Sonos updates its privacy policy and seemingly hints they’ll begin selling user data

Audio brand Sonos is ruffling the feathers of its user base again after it was discovered the company had made an important update to its private policy. As pointed out by YouTuber and repair technician Louis Rossman, the change affects the “How We May Share Personal Information” section. 

The old policy had a line that read, “Sonos does not and will not sell personal information about our customers.” After that, the rest of the paragraph discussed how certain data practices could be considered as a “sale of data” in certain US states.

Now, if you look at the June 2024 update, the line about Sonos not selling personal data is gone. The rest of the paragraph regarding data practices is exactly the same, though. 

It may be one small change, but it was enough to start a wildfire among the user base. People are not happy at all. Rossman’s video was posted to the Sonos subreddit, and its comment section is a non-stop barrage of people criticizing the brand.

Privacy worries

Users in the post seem to believe the policy change means Sonos will begin selling customer data to third parties. One person argues the brand is alienating its loyal customer base and wants to rebuild its business “with consumers who just don’t care about privacy.” These sentiments are echoed by others, and as you can see, the overall attitude is very cynical.

Interestingly, the line seems to only be gone in the US policy. We checked the Canadian, Spanish, British, and Australian privacy pages and that line about Sonos not selling customer information is still there and is in bold text. 

It’s unknown why only the American policy was changed. A comment we saw online argues that it could be because consumer protection laws in other countries may be more strict than those in the US.

Analysis: benefit of the doubt

You can’t really blame these consumers too much for such a negative reaction. Internet privacy and data collection have been hot topics for many years as people worry about big tech spying on them. It’s a major concern that has proven itself to be legitimate over time. Plus, Sonos users haven’t been too happy with the brand after being burned by a recent app update that removed basic features. 

However, it’s possible that people are just blowing things out of proportion. The removal of the first line doesn’t necessarily mean Sonos is selling customer data to make a quick buck. In fact, this whole situation reminds us a lot of what happened to Adobe.

If you’re not aware, Adobe also changed its Terms of Use policy not too long ago. The policy had text that led users to believe the company would be taking the content they made to train their AI. Adobe has since clarified the wording in the update, assuring their customers that it won’t actually look at or take anything. It was all one big misunderstanding.

We’re going to give Sonos the benefit of the doubt here and assume this is just a misunderstanding and that the policy change was some legal thing they had to do in the US. To learn more, we reached out to Sonos, asking if it could clarify what the change means to its users and we'll update this story if we hear back.

Til then, check out TechRadar's list of the best Bluetooth speakers for 2024.

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The new Sonos app just leaked – and it might just fix the S2 app’s many problems

Audio brand Sonos may soon completely redesign its S2 app by making it easier to set up its devices as well as “strengthen connectivity between its many speakers.” It’ll also introduce several new customization options. This nugget of information comes from TheVerge which claims to have received screenshots of the revamp from sources close to the matter. 

According to the report, the company is removing all the navigation tabs at the bottom, replacing tabs with a search bar to help soundbar owners find music quickly. The home screen will serve as a central hub consisting of “scrollable carousels” housing playlists and direct access to streaming services. 

Of course, you will be allowed to customize the layout to your liking. You can tweak the settings of a soundbar through the “Your System” section on the app.

The Now Playing screen will see revisions as well. Both the shuffle and repeat buttons are going to be present on the page. Plus, the volume slider in the mini-player will appear “no matter where you are in the app.” 

Love it or hate it

For some people on the internet, this update has been a long time coming. The Verge shared links to posts from the Sonos subreddit of people complaining about how terrible the S2 app is. One of the more passionate rants talks about the software’s poor functionality, as the Redditor was unable to turn off their speaker’s alarms remotely despite it being connected. 

Most of the reviews on app stores are positive, however several users on the Google Play Store listing do complain about an unintuitive UI and strange connection problems. People either love S2 or they hate it. There doesn’t seem to be any real middle ground. 

The Verge states the S2 update will roll out for Android and iOS on May 7th although the date could change. 

Future plans

It’s worth mentioning that this isn’t the first time we’ve heard about the redesign.

Back in February, Bloomberg published a report detailing some of Sonos’ plans for 2024, such as their focus on a “revamped mobile app codenamed Passport.” At a glance, it appears Passport is the future S2 upgrade. Originally, the update was supposed to come in March, but the brand ran into development issues and were forced to delay it.

Bloomberg’s piece goes on to mention two new Sonos devices, codenamed Duke and Disco. The latter is said to be a set of earbuds able to connect to Wi-Fi. It’s supposed to be a Sonos take on Apple Airpods

Not much is known about the Duke, but it does share a name with a pair of Sonos headphones that were discovered back in late March on the Bluetooth SIG website. 91Mobiles dug through the page revealing the device could allow music streaming over Wi-Fi, it’s slated for a June launch, and should cost $ 450. These next couple of months are looking to be a busy time for Sonos. But as always, take the info in this leak with a grain of salt.

Until we learn more, check out TechRadar's list of the best soundbars for 2024.

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You can now finally use Sonos Voice Control with Spotify tunes – here’s how

Audio brand Sonos is expanding the reach of its Voice Control software to now support Spotify, allowing users to verbally command the streaming service.

All you have to do to control the app, according to the company, is to say the words “Hey Sonos, play Spotify” into one of the brand’s supported speakers. That’s literally it. Doing so will play one of your Spotify playlists at random. If you want the software to play a specific playlist, you’ll have to mention it by name, like “Discover Weekly,” for example. The feature does extend beyond just being a glorified play button, as it can also be used to help manage your library. 

You can instruct Sonos to add certain songs to a playlist. It can also like or dislike tracks for you with the right command. Telling it “Hey Sonos, I like this song” will make the AI save that piece of music into your account’s 'Liked Songs.' 

Additionally, Voice Control can play specific genres or subgenres of music, be it jazz or classic alternative from the 1990s. You don’t have to be super specific; Spotify’s algorithm has a good understanding of what people are looking for.

Security and availability

It’s worth mentioning commands are processed locally on your Sonos speaker to ensure “fast response times and easy follow-ups”. The company also states no audio – be it from your voice or the surrounding environment – will be saved on any cloud server or listened to by some random third-party. 

Now, there are two ways to connect a Sonos speaker to Spotify. You can either manually choose Spotify to be the default source or make the platform be the most prominent music service played through the speaker. Users won’t have to login or make any changes to the settings.

It’s unknown if Voice Control will learn your listening habits. That is, if a Sonos device notices you frequently access Spotify, will it automatically adjust music sources? 

Spotify’s new support on Sonos Voice Control is available right now to both Premium subscribers as well as free users. Simply download the latest patch on your devices.

While we have you, check out TechRadar's roundup of the best soundbars for 2024. Spoiler alert: Sonos makes an appearance on the list.

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