Fri. Apr 19th, 2024



One of the unspoken oddities of ChromeOS is its lack of system sounds. Your Chromebook doesn’t make a “woosh” noise when you move a file, for example. But Google is finally on the right path, as ChromeOS now uses system audio to indicate charging and battery status.



Audio makes an operating system more immersive, and it helps users understand when an action is successful or unsuccessful. That’s why system audio is such a prominent feature on Windows and macOS—a MacBook makes a noise when it’s plugged in, so you don’t need to check the screen to confirm that it’s charging.

So, going forward, Chromebooks will play a musical hum when they’re connected to a charger. They’ll also play a short, sad-sounding arpeggio when battery life falls below 15%. And, to provide a more lifelike experience, the ChromeOS team developed several versions of these noises. A higher-pitched version of the charging noise will play when a Chromebook’s battery life is low, almost as if the Chromebook is sighing in relief.


You can hear the charging and low-battery noises on Google’s blog. Interestingly, ChromeOS stores these new system audio files in the lossless FLAC format, which was previously unsupported on Chromebooks. Google probably chose FLAC because it’s open source and takes up far less space than WAV.

Charging and low-battery audio indicators initially rolled out in September 2023. If you set up a Chromebook after that date, the new audio cues should be enabled by default. However, some users need to manually enable the charging and low-battery noises. You can do so by entering the Settings app, opening the “Device” tab, and navigating to the “Audio” menu. Scroll down to the “Device sounds” section to toggle low-battery and charging sounds.

You can also enable the ChromeOS startup sound by following the above instructions. Google introduced the ChromeOS startup sound about four years ago, but it’s disabled by default.


Additional system sounds should arrive in the future. That said, the ChromeOS team wants to keep things “subtle,” as Chromebooks are commonly used in classrooms and shouldn’t be a source of distraction.

Source: Google



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By John P.

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