Why does my Apple laptop beep at me?

Ok. It’s driving me so mad that I’m forced in the end to appeal to the general public. My laptop appears to be beeping at me. Every so often – no more than once a day, for some reason which appears to be hardware-related (I’m not even sure it’s coming through the Powerbook’s speakers) it beeps at me. Two sets of two beeps in the form: beep-beep beep-beep, always the same tones. There doesn’t appear to be any particular rationale for when it beeps, except that it could be related to whether it’s on my lap or not (I’ve never heard it happen at work) and/or whether it’s being charged (I don’t think I’ve ever heard it beep when it wasn’t being charged). It’s really worrying me as I don’t know what’s causing it to protest. It could even be a bloody alarm clock for all I know (except that it doesn’t seem to beep at any particular time of day). It’s driving me insane – does anyone know what the hell is going on?

53 replies on “Why does my Apple laptop beep at me?”

My flat-panel iMac did this to me twice last weekend.
The first time I was completely unprepared for it, but the second time (the following day) I paid closer attention. It sounded as if the beep was coming from the system unit rather that through the speakers. There was no sign of any on-screen alert or any entry in any of the obvious log files suggesting that OS X had encountered a problem. I haven’t heard it since, and my iMac is still operating normally, but naturally I’m curious as to what could have caused it.

“I don’t think I ever heard it beep when it wasn’t being charged.”
That sentence gave me a headache. So you are saying that it only beeps when it is on your lap and charging? Perhaps it’s warning you that overheating might occur?
No serious, my Vaio gets quite warm underneath when charging, don’t want that on my lap. πŸ™‚

A few years back when I was new to the Internet, my computer hit me with an error message that said, “Your domain needs to be resolved.” I’m still reeling from the existential shock of that moment….

just a thought, try paying close attention to any running apps you might have. I had a similar problem a few weeks back, then I realised it was a Konfabulator widget making the sound all along.

I had this exact same thing happen with a Powerbook 800.
It would beep when charging. The resolution was that I needed a new AC power adaptor. I had Applecare and they sent me a new one free, but if you don’t have it, you can get a 3rd party charger for as little as $50.
Another symptom was that the green light on the plug that goes into the powerbook to indicate a full charge would not come on sometimes. It would usually come back if I wiggled the electric cord right near the plug.
There was no correlation between whether the green light was on and the beeping, but the new power supply fixed everything.

ermm, it’s not the ad on Wired website is it? it has the beep beep, beep beep. actually, not sure which ad on the front page it is, just that when i go there i get da beeps.

You might want to see if you can record the beeps in an AIFF file and put a link to it here so we can hear what it sounds like.

I, too, have heard an errant beep from my Mac — it’s an iBook. It’s actually more one, constant tone that lasts about a second or two. I think it’s coming from the hard disk (which is a brand-new Hitachi model, less than six months old), but it seems to happen fairly randomly… both when it’s charging, and when it’s running on battery. Weird. I just make sure I’ve got good backups in case it is, indeed, the HD… or worse.

My iBook has beeped (and not through the speakers) for the last 2.5 years. While it was under warranty I called Apple several times, but they didn’t have a solution.

I don’t know about Tom’s iBook, but that ad on the Wired front page sounds very much like the beep I heard on my iMac, and I might well have had a page on the Wired News site open on the couple of occasions when it beeped at me. What a relief!

Oh my god. That’s fucking terrible. It was the bloody advert on – I go every couple of days and I’d simply never connected the two in any way. They should do something about that, it’s been driving me insane with worry.

funny…because it only happened when it was in your lap, i was aout to suggest it was telling you it *liked* you…

My Powerbook just beeped at me for the second time since I’ve had it (about 3 months). I don’t recall the scenario around the first time, but this time the only application I had running was iTunes and Illustrator CS. After listening to the last few songs again, it turns out it was just a funny rip of an Alice In Chains song. Weird. Here i was thinking, “only a couple more weeks until I can afford a back-up hard drive!”

