Disable the System Bell in iTerm

Spend enough time in a terminal session and eventually the system “bell” will drive you nuts. I honestly don’t remember it being this much of an issue on my old Macbook Pro, but it’s been maddening since I got my new one a few weeks ago. Because of its bookmarks feature, iTerm is my emulator of choice and there’s nothing in its preferences (I’m using Build 0.9.6.20090415) that even acknowledges a system bell exists, much less allows me to disable it. I did a clean install when I got my new machine, so maybe this is a recent change. I haven’t looked at the release history to determine why it’s not there, I can only be sure that it’s not.

In a fit of desperation this morning, I decided to scour the plist file to see if there was anything I could do at a slightly lower level to quiet my terminal sessions. Fortunately, I found an answer:

  1. Navigate to ~/Library/Preferences.
  2. Open net.sourceforge.iTerm.plist in your favorite plist file editor. I use Property List Editor.app because I have XCode installed and the app is available to me. There are other plist editors out there or you can just open the file in a text editor – it’s just an XML file with a fancy extension.
  3. Navigate the XML nodes (different editors may offer different means of drilling down) to Root > Terminals > Default > Silence Bell
  4. Click the checkbox to enable that property.
  5. Save the change.
  6. Restart iTerm.

Enjoy the silence.

Subscribe3 Comments on Disable the System Bell in iTerm

  1. vicTROLLA said...

    The authors put this in the bookmarks menu for some reason.

    Bookmarks -> manage profiles -> profiles -> default -> silence system bell.

    This is iterms biggest problem.

  2. Rob Wilkerson said...

    Great tip; thanks for sharing. I would have looked there…never.

  3. Sean Charles said...

    Silence is golden!
    I found your post as a last ditch search before trying to do the same. I was close to ripping the speakers out, a hardware fix. Nice one mate.
    :)