Move a file to the trash, empty the trash, or take a screenshot of your Mac’s desktop and your Mac will play a sound. If you’re sick of those paper crumpling and camera shutter sounds, you can disable them by changing a single option.

This option isn’t necessarily where you’d expect it. You might think that the option for disabling the trash sound would be in the Finder’s Preferences window, but it’s not.

How to Disable Sound Effects on a Mac

This option is available in the System Preferences window. Open it by clicking the Apple menu on your toolbar and select “System Preferences”.

Click the “Sound” icon on the second row of the System Preferences window.

Uncheck the “Play user interface sound effects” option under the Sound Effects tab.

It’s not clearly explained in this window–even if you hover over the option–but disabling this option will disable the trash and screenshot sounds on your Mac.

How to Disable Sound Effects With a Command

The below command does the exact same thing changing the option above does. It’s only necessary if you’d like to automate this. For example, some people might want to add this change to a script that changes multiple settings on a new Mac all at once.

To disable sound effects, run the following command in a Terminal window:

defaults write "" -int 0

To undo your change and re-enable sound effects, run the following command:

defaults write "" -int 1

If you’re using someone else’s Mac and you don’t want to change the setting, you can temporarily disable the sound effect temporarily by muting the Mac. Set the volume level to “mute” and the Mac won’t play an audible sound when you perform these actions.

Profile Photo for Chris Hoffman Chris Hoffman
Chris Hoffman is Editor-in-Chief of How-To Geek. He's written about technology for over a decade and was a PCWorld columnist for two years. Chris has written for The New York Times and Reader's Digest, been interviewed as a technology expert on TV stations like Miami's NBC 6, and had his work covered by news outlets like the BBC. Since 2011, Chris has written over 2,000 articles that have been read more than one billion times---and that's just here at How-To Geek.
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