I’ve been getting this strange tone completely randomly now and then from my 667 G4 PB. The first time I heard it was about two months ago. I thought it was something in the office that did it actually so I ignored it. It happened about three more time between then and now. And then there’s today. It happened again this afternoon just before I was getting ready to leave work. My boss said it came from my computer. I’m puzzled why my laptop would even make such a sound, especially when I wasn’t even using it. Now here I am, 11pm, and it just did it again about ten minutes ago. Thats twice in one day! The only apps I’ve had open the whole time have been Proteus, Mail, Stuffit Expander, Photoshop (I was working on a new buddy icon), and Safari (which had no open windows). It has been plugged into power all evening, but it wasn’t when it did it earlier. Anyone figure this out yet?

In the interest of archiving a phenomenon, I confess that I too have a beeping G4 17-inch powerbook (minted first run Aprilish 2003). Same symptoms: one random simple beep, not from the speakers, never more than twice a day. Can’t discern any conditions that would give me reproducible results. Don’t have to be online, using Airport, doesn’t have to be in my lap, doesn’t have to be running hot. Doesn’t even have to be AWAKE! Happens at any time of day. Apple Store Palo Alto hadn’t heard a peep about this beep, so couldn’t give advice or warning. Hate to think it was something dying. Backing up like crazy just in case. Seems to be coming from behind, to the left. (???), but it has a ventriloquist quality of making me think some other errant device in the room is making the sound. Very interesting. If anyone knows what it is, let me know.

All of a sudden tonight my G4 Titanium Laptop completely froze. I held down the power button to turn it off. When I went to turn it back on it beeped at me three times and then does nothing but flash the snoring light at me in the same sequence as the beeps every 5-10 seconds. The screen stays black and nothing happens. There is a disk in the CD drive, and it will not let me eject it. I tried using the reset button in the back but it did nothing at all. If you know something about this problem please help me.

I have had this problem since yesterday. The beeping is every 15 or 20 minutes and happens also when the powerbook is sleeping or even OFF. I have a 12 inch powerbook (5 month old) and I use to work for Apple in Canada and have never heard anything like it before from other customers.
I haven’t installed anything new lately but am worried that the computer is slowly trying not to die. or at least backing up. Who knows?

I have got an iBook G4 which worked just fine till a couple of days ago. Then it started beeping, like three times. At first I didn’t even understand whether it was the laptop or not. Anyway, yesterday I installed a new internal drive which heats up the iBook pretty much. I don’t think it’s sane the sensor reads 56C degrees on the drive itself. Might it be that? I dunno if the machine is able to get rid of all that heatΓ–

as mentioned at :-
OK – this has happened twice in the past three months, although the last time I was not really certain I’d observed it; I put my elbows down on the tabletop, hard, enough to cause a vibration shock to the G3 700 iBook upon which I was working.
There was an extended, low-pitched, piezoelectric-speaker-sound warning “gleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep” sound – no syslog messages, no nothing else.
I am wondering whether the replacement mobo that it received earlier this year, has one of those antishock things fitted but is not wired to anything?
Or: it could be just dying, which is fair enough seeing as it gets hammered and is soon to be replaced anyway.
Has anyone else experienced this?

This is a question similar to Leo’s, feb. 1 2005: I am just having exactly the same problem. The screen of my powerbook is black, it beeps three times when I try to turn it back on and the snoring light flashes in regular intervals. Did you solve this somehow? There is my dissertation on there..
Can anybody help?

I had the beep for a few months……
….after installing Canons new EOS Digital camera applications, my g4 laptop took a large crash, beeping, spinning, snapping, crashing 24/7. SO, I reformatted and clean installed Tiger, now disk utiltiy is giving me red warning about fatal error and the hard drive needs to be replaced immediately.
so thats my epxerience with the ‘unexplainable beep’…. mine had a sort of a snap like sound with it as it beeped…. the sound came from under the keys towards the mid right side of the keyboard…. I thought heat had something to do with it, perhaps?.
off the Fry’s this morning to get a new drive.
take care and good luck,

A person asked a simple question and your dunces posted crap. Not one useful comment.

