Sonos will stop bricking older speakers with its Recycle Mode program

Sonos One
Sonos One (Image credit: Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Sonos has killed its "Recycle Mode" program that caused a lot of controversy earlier this year.
  • Recycle Mode bricked old Sonos speakers and allowed you to purchase new ones at a lower price.
  • Now, you can still get the 30% discount when upgrading to a new speaker, no bricking required.

Back in January, Sonos was the star of a juicy controversy. It announced that regular software updates would be ending for some of its older products, and while that on its own was enough to get people riled up, it also brought the company's "Recycle Mode" under the spotlight.

Recycle Mode was part of Sonos's Trade Up program, which allows owners of older hardware to upgrade to a new model for a 30% discount. However, in order to get that discount, the old speaker had to be put in Recycle Mode. After 21 days from initiating Recycle Mode, the old speaker was bricked and could no longer be used. As you might expect, a lot of people didn't like this.

On March 5, The Verge reported that Recycle Mode is no more.

The trade-up program still exists, and customers who own eligible legacy products can get the same discount, but they're no longer required to permanently brick devices that might still work just fine.

Now when you Trade Up an old Sonos device, you get the same 30% discount and the freedom to do whatever you want with it. You can keep using the old speaker if you'd like, give it to someone you know, take it to your local e-waste facility for recycling, or ship it back to Sonos and have the company properly dispose of it. Recycle Mode has since been removed from the Sonos app, and according to The Verge, a new interface will be added to the company's website in the coming weeks to guide users through this new process.

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

If you ask me, this is a huge step in the right direction. While I didn't understand the outrage of Sonos ceasing software support for decade-old speakers, forcing people to brick their old hardware in order to upgrade to something new never sat quite right.

For anyone that's been holding off on upgrading to Sonos's newer offerings as a result of the Recycle Mode fiasco, your time has come.

Sonos ending support for decade-old speakers really isn't a big deal

Joe Maring

Joe Maring was a Senior Editor for Android Central between 2017 and 2021. You can reach him on Twitter at @JoeMaring1.