Play DTMF Tones on the Mac, Wow


Did you know your Mac has built in DTMF tones? It sure does! It’s likely part of the ability to make phone calls from a Mac via the iPhone, but putting aside the obvious utility of the tones existence, it’s also kind of a fun retro throwback to the caveman days of using dial tones to make calls. If you want to use one of the tones as a ringtone, text tone, or maybe you just want to relive the glory days of multifrequency signaling, we’ll show you how to access the raw files and play them too.

The DTMF tones are buried in a system folder, and all of the standard dual tone multifrequency tones and sounds from the world of telephony are there. The numbers, the star, the pound sign, busy signals, call waiting, all of the greatest hits, just waiting for you to listen.

To access the DTMF sound effects yourself in Mac OS X, here’s what you’ll want to do:

How to Play DTMF Sounds on the Mac

  1. Open the Finder in Mac OS X and hit Command + Shift + G to bring up the Go To Folder window, then enter the following path:


  2. Click “Go” and you’ll be in the DTMF tone folder, you can now play them with Quick Look by selecting a tone and then pressing the space bar on the keyboard, or you can even play the sounds with iTunes if you’re a real glutton for punishment

And don’t you worry, we’ve even created a video tutorial demonstrating how to access and play these exciting DTMF tones on your very own Mac. Prepare to be wowed.

It is so amazing that you want a video of this, right? Then here you have it:

Is this the most exciting thing you have seen and read in a decade? Of course. Is this particularly relevant to the modern era? Maybe, maybe not, depends on who you are, and what you want to do! Is this useful? OK so probably not for most Mac users, particularly since you can dial and get the DTMF tones with Handoff or Skype, but who cares? It’s kind of fun. Dust off an old copy of 2600 and have some fun! And if you still have a land line, you can actually hold the dial tone up to a computer speaker and dial a number by playing the sounds into the microphone of the phone. Is that thrilling or what? Really, it’s like being in the 1980’s and 1990’s all over again.


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