Regarding your laptop beep,
My G4/500 TiBook has “subtly” since I bought it back in 2001. I beeps very softly, always at the same volume no matter waht the sound level is set too. In all this time, I haven’t noticed if it beeps while running on battery, but it does seem as though it’s not coming from the speakers. There seems to be no pattern to it and I have yet to find an answer to the issue. It’s very mysterious, but I’ve learned to live with it. Still, I’d like to know why it’s happening.

hello….my 15inch powerbook just didnt turn on today it beeps three times and the screen is blank. This laptop is only acouple weeks old and iam very pist. The sleep light is blinking the same sequence as well. Iam not sure what i should do and if i should be calling apple or is there some key command taht i need to use. PLEAAASEEE HELPPP MEE i need this computar for school.

I’m having the same 3-beep problem reported by Jake and Leo. Hitting google hard to see what I can find.

I just purchased a 1.67 GHz PowerBook G4 17″ with DDR2-enabled RAM and have experienced the same issue, approximately once every two days, while the laptop was powered on. It sounds as if it’s coming from the left side of the laptop, but not from the speakers. My previous 1.25 GHz Powerbook G4 15″ never had that issue. I haven’t a clue as to what’s up; luckily it’s more of a happy beep than a low-pitched screeching noise πŸ˜‰

I’ve got a 4 beep problem. Seems to happen twice a day, and the only way to stop it is to put the machine to sleep and then power it up again.
Beep beep beep beep, beep beep beep beep, over and over. Sounds a bit like an alarm clock.
12″ G4 Powerbook. Again, I’m not convinced it’s coming from the speakers – it really does sound like it could be an internal beepy thing for hardware errors etc.
It definitely isn’t a web ad causing it for me.

I have a powerbook 667 and it has been freezing almost non-stop for the last week, making it unusable (I’m typing this from an e-machine). When it freezes, it beeps four times and the system “sleep” light also flashes four times as well. The only way to make it stop is to unplug the power and take out the battery. It doesn’t seem to matter if the computer is plugged in or on battery power. I’ve been the only owner it’s ever known, since June of 2002, and it has always worked fine up until now. I’m not quite ready to get a new computer (money and sentimental reasons) and I’m running out of options. I don’t want to have to use an e-machine for the rest of my life. Somebody please help!

15″ Powerbook G4, 2GB DDR2 Ram, 120 GB HD, random piezoelectric beep. Called Apple, they had no idea. I have a backup HD with which I have everything backed up, but I’m not convinced its a HD failing as Disk Util’s S.M.A.R.T. is not reporting anything at all. The computer is working fine. I do apparently, seem to be having an inability to burn DVDs. CDs burn no problem. I wonder if the beep is a hardware failure alert coming from the Superdrive? Cheers.

Don’t feel alone, My Averatec Laptop beeps often. Just before I asked the internet, it beeped six times in a row.
Tech support says: They have no idea!!
Friend told me it means my HDD is dying a slow death. Your guess is as good as the techs.

I own a PowerMac G5 Quad, and it now makes the same beeping noise. I never knew what it was. I noticed that it began happening once I networked all of my computers in the same house via ethernet. After networking the seven Mac computers in the house, the PowerMac G4 cube began making the same sound but at a higher tone. Just today I noticed that my 17” was making the exact sound but this one was followed by an extremely high-pitch scream. My best guess is that it is network related because one I networked all of the computers, most of them began beeping. Currently in our home every computer is now making the sound except for the two 15” iMac G4s and my precious 17” iMac G4, P-Didy.

I have an old mac laptop charger and the only problem with it was that the end was broken. Since I needed some powerful dc, I chopped off the end and ran the electricity through salt-water (for electrolysis). During some of my experiments the charger would beep at me. I believe that this indicates that the charger thinks it’s short-cricuiting. For the people who have only had beeping when the computer is charging, listen to the charger. The high-pitch noise is very hard to locate and this may be why most people thought it was coming from the computer.
Hope this helps some of you.

