back to article Sonos AXES support for Apple's iOS4 and 5

With the ominous words “We take your investment in Sonos very seriously,” Sonos has killed off support for iOS v4 and 5 devices. Sonos makes software app-controlled Wi-Fi speakers that can play audio streamed from Android, iOS, Windows and Mac OSX devices. The iThings can play local audio files on the speakers or relay music/ …

  1. DanX

    If only they supported Windows 8 phone/RT I'd not care.

    But my poor old ipad is now redundant.

    1. Danny 14 Silver badge

      Re: If only they supported Windows 8 phone/RT I'd not care.

      If you have the money to blow on a sonos system then you should have the money to blow on an ipad mini.

  2. Longrod_von_Hugendong


    IF you have something that can only run iOS 4 or 5 it should have been binned a long time ago - it will be a sack o crap compared to a new device. Time for an upgrade people.

    I know I will be down voted for this but ancient tech is rubbish, do you self a favour and lose the many year old stuff.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: WTF...?

      Get with it guys! Landfill Apple is cool. You're not doing your bit for consumerism if you're not throwing away at least one device every six months.

      You may already have upgraded to a shiny new iThing. That doesn't mean an older iThing you've still got has to be thrown away when it could be useful as e.g. as a remote control for everyone in the house.

      I WTF you back.

    2. MikeyD85

      Re: WTF...?

      I have an old G4 mac running OSX 10.3.

      It works absolutely fine for streaming my music collection over my home network. I 'd be gutted if a Windows update made that network share inaccessible to the old Mac.

      Old tech can always be re-purposed!

      1. RAMChYLD

        Re: WTF...?

        Even better: I have an old G3 beefed up with a G4 upgrade card and running 9.2.2. It's for running those old games that will never be emulated by Sheepshaver due to lack of MMU support or PearPC due to the requirements of sound.

        Old tech will always have a use.

    3. fruitoftheloon

      Re: WTF...?


      you are an idiot.

      Kind regards,


    4. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

      Re: WTF...?

      IF you have something that can only run iOS 4 or 5 it should have been binned a long time ago - it will be a sack o crap compared to a new device.

      But they currently work just fine as Sonos remotes.

    5. Irony Deficient

      ancient tech is rubbish, do yourself a favour and lose the many year old stuff

      Longrod_von_Hugendong, do you practice what you preach by eschewing all ancient tech, like inclined planes, levers, pulleys, screws, wedges, and wheels & axles?

  3. thesykes

    How about having two versions of the software? One for older iOS devices, with limited functionality, and one for later versions, with all the bells and whistles. The old version can just sit on the App Store without updates and taking no support from Sonos.

    Is that so difficult?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Is that so difficult?"

      Well, yes, it is, because Apple will remove it from the store (if it ever gets on) because it does not support iOS7.

      The real question is why Sonos don't simply allow people to use the old sonos software with the old apple software, i.e. why are they forcing an update rather than allowing people with tried and tested software to continue using it?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        The Apple Store supports having older version of software for older devices, and older devices will be offered the latest version that supports their gear. So, really this is no *new* Sonos software releases will support old gear, but the older ones that did in the past will still be offered in the future per regular Apple store functionality.

    2. jai

      But why should they bother with the effort? There's such a tiny amount of people using the old OS's that they probably don't care.

      1. diggerb

        Erm....from that very link:

        "NB: On May 27th I dropped support for iOS versions below 6.0, as a result the data for older versions is no as representative of actual usage."

        1. jai

          On May 27th...

          so... you are suggesting that in the last 2 months it is possible that lots of people have gone out and got old devices that run iOS4 and iOS5?

          I doubt sufficient numbers of people have started to use the old OS in such a short space of time to have any meaningful impact upon those figures.

    3. Western Infidel


      You would think so, but this is the cost of your iLife (apologies if that iWord has already been used for an official app/service).. If you buy into this walled garden garbage, its assumed you must buy a new phone every 6-12 months, if you don't then its clear to Apple and the accessory makers that its your fault your stuff no longer works. The problem is that there are enough idiots who do it and enable Apple and the accessories makers to keep the gravy train rolling... just to get the same thing with a slightly faster chip and one showcase feature that mostly doesnt work properly (maps, siri or whatever). I feel sorry for anybody that has bought into the accessories as well.

      1. JLV Silver badge

        Re: iShaft

        >a new phone every 6-12 months,

        Upgrade every 6 months, with new iPhones only coming out every year or so???

        Does dislike of Apple preclude common sense & math ability? FUD much?

