Alexa breaking groups (yet again)


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I came back from holiday to find that once again Alexa breaks my Sonos groups (third or fourth time). I have 5 Sonos speakers grouped through Sonos (group created from ‘Living Room’ paired speakers). I also have the same speakers selected as preferred speakers under the Alexa group ‘Living Room’. However if I tell Alexa to ‘play music in the living room’ it only plays through one speaker (bizarrely one named ‘Dining room’ although it is part of the group) and if I go into the Sonos app the group is broken. If I just tell Alexa to ‘play music’ then it only plays through the Alexa device (so the preferred speaker setting is meaningless?)

So far I have checked for an update (there are none), renamed the living room speakers in case there is a conflict, disabled and reenabled the Sonos skill, rerun device discovery (after every change), set the living room speaker as the only preferred speaker (which then works through Alexa) but any Sonos group created is still broken by Alexa. Basically I’ve trawled the forums trying everything I can find to no avail.


I’m going to totally uninstall and reinstall Sonos to see if that works but I'm really getting fed up of having to constantly fix stuff because Alexa and Sonos want to ‘improve the user experience ‘ which adds nothing but breaks everything. I think the app developers just need to justify their salaries. I’m reasonably tech savvy but god forbid if I ever kick the bucket because there is no hope in hell that my wife will ever be able to use this stuff. I’ve now reached the point where I’ve given up on Sonos.

32 replies

Userlevel 7
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Hey folks- spent 2 hours with Sonos tonight (Oct 28 2019), on this topic. Here’s the scoop.

Bottom line=Software bugs. Also, Sonos doesn’s seem to have an Alexa expert, so support is generic.

Here’s what we tried (so you dont have to spend 2 hours).

-i have 2 sonos 5, 2 sonos 1, and 1 play 1, and 1 echo dot. ALL SONOS FEATURES WORK PERFECT, EXCEPT ALEXA.  IT WAS WORKING A FEW MONTHS AGO PERFECTLY. IT BROKE IN LATER RELEASES.

we reinstalled alexa and sonos. reconnected them. deleted all named groups in alexa. created a new named group. NO MATTER WHAT WE DID..sonos ONLY played music on the Play 1.

Also- even if i grouped all my devices on sonos app, then used voice command to tell alexa to play santana “everywhere” (thats the name of the alexa group), it played on the Play 1, AND i can see IN REAL TIME ON THE SONOS APP, IT ACTUALLY “UNGROUPS” the group of 5 speakers on sonos.

  • THEY ARE REPORTING A BUG HERE- I’M AN EX SOFTWARE GUY- ITS A BUG, AND THERE’S A FEW OF THEM:(
  • THE ALEXA APP CAN NOT “MAKE THE HANDSHAKE” WITH THE SONOS APP.

Hope they fix it- after having voice services, this is like driving a model T car again.

This must be a set-up or a location specific bug as my set-up is still working fine. You say that you’ve reinstalled Alexa and Sonos - did you also Disable then Enable the Sonos skill within the Alexa App?

Hey folks- spent 2 hours with Sonos tonight (Oct 28 2019), on this topic. Here’s the scoop.

Bottom line=Software bugs. Also, Sonos doesn’s seem to have an Alexa expert, so support is generic.

Here’s what we tried (so you dont have to spend 2 hours).

-i have 2 sonos 5, 2 sonos 1, and 1 play 1, and 1 echo dot. ALL SONOS FEATURES WORK PERFECT, EXCEPT ALEXA.  IT WAS WORKING A FEW MONTHS AGO PERFECTLY. IT BROKE IN LATER RELEASES.

we reinstalled alexa and sonos. reconnected them. deleted all named groups in alexa. created a new named group. NO MATTER WHAT WE DID..sonos ONLY played music on the Play 1.

