It was one of the most-iconic sounds in the history of personal computers and I once fell instantly in love with it when discovering Macs for the first time many years ago: The characteristic startup-chime each Mac made when booting was once with Apple’s product lineup until it was put to rest in 2016. After it was gone with the — simultaneously legendary — illuminated Apple-logo, many memories seem to have been gone, but as a Twitter-user found out, you may get at least the chime back when using macOS 10.15 “Catalina”.
It seems as if the update to Catalina revived the chance of getting the sound but it was left muted — why this has happened is surely one of the things only Apple knows but all it needs is just a simple Terminal-command:
I was able to reproduce this on my iMac 27″ (Late 2015), my 2017 MacBook Pro and a on a 2019 MacBook Air, so head to your terminal via the Spotlight-search or by venturing to the “Applications”-folder where you will find the “Utilities” sub-folder and launch the “Terminal” then.
sudo nvram StartupMute=%00
is the command you need to turn on the chime again and once you like to turn it off for whatever reasons again, use the
sudo nvram StartupMute=%01
At the time of writing and while using Catalina 10.15.4, it is not known if this change is made intentional or just some kind of “accident” coming back to macOS on a temporary basis. Additionally, older gear like my iMac may work nevertheless while newer hardware from 2016 may have lacked the chime.