Upcoming changes to ‘On this iPhone or iPad’ Playback



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Do you think the number of people looking for this feature is large or expanding?

Well I for one am a new owner of Sonos after using a friends now and then for about three years. We bought a Beam in March and a One two weeks ago. As a confessed Apple fan boy I passed on HomePod in favor of Sonos when we made the change to wireless audio with our entertainment setup.

One of my main reasons to go Sonos was the queue feature that could be loaded with random tracks stored on my iPhone. I've learned to do this quite well before I bought my system. When our friend hosts a party for a few of us, they all love that I can queue up songs from my iPhone onto his Sonos system. I will fill the queue with songs from Amazon Prime Music (~10%) and 90% music from my "10,000 songs in my pocket". If I need a missing track I'll buy it on itunes. I just don't need a streaming service. Also others can add a track to the queue as they see fit. I don't see how I can do that remotely. While a NAS or my iMac may serve as a replacement at my home these methods will not be able to replace this feature at a remote location.

What I don't understand is the explanation that this feature "has become unreliable". I've NEVER HAD A MORE RELIABLE INTERFACE for a third party device as I have with the Sonos app on my iPhone. If this is going to break with iOS 13 then say so, but don't act like its a piece of crap as is needing to be tossed out.

If this is an iOS 13 issue, PLEASE consider giving us a new app for iOS 13 and letting any of us that love this feature keep the old app on iOS 12.

Alternately, can THE BEST wireless audio company rewrite this function into their app in a way that it DOESN'T break in the next iOS version? With as much response this thread has received I'd say its not a forgotten, worthless feature.

Randy
Userlevel 4


I purchased the Sonos System because of the mobile support for the IOS music library. Now your'e taking it away?? Re-architect your software and fix the issues. Eliminating the functionality is not a fix. I have invested thousands of dollars in your systems. Can I get my money back?

I also bought your system so I could take my IOS Library to friends homes and interface with their Sonos systems. Now that will also be eliminated. What is the solution for that?
Agree 100% to stream from the playlists and albums I have downloaded is the only reason I bought all of these components. I feel like have made a very poor choice in investing in Sonos components. I will be reaching out to my investment advisor to see if he thinks we should short the stock as the company is either short of funds or tone deaf to its customers or both. Either way there is probably money to br made shorting SONO
Lol. Last I remember, Sonos said 90% of their customers stream only, and that was at least two years ago. Short away!

LOL all you want the stock is down 40% over last 12 months.
Userlevel 4
Sure seem to be a few apologists for Sonos not investing the proper amount of time, money, R&D and effort to fix this problem.
Userlevel 1
This is the end of my Sonos usage. Using Sonos directly from the phone was THE reason to spend over $700 on speakers and now that feature will be gone.

I don’t care if Apple was the reason. I’m not setting up an NAS - that was the whole point of buying the Sonos - to avoid needing an NAS or leaving a computer on. I won’t be buying Apple speakers, that’s for use. Nor new Sonos speakers. We’ll figure out a different solution that will last beyond throwing hundreds of dollars away for a few years of usage.
Userlevel 2
Booo! I never had a problem playing from my iOS device but my speakers don’t support airplay. I was an early and loyal customer. Booo!
Userlevel 3
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Which opens another can of worms....avoiding lethal upgrades 😉
Userlevel 3
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I am sorry to lose the “on this iPhone” functionality. I agree with others who point out how SONOS keeps decreasing functionality.

Airplay is still buggy. If I pause playback, then attempt to restart, Airplay won’t connect. There’s also a thread on this site stating to restart your iPhone if it won’t connect. Furthermore, with on this iPhone, I can create a queue with podcasts and music tracks. Can’t do that with the native iOS apps.
Userlevel 1
We first launched the ‘On this iPhone or iPad’ feature in 2012 before AirPlay was available on Sonos. The way this feature was originally designed has become unreliable with newer versions of iOS, and in the coming months, this feature will no longer be available in the Sonos app.