Also- even if i grouped all my devices on sonos app, then used voice command to tell alexa to play santana “everywhere” (thats the name of the alexa group), it played on the Play 1, AND i can see IN REAL TIME ON THE SONOS APP, IT ACTUALLY “UNGROUPS” the group of 5 speakers on sonos.

  • THEY ARE REPORTING A BUG HERE- I’M AN EX SOFTWARE GUY- ITS A BUG, AND THERE’S A FEW OF THEM:(
  • THE ALEXA APP CAN NOT “MAKE THE HANDSHAKE” WITH THE SONOS APP.

Hope they fix it- after having voice services, this is like driving a model T car again.

Userlevel 6
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By Hub uptime do you mean the router? If so, surely the sequence is to shut down the speakers and router, then fully restart router, then the speakers one at a time. Then set the fixed ip addresses.

My apologies if I've misunderstood.
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There is no way to know if you have duplicate IP addresses assigned. By their very nature, they are hidden from the router's assignment table, and thus are unable to be seen on the network.


Thanks I didn't know that. I also ran Fing and that didn't show anything either but I have no idea whether it would or not.



A quick check shows that there are no duplicate IP addresses assigned and the hub uptime is 77 days (I've had to do two SONOS / ALEXA resets in that time). I did try this before and it didn't work but I'll give it another go (clinging to straws here).

But for a lot of people IP address might as well be a foreign language and it shouldn't need this level of knowledge to work. Prior to Alexa groups, this was never an issue which sort of points to Alexa as the cause of the problem, but its the SONOS updates that always break groups.


There is no way to know if you have duplicate IP addresses assigned. By their very nature, they are hidden from the router's assignment table, and thus are unable to be seen on the network.
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I still suspect duplicate IP addresses could be a cause of this issue, fixed IP addresses would solve/eliminate this.

A quick check shows that there are no duplicate IP addresses assigned and the hub uptime is 77 days (I've had to do two SONOS / ALEXA resets in that time). I did try this before and it didn't work but I'll give it another go (clinging to straws here).

But for a lot of people IP address might as well be a foreign language and it shouldn't need this level of knowledge to work. Prior to Alexa groups, this was never an issue which sort of points to Alexa as the cause of the problem, but its the SONOS updates that always break groups.
Userlevel 7
Badge +20
It's like a recurring nightmare or maybe Groundhog day...

Every few weeks it seems SONOS has to release an update which immediately breaks my Alexa/Sonos and I then spend a few frustrating days trying to get it all back up and running. And to make things even more exciting, it never works immediately after I delete and reinstall rooms/skill/devices/preferred speakers it waits a few days before deciding whether it will work or not - just in time for the next update to break it again.

I have over £1000 of SONOS devices. I'm also adding an extension and was going to put in another £2500 of SONOS devices but I have now given up on them.

I jokingly asked my wife how she was going to cope with this Alexa/SONOS fiasco if I died and she replied 'I'll just use the Bose...' Maybe she has a point.

I still suspect duplicate IP addresses could be a cause of this issue, fixed IP addresses would solve/eliminate this.
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It's like a recurring nightmare or maybe Groundhog day...

Every few weeks it seems SONOS has to release an update which immediately breaks my Alexa/Sonos and I then spend a few frustrating days trying to get it all back up and running. And to make things even more exciting, it never works immediately after I delete and reinstall rooms/skill/devices/preferred speakers it waits a few days before deciding whether it will work or not - just in time for the next update to break it again.

I have over £1000 of SONOS devices. I'm also adding an extension and was going to put in another £2500 of SONOS devices but I have now given up on them.

I jokingly asked my wife how she was going to cope with this Alexa/SONOS fiasco if I died and she replied 'I'll just use the Bose...' Maybe she has a point.
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It is not really helpful having lights called 'Living Room Lights' and a speaker called 'Living Room' as those will likely clash. It is important to have unique names for devices/rooms/groups etc... Note if you have registered Sonos speakers as accessories in Apple HomeKit they will need to be renamed in the iOS Home App.

