Sonos’ wireless speaker system is receiving the Sonos S2 operating system update this month. It will bring “new features, usability updates, and more personalization moving forward… to enable higher resolution audio technologies for music and home theater.” But, not all Sonos products will receive the benefit. More concerning, if you have a collection of mixed compatible speakers, you may need two apps to enjoy your hardware.

Sonos S2 upgrade

The Sonos S2 upgrade has been rumored for a while and its original intent to brick legacy devices caused controversy with customers. Sonos’ CEO made a corrective decision, to allow older devices continued operation, even after the new OS launched.

Forthcoming Sonos S2 operating system upgrade promises new abilities and higher resolution audio experiences, but it will not cover the full line of existing and previous hardware device.

Most Sonos products will enjoy compatibility with the new Sonos S2 OS and the subsequent control app. Older devices will lack compatibility because onboard memory and processing abilities are lacking. Older devices will continue to operate as normal, just lacking newer feature abilities.

Here is the breakdown:

Sonos S2 FAQs

Per the Sonos support page, there are several important considerations that Sonos owners need to make about their experience, especially if they utilize a mixed system of current-soon-to-be-previous generation “S1” hardware and upcoming “S2” compatible hardware. A condensed list of these items is below.

Do I have to update to Sonos S2?

No. If your setup includes incompatible hardware and would like to keep your system operating as-is, do not upgrade the OS. The current Sonos app will be renamed “Sonos S1 Controller” and continue operating your existing products, music services, and voice services. When the app prompts for an update, confirm your preference to continue with “your current experience.” If all products are S2 compatible, Sonos recommends running the update to enjoy new features.

What if some of my hardware is S2 compatible, but others are not?

You can continue using the Sonos S1 Controller app to control your speakers. You may also want to consider creating two separate systems: 1) with hardware that is Sonos S2 compatible; 1) with products that are not. If you choose this method, there is an even more complicated Sonos support article, which outlines the ways to operate both systems, requiring two individual apps.

If I choose to continue with the Sonos S1 Controller app, what is my future experience?

Your system will continue with all current functionalities. Bug fixes and security patches will be offered, if necessary. No new software functionality will be added to your system. Sonos does issue a warning, however, that they “will work with our partners to keep your music and voice services working with our older products for as long as we can.”

Are new products incompatible with the Sonos S1 Controller app?

Any products released after May 2020, will not be compatible with S1, including the brand new Arc soundbar.

How do I upgrade to Sonos S2 compatible products?

Sonos is offering a Trade Up program with the ability to save 30% on any new, compatible product. Access the Sonos Trade Up program to determine which of your products are eligible and initiate a trade-in.

When/How does the new Sonos S2 app launch?

There will be a push notification from the existing controller app when the newer version is available. It will launch in the month of June 2020, but an exact date is not published at this time.