Sonos' Older Products Won't Work On Its New OS

Earlier this year Sonos removed support for some older devices, but quickly backflipped when fans rather loudly voiced their displeasure. While these devices are still going to be supported past May, things are going to be a little more complicated, because Sonos just announced a shiny new OS called the S2.

The new operating system will have its own dedicated app and promises upgraded audio bandwidth and higher resolution audio bandwidth for audio formats and home theatre. According to Sonos, users will also experience "increased personalisation" though there are no details on what that means.

One feature that has been called out is Room Groups, which will use your system to remember frequently played tracks in certain rooms or zones. There is no hard release date for the S2 globally or locally yet, but it will be sometime in June.

Sonos Backpedals, Says 'All Products Will Work Past May'

Just a few short days ago, Sonos dropped the bomb that some of its older products would no longer receive software updates starting in May 2020. In the initial announcement, Sonos reasoned that the ‘legacy products’ were all reaching the end of their useful life. It then told users they could either recycle the products through its Trade Up program or simply keep legacy devices as they were, understanding that they would eventually lose functionality over time. Today, the company published a blog from CEO Patrick Spence saying that well, actually, Sonos will continue supporting legacy products beyond May.

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Of course, the biggest question Sonos stans probably have is - what about older devices. After the reaction people had last time it tried to sunset a bunch of older hardware, it's clear that Sonos is working to make sure that doesn't happen again.

But while Sonos will continue to update and provide bug fixes to those older devices for as long as possible, they won't be compatible with S2 or any new Sonos product that is released after May.

"As we stated in January, some of our oldest products don’t have sufficient memory or processing power to be compatible with S2. These products will remain on the Sonos app customers are already using which will be renamed the Sonos S1 Controller in the app stores," said a Sonos spokesperson in a statement.

So basically these older devices will still technically work and have connectivity "after May", but not with any new products or anything attached to the S2 OS.


What Sonos Products Won't Work With The New S2 OS

  • All Sonos Zone Players (ZP80, ZP90, ZP100, ZP120, S5)
  • Sonos ZoneBridge
  • Sonos Connect (Manufactured 2011-2015)
  • Sonos Connect:Amp (Manufactured 2011-2015)
  • Sonos Play:5 (1st Gen)
  • Sonos CR200
  • Sonos Bridge

How To Update Sonos Speakers To S2

Any compatible Sonos products will be able to download the new Sonos app from their app store of choice once it goes live in June.

Most Sonos products will be compatible with S2. If all of your products are compatible, you will be able to download the Sonos S2 Controller app and get started when it’s available in June. The system will update to the new S2 OS and you'll be ready to go with all your connected speakers and devices.


How To Use Older Sonos Speakers With The New S2 Operating System

Unfortunately, you can't. However, Sonos has offered a few options on how you can still use these older products on the original S1 operating system.

  • Remove the S1-only products from your system. With only S2 compatible products remaining, you’ll be ready to download the new Sonos app in June.
  • Trade up S1-only products to their S2 compatible equivalents. For customers who choose this option, we continue to offer a 30% discount as part of our Trade Up program.
  • Run your existing system on the S1 app. You’ll still get bug fixes and security patches, and we will work with our partners to keep your music and voice services working for as long as we can.
  • Separate your system into two. We’ll publish detailed instructions for how to do this nearer the time. Unfortunately, it won’t be possible to group an S1 system with an S2 system.

We figure that people who loved the older Sonos products enough to fight for continued updates are perhaps less likely to go for option one or two. But maybe a new OS will be enough to tempt them away.

Option three is quite good if you don't care enough about the new features that we still don't know anything about - though this will also become problematic if you buy any new Sonos products released after May. Those bad boys will be completely incompatible with the older devices.

As for option four, we think that's probably best for people with a mix of newer and soon-to-be incompatible devices they want to keep using. This may seem like an extreme measure, but some people own a lot of Sonos. I know someone with 14 of them.

We'll let you know what else you can expect from the Sonos S2 once more details are released closer to June.

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