About Mac startup tones

Learn about the sounds your Mac might make when it starts up and what these sounds mean.

Mac models from early 2016 and earlier make a chime sound when they start up. Mac models from late 2016 and later don't have a startup chime.*

If there's an issue with your Mac, it might make one of these tones when it starts up:

  • One tone, repeating every five seconds: No RAM is installed. If you recently replaced or upgraded your computer's RAM, check to see if it was installed properly. If the issue continues, contact Apple Support.
  • Three successive tones, then a five-second pause (repeating): RAM doesn't pass a data integrity check. If you recently replaced or upgraded your computer's RAM, check to see if it was installed properly. If the issue continues, contact Apple Support.
  • One long tone while you hold down the power button: An EFI ROM update is in progress. This applies to Mac computers from before 2012.
  • Three long tones, three short tones, three long tones: EFI ROM corruption is detected, and your Mac is in EFI ROM recovery mode. Newer computers automatically recover from a corrupted ROM; when this occurs, a progress bar appears on the screen during ROM recovery mode. Don't disturb your Mac while the ROM recovery takes place. When recovery is complete, your Mac restarts.

*The only exception is MacBook Air (13-inch, 2017), which does have a startup chime.

Learn more

  • If you need to restore the EFI ROM on certain Mac computers produced before 2008, you'll need to use a Firmware Restoration CD to restore the EFI ROM. Search Apple Downloads for the right CD image for your computer.
  • Pressing and holding keys on startup can make your Mac function in different ways. To learn more, see Startup key combinations for Mac.
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