Volume control using IOS app on iphone and ipad

  • 14 December 2023
  • 55 replies
  • 14202 views

Userlevel 3

Hi all - I just purchased a Move and pleased with the sound, but what I’m not too pleased about is the fact that it appears that I cannot control the volume of the Move when I play anything using the Sonos app. If I connect the phone to the Move with bluetooth I can indeed control the volume.

 

Is it just me, or does anyone else have the issue that they can’t control the volume when using the IOS Sonos app?

 

Appreciate any inputs as it’s very frustrating.


55 replies

Userlevel 7

To adjust the volume on the Move when using the Sonos app, use the volume control slider from within the Sonos app.

With the 15.6 update released in July of this year, Sonos removed the ability to control the volume using the iOS device hardware buttons when streaming from the Sonos app. This is the reason that was given by Sonos:

“The way these features were architected do not meet Apple’s experience guidelines for developers and no longer offer a reliable control experience.”

You mean within the app, not using the hardware buttons on the iPad?
 

The side hardware buttons will not work on any iOS device when using the Sonos App, since Apple’s rules say that it they can be used by applications that are playing on iOS. Since the Sonos works by ‘playing’ from the Sonos speaker, and only using the app on iOS as a remote control, those side buttons don’t work, only the in app volume controls.

Of course, however, when you’re sending a Bluetooth signal to your Sonos, you’re then ‘playing’ the sound on your iPhone first, and then throwing the sound to Sonos, so the side buttons work. But they’re controlling the volume of the signal being sent, and not technically the Sonos volume per se. 

Userlevel 3

How crazy that you can’t adjust the volume using the side button hardware on the iphone whilst using the app. That’s a pretty significant inconvenience and is now influencing my purchasing decision, which is a little sad. I like the speaker but don’t really want to be having to keep opening the app if I just want to change the volume. Thanks to everyone that have taken the time to respond - much appreciated.

Agreed, it’s an unfortunate stance by Apple, and likely impacting several third party companies, like Sonos. If you wanted to wear a tin foil hat, you could say it was to help Apple sell their own hardware, rather than purchasing elsewhere. There are similar ‘oddities’ with Google. Not as open to everyone as they’d like you to think. Maybe for some valid security reasons, which might be hard for us to ‘see’ easily, though. 

Userlevel 3

I must say, when companies are so protectionist it does tend to turn me off them. Seems like Apple want to create a monopoly, or as close to it as they can get legally. Does anyone know if it’s the same situation with android phones, or is this exclusively an Apple generated issue?

It’s pretty much the same with Android/Google. It’s a crap shoot as to who introduces restrictions first, but generally the other follows step. 

Userlevel 3

That’s a little sad, but not entirely surprised. Thanks again for taking the time to respond - much appreciated.

Userlevel 1

Massive UX fail. This should be referenced in the iOS app… Literally the only app on my phone where the volume buttons don’t work. I had to figure out by accident that I can only control volume on the song’s track in the Sonos app. Can you add a feature that when I hit the volume button, that track screen comes up? There has to be a UX improvement here. 

Probably the only app on your device that is a remote control, rather than an actual music player, too. 

To my knowledge, Sonos argued this with Apple, who was not only intransigent, but I suspect they threatened to remove the app from the Apple ‘store’ unless Sonos removed the ‘hack’ that allowed it to work before. But I’m guessing on that part, based on my previous experience with the Apple Store folks…but I’d be putting money on that, I’m that confident. 

Userlevel 3
Badge +2

Adding a vote here that Sonos removing hardware controls should still be a goal / concern instead of just being marked “unfixable”. To change volume each time, you have to open up the sonos app (which is beyond terrible) and use the sonos volume, which is remarkably inconvenient. If the NYT audio app (not owned by apple) and others can support hardware volume controls, then it seems there’s no reason why the Sonos app shouldn’t be able to do the same. Especially since this used to work at one point in time. This comment will be ignored and the topic shut down I’m sure, but I just wanted to pipe in about it.  

