Submit Hint Search The Forums LinksStatsPollsHeadlinesRSS
14,000 hints and counting!

10.5: Set the alarm sound for default iCal alarms Apps
The version of iCal in 10.5 has the ability to automatically add a default alarm to every new event -- enable this feature in the General section of iCal's preferences. However, there's no ability to choose the sound for these default alarms; you get what iCal chooses and have to manually change it each time. But there's a solution to that...

To change the default alarm sound in iCal, first quit iCal. Now double-click the com.apple.iCal.plist file in your user's Library » Preferences folder. When Property List Editor opens, click the arrow next to Root and select the Root entry. Click the New Child button in the toolbar. In the entry that was just created, enter the Item as Default alarm sound, leave Class set to String, and then type the name of the sound file you'd like to use in the Value field. Save preferences file and relaunch iCal. Create a new event, and you should see that its alarm is set to the sound you entered as the default.

[robg adds: Property List Editor comes with Apple's Xcode Developer Tools; if you haven't installed the tools, then the file will open in a text editor, but display gibberish. That's because it's a binary file. To edit it in a text editor, you'll need to convert it a couple times (before and after editing) as explained in this hint. To make things easier, you could use PListEdit Pro instead, which can open binary plist files ... or you can just install Xcode.

For the name of the sound file, enter it without the extension (Glass, Hero, Morse...) or path; just the root portion of the filename itself. iCal will look for sounds in both the /System » Library » Sounds folder and your user's Library » Sounds folder -- so you can store and use custom sounds in your user's Sounds folder. (I assume it would also find sounds in a /Library » Sounds folder, but I didn't test that.) Note that it seems, based on my testing, that sounds must be in AIFF format. I tried using MP3 files, and while they played once, iCal then crashed if I tried to change the alarm sound to something else. I didn't do extensive testing, but had the same result with two different MP3s. I converted those two files to AIFF, and they worked just fine.]
    •    
  • Currently 4.08 / 5
  You rated: 5 / 5 (12 votes cast)
 
[28,954 views]  

10.5: Set the alarm sound for default iCal alarms | 27 comments | Create New Account
Click here to return to the '10.5: Set the alarm sound for default iCal alarms' hint
The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
10.5: Set the alarm sound for default iCal alarms
Authored by: Reaperducer on Feb 25, '08 08:14:05AM

Excellent! I've been waiting for something just like this. Now my computer "moofs" without me having to set it over and over and over again.



[ Reply to This | # ]
10.5: Set the alarm sound for default iCal alarms
Authored by: pbeyersdorf on Feb 25, '08 02:28:14PM

Good hint. Since I usually have my calendar items send me an email a day ahead of time, rather than trigger an alarm, I'd like to figure out how to have iCal default to sending an email. Does anyone have any ideas on that?



[ Reply to This | # ]
Easier download for Property List Editor
Authored by: leamanc on Feb 25, '08 09:08:46AM

Property List Editor also comes with the Server Admin Tools (at least the 10.5 version, maybe even 10.4). This is a much quicker download, and you can just drag-n-drop PLE to your Applications folder, rather than going through the XCode install.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Command Line
Authored by: rspeed on Feb 25, '08 09:26:46AM
Some may find this easier:
defaults write com.apple.iCal Default\ alarm\ sound -string 'Pop'


[ Reply to This | # ]
What I really want for Ical is
Authored by: SOX on Feb 25, '08 10:04:44AM

when an alarm goes off, say it was set to 1 hour before the meeting, it allows me to be reminded in 15 minutes or 30 minutes etc... like a cheap snooze alarm.


What I really want is for it to offer me the opportunity to have the alarm go off 5 minutes before the meeting. that is I want a snooze relative to the meeting time not relative to the current time when I see the alarm.

The purpose of the alarm was to tell me to prepare for the meeting. I don't really care when exactly I notice the alarm. But I want a reminder a few minutes before the meeting to tell me to go to it.



[ Reply to This | # ]
What I really want for Ical is
Authored by: wmscyclone on Feb 25, '08 10:23:19AM

you can add a second alarm (and more than that, too). In iCal, right click on the alarm section in the info pane of the event and add another alarm for 5 minutes before the event.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Command Line
Authored by: Felix on Feb 25, '08 11:53:58AM

rspeed said:

defaults write com.apple.iCal Default\ alarm\ sound -string 'Frog'

as a Command Line entry.

Didn't work for me after an iCal restart. Maybe a computer restart is needed? Or maybe the instructions are faulty?



