you turned them on.

However, earlier this year, it was discovered that Apple would let you enable the startup chime on those Macs if they were running macOS Catalina and if you turned it on with a terminal command.

In Big Sur, you apparently won’t have to run a terminal command to turn on the chime, though — you’ll be able to turn it on or off right from your Mac’s System Preferences, according to the YouTube description in the video at the top of this post.

Apple has made other changes to sounds in Big Sur as well. On its website for Big Sur, Apple said that “system sounds are all-new and even more pleasing to the ear. The new system alerts were created using snippets of the originals, so they sound familiar.” And the new sounds are “familiar to the Mac, but remastered and more refined,” said Alan Dye, Apple’s vice president of human interface design, in yesterday’s keynote video.

It’s hard to tell how exactly the famous startup chime may have changed in Big Sur, but I will say that I’m really happy to hear it again.

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