Sonos Privacy

  • 26 November 2016
  • 11 replies

Until tonight I have always regarded the Sonos system as a music system which was only linked to the outside world if I wanted to make use of such music services as Apple Music and the like. It never occurred to me that Sonos would be more intrusive ... until tonight when I started the app on my Mac. I was told to update otherwise the system would become crippled. The only thing that appeared to be new is a message service that now works within the Sonos app and which is on by default and can only be switched off if I access my Sonos account on-line and switch it off there. I must say this gives me the creeps and makes me wonder how private my use of Sonos really is. Does anyone now? Is my listening experience a private one or is Sonos keeping tabs? What sort of messages is Sonos planning to send me? Will it be yet another channel for advertising? Why must I go online to switch it off?

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11 replies

You can turn off Usage Data sharing in Advanced Settings.

Sonos will regularly check for updates unless you disable that option as well. This looks for software upgrades, and also refreshes the online services list. One imagines that it checks for messages at the same time.

As for 'giving you the creeps' do you have a computer/table/phone of any kind? Of course, and they routinely 'phone home' to internet destinations a lot more frequently.
Hi Ratty,

I am probably barking up the wrong tree, since I am over sensitive to companies intruding in my private sphere, but is this new "functionality" really just a matter of updates? The message forcing me to update (yes "force" appears to be the right word since it has disabled my ability to index my music collection or even make other changes to the settings) reads:

"Receive update notifications and OTHER IMPORTANT MESSAGES directly through your Sonos app."

I have always received update notifications in the Sonos app, so it is the "other messages" that bug me. Does anyone know what they are talking about?

Ratty, you say I can switch things off in the settings, but how am I to understand this part of the message then:

"To turn in-app messaging off, log into your account at, select Profile, click Edit Profile and deactivate your Email Options. This will shut off in-app messaging as well."

This sounds like an extra hurdle to me, no doubt intended to discourage lots of folk to do precisely that.

As to this sort of stuff giving me the creeps, the fact that I am subjected to this by lots of other firms in no way lessens its impact. Quite the opposite in fact. Moreover, your answer does not address whether there is any real need to make Sonos more intrusive.
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In app messaging is different to update notifications.

In app messaging is sending notes about Sonos functionality - Alarms, grouping rooms, Trueplay and so on. As the above says this can be disabled by logging onto and changing your E-mail notifications settings.

As for updates this is controlled by the controller app. If it is off then updates will be checked when you ask for it manually.

To be honest neither of these 2 would I consider to be a privacy concern as turning either or both off changes not a jot what Sonos knows about you or where that data is stored.

As far as updates are concerned you should be aware of the implications of not updating:-
1) You will not receive improvements/enhancements as they are released.
2) If you install a new Sonos unit you will almost certainly be required to update your system - If you haven't updated for a long time you will need to be mindful of controller operating system limitations coming into play (especially iOS devices).
Stuart ,you state that in app messaging SENDS notes about Sonos functionality, but the message I received from Sonos talks about me RECEIVING update notifications and "other important messages".

You do not address the fact that this update has now crippled my Sonos.

You also do not address the fact that for the first time Sonos is asking us to use our accounts to switch the messaging thing off.

Oh, before I forget. What is new about the controller? It looks pretty much the same to me as the previous one.

You state that "turning either or both off changes not a jot what Sonos knows about you or where that data is stored". What sort of information DOES Sonos collect?
Can anyone tell me where I can find my on-line account? The message with link only pops up when told to upgrade. Once you have updated it is gone. A search for Sonos account was unsuccessful.

BTW, I checked my settings in the controller and under Advanced Improve Sonos "Usage Data" was NOT ticked and in General "System Updates" was NOT enabled either. So how come I was forced to update?
Userlevel 7
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Hey Emile

I'm only a user of the Sonos system, like you.

Sonos may or may not respond to this thread but I certainly have no requirement to respond to your specific points. I will point out, however, that your initial post only says the MESSAGE you received said that if you didn't update that your system would be crippled - Your post did NOT say you are NOW crippled and need help! - In that case you need to give people a lot more information to help you - If indeed you are actually after help.
Hi Stuart,

I am sorry if I offended you, that was not my intention and yes I am well aware that you too are just a user, but I am just looking for some answers and was hoping someone (Ratty?) might know:

1. What does Sonos mean by: "Receive update notifications and OTHER IMPORTANT MESSAGES directly through your Sonos app."
We never had to go to our accounts to disable such a thing before so it suggests something new, but no further info is given. For all I know it may be very innoccuous but it would be good to hear what is meant.

2. Is it a change of policy to direct users to their accounts to disable a function and why can't this be done in the app itself?

3. Why was an upgrade forced down my throat when System Updates was not enabled?

PS. I explained what I meant by crippling in an earlier message: until I update (which I have now been forced to do) the app would not allow me to alter any of its settings or even index my music library.
Userlevel 7
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You haven't offended me so don't worry about that.

You need to log into your account at and selecting the Sign-in button and sign in using the e-mail to which your Sonos system is registered. If you have forgotten that you will need to phone or message Sonos with your Sonos ID and they will confirm your e-mail.

I don't know why you were "forced" to update - I didn't think that would happen but IF somebody else updated the players then you would be obliged to update the controller - Is it possible that happened?

Yes, I believe the in-app messaging (beyond update notifications) is new - they want to be able to update customer of new features eg New Music Services or Alexa integration.
Just to be clear, I'm not a Sonos employee either. They're marked as such.

The account to which you registered the system at first setup ( has always had a few flags in the profile controlling how much contact Sonos make with you.

As for being 'forced to update', I'd suspect that what might have happened was that a controller app updated itself automatically -- via an Apple or Google app store -- and became out of step with the player firmware version.
Userlevel 7
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Hi all, great answers so far.

I wanted to fill in some blanks. The notification feature was added with the Sonos Controller for iOS and Android software version 6.4.7. You can read some more about it here. Most likely, as ratty suggested, one of your mobile devices noticed that it needs to update through the App Store, or your players were updated to the latest version of Sonos by a controller and you haven't gotten the rest updated.

The "crippled control" you're talking about is almost certainly because the versions of your Player's software and that of the controller you're looking at is not the same. The only other possibility is that you're using incompatible software on your controller. Such as if it were an old iOS device.

If you can submit a diagnostic from your Sonos system and reply back with your confirmation number here I'll take a look for you and let you know what the case might be.

As to the messages themselves, it's adding a functionality that we think will be really helpful for a lot of customers. It can offer service notifications, update news, or special offers.

We linked it with the option to turn off emails which is part of the Sonos set-up process. When you first register your products through the app, there are check marks for getting emails and other options.

When you log into your account on the Sonos website, check that the UserID listed there is the same as the one that shows up on your Sonos system under About Sonos. You might be registered to a different email than you think.
Thanks to all. I am pretty sure the "forcing" was indeed caused by another app having already been updated. Incompatible software does not play a part in this. Thanks for warning me about the different emails. I'll check that. Meanwhile I did make sure the email option is switched off. I still do not think using purchased software for advertising purposes is a good idea (I am putting it very mildly). Imagine happily typing away in a word processor and all of a sudden an advertisement for MS or Apple pops up.

Direct answer to Ratty. I know you are not an employee and appreciate the effort you put in. The message we all received from Sonos clearly shows in its wording that they are going to do something they have not previously done, hence my reaction.