Here are a few options to play tracks that were locally stored on your phone to Sonos:
  1. Streaming the catalogue from a music service. There are more than 100 music services available on Sonos, many with several millions of songs.
  2. Uploading your tracks to a music service with a storage feature, like Apple Music, that will store your library and stream it. This is a great option if you have songs that aren’t available on a streaming service.
  3. Setting up a Music Library share on a Computer or Network Attached Storage drive. This means setting up a hard drive on your local network and streaming the library off of there.
With option 3, you can share that library to Sonos using the steps here. This makes it so your phone doesn’t need to be turned on to listen, and the music will keep on playing as long as that storage location is available.

This is a disastrous decision by Sonos and will force me to sell my play 3 speaker in eBay!! 😡😡 the reason this is a huge backward step is the powers that be are directing people to streaming services. CD’s people bought, converted and uploaded to iOS devices will now find their music unplayable though older sonos systems.
Also legally purchased and downloaded bootlegs which have been uploaded to iOS devices will now also be rendered unplayable on older sonos systems!
This decision is pathetic, short sighted and pure greed as it’s forcing existing owners of sonos systems to spend hundreds of pounds on new systems where the only upgrade is airplay 2 compatibility.
ebay here Sonos play comes, Bose, let’s see what you have got!! 😡😡😡😡😡😡
Userlevel 4
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Sure seem to be a few apologists for Sonos not investing the proper amount of time, money, R&D and effort to fix this problem.

Yep. Good observation.

Because of this, I suggest that as well as posting comments here, those who are affected by the loss of this feature should do two things:

1- Write directly to the company about it.

2- Write or talk to the retailer/installer who sold you your system. in my case, the guy who sold me my $3,000 system made a big point of this feature. If the retailers hear enough complaints from buyers they’ll put some pressure on Sonos.

I purchased the Sonos System because of the mobile support for the IOS music library. Now your'e taking it away?? Re-architect your software and fix the issues. Eliminating the functionality is not a fix. I have invested thousands of dollars in your systems. Can I get my money back?

I also bought your system so I could take my IOS Library to friends homes and interface with their Sonos systems. Now that will also be eliminated. What is the solution for that?
Agree 100% to stream from the playlists and albums I have downloaded is the only reason I bought all of these components. I feel like have made a very poor choice in investing in Sonos components. I will be reaching out to my investment advisor to see if he thinks we should short the stock as the company is either short of funds or tone deaf to its customers or both. Either way there is probably money to br made shorting SONO


Lol. Last I remember, Sonos said 90% of their customers stream only, and that was at least two years ago. Short away!
Issue? I don’t believe! That’s not the first time that you are playing with your customers. If it’s an issue, address it to Apple and solve „this issue“. You never would remove a feature, if this would be an issue by partner company.
First, I don't work for Sonos. Second, Apple aren't going to change iOS to oblige a small subset of users of a (comparatively) small partner, to fix a problem for which there are numerous simple workarounds anyway. Apple may also be figuring that some people will blame Sonos and buy HomePods instead.
Userlevel 4
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I’m guessing that they are unwilling to throw a “partner” under the bus. The generally accepted theory, supported by all the evidence, is that Apple made a change in iOS 11 which deprioritized streaming from non-Apple apps, so the stream would stop when the device went to “sleep”. My assumption is that since that point in time, Sonos has been trying to work with Apple in order to come up with an acceptable solution, which has finally failed.

Yeah I see the narrative being pushed by a few posters. I disagree that it is generally accepted but don't disagree that it could be accurate.

That said have you considered that Sonos may be the villain. Killed the feature because they don't want to spend time$$$$ developing a fix? I get the effort to cast Apple as the villain because they make it difficult, but this is a cost of business.

Does it really matter? Only speaking for myself it does because Sonos is removing features on a regular basis which I personally find alarming, not to mention sometimes inconvenient and expensive.
This thread is surely now a complete waste of everyone's time. Every conceivable insult has been hurled at Sonos . Every other option for playing a local library has been explained. There is nothing new left to say. It is a dialogue of the deaf and nobody's mind is going to be changed.

No matter how many people complain, Sonos won't change this decision. They never do.

I hope everyone finds a solution that works for them, whether with or without Sonos.
Userlevel 1
When I saw this announcement, I honestly thought you have to be kidding me. For the last few years users have experienced continuous faults with music cutting out through iOS controllers due to interference, terrible controller updates, increasingly intrusive terms of service, and now cutting out the essential feature that I bought the system for in the first place. What was simple you've made annoyingly complicated and frustrating. Sonos has become a master class in how to take an excellent product and downgrade it into irrelevance.

