The new Sonos S2 app arrived in mid-2020 and, at that same time, the original Sonos app was rebranded as Sonos S1.
What it means for you, and your Sonos system, depends on what speakers you have in your house and their compatibility with the S2 system and app.
Read on for everything you need to know about Sonos S2 and S1 and how to update your multi-room speaker system.
Why is Sonos changing?
At the start of 2020 Sonos announced it would stop updating 'legacy products'. This list included original Zone Players, first-gen Connect and Connect:Amp, the first-generation Play:5, the CR200 and the Sonos Bridge.
Given that some of those devices date back to the early 2000s (although some were sold as recently as 2015) it's hardly surprising that Sonos had to cut the chord at some point. The hardware surely gets to a point where it can't just keep up with the software it's expected to handle seamlessly?
Incompatible Sonos S1 hardware:
- Sonos Play:5 (Gen 1)
- All Zone Players
- CR200 controller
- Sonos Connect (Gen 1)
- Sonos Connect:Amp (Gen 1)
- Sonos Bridge
What is Sonos S2?
Sonos S2 is not only the name of the new app, with a new color icon, it's also a new OS (via a firmware update), for your non-legacy Sonos speakers.
The app looks pretty swanky, truth be told, and there are some slick new software features for upgraders, such as preset groupings that you can use for speakers at certain times of day, or for events - think 'Downstairs', 'Partytime' and the like.
But the biggest deal is perhaps that Sonos S2 enables higher resolution audio technologies for music and home theater. We're hoping that means high-resolution audio for the likes of Tidal and Amazon Music HD in the future. The first signs of this are the Dolby Atmos skills of the new Sonos Arc.
Sonos S1 is basically Sonos as it is was. Even if you have all S2 compatible products, you can still choose not to upgrade; you'll be able to carry on using your Sonos speakers as you do today. Your system will receive bug fixes and security patches, but it won't get any S2 goodies.
As far as Google Assistant and Alexa are concerned, Sonos states: "We will work with our partners to keep your music and voice services working with our oldest products for as long as we can given their memory and processing power limitations. If we run into something core to the experience that can‚Äôt be addressed, we will let you know."
Sonos has stated that any new kit announced post May 2020, including the new Arc, Five and Sub, will not be compatible with the S1 Controller app.
Sonos S2 compatible devices:
- Play:5 (Gen 2)
- One (all generations)
- Connect (Gen 2)
- Connect:Amp (Gen 2)
- Sub (all generations)
- IKEA Symfonisk
What generation Sonos speakers do I have?
If you're confused what generation Play:5 you have, you're not sure if your Sonos Connect is first or second generation and so on, then you can always check online by logging in to your Sonos account.
If your device is compatible, it will show with a 'Modern product' tick.
Can I use Sonos S1 and S2 at the same time?
Yes and no. You can use them both at the same time, sure. But you can't group speakers from an S1 group - even if they are compatible with S2 - into an S2 group.
That's the that caused Sonos the most amount of criticism when it first announced the legacy split.
If your Sonos system comprises any of those legacy devices - even just one - and a bunch of the latest and greatest Sonos speakers, then you're either going to have to ditch your old one, or condemn your new speakers to an S1 experience - and we now know you won't be able to add new Sonos speakers as they won't be compatible.
How do I get the new Sonos S2 app
Both the Sonos S2 app, and the new Sonos S1 app are live on Google Play and the Apple App Store. There are also desktop variants for Mac and PC users as well.
To update to S2, it's not just a case of updating an app as per usual, you will need to download an entirely new app. Now, the S2 app doesn't actually say S2 on the icon, but you'll know your downloading the new one based on the description and the new tan color of the app.
The 'old' Sonos app, remains black and is clearly now labelled 'S1'.
Simply download the app and go through the steps of updating your system. You can delete your old Sonos app once you've done - it's rendered useless as soon as you make the jump to S2.
How can I upgrade my Sonos speakers?
You can, if you want, upgrade your old Sonos kit using a 30% credit trade-in program and the good news is that Sonos recently got rid of its controversial 'bricking' recycling program - which essentially saw traded-in Sonos speakers rendered useless and destined for a landfill.
You don't even have to send in the old speaker and it will actually still be functional, should you wish to carry on using it in an S1 setup / give it to a friend / sell it on eBay.