Sonos Kills Recycle Mode

Posted on March 6, 2020 by Paul Thurrott in Smart Home, Sonos with 4 Comments

Sonos will stop putting old smart speakers in what it calls recycle mode, even if they were used to upgrade to a new device.

News of the policy change comes via an unnamed and unquoted Sonos spokesperson who told the publication Engadget that recycle mode was no more.

This reverses a policy that enraged some users because it meant that older devices would literally need to be recycled because they could never be used by others: Previously, Sonos owners could use the firm’s Trade Up program to get a 30 percent discount on new devices when one of their older devices was no longer supported. But Sonos would put the older device into recycle-mode, effectively bricking it because it could no longer connect to a network.

Now, Sonos owners with legacy—non-supported—devices can still take advantage of the 30 percent discount via the Trade Up program, but their older devices will continue working too. This will let them keep using them, of course. Or they can sell or give them away to others. (Sonos legacy devices can only be used to get a 30 percent discount on new gear once, Sonos says.)

The change caps a tumultuous few months for Sonos, which announced the Trade Up program and recycle mode policy in January, only to reverse course a few days later when its customers—and, frankly, a lot of online trolls who aren’t customers—publicly expressed their outrage. This change effectively closes the loop on that whole episode.

Still pending, of course, is the Sonos lawsuit against Google, which was announced earlier in January. Sonos alleges that Google stole its smart speaker technology and used it in its much less expensive Chromecast and smart speaker products. It has raised identical allegations against Amazon and its Echo line of smart speakers, but is currently only suing Google.

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