        Typically app updates can be maintained till your hardware loses theoretical/effective iOS refresh ability, about 2-4 years on average. You are at risk of new connectors (Lightning cable) but the flip side is old-style accessory discounts. Ran iOS 7 no prob on 3 yr old 4G.

        Signed - for now at least - an Android Nexus5 user.

        Siri... seriously? I know I don't wan to use a POS voice agent by any manufacturer, so why would I care? But if I did, standard cost/benef analysis would apply in evaluating purchase.

        1. Ted Treen


          "Does dislike of Apple preclude common sense & math ability? FUD much?"

          Er, yes.

          It would appear so.

  4. btrower

    Apologize at least

    This may just be something they cannot avoid due to other changes in the ecosystem beyond their control. I will be charitable and assume that is the case. Even so, they should be apologetic for deliberately bricking people's devices.

    As for our friend above who thinks that everyone can afford the luxury of tossing things that have not worn out, here's a news flash: everyone can't. Know this: very little prevents you from joining the 'cannot' faction. Pray those with resources exceeding your own don't lift the basic cost of participation above your means by bricking things you can't afford to replace.

    1. DanX

      Re: Apologize at least

      If your buying Sonos kit you have far too much spare cash anyway to be fair, but it is very annoying.

      I just went out and bought a new iPad mini to replace my old ipad that won't work any more. In fairness the ipad kept crashing anyway when used for stuff that wasn't sonos controller, and the new ipad was far from free, but I don't think claiming that its terrible it costs more money is something that should shock sonos users. :(

      Still very annoying.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sonos don't like supporting old stuff

    Like DTS, an audio codec that's been around since the 1990s. Standard on 99% of Blu-ray discs but Sonos won't support it and you just get silence through your Playbar when trying to play surround sound.

    Sonos only care about selling new kit these days, if you're already a customer then you're no longer a major source of revenue.

  6. David Austin

    Perfect use

    Use as an exclusive Sonos controller - demoting it to a flashy remote controller - sounds the perfect use for an old iOS device: It doesn't need massive overhead in power or space to run lots of apps.

    Apply have a lot of good things going for them, but keeping their kit doing their jobs over the three year mark can be a massive headache: Even though this isn't Apple's decision, it's their culture that helps to promote it - There aren't very many other companies that can keep their users marching to such an aggressive upgrade pace.

    1. launcap Silver badge

      Re: Perfect use

      >There aren't very many other companies that can keep their users

      >marching to such an aggressive upgrade pace

      Except maybe a small Korean company you may have heard of.. Oh - and a Seattle-based software and devices company.

      And HP/Dell/Lenovo - new models every 3 months.

      1. David Austin

        Re: Perfect use

        Seen how many 14 year old XP installs there are out in the field, even after the April cut off date of security patches? Throw in the still supported Vista and 7 installs, 2 years after Windows 8 hit the ground, and I think you'd have to agree that's not quite in the same league as Apple (Much to Microsoft's annoyance, I'd imagine...)

  7. Simon Buttress

    Sonos user here.

    This is annoying.

  8. Kevin Davidson

    Alarmist nonsense

    The only devices that can't be upgraded to at least iOS 6 are the original iPhone and iPhone 3G or the original iPad or 3rd gen iPod touch.

    All other iPhones (3GS, 4, 4s, 5, 5c, 5s) and all iPads (2 onwards) and all iPods (4th gen onwards) will work just fine. Who can afford a Sonos system but is still using a 5 year old iPhone?

  9. jai

    For a specific value of "many"

    It means that many older iPads, iPhones

    Where by 'many' you mean 'a small number'

    A quick google shows third-party analysis that iOS 7 has achieved 90% adoption. So the number of people still using an iOS less than 6 is not a huge amount.

    If you're forking out the money for Sonos kit, you can afford to upgrade your iDevice at the same time

    1. sabroni Silver badge

      Re: For a specific value of "many"

      But what about those who are using their old devices purely as Sonos remotes? Will they appear on your stats? Quite probably not.

      1. Tom 35 Silver badge

        Re: For a specific value of "many"

        I have an iPod touch 2nd gen that I use in my car as a music player. That was my last iDevice. The iPod touch Gen3 was released a couple months after I got it and it was not very long before app updates were not available.

        On the other hand my 20 year old speakers (with wires!) still work fine.

        Maybe Apple should just buy Sonos, it sounds like they fit well together.

  10. banjomike

    Not so rare.

