Sonos Update Problem and the Solution

If you have owned Sonos for more than 4 years or so, you likely got an email recently from Sonos that might have either been confusing or frustrating or both. Audio Advice has been a Sonos dealer for many years and by our count, we have over 10,000 customer units that will be affected by the changes happening at Sonos. So just what is going on and what do you need to do?

First, let’s look at a bit of history. We all love Sonos because it enables us to access streaming music services from all over the world, combine rooms to play the same thing, and create some really great playlists. Sonos has also been the best at supporting just about every new music service that comes out, and at this point in time, there are lots of them!

Sonos is unique in that while we all think of them as a company that makes great music components, they are just as much a software company. Their app is one of the best on the planet for music browsing, but that app also has to be able to interface with whatever rules, Apple, Amazon, Spotify, Pandora, Google, and all the others thrown at Sonos. Plus, all of the equipment needs to be able to support those same standards.

As computer processing power gets cheaper, the software developers at all of the music services take advantage of new developments to improve how their system works. You’ve probably noticed how many times your music service software has updates on your smartphone.

When Sonos first got into business with streaming music services, they had the foresight to see this coming and put very powerful processors into their equipment so they would be capable of handling upgrades long into the future. And they have come through on that promise for over a decade. Imagine trying to update your 10-year-old iPhone to new tech, that is just not going to happen.

But the time has now come when a lot of their older gear just does not have the processor to handle what is coming from streaming music. It is unfortunate, but the way software works. We all have old iPads in our homes that will not take the latest Apple update, but we can still use them for some things but not everything as some new apps will not even load on them. That is similar to what is happening with Sonos.

So here is the deal: There is a set of Sonos gear made before late 2015 that will not have fast enough processors for the apps Sonos will need to create in the future. If you have one of those units, you have some choices. The email Sonos initially sent out made it sound like your unit would turn into a boat anchor in May. That is not true.

If you have all old units, you can just keep using them with the current app and everything will work fine for now. Luckily you will not be able to accidentally brick your system by updating to the new app. The app will not let an update happen if there is any old gear in the system.

What could happen though is a streaming service could change their protocols that require Sonos to change or update their app. If this were to happen, you would not be able to use that streaming service anymore.

If you have a combination of both legacy gear and new gear, it is a bit trickier. These will all still work fine on the old app, but if you want all of the features of a new Sonos app when it comes out, you’ll need to split your system up and use two apps. That sounds pretty messy to us. We suspect people with this set up would just keep using the old app too. 

Best Option: Save 30% off the price of new gear to replace your old!

That's right, the best choice in our opinion is to, at some point, take advantage of the super generous trade-in program Sonos is offering. You get 30% off the price of new gear to replace your old. For some of you who have fairly old gear, that 30% represents almost 50% credit for what you originally paid, which is pretty spectacular in our book. The great part is, according to Sonos, the trade-in program will not end. There is no time limit.

Streaming music has enabled more people than ever to enjoy music for more hours during the day than at any time in the past. But it is software-based, which means technology will march forward and updates will happen over time. We think what Sonos is doing is great and hope you now have a better understanding of your options for the future.

If you have any questions regarding the Sonos transition or questions about any other audio gear, feel free to give us a call, chat online with one of our experts, or stop into our Raleigh or Charlotte North Carolina locations.