I need to disable "Play user interface sound effects" and "Play feedback when volume is changed" in the Sound pref.pane via terminal/unix command/ARD on multiple computers.

fseventer shows /users/$user/preferences/com.apple.systemsound.plist being edited when I make changes to these properties in the GUI, but I don't see references for these settings in this .plist

Any help would be greatly appreciated!


defaults is the command used to read/write preferences from the command line.

defaults write -g "com.apple.sound.beep.feedback" -int 0
defaults write "com.apple.systemsound" "com.apple.sound.uiaudio.enabled" -int 0
killall -HUP SystemUIServer
  • Thanks! This seems to work for the volume pops but it either isn't working for the general UI sounds or "Play user interface sound effects" doesn't do what I thought it does, which seems to be the cause because even when I disabled it via GUI it still exhibits the same behaviors I was trying to avoid. – Ian May 3 '11 at 17:02
  • @Ian The general UI sounds (like dragging something to the trash or unmounting a volume) are in the SystemSounds folder, see my answer below. – slhck May 3 '11 at 18:41

To disable all sounds, you could try:

sudo launchctl unload com.apple.audio.coreaudiod


I haven't tried this as I'm not on the Mac right now, but an alternative would be to move the System sounds where OS X won't find them.

  • That probably would work, but it seems like a hack, and would cause trouble if you or somebody else wanted to reverse it, and didn't know where you'd put it. – jvriesem Aug 10 '17 at 19:34

To silence UI sounds, enter this in Terminal:

defaults write com.apple.systemsound com.apple.sound.beep.volume -float 0

This will set the volume slider for UI sounds to it's lowest value. Test it by pressing an F key not assigned to Exposé/Spaces/Dashboard/...

  • 1
    Fun fact: Set it to 0.5 and look at the slider position. It's just slightly above 25% -- it's not presented linearly to the user, probably to better approximate loudness perception. – Daniel Beck May 3 '11 at 18:32
  • Oh, nice detail :) (I wonder what else they have in stock..) – slhck May 3 '11 at 18:39

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