Sonos kills off its controversial and device-bricking 'Recycle Mode'

Sonos abandons Recycle Mode
Sonos Connect (Image credit: Sonos)

After an outpouring of disappointment from eco-conscious customers late last year, Sonos is doing away with its Recycle Mode, a controversial part of the company’s Trade Up programme that bricks older Sonos speakers in exchange for a 30 per cent discount on newer Sonos kit. 

The good news is that the Trade Up programme still exists, and customers who own eligible older 'legacy' products can get the same discount, but they are no longer required to needlessly render usable speakers inoperable. 

In what can only be seen as a swift about-turn, Sonos is now encouraging customers to perform a simple factory reset on their older gear before trading it in, but they can then choose to give it to someone, recycle it at a nearby facility or send it to Sonos and let the firm handle it. So, no 21-day irreversible 'Recycle Mode' countdown that culminates in the bricking of your product.

As reported by The Verge, Sonos quietly removed Recycle Mode from its app last week, replacing it with simple instructions asking anyone looking for the discount to call customer service – although in the next few weeks, Sonos will update its website with new trade-up details and you won’t have to make any calls.

Legacy products that are eligible for the Sonos Trade Up scheme include the original Sonos Play:5, Zone Players and Connect/Connect:Amp devices manufactured up until 2015. 

However, the news does not affect Sonos’ continued plans to stop releasing new software updates for legacy devices at some point in May. While these older Sonos products won't suddenly stop working when support ends, (and Sonos has confirmed that it will monitor and deal with bugs in the future, should they arise) it basically means that if an exciting new music streaming service or wireless transmission standard appears, it almost certainly wouldn't make it to these older devices. A full list of Sonos products that will no longer receive updates is as follows: 

All Zone Players (ZP80, ZP90, ZP100, ZP120)
Connect:Amp (sold between 2006 and 2015)
Play:5 (Gen 1)

Still, the fact that you no longer have to brick a perfectly operational, reusable Sonos product in order to get 30 per cent off its newer sibling will undoubtedly come as welcome news to customers who don't want their old Sonos to end up in landfill. 


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Becky has been a full-time staff writer at What Hi-Fi? since March 2019. Prior to gaining her MA in Journalism in 2018, she freelanced as an arts critic alongside a 20-year career as a professional dancer and aerialist – any love of dance is of course tethered to a love of music. Becky has previously contributed to Stuff, FourFourTwo, This is Cabaret and The Stage. When not writing, she dances, spins in the air, drinks coffee, watches football or surfs in Cornwall with her other half – a football writer whose talent knows no bounds. 

  • smallstool
    Too little too late I fear.

    The way sonos has treated it’s loyal customers is a joke.

    Share price has dropped by about 35% since January’s announcement and I’m sure will only drop further as large shareholders (who are only in it to make money) realise what a complete mess the sonos board has made of this.

    Time for heads to roll or a takeover I think.

    What a shame!