If there were an award for “Most Frustrating App Update of the Year,” Sonos would be a strong contender. Weeks after a disastrous update that forced some to roll it back, users are still grappling with a buggy, feature-stripped app that has left many questioning Sonos’ competence. And in a twist of irony, a small, independent app called SonoPhone is stealing the spotlight, offering a smooth, intuitive experience that has Sonos users singing its praises.

SonoPhone, developed by Stefan Hansel, isn’t a new app, but it’s experiencing a surge in popularity thanks to Sonos’s self-inflicted woes. It’s a classic underdog story: a lone developer crafting a superior product while a corporate giant stumbles. The app’s simplicity, speed, and reliability have struck a chord with frustrated Sonos users, who are now flocking to it as a lifeline amidst the official app’s ongoing turmoil.

The Sonos subreddit is buzzing with testimonials from Sonos users who have found salvation in SonoPhone. According to one Sonos user, “This app is magical. Installed it and it suddenly fixed ‘all of my network issues.'” Another user, amazed by the app’s functionality, pointed out that it isn’t “a good look that a guy sitting at home in his slippers can design a better app than a whole IT team at a publicly-traded company,” which I agree.

The outpouring of support for SonoPhone isn’t just anecdotal. As of June 30, 2024, SonoPhone was trending at number one among top iOS music apps in 17 countries globally, according to the app’s developer. Users from the US and Europe to Africa and all the way to Australia have embraced the app, pushing it to the top of the charts and sparking conversations about the competency of Sonos’s development team. It’s a PR nightmare for Sonos, as they watch a small, independent developer swoop in and solve problems they seemingly can’t.


Sonos’s response to the app debacle has been less than stellar. They initially blamed firmware updates for the removal of features, arguing that a rollback to the old app was impossible. Yet, SonoPhone’s seamless functionality with the new firmware seems to debunk this claim, painting Sonos in an even more unfavorable light.

The company has since pushed out multiple updates to the official app. They even have a plan to fix the app and win back fans, but users are still reporting issues. At this point, Sonos’ promise to restore parity with the old app seems like a distant dream to some users, as they’re clearly struggling to add back features that were working perfectly before the ill-fated update.

The Sonos backlash

The Sonos community is not holding back their criticism. Users are questioning the company’s priorities, wondering why data analytics seem to take precedence over basic functionality. Some are even considering abandoning Sonos altogether, a drastic move fueled by the frustration with the app and the realization that a third-party alternative exists.

This backlash resulting from Sonos’s missteps has created an opportunity for SonoPhone to shine, and the company is reaping the benefits of Sonos’s misfortune. But it remains to be seen how Sonos will respond to the growing popularity of SonoPhone. Will they try to acquire the app? Will they double down on improving their own app? Or will they simply ignore the elephant in the room?

Regardless of Sonos’s actions, SonoPhone’s success story is a wake-up call that Sonos needs to get their act together before more users jump ship to the welcoming arms of SonoPhone. The situation has turned into a public relations debacle for Sonos, making them appear inept while a small developer basks in the glory of saving the day. As one user humorously pointed out, “If their devs can’t see why people like this app better than the official one, they need to GTFO.”

Notably, other third-party apps like SonosSequencr, Sono+, Lyd, Orto for Sonos, Soro, and Clic for Sonos are also available for iOS users. However, SonoPhone has quickly become the favorite thanks to its ease of use and reliability.

The SonoPhone app for Sonos is currently available to download only for iOS users and it costs $2.99. For Android users, you can easily roll back to v16.1 or older to address issues that arose after the redesigned Sonos app.

Hillary Keverenge
26 Posts

Tech junkie. Gadget whisperer. Firmware fighter. I'm here to share my love-hate relationship with technology, one unboxing at a time.

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