The primary reason I purchased your speakers is that it would play tracks stored on an iOS device. Do you really think I'm going set up network hard drives or pay for new services I don't want so I can create some kind of workaround?

Are you going to trade in all my older Play 3 and Play 5s for new speakers that function on AirPlay?

While I'm not unsympathetic to the fact that the change is probably somehow the result of an iOS update, frankly that isn't a problem and I should have to shouldn't have to solve. You're the technology company you should solve it, and eliminating functionality is not a solution. It certainly isn't how to keep me as a customer.

Frankly, you've taken a product which I loved and enjoyed and turned it into a massive disappointment. If it was just this one issue, maybe I could take it ... but it has just been unending.
Userlevel 5
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The first of my non-en.community.sonos.com posts went live last night, and I will continue creating similar reviews on related review sites until I get bored. And, instead of spending my money to implement what is for my purposes a workaround (and I also agree that what is a workaround for me is simply how others intended to use the technology to begin with), I've decided to start a hobby website where I will document my experiences, as well as the experiences that others have add with the Play:1 and other Sonos equipment where Sonos has made similar "hard" decisions, but only after verifying that they actually occurred. At least that's my intent, I may get bored with it quickly. But until I do get bored, the purchase of sonos-sucks.com was a rather low cost investment for my new hobby.

I'm blown away at this logic.

On one hand we have people who complain and refuse looking into a subscription service.

Then there's people like this paying for domains and hosting just because of the removal of one feature. Time and money is better spent elsewhere, imo.
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We first launched the ‘On this iPhone or iPad’ feature in 2012 before AirPlay was available on Sonos. The way this feature was originally designed has become unreliable with newer versions of iOS, and in the coming months, this feature will no longer be available in the Sonos app.

Here are a few options to play tracks that were locally stored on your phone to Sonos:
  1. Streaming the catalogue from a music service. There are more than 100 music services available on Sonos, many with several millions of songs.
  2. Uploading your tracks to a music service with a storage feature, like Apple Music, that will store your library and stream it. This is a great option if you have songs that aren’t available on a streaming service.
  3. Setting up a Music Library share on a Computer or Network Attached Storage drive. This means setting up a hard drive on your local network and streaming the library off of there.
With option 3, you can share that library to Sonos using the steps here. This makes it so your phone doesn’t need to be turned on to listen, and the music will keep on playing as long as that storage location is available.



This is an incredibly disappointing decision from Sonos.
Userlevel 1
First time poster here. I've read through the thread and agree with the regulars that knee jerk and aggressive/confrontational reactions aren't particularly useful and actually serve to undermine any genuine cause for discontent by trivializing the issue. So I'll try to avoid that.

I am an iPhone user who more or less exclusively uses the 'On this iPhone' functionality so I'm really disappointed with the news. I understand there are other methods of accessing and playing your audio that are available, but Sonos, and some of the more experienced users here, need to understand and concede that perhaps with the exception of streaming services, every other method is significantly less convenient, and this will likely be a turn off for a small yet non trivial portion of its potential customers.

I only own a Playbar and a Play:1, so this news affects me quite a bit, and ultimately comes down to convenience;

  • I could switch on my laptop and queue music through the Windows app, but this is a hassle when I want to listen to music on the fly, while cooking or doing the washing up, etc. Parties and gatherings, and things that are a bit more planned should be fine because I can sort out my laptop in advance.
  • I could buy a NAS. That has been suggested by some people here. But ultimately my iPhone was acting as a NAS in the manner I was using it. It is a network connected drive which stored my music and podcasts, etc. I feel the suggestion of 'just get a NAS' (or worded similar) is being quite willfully obtuse. In reality this means a few hundred pounds/dollars, recreating a pre-existing library of audio and learning to use a new device which might not be familiar or easy to use. I'm relatively young and I'm sure I could figure it out, but I've never owned/used a NAS and can only imagine how off putting this would be to my parents in their 60s (who I bought a Play:1 for a few years ago). There is no way that a NAS is anywhere near as convenient and easy to use as playing directly from your phone. And those who mentioned configuring a Raspberry Pi... not everyone works in the tech industry.
  • I could subscribe to Spotify or Apple Music or something similar. But this is an expensive way to access music I already own. Sure, there would certainly be benefits of having access to a larger collection of music and I'm sure I'd discover and enjoy things I don't even know exist, but I'm not really looking for that. I just want to access to my own music really. I also don't really fancy rebuilding my music library in another 3rd party app.
Personally, I love Sonos products. Their form and function is unrivaled in my opinion. I really want to stick with the brand, but this decision is seemingly forcing me to spend significant money just to be able to use functionality that I have been able to enjoy for the past five years since I became a customer. And as someone else pointed out, how will podcasts be incorporated into any of the 'workarounds'? This is a big part of what I use Sonos for, and these are only stored on my iPhone.

