My Mac Keeps Making A Ding Sound

Macs are popular for many reasons, mainly their high-quality specifications and productivity-friendly build. However, you may notice that your Macbook keeps making a ding sound. What could be responsible for this issue?

While the sound is usually from notifications on your Mac, several factors could also cause the problem.

Causes of a Mac Making A Notification Sound

The Mac, Apple’s line of personal computers, has dominated the market since the company released the very first Macintosh in January 1984. And while the computer has become a staple of popular culture, it’s not uncommon to notice strange new features. These features may be innovative, annoying, or even gimmicky, while others may show your Mac has serious issues.

Here are a few reasons your Mac keeps making a “ding” sound:

  • Notifications from your Mac’s user interface.
  • Notifications from installed applications.
  • Notifications from widgets on your Mac.
  • Websites and web browsers.
  • RAM errors and hard drive issues.
  • Audio errors from a device driver.
  • Charging and power-related problems.

So, while a persistent “ding” sound can be annoying, it doesn’t always mean your computer is in terrible danger. Still, you must know how each of these factors can cause the sound on your Mac to ensure your computer is always in top condition.

The next section of this article explores these reasons in more detail.

Notifications From Your Mac’s User Interface

Mac computers have always had a distinct system and notification sounds.

Early Macs sounded so different from other computers at the time that The New York Times wrote an interesting piece in 2005 titled “Solving the Mystery of a Mac’s Sounds.”

The article explored the many different sounds of the Mac at the time and explained what each sound meant. And little has changed since the piece was published.

But while today’s Macs are faster, better designed, and more powerful, they still make similar sounds for several user interactions, including beeps, chimes, and dings.

Therefore, a notification from your Mac’s user interface could be responsible for the “ding” sound your computer keeps making. These sound effects might be coming from actions like copying a folder, moving media files to the Trash, or even when you connect to WiFi. 

Notifications From Installed Applications

Like your Mac’s user interface, installed applications can also cause your Mac to keep making a “ding” sound. Apps make sounds frequently, and your notifications usually depend on the app in question.

These sound effects are normal, including quick chimes, whistles, and even a knock-knock sound. However, while these notification sounds are app-specific, you might get a “ding” sound occasionally.

This notification sound, in particular, is usually from your email application, but communication tools like Slack and Discord can also be responsible.

Still, I recommend you pay attention to the frequency of the sound. A “ding” sound that comes in randomly when your Mac is idling might be a notification sound effect from any of the installed apps on your computer.

Notifications From Widgets on Your Mac

Software widgets have become so popular that many users forget they’re somewhat standalone applications. At least your computer treats them this way.

Still, they’re handy tools that have seen more ubiquity with the rise of touchscreen devices and mobile computers like the Mac. And just like regular applications, most widgets can create alerts and make sound effects on your Mac. These sounds are usually notification sounds and include dings and beeps.

The most common culprit is the calendar widget, usually synced to your reminders and itineraries. Also, several other app widgets might be the culprit if you notice your Mac keeps making a “ding” sound and your installed applications are not responsible.

Websites and Web Browsers

Your websites and web browsers might also source the ding sound on your Mac. Web browsers are advanced, allowing users to receive alerts, download files, and play other sound effects while minimizing or idling the web browser.

And since almost everyone keeps multiple web pages open on their computer, you might be unaware that the email web page you opened weeks ago still sends notifications.

However, it’s not only messaging websites that you have to check. Your web browser might also be responsible. After all, it’s an installed application on your Mac.

RAM Errors and Hard Drive Issues

You can’t blame every annoying sound on your installed applications and the Apple user interface. The problem might sometimes be with the computer hardware, particularly the RAM and hard disk. 

But how can a piece of hardware be responsible for a ding sound?

Memory chip and hard drive manufacturers design their products to be installed in a certain way, but they can be moved or damaged. For Mac users, this is usually after replacement or if the computer takes a nasty fall. These actions can cause the chip or drive to shift or buckle, affecting its connection to the motherboard.

And while this problem isn’t usually serious, it can lead to internal errors in your Mac. Your computer will notify you of these errors on the display and via sound effects, and they usually won’t go away until you reconnect the RAM properly.

Audio Errors From a Device Driver

While device drivers are technically application programs, they typically stay quiet on most computers. Therefore, you might not directly interact with the device driver program unless you deal with hardware issues.

Still, device drivers can make sound effects just like every other program. These are system sounds (dings and chimes) and usually imply that a device driver misbehaves.

Charging and Power-Related Problems

You might also notice the “ding” sound if your Mac charges or has power-related problems. These problems include frayed wires and damaged ports, but you’ll typically hear the sound only when your computer is plugged in. 

This type of ding might not be as regular as the other factors I’ve explained above, but it doesn’t mean it’s unimportant. 

