Sonos is ending the controversial Recycle Mode that bricked older devices

“Recycle Mode” has been controversial from the start, and Sonos has finally decided to bring it to an end.

Sonos confirmed on Thursday (via The Verge) that it is ending the Recycle Mode program. The good news here right off the bat is that Sonos will no longer be needlessly bricking legacy products that get traded in for newer products. What’s more, at least for the customers, is that Sonos will still be offering the same trade-up program discount towards a newer product.

So, the Recycle Mode program. Here’s what it is: When a Sonos customer traded up towards a new product, the company would switch on Recycle Mode in the legacy product the customer was getting rid of. Once Recycle Mode was turned on then there would be a 21-day countdown. Once that was reached, the legacy device would stop working altogether.

To get a 30% discount on the new Sonos product, that Recycle Mode would have to be activated.

The easy argument here is that this has a big impact on sustainability, with a lot of legacy products rendered useless. Sonos, at the time of the program’s debut, said it was meant to protect user privacy, while also making sure that older devices can’t be sold as “new” on any gray markets.

The new report states that Sonos is ending the program now. Instead, customers that use the trade-up program will still get the discount towards a new product, and they will be able to choose what happens with their old device:

With the change, Sonos is now giving customers full control over what happens with the older gadgets they’re “trading” up from. They can choose to keep it, give it to someone, recycle it at a local e-waste facility, or send it to Sonos and let the company handle the responsible recycling part. Sonos quietly removed Recycle Mode from its app last week and replaced it with language asking anyone seeking the discount to call customer service. Within the next few weeks, Sonos will update its website with a new flow for the trade-up program that no longer includes Recycle Mode, and you won’t have to call anybody.

Sonos keeping the 30% discount, even if you keep your old speaker, is pretty nice. You can learn more at Sonos’s website.

The report also includes a quick list of the legacy products that are eligible for the trade-up program:

  • Original Sonos Play:5
  • Zone Players
  • Connect / Connect Amp devices (2011 – 2015)

Now, all of this ties to related Sonos news from earlier this year. If you’ll recall a report from January, Sonos initially announced that it was going to axe support for older devices beginning in May of this year. That did not go over well with Sonos customers, though, so the company ultimately changed its mind on that move.

As a result, legacy devices will still get important security software updates. However, the company will not be adding any new features to those legacy devices.

A bit of a rollercoaster start to 2020 for Sonos, to say the least. At least this is a good decision on their part.