Apple Wiki
Apple Wiki

Every Mac Startup & Crash Chime

Includes more classic models

The Chimes of Death signal an error or a serious problem with an older Macintosh computer, such as a hardware failure. The Chimes of Death are often accompanied by a Sad Mac icon in the middle of the screen.



Apple Mac Startup and Crash Chimes (2020 Updated)

Includes new Intel Mac beep tones

Different Macintosh series used different death chimes. The Macintosh II was the first to use death chimes with an upward chord; earlier models only silently displayed the Sad Mac icon.[1] The Macintosh Quadra and Macintosh Performa lines played a six-tone chord in F minor, which became more digitized sounding in later models. The Centris series, early PowerPC-based LC models, and Macs with a PowerPC upgrade card used varations of a bongo drum sound. The first NuBus-based Power Macintosh computers used a car crash sound. The beige Power Macintosh G3 used a sound of glass breaking.

The Sad Mac was no longer displayed with the introduction of Macs based on Open Firmware and PCI architecture in 1995, though the chimes were still played to indicate problems. More recent models running Mac OS X or mac OS will display the prohibitory symbol instead.[2] The Chimes of Death were replaced by beep tones in Intel and Apple Silicon-based models.


The Chimes of Death can interrupt the normal startup sound before it has completed playing, if manually triggered by pressing the interrupt switch on Macs that had one installed, or by pressing the Command and Power keys.[3]

On portable models with power-related problems, such as failing capacitors in the PowerBook 1400 or 5300 series, the chimes of death can play distortedly at a fraction of normal speed, taking as long as 40 seconds. In some cases, the Sad Mac icon may not be displayed while the chimes are playing.[4][5][6]

Video gallery[]


  1. Macintosh: "Sad Macintosh" Error Code Meaning. Apple (November 30, 2003). Archived from the original on June 17, 2009. Retrieved on August 24, 2008.
  2. What you should see on startup by Bob LeVitus, Mac OS X Leopard For Dummies p.14, John Wiley & Sons. 2011-02-08.
  3. CarnelProd666 (2012-01-06). One Sad Mac. YouTube.
  4. Nobel Tech (2021-05-20). PowerBook 1400 Crash Chimes. YouTube.
  5. Ian Nicolson (2015-12-15). Apple Macintosh - Sad Mac. YouTube.
  6. HerrdesWindes (2018-08-29). Apple Powerbook 5300CS sad Mac chime. YouTube.

See also[]

External links[]

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