Sonos' next app update is bad news for hardcore music fans on Android

An iPhone with the Sonos Controller app on the screen
(Image credit: Sonos)

If you have one of the best Sonos speakers and use the company’s app on Android, then you might be surprised to hear that it plans to remove the ability to play audio files stored directly on your device through the app.

The update will be rolled out to all Android devices that have the Sonos S2 and S1 Controller apps starting May 23, and once you're updated, you will no longer be able to use the app’s ‘On this device’ feature to play music. 

Sonos quietly made the announcement on its website sometime earlier this month with a notice that reads: “We’re removing the ability to play audio files directly to Sonos using the ‘On this device’ menu in the Sonos app for Android.”  

The update doesn’t mean that you will no longer be able to play music that you own though. You’ll still be able to play your own audio files via line-in or Bluetooth… if your Sonos speaker supports one of those options, which not all do. The company also suggests uploading your music to a network attached storage drive, which will also allow you to then share the files with your Sonos system, but again, that's a big hassle. 

Sonos also recommends moving your music to a streaming service that is supported, such as Apple Music, YouTube Music, Deezer or Plex. Although it’s worth noting that some of these services require a premium subscription to work with Sonos.

Local streaming no longer supported  

There’s no real clear reason why Sonos has removed the feature but there are some early indications that it has something to do with newer versions of Android judging from a post that the company published in its support forum. 

“As newer versions of mobile operating systems are released, it can sometimes change the way information is shared between devices, and this feature will no longer be compatible with newer versions of the Android operating system,” the post said

It's unlikely that this is due to Google and Sonos' on-going legal battles. Despite the fact that both companies have been locked in an infringement battle over a patent dispute for several years, Sonos had already removed the feature from other operating systems. Indeed, the ability to play music on your device is something that Sonos had already restricted for Apple device owners three years ago.

Sonos just released the Era 100 and Era 300 speakers, which have built-in Bluetooth support, but that doesn't help people who have older Sonos speakers that don't. Even then, with Bluetooth audio not being the highest-quality, you might prefer a line-in – but that'll require adapters.

For those who love to have a big microSD card of their own music stored on their phone, and use Sonos, this is a big hit.

Amelia Schwanke
Senior Editor UK, Home Entertainment

Amelia became the Senior Editor for Home Entertainment at TechRadar in the UK in April 2023. With a background of more than eight years in tech and finance publishing, she's now leading our coverage to bring you a fresh perspective on everything to do with TV and audio. When she's not tinkering with the latest gadgets and gizmos in the ever-evolving world of home entertainment, you’ll find her watching movies, taking pictures and travelling.