Adding a vote here that Sonos removing hardware controls should still be a goal / concern instead of just being marked “unfixable”. To change volume each time, you have to open up the sonos app (which is beyond terrible) and use the sonos volume, which is remarkably inconvenient. If the NYT audio app (not owned by apple) and others can support hardware volume controls, then it seems there’s no reason why the Sonos app shouldn’t be able to do the same. Especially since this used to work at one point in time. This comment will be ignored and the topic shut down I’m sure, but I just wanted to pipe in about it.  

 

Topics are shut down after a period of no posts, regardless of content.  There’s no conspiracy going on.

As to the NYT app vs. Sonos, there’s a big difference.  The NYT app is a media player, the Sonos app is a remote control for third party hardware, and Apple has removed the capability for the hard buttons to control 3rd party hardware.  They’ve also cracked down on the hack Sonos used to usurp that rule, which was playing a silent file in the background so iOS would think the Sonos app was a media player.  Sonos either had to comply with Apple’s rule, or be removed from the App Store.

Bottom line, if you wish this functionality to return, you are barking up the wrong tree here at Sonos.  Go bark up Apple’s tree. 

Userlevel 3
Badge +2

Adding a vote here that Sonos removing hardware controls should still be a goal / concern instead of just being marked “unfixable”. To change volume each time, you have to open up the sonos app (which is beyond terrible) and use the sonos volume, which is remarkably inconvenient. If the NYT audio app (not owned by apple) and others can support hardware volume controls, then it seems there’s no reason why the Sonos app shouldn’t be able to do the same. Especially since this used to work at one point in time. This comment will be ignored and the topic shut down I’m sure, but I just wanted to pipe in about it.  

 

Topics are shut down after a period of no posts, regardless of content.  There’s no conspiracy going on.

As to the NYT app vs. Sonos, there’s a big difference.  The NYT app is a media player, the Sonos app is a remote control for third party hardware, and Apple has removed the capability for the hard buttons to control 3rd party hardware.  They’ve also cracked down on the hack Sonos used to usurp that rule, which was playing a silent file in the background so iOS would think the Sonos app was a media player.  Sonos either had to comply with Apple’s rule, or be removed from the App Store.

Bottom line, if you wish this functionality to return, you are barking up the wrong tree here at Sonos.  Go bark up Apple’s tree. 

This is always the response I’ve received related to anything Apple & Sonos… complaining to apple does absolutely nothing as a consumer. I’ve tried. Sonos would have more weight as a company, unless they’re in a dispute with Apple. At any rate, Sonos as a company appears to have thrown in the towel on this issue. As a consumer, I don’t care whose fault it is. It is up to the company (companies) to sort that out behind the scenes.  

This is always the response I’ve received related to anything Apple & Sonos… complaining to apple does absolutely nothing as a consumer. I’ve tried. Sonos would have more weight as a company, unless they’re in a dispute with Apple. At any rate, Sonos as a company appears to have thrown in the towel on this issue. As a consumer, I don’t care whose fault it is. It is up to the company (companies) to sort that out behind the scenes.  

 

Whether you care about fault or not, it doesn’t change the fact that Apple is enforcing their rules, and the only choices Sonos has is to comply, or be removed from the App Store.  Which choice would you rather they take? 

Userlevel 3
Badge +2

Re: “the only choices Sonos has is to comply, or be removed from the App Store”. Is there any specific documentation on Apple’s policy about this? Has Sonos discussed this directly with apple? Probably not public info, but seems to me that they are a big enough company with some weight to do so. I would be relatively ok with sacrificing volume controls if the Sonos app was any good (IMO it is horrible for music fans). The only reason I use it at all is because atmos is only available directly through the Sonos app. Aside from that, I’d be happy to not use the Sonos app & would be fine with it being removed from the app store. Assuming that speaker setup still works, of course. 

Re: “the only choices Sonos has is to comply, or be removed from the App Store”. Is there any specific documentation on Apple’s policy about this? Has Sonos discussed this directly with apple? Probably not public info, but seems to me that they are a big enough company with some weight to do so. I would be relatively ok with sacrificing volume controls if the Sonos app was any good (IMO it is horrible for music fans). The only reason I use it at all is because atmos is only available directly through the Sonos app. Aside from that, I’d be happy to not use the Sonos app & would be fine with it being removed from the app store. Assuming that speaker setup still works, of course. 