How To Troubleshoot a Mac That Keeps Making a “Ding” Sound

We’ve examined the factors that can cause your Mac to keep making a “ding” sound. However, it’s essential to figure out which is responsible for the sound it keeps making. Therefore, you’ll need to troubleshoot it before trying any fixes. 

Here’s how to troubleshoot a Mac that keeps making a “ding” sound:

  1. Check the exact sound effect that your Mac keeps playing. You can confirm this by heading over to “System Preferences,” then “Sound,” and then “Sound Effects.” Play all the effects on the list and write down the name of the offending sound effect.
  2. Open Terminal. You can open Terminal on a Mac by searching for the application on Spotlight or checking the “Applications” folder in Finder.
  3. Type the command ‘sudo fs_usage | grep “aiff”’ in the Terminal window. You can also use the command ‘sudo fs_usage | grep “m4a”’ if the sound effect is in the m4a format. Ensure you don’t have typos or add extra spaces when typing commands in the Terminal window.
  4. Enter your Mac’s password. You might not get a prompt to provide your password, but that’s fine.
  5. Watch the Terminal output and wait for your Mac to play the sound again. You might need to wait a few minutes, so you must be patient.
  6. Note the source of the sound. You can do this by comparing the name of the sound effect to the app name displayed on the right.

The ‘sudo fs_usage | grep’ command is pretty powerful, and you can try a few other variations to troubleshoot the problem. While this method might seem a bit overly technical, it’s a safe and effective way to find the source of the “ding” sound your Mac keeps making.

You can skip the first step of the instructions above if you don’t get too many notifications on your computer. Terminal keeps track of all recent sounds and sound effects, and you can quickly check the name of the sound after launching the program. 

You can also try using Apple Diagnostics if you have problems troubleshooting your Mac and suspect the problem might be with your computer’s hardware. The tool is pretty powerful and will display comprehensive test results afterward. 

How To Stop Your Mac From Making a “Ding” Sound

After troubleshooting your Mac and identifying the “ding” sound source, you can try fixing the problem. Fortunately, you can explore many different methods to stop your Mac from making the sound.

Here’s how you can stop your Mac from making a “ding” sound:

  1. Disable application notification sounds on your Mac.
  2. Update your device drivers and software.
  3. Replace parts, damaged cables, and power accessories.
  4. Close unnecessary applications and websites.
  5. Reboot your Mac in safe mode.

You may not need to go through every item on this list to solve the problem, but one of these fixes should help stop the sound on your Mac. However, I recommend you be as careful as possible when solving the situation to ensure you don’t cause more issues. 

The next section of this article explores each of these fixes in detail.

1. Disable Application Notification Sounds on Your Mac

This effective method should clear unwanted notifications from almost every application on your computer. However, I recommend only disabling an application’s notification sounds if you’re sure it’s the culprit. 

Here’s how you can disable an application’s notification sounds on your Mac:

  1. Open the Apple Menu on your Mac.
  2. Click on System Preferences from the list on the screen.
  3. Select the Notifications option.
  4. Choose the application that’s responsible for the sound.
  5. Deselect Play Sound For Notifications.

It’s that easy!

You can also try modifying the alert sounds on your Mac if you don’t want to silence the app completely.

2. Update Your Device Drivers and Software

Mac handles device driver and software updates differently from a Windows PC. However, you might need to perform an update if the sound is a result of a driver or software issue. The best way to do this is to perform a full-on system update using the Mac’s Software Update feature.

Fortunately, almost anyone can perform this update as long as you have an internet connection.

Here’s how to update your device drivers and software on Mac:

  1. Open the Apple Menu on your Mac.
  2. Click on System Preferences from the list on the screen.
  3. Select Software Update on the screen.
  4. Click on Check For Updates.

Your Mac will automatically install the latest software updates, which should fix the problem.

3. Replace Parts, Damaged Cables, and Power Accessories

As I mentioned, using damaged or unsuitable power cables and accessories for your Mac can also set off persistent warning tones. These tones include dings, and replacing these accessories should fix the problem. You might also need to fix your Mac’s charging port if it’s damaged. Replacing or properly connecting parts like the RAM and hard drive might also help.

4. Close Unnecessary Applications and Websites

Of course, you can also close the offending application. Most apps won’t display notifications when you shut them down, which should solve the problem. Still, I recommend you save your work before closing any program to ensure you don’t lose any critical data.

5. Reboot Your Mac in Safe Mode

Safe mode is a diagnostic startup mode for computer systems that allows users to fix operating system-related problems. However, it can also be effective for many other issues with your Mac.

Here’s how to reboot your Mac in safe mode:

  1. Shut down your Mac.
  2. Press and hold the power button on your computer for a few seconds till you see the Loading startup options screen.
  3. Choose a volume.
  4. Long press the shift key and select Continue In Safe Mode.

Your Mac will immediately reboot, and you should be able to continue in safe mode.

You can check out the Apple Support website to learn how to use safe mode on your Mac and some other helpful tips and tricks.