    IOS developers regularly drop support for older versions of IOS without bothering to tell their users. At least Sonos tell you before you upgrade. The cloud idiots at Barracuda/Copy dropped support for anything before IOS 7 with no prior warning at all. The itunes webpage for the app was claiming support for IOS 5 for days after the update was released. It was made into a much larger problem by the fact that the final version which support IOS 5 was so full of bugs and crap code that it simply will not load. When the itunes system offers to install 'the last version your ancient hardware supports' it will install a completely duff version. I asked Copy about this and they just came out with the traditional trite nonsense about not being able to support all OS versions forever. Idiots. They don't need to support all OS versions forever, all they need to do is warn people BEFORE they drop support NOT AFTER.

    Postscript: since I can no longer use Copy on ONE of my devices I won't be renewing my contract for ANY of my devices... How much would it have cost Barracuda to add a line to the update page saying "No longer supports anything prior to IOS 7" ????

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not so rare.

      Sounds like the problem is not that they dropped support but that their iOS 5 version is bad. You are confusing two different issues. If the last iOS 5 version worked well, you wouldn't be posting anything about this.

      1. banjomike

        Re: Not so rare.

        No, same problem. The end result of their update & dropping IOS 5+6 was that no device running anything prior to IOS 7 will work. Period.

    2. JLV Silver badge

      Re: Not so rare.

      Could be worse. Samsung had a perfectly functional, _bug-free_, full-control iOS remote app for my Samsung smart TV.

      One day, upgrade 3.0 came out and... dumbed the iOS app down to pretty much volume & channels only.

      Love being a pawn in those 2's lawyer spaffs. This is something I'll remember next Samsung purchase eval time.

      Nexus phone's remote app works, at least. Maybe Samsung can get more aggressive and make it exclusive to their app store only next time?

  11. Western Infidel


    iGuess iPeople will not like this

  12. Herby Silver badge

    There is always...

    Solitare. It works just fine on my original iPad. Yes, there are more apps that are functional as well. To be sure the later versions have features like cameras and the like, but why aren't they compatible with "iOS the older"? Seems as though everything has a finite life. Look, even Linux dropped support for 386's a while back. Thankfully if I feel the need, I can go back a kernel rev or two and get someting that works.

    Me? I've still got a Quadra 840AV running Mac OS 7.6 (that I don't turn on much, but still...).

    1. Steven Raith

      Re: There is always...

      Damn, I was using OS 8+9 in high school and that was over fifteen years ago.

      That's some old kit you have there, sir.

      (LCIIIs, and I can't remember what Quadras, and also two classrooms full of monochrome - yes, monochrome - Mac Classics)

      Oof, nostalgia trip there...and looking at release dates of those make me feel old....

  13. JLV Silver badge
    Paris Hilton


    What's getting upgraded, the app on the phone or the firmware on speakers as well?

    If the app, first you could choose not to upgrade it, so that you don't have this problem.

    Second, you _won't_ be able to upgrade if you are on iOS under reqs, update doesn't install. So... you'll have to stick to old app on old device, as per some comments above. I've had that happen, being cut off due to old iOS. Old app stays.

    What you won't have is an ongoing set of updates to your old-OS app. And Sonos is being transparent. Is that the storm in this here kettle?

    Now, if there's a speaker firmware incompatibility bit to this story, Reg was not being clear about it. and could you... not install it?

    All the Apple/Sonos bashing is bit rich from Android users whose vendors are notoriously bad at OS upgrades (one reason my current phone is a Google Nexus cuz at least those get Android updates).

    1. Simon Buttress

      Re: Confused

      Unfortunately it's usually both the app AND the firmware at the same time and it renders older versions of the app unusable once updated.

  14. Irongut

    TV Remote Analogy

    "Imagine if your TV supplier sent you a message saying your remote control would no longer work once the TV software was updated?"

    This is a false analogy. The reality is more like your TV manufacturer sends you a message saying your old remote control will no longer work once the TV software is updated but you can pick up a new one from your local electronics store free of charge.

    Sonos do not make iThings only the control app that goes with their overpriced audio equipment. You may well find that the reason for this change is that Apple are forcing their hand. Or that they want to use iOS features not available in the old versions in order to give you a better experience.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: TV Remote Analogy

      Where exactly do you get your free-of-charge iThings from?

  15. The Onymous Coward

    I keep my iPad 1 around purely for use as a Sonos remote and kitchen plex receiver, so guess what? It won't appear in web browsing stats.

    1. Frank Marsh

      This is exactly the problem. I doubt very much that more than a handful of Reg readers haven't upgraded their phone or tablet in the last 5 years. But the ones who have may repurpose the outdated devices to functions (like running Sonos exclusively) that are well within the abilities of an old device. And it's perfect - your new iPad is your personal device, while the old iPad is the family/guests coffeetable remote.