 

Nobody knows about this issue, but we do know the last time Apple did something like this (removed the ability to play songs located on the iDevice), Sonos tried for over a year to work with Apple, and Apple never budged.

As to removing the app?  Your system would not be able to be administered to without using the app.  No adding new devices, configuring rooms, voice control, Trueplay, etc.  So though you may be content without it, the vast majority would not.  Thus that choice is not a choice at all for Sonos. 

Userlevel 3
Badge +2

Re: “the only choices Sonos has is to comply, or be removed from the App Store”. Is there any specific documentation on Apple’s policy about this? Has Sonos discussed this directly with apple? Probably not public info, but seems to me that they are a big enough company with some weight to do so. I would be relatively ok with sacrificing volume controls if the Sonos app was any good (IMO it is horrible for music fans). The only reason I use it at all is because atmos is only available directly through the Sonos app. Aside from that, I’d be happy to not use the Sonos app & would be fine with it being removed from the app store. Assuming that speaker setup still works, of course. 

 

Nobody knows about this issue, but we do know the last time Apple did something like this (removed the ability to play songs located on the iDevice), Sonos tried for over a year to work with Apple, and Apple never budged.

As to removing the app?  Your system would not be able to be administered to without using the app.  No adding new devices, configuring rooms, voice control, Trueplay, etc.  So though you may be content without it, the vast majority would not.  Thus that choice is not a choice at all for Sonos. 

Let me rephrase - I’d be perfectly content with not using the Sonos App for the UX side of things with organizing / browsing / playing music / podcasts etc. Understood that it’s required for any hardware related management. That’s the problem though, it’s a catch 22 for the end user. 

As to documentation to the policy, Apple has rejected apps in the past for altering the hardware buttons:

In August, Apple rejected the photo app Camera+ when it included a volume-snap feature, because changing the behavior of the iPhone's external hardware buttons was strictly prohibited.

 

https://www.wired.com/2010/12/camera-plus-volume-snap/

Wouldn’t you expect that Sonos discussed this with Apple at length, long before we became aware of it? Certainly that would not be public information, but it would be madness not to. I’ve certainly had my share of conversations with Apple folks, while representing another company’s interests. It would seem madness to me that Sonos wouldn’t have fought tooth and nail about several of these changes forced on them by both Apple and Google, but a company the size of Sonos against behemoths that offer Operating System that Sonos relies on is a challenge, and of course Sonos won’t oublically shake the boat, no matter how unhappy they may be. They’re still beholden to these companies to run the Sonos software on their OS.

I understand that you’d be OK with Sonos pulling their software from the Apple Store, and making it a download from the website only. I’ve not got research and numbers to back me up, but I suspect that option was looked at, and discarded by the Product Managers at Sonos, as it might lose them a larger portion of their users. Sonos does seem to have a marketing thrust of ‘ease of use’ more than anything else. I look at that as ‘something my mother could run easily, not overly complex’. If my mother had to go to a website to update the software on her Sonos (were she still alive), she’d rather immediately stop using and purchasing Sonos. I suspect there is a large portion of Sonos users who are the same, much larger than the population savvy enough to frequent this forum, and post. 

It would be really nice if Sonos was more customizable. I see suggestions frequently here in this forum about adding this or that, all which make sense individually, but when you imagine each and every option and how it would fit in an ease of use application, it become no longer that…no ease of use, just a bewildering bevy of option that likely less than 1% of users would want to use, and way less than that which would use those options properly. 

I don’t always agree with Sonos. However, I want them to stay in business, and continue their support for the system I have in my home. Perhaps at some point, a competitor will develop a better system, and I’ll jump ship…but so far, in the last 15 years, that hasn’t happened, and Sonos continues to evolve in both areas I do care about, and areas I don’t. As long as they continue to exist, I’m happy. 

