As noted by Dan at Pingie, the new MacBook Pros do not chime after having their NVRAM reset.
Apple outlines this in a new kbase article. This has been in the directions forever:
Hold these keys until the computer restarts and you hear the startup sound for a second time.
There’s now a new section just for Late-2016 MacBook Pros with this subtle change:
Hold these keys down for at least 20 seconds to ensure that your Mac completes the process correctly.
As much as that bums me out as a hardcore Mac fan, the startup chime isn’t just gone from the NVRAM reset.
According to people with the new machine in their hands already, the new MacBook Pros don’t chime when powered on normally, either.
While most Mac users don’t know this, chime is an indication that the system has passed POST — the Power On Self Test.
POST checks the status of critical system components, then the system can continue the boot sequence. It’s also how WALL•E indicated his batteries were fully charged
As you may have experienced, Macs can make a whole range of sounds at startup if something is wrong.
While an indication that POST has been passed is nice as a nerd, most people have no idea why their Macs make a sound when they hit the power button. Some even find it annoying.
I haven’t had any Mac of mine fail POST in years, and I assume that’s true for most users. Positive reinforcement that everything is in working order is probably far less important today than it was in the past. Macs are simpler and better-made today than they ever have been.
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 like losing the Happy Mac all over again.
I’m not sure why Apple made this decision. Most Macs probably only get rebooted during software updates, and a chime during that process may seem alarming. Maybe the company wanted to make the Mac and iPad seem more closely related; the 12-inch MacBook introduced iOS’ charging chime to the Mac, so why not get rid of the startup chime? Maybe Mrs. Federighi was tired of being woken up at night by secret MacBooks in the house.
Update: As pointed out by 9to5Mac, these new machines automatically power on under certain circumstances. The chime may be surprising in many of them.
In reality of course, this isn’t a big deal, but it sure feels like a big change to this Mac enthusiast.
For more reading on the Mac’s startup chime, check out these links:
- Simple Beep, Episode 1: Ed and Brian talk about the origins of the startup chime and how it changed over the years.
- Interview with Jim Reekes who is responsible for several Mac sounds, including the startup chime and Sosumi.
- Wired’s history of the startup chime.
- The complete set of startup — and death — chimes used by various Mac models can be downloaded here.