      I nearly bought some old iPod Touches off of eBay to replace my original Sonos CR100s, whose batteries are nearly dead. Good thing I didn't, or I'd be boohooing right now as well.

      I doubt Sonos has any malicious intent, like funneling more of our hard-earned monies into Apple's pockets (Sonos would rather have those dollars). I'd be curious, though, why old Sonos iOS apps won't be able to talk to the updated Sonos device software. If it will make the Sonos app more responsive, I'm all for it! The Sonos app has never impressed with its speed.

  16. Tom 38 Silver badge

    Its not just Sonos

    They are all at it.

    Spotify doesn't work on my original ipad - well, I can install the app, but it stops playing music after about 30 seconds. Every few months they release a newer version of their app, each new version makes it run even slower on my iphone 4.

    I don't know what on earth they are doing that makes it think for 1 minute+ before even showing my playlists.

    If I click a button, the whole thing whirs to a stop for multi second pauses before doing anything.

    The app has a filter function for filtering a playlist, it doesn't do anything on my phone - apparently, it is too difficult to filter a list of 1000 items on such limited hardware.

    If I go to search for a song, going to the search page, typing in ten characters or so, pressing search, and then queueing the track takes literally minutes.

    I know from using it on super recent hardware that the app works perfectly on them - but this is a fucking music app. My first MP3 player was an Archos (FM Recorder), which had an 11 MHz CPU and miniscule memory, it is shocking that this insanely powerful computer cannot play some bloody tunes and put a picture on the screen without using every last resource on the damn thing.

    And for this I pay £120 a year..

  17. Joerg

    Apple recently added back support for old apps on App Store...

    So that customers with old unsupported devices could continue downloading the latest available version of any app previously compiled for the old iOS versions those devices are stuck at.

    1. banjomike

      Re: Apple recently added back support for old apps on App Store...

      Sometimes the last available version is the bug infested version that won't even load properly.

  18. Dieter Haussmann

    If you still use iOS 4 or 5 I doubt you even know or care who or what Sonos is.

    1. hitmouse

      I bought my first SONOS equipment before I bought my first iPhone in 2008.

      Interestingly, SONOS haven't upgraded the basic hardware to support higher capacity libraries or better indexing in that period, yet they seem to think that Apple the intervening 5-6 generations of Apple hardware are disposable.

      With new media streaming functions coming from all quarters, disposing of SONOS gets easier and easier.

  19. William Donelson

    Less than 2% of Apple iOS devices use iOS5 or less.

    Story point: Yawn.

  20. spl23

    Sonos legacy support...

    This isn't half as annoying as Sonos moving away from supporting the dedicated CR100 and CR200 controllers that they used to sell purely for controlling the system. I own two of each, and it is clear that at some point in the future, Sonos are going to dump those as well.

    They worked much better than the old iOS controllers, as they were connected to the system all the time - no lag while the iOS device connected to your wifi and then looked for the Sonos.

    1. Timbo

      Re: Sonos legacy support...

      The CR100 has already been "put to the sword", as Sonos decided about a year ago (IIRC) to kill it off. So, if you did a "Sonos update" to your Zone Players, the CR100 wouldn't work with the same functionality.

      But this is of course an "optional" update - I have 3 CR100's and as my Sonos system works fine, there's no need to update....I might be missing out on a few bells and whistles, but I doubt it, as the main limitations that Sonos have, haven't been "improved" over subsequent generations of updates.

      (eg: No hardware support for directly connected USB devices (such as external hard drives/memory sticks), limit to number of tracks available in the library, limited number of file types supported).

      Can I assume that the Sonos' Apple app is also manually if you have a iOS4 or 5 device, you don't HAVE to update the app ?

      1. hitmouse

        Re: Sonos legacy support...

        Don't invite another SONOS user into your home and give them Wifi access - that may trigger a cascade of updates in your home system that make your handsets incompatible.

        1. Dapprman

          Re: Sonos legacy support...

          @ Timbo - cheers for that - was not aware. I suspect it will just get it's version number updated in the future. At least it's not being scrapped as it is easier to use than the latest app and also is waterproof so can be used when listening to music in the bath (erm).

          @ Hitmouse - you get prompted about upgrading so it's not some thing you can do easily by accident.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Blame Apple, not Sonos

    Apple makes backwards compatibility difficult-to-impossible for app developers.