I also have the same problem. I ran several tests on my own and Apple specialists have been unable to replicate the issue and attempted to charge me 75 bucks for a software related issue which they claim to be the problem. In my case, it starts with a few high pitch beeps and then goes into an alarm. The whole process lasts about 1-2 minutes and stops. At first I thought it was my speakers going bad because I would disconnect the speakers and the sound would stop. However, sometimes it appears to come from the internal speakers. It varies. When I do fast user switching the sound stops. I’ve given up on trying to find a solution. I just got Applecare and I guess I will have to deal with this until the Applecare runs out since my Powermac G5 2.0 Ghz and my flat panel monitor are covered under the same warranty.

My damn Averatec beeps in law classes – school just started yesterday. People two rows ahead turn around and glare at me…No help from tech support. Turned off sound, disabled sound card – still beeps. Sound is coming from the CDrom drive. In addition to loans I may have to suck up the cost of buying a NON beeping, second laptop…

I have a beeping laptop too, only mine’s a Dell Inspiron 1150, and this problem started roughly 10 days ago. A little history: I replaced my hard disk that had crashed with a new one of the exact same make & model (60GB Hitachi Travelstar, 5400rpm, SATA) a month and a half ago. The old one had a busted head, they told me…. I’m technologically challenged, and this is worrying me like the dickens! πŸ™ PLEASE, SOMEONE, TELL ME WHAT’S WRONG!!!!!!!!!!

Don’t know about all the issues but the original where the Mac beeps 4 times is indicating a ROM problem. HOWEVER, RAM sticks can also cause same. I installed my own RAM about a year ago, had problems, switched them around and worked great. Now I get 4 beeps and the LED on the latch button blinks 4 times as well. Replaced RAM with original stick and seems to be OK now.

It’s either your hard drive or your RAM. The RAM is the easiest thing to check. The hard drive beeping is also a sign that it is failing and will likely die.

My Dell Inspiron 1150 gives a constant beeping sorta sounds like a heart beat. If I turn down the volume it goes away but ofcourse this means I have no sound on the computer. Anyone have any ideas about what this could be? I’ve been running virus scans and it occurs when no programs are running.

Holy Cow! Yeah, I have a Powerbook 1.67 17″ and it just started beeping in the last few days. It took me that long to figure out where the beeping was coming from, but it is my computer. Mine does four sets of two beeps. Beep Beep, Beep Beep, Beep Beep, Beep Beep. I’m freaking spooked, but it’s still under warranty for two more years, so they better be able to fix it.

My G4 went black today. I have the 3 beeps too. I put in a CD to see if it would play and now it’s stuck (Erland Oye – DJ Kicks). I sure hope my Applecare is still in effect, because I’ve only had this 15 incher for 2 years, 2 months.

Im having the same problem as everone else. 3 beeps. Its a sort of elongated submarine beep. and It happens once ever 20 minutes! It doesnt beep when it is closed but otherwise, it doesnt matter if its charging or not. I cant tell where its coming from because its a general noise that emits from the computer. Like a bubble. Why isnt there a solution to this?

My ibook G4 laptop that I bought in 2005 has recently (2007) started freezing. When it freezes it makes a beep-beep sound;almost like an alarm. In order to resart the laptop I have to..
unplug the power cord
take out the battery
put the battery back in
start the computer
Wish I could figure out why.

I have the same problem as some of you have….I am very computer illiterate and confused…i came home from out of town and my ex says the laptop doesnt work…I turn it on, the screen stays black and then the three beeps. Screen stays black and the sleep white light blinks three times. If any of you guys are good with computers or have fixed this problem on your own MAc PLEASE HELP!! Thanks. if you cant respond on here, lemme know I will give you my email.

One Solution:
Hey guys, I heard the mysterious beeping, too! Maybe, juuuust maybe you should check out your – always active – dashboard. There’s an alarmclock there which might just be set. Turn it off and: hoooray! No more mysterious beeping sound! πŸ˜‰
(that is if your mac isn’t beeping on you during startup, then you’re probably facing a ram failure)
good luck and happy beep – beep to you guys.

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