Smart lights and any plugs can be changed in their native App, like Philips Hue or TP-Link Kasa Apps, just as examples.


They have all been renamed since that post (including the Alexa group). But until a couple of weeks ago having SONOS speakers called Living Room, an Alexa group called Living Room, Hue lights called Living Room and a NEST Thermostat called Living Room caused absolutely no problems whatsoever.

The logic of just having an Alexa group called Living Room and all devices controlled from within that group makes a lot of sense, but only if it works (which unfortunately it doesn't). Instead it screws up all your other smart devices.
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Are you using reserved IP addresses? If not, might the groups be breaking when IP addresses are renewed?

No I'm not but I didn't think I had to. I'll give it a try but I think its more likely the recent update broke it again and I'll just have to set SONOS up afresh with Alexa. TBH I'm fed up babysitting SONOS/Alexa this is the 4th time this year.
It is not really helpful having lights called 'Living Room Lights' and a speaker called 'Living Room' as those will likely clash. It is important to have unique names for devices/rooms/groups etc... Note if you have registered Sonos speakers as accessories in Apple HomeKit they will need to be renamed in the iOS Home App.

Smart lights and any plugs can be changed in their native App, like Philips Hue or TP-Link Kasa Apps, just as examples.
Userlevel 6
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Are you using reserved IP addresses? If not, might the groups be breaking when IP addresses are renewed?
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Well what do you know - it's stopped working (yet again). Why does it not surprise me in the slightest...
@mvosloo . I think you have now ended up pretty much where the rest of us are and I am glad it now seems to be working for you.
I am totally unconvinced about the significance of adding the Beam with mic off, but whatever......

Edit: forum glitches have delayef some posts. I posted this without having seen your latest.
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*UPDATE*

As suspected trying to set up the kitchen broke everything.

I have done a reinstall as suggested by @UKMedia including forgetting all the Sonos speakers and reinstalling the skill for both Kitchen and Living Room. I also selected all Sonos speakers as preferred speakers.

After doing this saying ‘play music’ worked. But (there’s always a but), saying ‘play music in the living room’ (old habits die hard ) broke it with music only coming from one speaker (dining room speaker).

So I renamed the Alexa Living Room group to Lounge. Now when I say ‘play music on the living room’ Alexa is quite happy but there is no music playing. If you then say ‘play music’ Alexa says that ‘music is streaming on another device do you want to stream to dining room instead’ (dining room is the first Sonos speaker alphabetically so I assume this is why it chooses this one). If you say yes it then plays music to all the preferred speakers ie works as intended.

I looked for other devices called living room trying to work out where Alexa thought it was streaming to but there is only a Nest Thermostat with that name (I did rename it but that made no difference). I have a sneaky suspicion that the Dining Room speaker in a previous incarnation might have been called Living Room and this still shows up if you run a new speaker install on it (I’ve had to do that a couple of times over the years).

So the short version is that it works if I say ‘play music’ but gets confused if I say ‘play music in the living room’
Userlevel 4
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I have groups of Sonos speakers set up on the Alexa app. eg. "everywhere" and "downstairs". So when I say "Alexa, play radio 2 on everywhere" she sets the group up and starts playing.

I have a living room group, with my play 1s, philips hue, tv, dot. I have kitchen with my connect amp and dot. They have the preferred speaker set up. So if I give Alexa a command in the living room, only the living room sonos ducks. But then I have other groups set up as groups of speakers in the Alexa app, so I can tell any dot to start playing something on any group and Alexa performs the grouping tasks within Sonos.

Does that make sense?
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I actually think I’ve got it working but unfortunately I can’t remember the exact sequence of what I did to make it work. From what I recall I added all the Sonos speakers to preferred speakers, ungrouped the Sonos group then removed the Beam as a preferred speaker. It now works if I say ‘play music’ (I’m reluctant to test ‘play music in the living room’ in case it all falls apart again)!