    If you use the latest dev tools, by default they will spit out apps that will not run on versions of iOS that are more than a couple years old. Sometimes you can get around this by researching and fidgeting with various settings, sometimes not. If you don't use the latest dev tools then you often aren't allowed to submit apps to the App Store. So really, your hands are basically tied if you're a developer. Sonos probably doesn't deserve much of the blame here except that they don't seem to have gone the extra mile to support their old software with their new devices.

    To be fair to Apple, I think they have always deprecated stuff for technical reasons, and not only because they want people to buy new stuff. Although they do seem to be completely unwilling to put any work into working around those technical reasons.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is terrible

    I couldn't read this article in my NCSA Mosaic browser. When did el reg AXE support for it?

  23. Mr D Spenser
    Big Brother

    Marketing Deals Rule!

    Sonos has deals to promote various paid services. When those deals expire they need to get the apps updated in order to promote their newest BFF. This is a dark underside to the interconnected eco-system where a company's commitment to their customers gets superseded by other business relationships. How much is it costing them to host a free app? Is it less if it only runs on newer hardware?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Marketing Deals Rule!

      "How much is it costing them to host a free app? Is it less if it only runs on newer hardware?"

      It's an iOS app, so Apple sells it, so it doesn't cost them anything to "host" it.

      And yes, it costs less to maintain an app that only runs on newer hardware. Obviously there's less cost in terms of outlay for test devices, but also there's the time it takes to do the testing, and the code base for an app is more complicated if it's more backwards-compatible, which means more time and effort to develop moving forward.

  24. 27escape

    Its not just Sonos

    Lots of software houses say that you cannot have the latest app unless you upgrade the core OS, however they normally do not stop the old app from working.

    Ideally they should provide a way to not upgrade the speakers and keep the status quo (other crap bands are available!)

  25. Dapprman

    You only need the new software update (when it comes out) if you upgrade your Sonos firmware

    Sonos have a habit of bringing out new functionality as well as fixes with their software updates. Also Sonos works by all your components being at the same level, so when an upgrade occurs then all components are matched to the new level - you are prompted before any of that happens. Sure with the CR100 this might just be a change to the version number to keep it working (or some thing similar), but what it means is that you do not have to go for an upgrade.

    Net result, if your only controller is an early iDevice which can not be upgraded to iOS7, or for some other reason you do not want to update your compatible idevice device to iOS7 then simply do not upgrade your Sonos system. It won't stop working. The only thing is you will not be able to add new devices (or second hand ones at a different firmware/software level).

    On a side note - as well as dedicated controllers, you can also run the software from Android devices, plus PCs and MACs - personally I prefer the desktop software from the controller software (especially after the 'Android friendly' redesign.

  26. Missing Semicolon Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Hidden agenda

    You always know when an update is not in your interest when downgrades are not possible. Presumably this update closes some DRM or "rooting" hole in the Sonos system.

  27. Jess

    So why don't they have a simple web interface for devices without apps?

    I'm glad I don't have any Sonos kit.

    This is just the sort of attitude I don't want.

    If I had kit like this, repurposing old kit as remotes would be part of the purchase decision.

    It has certainly reduced the odds of me ever buying any.

  28. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    I'm surprised

    Is it a surprise that Sonos would no longer develop the app for older phones? No. Support it (i.e. provide tech support?) Maybe not (but I'd assume they'd have any bugs worked out by now for ios 4 and 5 so it might not matter). But I'm surprised they'd simply be cut off; I would have assumed they would run some audio protocol (even if proprietary), and have it stabilized enough by now to not make non-backwards-compatible changes.


    If not Sonos then what else?

    I was considering getting a Sonos system for home. Would anyone now care to suggest an alternative? I previously looked at the Denon Cocoon but ruled that out when I heard it was being discontinued. Kit list includes iMac 2007, MacBook, Nexus 7, iPhone 5 and iPad 1. Just need half-decent speakers that will handle radio and streamed music collection.

    The Sonos app has already dropped support for iOS 4 and 5 (not forthcoming as the article suggests). I have an iPad v1 and wanted to preview their app but it can't install the Sonos controller app.

    Not sure why Sonos can't make the effort to manage a graceful failure on this, and have a universal app that supports new features on new kit, and basic features on old kit.

    If not Sonos then what else?

    By the way...

    For anyone thinking of knocking users of the iPad v1, they probably won't appreciate that even 4 years after Apple instigated this new sector my iPad v1 still has a better battery life than a new Nexus.

    And... a circa 1991 Mac SE with 4MB RAM and 20MB hard drive was capable of running excel, word, networking, scanning, printing, sending and receiving a fax, and going online with a BBS like Compuserve. Thirty years later and apart from video and encryption not a lot has actually changed in PC requirements. Just saying.

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