The disaster known as The New Sonos App

On May 7th, 2024, Sonos, the successful home-audio company, released a new mobile app. This had been hyped in the press and was going to make product setup easier and greatly improve the user experience. However, when the app was actually released, it was, and somewhat remains, a disaster. As a certified Sonos fanboy/hacker/almost-employee I’m going to try and explain what happened, as best I can based on my reverse engineering skills, honed over the last decade and more of creating independent Sonos apps.

This was written by Andy Pennell, who worked on Phonos, a successful Windows Phone app, and on Phish, a never released modern Windows controller for Sonos.

I still have half a dozen Sonos speakers, which I never use. And I am seriously contemplating downgrading them to Sonos S1 as long as I can.

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15 thoughts on “The disaster known as The New Sonos App”

  1. The new app from Sonos is really unusable! Whenever I try to choose some music within the Sonos app, I fail – every, single, time.

    My Sonos Five are currently just Airplay Speakers. They still sound good…

  2. “but new users who get their shiny Sonos device out of the box and then can’t get the app to work are just going to put it back in the box and return it.”
    I hope so. This is the only language Sonos will understand.

  3. My Sonos One in the bathroom and my Sonos Roam on the sundeck are working a bit more reliable as AirPlay speakers as before. That is really ok-ish. But the latency when I add one of them to playing HomePods is double. Music stops, the Sonos player starts after a > 2 sec pause and the HomePods are joining milliseconds afterwards. When I add the second Sonos there is no delay at all.

  4. Indeed, a disaster!
    I always thought it was me, but no….
    For their interface, they really looked at the Roon App, but they aren’t Roon ….

  5. Have been a very happy Sonos user since > 15yrs and kept buying more devices because of the superiour user experience. My home is filled with Sonos speakers.

    Was initially rolling my eyes at the folks complaining about the new app and threatening to get rid of their hardware because of it. I assumed in good faith that this was caused by a new team of novice developers trying to replace the old team’s aging codebase and that they will fix things over time.

    Andy’s writeup about the internal API changes suggest that it isn’t just incompetence, but actual malice on Sonos’ part. The S1->S2 change was badly done, but this seems to be the formal start of enshittification at scale at Sonos.

    1. I see it exactly like you! And I also expected a new release soon, which in the light of those details won’t come…

      Sonos isn’t usable at our home any more without hurdles: detection of system fails, music selection is a mess, not to speak of volume change and grouping…

      What a pitty!

      1. Folks on r/sonos claim that the new app was tested with newer devices only and that the Play:1 is just too slow to handle the new API properly. My home setup is mostly Play:1 on S2. That would explain my problems with the new app. But I’m unwilling to replace my existing speakers because of an adversarial software upgrade. If 3rd party controller apps stop working and Sonos removes the old API, the Sonos hardware will have to leave.

  6. Habe mich beim Umbau für Crestron NAX entschieden. Habe das aber nur in wenigen Räumen, da dann jeweils mit Lautsprechern. Rock-solid, Standards, offene APIs, Airplay und Direktzugriff auf Streamingdienste. Standalone-Lautsprecher mit Wifi bietet Crestron leider nicht, war bei mir konkret halt nicht relevant.

  7. I have been a Sonos user for many years and remain satisfied.
    I use a pair of Era100 with Sub with the new app. I have not experienced any difficulties streaming music (with Apple Music). For me, the new app is ok and Sonos is still a system worth recommending.

    1. The Era speakers are using a fast CPU and lots of RAM, so they are fast enough to handle the new API and thus you don’t notice any problem.

      My older Play:1 spends 15-20s thinking before reacting to the new app’s commands like playing an album or changing the volume. If the reports are true, Sonos released the new app knowing that older devices will become sluggish. And it appears that the new API makes this unfixable.

      Owning ten Play:1 that were working perfectly fine some weeks ago, I’m quite pissed.

  8. I started using sonophone instead of the original app. While not really beautiful, it is fast and reliable. And with four euros quite affordable.

    1. I recommended Sonophone to my 75 year old father yesterday, who owns – since former logistics boss at ueberall-musik.de 🙂 – also some players like Play:1 and Play:3. This morning he wrote a short message to say that, having understood the interface, he can now operate everything perfectly again.

      Thanks again, VoWe, for the link to the report. Helped a lot and made Sonos working again. At least for the moment…

  9. Whoever develops today at Sonos (Apps and Firmware), does not use these himself!
    Especially not after paying thousends of EUR or $$$ on a Hardware park, that is not only one device from the latest and greatest, sponsord by the company).

    My current Problems:
    – every other day the App can´t connect to the Play:1 in my Bedroom, to switch the alarm off…
    – some Days the Alarm does not play Music, just it´s anoying Tone (yes, Internet connection is working fine at that moment)
    – the Favorites List in the ios-App is broken. No Artwork, not sorted. Just works for new entries. Same Favorites List in Windows Desktop App just fine as ever.
    – bad Design on small iPhone screen

  10. Since many years, I have a mix of Sonos 1 and 2, more than 10 devices, incl. 2 connect. After the latest updates (y’all know there were quite a few) everything is smooth and running again. Well, didn’t try my local NAS so far …

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