Sonos Scraps Upgrade Scheme ‘Bricking’ Requirement

Sonos has done away with a requirement to its upgrade offer that required customers to permanently “brick” their existing devices.

“Bricking” refers to an alteration that permanently disables a device, rendering it as useful as a brick.

In this case, Sonos’ trade-up scheme, launched last October, offered existing users 30 percent off the price of new equipment – but only if they “bricked” the older devices.

To receive the discount, users were required to activate “Recycle Mode” on their existing Sonos speaker, which, after 21 days, erases personal data from the device and renders it permanently unusable.


The requirement drew criticism for unnecessarily adding to the mountains of electronic waste by preventing devices from being refurbished or reused.

Sonos said it is still offering the discount, but will no longer require “Recycle Mode” to be activated.

“Trade Up was designed to help customers transition from legacy products to modern Sonos experiences,” the company said.

“We also respect the customer’s right to decide for themselves when a product has reached the end of its useful life.  So, while we are fully committed to supporting customers that wish to recycle their old hardware, we removed the Recycle Mode requirement from the programme.

“Customers still receive a 30 percent discount on new Sonos products, but they can now choose what to do with their old device – continue to use it, give it to a friend, donate it to charity, responsibly recycle it at their local e-waste facility or send it back to Sonos via a prepaid shipping label.”

Software updates

Users are now required only to provide the serial number of their existing speaker to receive the 30 percent discount.

Sonos also angered customers with the news in January that it would no longer provide software updates for older speaker systems from May 2020, causing them to lose functionality and compatibility with newer products over time.

The company’s chief executive later apologised for the decision.

However, the company continues to assert that at some point it will no longer be able to update older devices, arguing they will not support newer software.

Matthew Broersma

Matt Broersma is a long standing tech freelance, who has worked for Ziff-Davis, ZDnet and other leading publications

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