I could have left the Beam as a preferred speaker but it seemed ‘safer’ to remove it and it also needs to be at a much higher volume for the TV so blasts your ears off as a music speaker.

The key to get this working seemed to be adding the Beam as an Alexa control device (although the mic is off so it doesn’t respond to commands) - prior to that nothing I did made any difference.

I have a similar setup for the kitchen so now the challenge is to see if that also works.

However, the issue still exists that this is the third time this year that I have had Sonos/Alexa problems with groups and it’s becoming pretty frustrating having to fix these issues

And I do understand that Alexa is often the issue not Sonos but it is the Sonos product that stops working.
Good advice, @UKMedia. I would sdd 'ensure none of your speakers is grouped in the Sonos app initially '

I also wondered about the 'play music' command but tried it on my system and the preferred speakers did group. I still agree thst it would be better to test with a specific artist.
Userlevel 7
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It should be simple but it isn’t. I only have one preferred speaker because if I select more than one it still only plays music on one speaker. This is the problem.

if Alexa played music on all of the speakers I select as ‘preferred speakers’ I wouldn’t have a problem. But it doesn’t.

As John B has said, this is working differently from our experience. As you have made so many changes, can you please carry out these steps and let us know if the situation changes (I know that you've undertaken most of these commands before but I'm not sure of the order):

  1. Ensure that your Sonos Room Names are unique in the Sonos App and change if required, then ask 'Alexa, Discover Devices;
  2. Delete your Alexa Group called Living Room;
  3. Open the Alexa App>Device>All Devices and ensure that no devices are shown as 'Off-Line';
  4. Create a New Alexa Group called 'living room';
  5. Add 'Mark's Echo Dot' as the Echo Controlling Device;
  6. Add any Sonos speakers you want to duck when a command is heard to the Alexa Group;
  7. Add any Sonos Speakers you want Grouped together for Multi-Room Audio in the Preferred Speakers section;
  8. Ask 'Alexa, Play Ed Sheeran' (I'm wondering if asking for 'Music', rather than a Specific Artist or Playlist is also an issue)
What are the results?
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It should be simple but it isn’t. I only have one preferred speaker because if I select more than one it still only plays music on one speaker. This is the problem.

if Alexa played music on all of the speakers I select as ‘preferred speakers’ I wouldn’t have a problem. But it doesn’t.
Why do you have only one speaker as preferred speaker?
This should be simple. An Echo device as the sole Alexa controller device. Speakers you want to duck as the selected speakers. The speakers that you want to group and play set as the 'preferred speakers'. Name the group differently from any speaker. Don't do any grouping in Sonos app. Speak to the controller device and don't name a room for play.
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Hi John. Because it’s the only way it works. Without the Sonos group it only plays on the Sonos Beam (if I say ‘play music in the living room’) or on the Echo Show (if I say ‘play music’).

I fully understand that this isn’t how it should work but it is how it is working.
'I then created a group in Sonos'

Why? As I said before, I don't create groups in Sonos. I let Alexa create the group on the fly.
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Yes I have groups set up in Alexa. Ignore my comment about paired speakers - it’s not the issue.

There may be no generic issue with ‘preferred speakers’ and indeed it’s been working fine for me for months but for reasons probably not even understood by Sonos/Alexa it stopped working. Unfortunately as with a lot of Sonos/Alexa issues not everyone experiences the same problems.

However, I sort of got it working again. I added my Sonos Beam (TV Speaker) as an additional Alexa controller (with the microphone turned off so that I can still use the Echo Show as the main Alexa device) and then set the Sonos Beam up as the preferred speaker. I then created a group in Sonos based around the Sonos Beam and it seems to work. I’ve only tried it out once so I’ll let you know tomorrow if it holds up - but as the TV speaker decouples from the rest of the Sonos group when I turn on the TV, this is by no means a permanent solution.

I have absolutely no idea why this works but then I have absolutely no idea why it stopped working in the first place.




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