iChat Sounds

Posted on January 18th, 2006 by

For some reason or another the sound effects for my iChat client don’t seem to work all the time any more. I first noticed it last week. Shortly after the upgrade to OS X 10.4.4 I lost the sounds that let me know when someone has left me a message. I can quit iChat, I can log out, but that won’t bring back the sound. The only thing that works is to reboot. I’m sure there is another solution, but that is the only one I have found so far. After googling for a bit, I still have not heard of anyone else having that issue. So either I am alone in this or it may be hard to search for this particular issue. If anyone else has noticed this as well, please let me know.

[UPDATE]  Ok, so I found another temporary fix just short of rebooting.  If I kill the coreaudiod process and start up iChat again, I get my sound effects a.k.a. alerts back.  To do that, I opened up Terminal, ran:

ps -aux | grep coreaudio

To get the process ID as can be seen here:

root        32   0.3  0.2    29808   1816  ??  Ss   Tue02PM   1:10.80 /usr/sbin/coreaudiod

The process ID is 32.  So then I quit iChat, and ran this to kill the coreaudiod process:

sudo kill 32

Then start iChat and you should hear the familiar alert sounds again.  Yay!



  1. Katherine says:

    Having the same problem myself…and it worked! I couldn’t get the grep command to output the process id, though, and I can’t figure out why. It didn’t return anything. I just used Activity Monitor to find the process id.

    This is an odd one…wonder how many other folks are suffering? =)
    I found this by randomly googling…anyway…thanks for sharing your wisdom!

  2. Patrick says:


    I had the same problem… googling for “ichat sound effects” brought me to your post.
    Works great!
    However, it happened the first time today… but upgraded to 1.4.4 as soon as it was out.


  3. Trevor Woods says:

    I had the same problem – been driving me nuts. Audio alerts would not work in iChat. I quit iChat, killed core audio, launched ichat and audio alerts are back in iChat.

    Thanks for the tip.

  4. Jussi says:

    Thanks for this post. It fixed the issue for me too (on 10.4.5), although now the iChat sounds seem to be quite low volume. But that’s better than no volume.

  5. James Alley says:

    I’m sure thousands of people have this problem. It’s been driving me nuts. I’m glad you found the offending process.

  6. My hero. I’ve been having this problem on and off for quite a while now. Rebooting the machine just to get iChat sounds working was making me feel dumb. Nice to know I can do a quick fix now! Thank you THANK YOU for figuring it out!


  7. Lee says:

    I just tried this fix for iChat sound and I get a error message

    -bash: root: command not found

    I copied and pasted what you wrote, any suggestions?

  8. doachs says:

    Lee – If you can’t kill the process in Terminal, another way to do it is to use the Activity Monitor instead. Just search in the Activity Monitor for audio, select coreaudiod from the list and click on the Quit Process icon.

  9. Matheau says:

    Thanks so much. This has been driving me crazy. A one-liner to fix it is “sudo killall coreaudiod”.

  10. Greatful. says:

    Mad props.

  11. Sebkha says:

    I filed this to the iChat feedback page, so if Apple didn’t know about this before, they do now.

  12. Chet says:

    Nice job. I’ve blogged this, too, with credit back here. I can’t believe Apple doesn’t have anything about this on their site yet. Or, failing that, a friggin’ bug fix.

  13. Just had iChat lose sound on 10.4.10. The bug is still around!

    The fix works. Thanks

  14. Josh Todd says:

    I’m on 10.5.8 and the I was having the problem too. The fix still works! I just used Activity Monitor to find the Coreaudio process and kill it, but it worked beautifully! Thank you so much. Google forever to find this post.

  15. CJ Chihara says:

    Same problem, will try fix but I don’t use terminal much and am a little nervous. Is the activity monitor fix permanent or do you need to do it each time you boot up?