[ Reply to This | # ]
10.5: Set the alarm sound for default iCal alarms
Authored by: Auricchio on Feb 25, '08 10:28:45AM

I've been waiting for this for the iPhone! I can't stand the little tweet-tweet alert sound.

The iPhone's alarm-clock app has lots of good, loud sounds. Why not its calendar app?

---
EMOJO: mojo no longer workin'



[ Reply to This | # ]
10.5: Set the alarm sound for default iCal alarms
Authored by: ephramz on Feb 25, '08 01:25:57PM

I'm glad there's a new default alarm setting in iCal in 10.5 so i don't have to use iCalFix anymore to finagle that, but iCal or the Data detectors in Mail don't honor that default setting when setting up an ical event from a mail message.

So I have to go down and select "Alarm - none" in the floating window, set it to "Message with sound", Then change the settings to what I like (1 day before). That's already more clicks than I needed with Mail2iCal or other pre-Leopard hacks for this. The other annoying thing is that if I try to solely use the keyboard for setting up the event from Mail, I can tab to the alarm menu, but then as soon as I select "message with sound" it puts the focus in the number field and won't let me tab out to set it to "days before" instead of "minutes before", so I have to go back to the mouse!

I hope somebody (Apple, you listening?) fixes this, makes data detectors, which I love, imminently less useful.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Does not work for all alarms
Authored by: googoo on Feb 26, '08 06:14:41AM

This hint works if you have the "Add default alarm ..." preference set, but it does not work for manually set alarms. I set different alarms for different types of events, so I do not have the default alarm setting enabled. I would like to have my default alarm sound when I choose a Message with sound alarm. Instead iCal always selects Basso, which I do not particularly like, and I have to manually change it! Also, why are your previous alarm choices not visible in the alarms list when there is no alarm set yet? Instead, I have to choose Message with sound before I click on the alarms list again to see my pervious choices. This unnecessary clicking is all wrong!

-Mark



[ Reply to This | # ]
Does not work for all alarms
Authored by: awtbfb on Apr 29, '08 05:12:07PM

Here's a crude hack that worked for me. Quit iCal, go to /System/Library/Sounds and rename Basso.aiff to something like BassoOrig.aiff, make a copy of your favorite sound and rename it as Basso.aiff. When you restart iCal it will still preselect Basso, but this time it will play the sound you want.

BTW - I tried this but with an alias to the other sound and it didn't work. Also, iCal will still pick up Basso even if there is an earlier alphabetical name (e.g., AGlass.aiff).



[ Reply to This | # ]
Does not work for all alarms
Authored by: ziploked on Nov 12, '09 10:45:19PM

I found a solution to changing your default sound in Snow Leopard...
1. First of all, you need an .aiff file to work with. To convert a sound you like, import the sound file into iTunes (assuming .mp3 or .wav)
2. In iTunes, go to iTunes > Preferences
3. # Click General at the top of the Preferences window.
4. Click Import Settings.
5. From the Import Using menu, choose AIFF Encoder instead of MP3 or AAC encoders
6. Open iTunes, highlight the original sound file, and choose Advanced > Create AIFF version
7. Find the .aiff version in your finder, and drag it to your desktop
8. Open Finder > Macintosh HD > System > Library > Sounds. Drag your new AIFF file into Sounds folder. You may need to authenticate to do this, meaning supply your password
9. Open System Preferences > Sound > Sound Effects and select your new sound!
DONE!



[ Reply to This | # ]
No "Root Entry"
Authored by: austin2000 on Feb 27, '08 09:01:18PM

I followed the instruction, but there is no "Root Entry" in "Root". Is there something wrong with my mac (OS 10.5.2) or iCal (ver. 3.0.2)? Please someone help me. I cannot stand that default Basso sound!



[ Reply to This | # ]
No "Root Entry"
Authored by: seika7 on Feb 28, '08 11:48:55AM

It's just that top entry called "Root"; there's nothing called "Root Entry" (notice that he used a lower-case "e" for "entry").



[ Reply to This | # ]
10.5: Set the alarm sound for default iCal alarms
Authored by: seika7 on Feb 28, '08 11:40:39AM

Thanks! Now, how did you discover this?

--Bryan



[ Reply to This | # ]
10.5: Set the alarm sound for default iCal alarms
Authored by: saper on Feb 28, '08 06:04:01PM

It just seemed to me that there had to be a way to change it, so I guessed as to what the name of the plist item should be! But I agree with previous posters that the thing with the tab is irritating. The Apple testers are probably too young to realize that many of us were trained on keyboard only programs, and prefer it to the mouse.