I would love Sonos to offer an exchange policy for me and others in my situation. I love my Playbar so much, but in the absence of Airplay, I would happily trade it back to Sonos for, say, a few hundred pounds/dollars off a Playbase in order to regain the functionality I'm losing. I say happily, but really I'd prefer to keep my Playbar and have the functionality remain, because the Playbar is beautiful and powerful in equal measure. From all the options suggested by Sonos and by others in this thread, I intuitively feel like Airplay would be the most ideal for me but I can't afford to replace my Sonos products with the newer equivalents, which retail at a combined £900.

Also, those suggesting that a regular bluetooth speaker would have been more suitable for users like me are underestimating the value in being able to have your music follow you throughout your house, and group speakers together where appropriate, or have your TV audio follow you to the kitchen, etc. I don't think that wanting to use Sonos in more of a 'basic' way should be looked down upon by those with 'bells and whistles' setups.

I am genuinely looking for a suitable and convenient way around this. Like I said, I'd be happy to upgrade my products if Sonos could help cover the cost through an exchange program or similar, which is probably unlikely. I will definitely explore the option of Google Music that has been suggested here. I didn't know that there were any free services of this kind that could work with Sonos, so I've come away from this thread a little happier than when I first started reading.

Thanks all!
Userlevel 2
Frankly, I think more people would be as outraged as I am if they owned 18 SONOS speakers, including 3 Playbars, 2 Play 5’s, 3 Amps and 10 Play 1’s, the latter only two of which have AirPlay capability. My point is this: if SONOS is electing to stop maintaining their system capabilities to keep up with OSX changes, then this is bad policy for SONOS Customers. It may be good for SONOS Corporate, but it’s bad for customers. Anyone know of a SONIS competitor that has music library streaming capability?
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My family depends on this feature to use Sonos.

We have 7 Sonos players in the house. None are airplay 2 compatible.

While I use a NAS drive, other family members use phones/ tablets exclusively. We prefer to not pay for/ use streaming services.

Forcing a need to sync new songs from each family member’s phone to a NAS every time a new song gets purchased is not my idea of a good time 🙂 We also like each having our own separate library.

Sonos- please do not remove this feature. I am using it right now and it’s solid- no skips no hiccups. Just leave it in place.
Userlevel 1
The attitude of the techie community is always that everyone should constantly have to change or upgrade. Constantly adapt and buy into new systems and quite often have to purchase new equipment or subscriptions. Do they not realize that the average user is not concerned or even knows whether a device is IOS, Android or Windows etc. They make their choices on availability, features, cost and a whole host of other reasons. Devices, be they phones, tablets or whatever are often gifts, hand me downs, supplied by employers and acquired for many other reasons. Most people understand that as technology moves on their devices may become obsolete or at least not 100% effective. What they don’t expect is for features to be removed from relatively recent purchases that they acquired specifically to use alongside their current phone or tablet. When that feature is removed when both the device (Sonos) is perfectly serviceable and used in conjunction with another device (phone/tablet) that they already owned they have every right to be hacked off. This decision by Sonos is going to cause them some seriously bad publicity and PR issues and rightly so. It’s a bad move. It is perceived quite correctly as something being removed that in the mind of the user was already paid for, a done deal.
What about users who access a slightly older individual Sonos device from their iPhone. I know of yoga studios, offices, even a car workshop that I’m aware of where this is the case. Ridiculous obsolescence for a very poor reason. Do they not realize that when innocent customers are shown features at the point of sale that then becomes their reason to purchase. When that feature is removed they feel ripped off. Not everyone is a techie, nor should they have to be.
Imagine this scenario: Car company (BMW, Ford etc) saying ‘ From next Friday you will no longer be able to use fifth gear on your car as we are going to disable it. Most of our customers use their cars for city driving only and don’t use fifth gear so from now on we’re going to fit four speed gearboxes only to our new cars. If you are a highway or motorway user we apologies for the inconvenience. Enjoy your slower motoring or buy another brand or pay a fortune to keep using all five speeds. Goodbye.’
There would be outrage.
Perhaps I can provide a little much-needed perspective here.

