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Recent update now breaking groups with Alexa

  • 11 December 2018
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After an update to the Sonos software this weekend, the Alexa integration is "broken" in that now, starting music using voice commands breaks apart groups of speakers. Are there new commands, or is there a way to roll back the software version to one that actually worked? If this is the "new normal," then I will need to discuss returning all of the Sonos products I own and looking into a new Alexa compatible system.
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Best answer by Ryan S 13 December 2018, 23:33

I posted this in the other thread with the same topic, but so the information is in both threads, here's an update on some things you've noticed.

We're working with Amazon to bring some additional features and improvements to Sonos. These are rolling out in stages, and you've noticed some of them. Not all of the changes are out yet, but I wanted to clarify a few things here for you. We'll make a public announcement when that work's complete. 

There are some changes that you're seeing around naming rooms when you go to perform a function. One of these changes is that when you explicitly call out to stop/pause an active Sonos speaker, just that room will stop playing. 

"Alexa, stop in living room" will stop the music in just the living room, even if it's grouped with other players in the Sonos app. For example, if the player was grouped with a Sonos speaker in the Kitchen, the two will ungroup, and the Kitchen will keep on playing.

This also includes telling rooms to play music. If the Living Room and Kitchen are grouped in Sonos and not playing music, "Alexa, play in the Kitchen" will remove Living Room from the group in Sonos, and start playing in Kitchen only.

And this applies to Sonos players that have Alexa built in too, so if you have Living Room and Kitchen (a Sonos One) currently grouped and not playing music. Speaking to the Sonos One "Alexa, Play Music," will cause the Sonos One to remove Living Room from the group and start playing on its own.

If you notice Sonos groups changing due to your voice commands, open your Alexa app and look for the new Groups setup. Tap the lower-right icon, a house outline with two levers, to find it. Create an Alexa group with your desired speakers and assign your Alexa or Sonos device as the input for that group. Your voice commands will now use that group without needing to say the location name as part of the command.

You will also notice some other changes soon, and we'll let you know when it's all live. Stay tuned!
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@UKMedia,

I've looked at the instructions you linked to and, frankly, too bl**dy complicated.

Old method: Go into Sonos app, click on room, click on Group, tick rooms, done.

Scenario One: I need a 'controlling device'; then I need to create an Alexa group (so if I want different groups for different listening needs I need to create a whole host of Alexa groups) and then come up with yet more 'unique' names for the Alexa group?

Sorry, but voice conrtrol was meant to make things easier.

Please can I have the old, simple, effective way of creating a Sonos group and then an Alexa command about any speaker in that group applies to the whole group. Simples.


I just call the Alexa Group the name of the room the Alexa device is located in - hardly confusing... 🙂
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Hello @UKMedia. Unfortunately, in this case, I adopted the whole IoT scene rather early on so in my 'lounge' I currently have:

Sonos Beam (connected to a smart TV...)
Sonos ZP80
2 x Hive active lights
1 x WeMo smart plug.

Ideally I'd like to call them all 'lounge' but that results in some, ahem, confusion. Thus having to create yet another group for 'the lounge' requires some imagination - and effort when trying to remember what was called what!

However we have probably reached an impasse at this point. I'll consider the procedure you linked to but I remain of the firm view that the 'old' way of Alexa controlling Sonos speakers is far and away better than the new version and I would vote for a return - change isn't always good!
Userlevel 7
Badge +20
Hello @UKMedia. Unfortunately, in this case, I adopted the whole IoT scene rather early on so in my 'lounge' I currently have:

Sonos Beam (connected to a smart TV...)
Sonos ZP80
2 x Hive active lights
1 x WeMo smart plug.

Ideally I'd like to call them all 'lounge' but that results in some, ahem, confusion. Thus having to create yet another group for 'the lounge' requires some imagination - and effort when trying to remember what was called what!

However we have probably reached an impasse at this point. I'll consider the procedure you linked to but I remain of the firm view that the 'old' way of Alexa controlling Sonos speakers is far and away better than the new version and I would vote for a return - change isn't always good!


I understand 100% your issue, The method I used to get around this is to name devices by the naming standard 'Room Name + Device Type'. e.g. Kitchen Sonos, Kitchen Echo Dot, etc This leaves Group names with the more simple name. e.g. Lounge, Kitchen. I also adopted the standard naming of '[Room Name] + Main Lights' and '[Room Name] + Background Lights' - where 'Main' are the wall switches (I use LightWaveRF} and 'Background' are Smart Plugs.

With regard to the change, I'm not 100% sure but I think Amazon was driving this and Sonos ensured they were compliant.
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Thanks for the suggestion on device naming. I've been thinking I need something more structured for a while given the proliferation of IoT devices I have so perhaps I will change the names and try your method - and then update the WeMo rules....and the Hive Actions....and the IFTTT recipes. Sigh.
Userlevel 7
Badge +20
Thanks for the suggestion on device naming. I've been thinking I need something more structured for a while given the proliferation of IoT devices I have so perhaps I will change the names and try your method - and then update the WeMo rules....and the Hive Actions....and the IFTTT recipes. Sigh.
...and some red wine! 🙂