[ Reply to This | # ]
10.5: Set the alarm sound for default iCal alarms
Authored by: ovrdrvn on Nov 03, '09 06:52:57AM

Assuming this works in Snow Leopard...does anyone know how to set the default sound off? I hate having a sound and would like a default alarm set that is either just a message or an email etc.

Thanks.



[ Reply to This | # ]
10.5: Set the alarm sound for default iCal alarms
Authored by: 33Nick on Nov 17, '09 11:23:43AM

My iCal does not sound an alarm. The alarm goes off with no sound. ANy ideas?

Thanks,



[ Reply to This | # ]
10.5: Set the alarm sound for default iCal alarms
Authored by: everkleer80 on Nov 17, '09 02:51:32PM

When you are creating the event, will the sound sample when you select it? If not, check to make sure you sound effects/alert volume is not turned down too far (I'll go ahead and assume your regular volume is on.) You can find your alert volume in sound System Preferences, or there was a hint here a few weeks back that in Snow Leopard you can hold Option (I think that's it) and click the speaker icon in the menu bar.

If that's not it, then it is most likely corrupt/missing sound files. I'm not sure exactly where the sounds are located on the computer, but if you can find them and they are bad / some are missing then you may have to replace them with ones from another computer or something (if you use TimeMachine or some other backup solution then maybe you have them..)



[ Reply to This | # ]
10.5: Set the alarm sound for default iCal alarms
Authored by: 33Nick on Nov 18, '09 11:16:46AM

Hi, my sound works fine with everything else. The sound effects/alert volume grays out the speaker mode, strangely enough. ANy idea how I can that back? Same thing in Admin mode. Strange. I will replace the sounds fro my other laptop.

Thanks,



[ Reply to This | # ]
10.5: Set the alarm sound for default iCal alarms
Authored by: everkleer80 on Nov 18, '09 11:49:52AM

Not sure exactly what you mean by "The sound effects/alert volume grays out the speaker mode". Are you saying the alert volume in Sound System Preferences is greyed out? If so, then sounds like something is disabling your alert sounds. Whatever the case, you could try temporarily creating a new user on your machine to see if it is a [user specific] setting/software issue.

When you say your sound works fine in everything else, does that include the alert sounds in programs like Mail and iChat?



[ Reply to This | # ]
10.5: Set the alarm sound for default iCal alarms
Authored by: kakgungor on May 15, '10 06:01:10PM

I am wondering if anyone knows a way to change the "type" of alarm. Currently, iCal defaults to "Message with Sound" as the default alarm, and I can't see any way to change it. When syncing with my Google Calendar, this type of alarm is ignored, and Google applies it's own default alarm to the event. When it is subsequently re-synced with iCal, I then have 2 alarms (the default "Message with Sound" iCal alarm and and the default alarm created by Google Calendar). I've noticed that if I just use the "Message" alarm type in iCal (i.e. the one with no sound) it syncs with Google Calendar properly, overwriting any default Google Calendar alarm settings and leaving me with one alarm.

So if there was some way to specify that iCal should use a default "Message" alarm instead of a "Message with Sound" it would save me from having to change the alarm type every time I create a new event.



[ Reply to This | # ]
10.5: Set the alarm sound for default iCal alarms
Authored by: roccitman on May 20, '10 05:51:29PM

Trying to do the same thing. Did you ever figure this out? Tried adding some lines to the plist file. Something like:
Default alarm type STRING message



[ Reply to This | # ]
10.5: Set the alarm sound for default iCal alarms
Authored by: vickib on Jun 15, '10 10:26:12AM

Thanks. Apple should have had the iCal preferences enable the user to choose her/his default sound.



[ Reply to This | # ]
10.5: Set the alarm sound for default iCal alarms
Authored by: ovrdrvn on Aug 06, '10 08:24:22AM

Anyone know how to set the default alarm to just be a pop up with no sound? The sound drives me nuts and catches me by surprise...plus as I use mobile me, I really just want the alert on all my devices.

Thanks



[ Reply to This | # ]
10.5: Set the alarm sound for default iCal alarms
Authored by: budsimrin on Dec 10, '10 08:49:02AM

Thank you, rspeed. Your 1-liner worked perfectly in Snow Leopard. I preferred to used the Property List Editor but I discovered it wasn't working for me.



[ Reply to This | # ]
10.5: Set the alarm sound for default iCal alarms
Authored by: jpwat81 on Oct 17, '11 11:07:44AM

Want no sound to play?

defaults write com.apple.iCal Default\ alarm\ sound -string 'None'



[ Reply to This | # ]