It seems to me there are two distinct groups posting about this issue. The first consists of those who have just learned that this feature is being dropped and have posted to express their concern. I note that with but a very few exceptions, they almost entirely consist of first-time posters to these forums.

Given that it takes both time and effort to first find this community, and then spend the time necessary to sign up and compose a comment, I would suggest that what you are seeing here from these - let’s call them “newbies” - is but the “tip of the iceberg” in terms of the number of people who are actually dissatisfied.

The other group also have a distinct profile. They typically have been members of this community for several years and are quite frequent posters to these forums. A look at the profiles of the most frequent posters on this issue shows that they have posts in the thousands, or in some cases, tens of thousands. Let’s call them the “old timers“.

The newbies have come to this forum hoping that the Sonos community would join them in expressing concern regarding the decision to remove a feature which they find valuable. I grant you, sometimes this concern has been expressed in ways that, in my opinion, are inappropriate.

The old timers’ responses have typically along one of four themes - I am paraphrasing them here for purposes of simplicity. “I personally don’t use this feature. Therefore no one needs it.” “Have I told you how great a SAN is?” “This is all Apple‘s fault.” “Let me tell you how the workarounds work.”

So let’s take that different perspective that I spoke about. Here is what the Sonos announcement says about the reason for this feature being dropped.

“The way this feature was originally designed has become unreliable with newer versions of iOS”

My primary school English teacher taught me that if you want to understand a sentence, the first thing you need to do is change it from the passive voice to the active voice. When this rule is applied to this sentence, here is what you get:

“The way we designed this feature has become unreliable with newer versions of iOS.”

When it is read this way, it seems clear that the “this is all Apple’s fault” might not be wholly accurate.

I must commend John B who I think summarized this situation extremely well.

“Apple have made changes to iOS that they are perfectly entitled to make. A side-effect of this is that in certain (fairly common) scenarios, playing music stored on an i-device has become unreliable. Sonos has an incentive to fix this, Apple does not. “

So it seems to me there is really only one question here. That question is this:

Is this problem unfixable? In other words, have the changes that Apple has made in the iOS made it impossible for Sonos, or anyone else for that matter, to support this feature.

So why don’t we just ask the question? This is a Sonos Community forum and it is moderated and monitored by Sonos. Jeff, can you please speak to your management and get us all an answer to the following question.

“Has Sonos determined that, due to the changes that Apple is making to their iOS, it is impossible for Sonos (or anyone else) to develop the programming code necessary to support the “on this iPhone” feature stably with the new versions of iOS?”

You old timers could do us all a great service. You have a lot of clout here. Please put pressure on the moderators of these forums to get us an answer.

If the answer to this question is “yes”, then I would suggest that the newbies should concentrate on taking the excellent advice that they have received from some of the old timers and see if they can find a workaround which is tolerable for them. I would also suggest that in the event of a “yes” answer, in my opinion, some of the newbies owe the old timers an apology.

However, if the answer is “no” and Sonos has simply decided not to invest the time and effort necessary to continue to support this feature, then I would ask the old timers to consider whether it might be worthwhile to speak with “one voice” as a community and, regardless of whether or not you personally use or value the feature, support the newbies in their request that Sono reconsider this decision, as a not insignificant portion of this community does find the feature very valuable.

Thank you for accurately summarizing my concern, though in a much more temperate manner than I have 🙂
Userlevel 1
Please don’t change this feature!! It works great for me and I use it daily. The other options mentioned as a solution are not available to me and I’m sure there are many other people in the same situation. Those who have a problem with this feature can use the other options available. Why take it away from those who don’t have a problem with it and use it frequently?
Userlevel 7
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Having said that, I will say that of all of the suggested options, this one is certainly the closest to replicating the convenience and flexibility that the “on this iPhone” feature provides. It is a credit to people like you that it was this Community that identified this as an option when Sonos, after apparently a year of working on this problem, did not. It speaks to the value this Community sometime brings.


Did you bother to check to see if your statement was true or not before you threw it out there? Jeff (Sonos staff) stated the below in the very first post in this very thread.

Google Play Music has a free account option that allows you to upload 50,000 tracks and play them.

To answer your question, I sometimes post to outline the drawbacks to these workarounds because you and the other frequent contributors here, unfortunately, don’t, despite the fact that all the workarounds have drawbacks, in some cases significant ones, versus the “on this iPhone” feature.


Personally, I don't always know all the drawbacks to every service/feature/product that's out there. I personally did not know the specifics of how Google uploads music. I don't use it and never bothered to study the details. But even if I did, I'm not necessarily going to mention these details because I don't know what features are important to any particular person. I'm not going to list out all the features of Sonos One (positive or negative) when the only feature I currently know matters is airplay. I might guess as to what I think's important, but not always.

For example -

In the case of a NAS, for those who valued the “on this iPhone” feature because it allows them to connect to Sonos systems in different locations, a NAS is not particularly portable and convenient.


Exactly my point. I don't assume a user has multiple systems and this is therefore something they need to know. If they had mentioned this factor, I'd point that out. Very few people have multiple Sonos locations, use this feature, and don't have any airplay compatible speakers. Mentioning that fact seems about as important as mentioning that the Sonos One only comes in black or white, no grey option. Now if someone said they had two locations, or that color mattersv I'd give the details.

You guys say you are the experts, so why not inform people of both the advantages and the drawbacks to each workaround in comparison to the feature they are losing, and let them make an informed decision? Why only present the positive side of the solution and ignore the drawbacks, as you have been doing?


Can you point to where anyone in this thread said they were an expert? As I stated before, I don't know all the details, and from speaking with others, they don't always know the details either. I don't know what matters to every person who posts here and don't want to waste anyone's time, particularly my own, on information they don't care about.

The beauty of these forums is that we can learn from each other and share what we know. We can ask questions about what details matter to us.
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So because it's too hard to keep up with the world's largest smartphone and electronics manufacturer, you're effectively dumping a whole host of customers to the curb.

It sounds you're interpreting 'hard' the same way a teenager does when asked to mow the lawn. I don't think that's really the case here. 'Keeping up' isn't really the right term I'd use here. Being able to stream audio from your phone to a speaker over wifi isn't exactly a feature Apple is too concerned about, particularly now after they've implementing their own protocol for this, airplay 2. It's not the same as the iOS upgrading and pushing developers to upgrade their code to meet the new app standards.

Like many, I bought two Sonos speakers as a way to play music and podcasts that I already had stored on external speakers. So these have effectively become very expensive paper weights is what you're saying? "Oh, you don't like it, here's a bunch of different ways you can spend more money before we screw you over again."


They are still very useful speakers, just not in the way you want, for what you purchased them for, and that's good reason to be frustrated.

What an outrageously absurd and short-sighted decision. I'd like my money back so I can invest in a company that isn't giving its customers the middle finger.



Although it probably appears this way from your point of view, it seems Sonos had to chose between continuing the feature and having it be unstable for a significant number of users or ending the feature. After a year's worth of effort, it seems, "get it to just work" wasn't a viable option.
My own personal thought is it’s perhaps Apple not willing to ‘bend’ (accommodate their partners) on the lock-screen/music interruption issue .. I don’t think it will apply to Android. We shall have to see, but no mention of Android in Jeff's post. I read it as applying to iOS only.

I'm an iOS user myself, but I much prefer a NAS for local storage/playback, but even that is now becoming more and more redundant these days.

I have been converted (oooeeerrr!!) and much now prefer the streaming music services. The services available nowadays have far more 'new' and 'old' music than I could ever have purchased. All of it right there at the Family fingertips.

Music all month/every month, for less than the cost of three beers (or two glasses of wine) at my local pub/bar ...and such a vast variety of tracks/genres to choose from.

I personally have no real reason to protest about about losing this feature from my iPad/iPhone devices. The NAS will remain though for those occasional times when the internet goes offline, but even that is a rare event.

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