Userlevel 3
Badge +2

As to documentation to the policy, Apple has rejected apps in the past for altering the hardware buttons:

In August, Apple rejected the photo app Camera+ when it included a volume-snap feature, because changing the behavior of the iPhone's external hardware buttons was strictly prohibited.

 

https://www.wired.com/2010/12/camera-plus-volume-snap/

This was 13 years ago though. 

Userlevel 3
Badge +2

Wouldn’t you expect that Sonos discussed this with Apple at length, long before we became aware of it? Certainly that would not be public information, but it would be madness not to. I’ve certainly had my share of conversations with Apple folks, while representing another company’s interests. It would seem madness to me that Sonos wouldn’t have fought tooth and nail about several of these changes forced on them by both Apple and Google, but a company the size of Sonos against behemoths that offer Operating System that Sonos relies on is a challenge, and of course Sonos won’t oublically shake the boat, no matter how unhappy they may be. They’re still beholden to these companies to run the Sonos software on their OS.

I understand that you’d be OK with Sonos pulling their software from the Apple Store, and making it a download from the website only. I’ve not got research and numbers to back me up, but I suspect that option was looked at, and discarded by the Product Managers at Sonos, as it might lose them a larger portion of their users. Sonos does seem to have a marketing thrust of ‘ease of use’ more than anything else. I look at that as ‘something my mother could run easily, not overly complex’. If my mother had to go to a website to update the software on her Sonos (were she still alive), she’d rather immediately stop using and purchasing Sonos. I suspect there is a large portion of Sonos users who are the same, much larger than the population savvy enough to frequent this forum, and post. 

It would be really nice if Sonos was more customizable. I see suggestions frequently here in this forum about adding this or that, all which make sense individually, but when you imagine each and every option and how it would fit in an ease of use application, it become no longer that…no ease of use, just a bewildering bevy of option that likely less than 1% of users would want to use, and way less than that which would use those options properly. 

I don’t always agree with Sonos. However, I want them to stay in business, and continue their support for the system I have in my home. Perhaps at some point, a competitor will develop a better system, and I’ll jump ship…but so far, in the last 15 years, that hasn’t happened, and Sonos continues to evolve in both areas I do care about, and areas I don’t. As long as they continue to exist, I’m happy. 

I’ve been a Sonos customer for over 10 years now, pretty heavily invested in the system. But I hate the app with a passion, frustrated that Sonos doesn’t appear to be interested in improving it beyond security and hardware functionality issues. Anyways, seems that there’s no more discussion to be had about the iphone button controls, which is unfortunate given that users are locked into using the sonos app for atmos. 

Userlevel 3
Badge +2

PS - Previous discussion about the app itself if interested:

 

This was 13 years ago though. 

 

Do you have any evidence the policy has changed?  

Which brings to bear a question similar to what @Airgetlam asks above.  If Apple’s policy is to allow reassigning the functionality of the hard buttons, why in the h-e-double-hockey-sticks would Sonos stop using the hard buttons for volume control?  Also, why would Sonos have used the well acknowledged hack to usurp a rule which doesn’t exist? 

No sane company hacks something which is actually allowed by the rules.  Similarly, no sane company removes functionality when it has no reason to do so.  Sure there are those who can think up silly reasons like “They hate their customers!” or “Sonos are big meanies!” or “They don’t want to support it anymore!” when it probably took more man hours to take it out of the code than it does to support it in the first place, but in reality, there are no logical reasons except that the decision was forced upon them by Apple. 

Userlevel 3
Badge +2

This was 13 years ago though. 

 

Do you have any evidence the policy has changed?  

Which brings to bear a question similar to what @Airgetlam asks above.  If Apple’s policy is to allow reassigning the functionality of the hard buttons, why in the h-e-double-hockey-sticks would Sonos stop using the hard buttons for volume control?  Also, why would Sonos have used the well acknowledged hack to usurp a rule which doesn’t exist? 

No sane company hacks something which is actually allowed by the rules.  Similarly, no sane company removes functionality when it has no reason to do so.  Sure there are those who can think up silly reasons like “They hate their customers!” or “Sonos are big meanies!” or “They don’t want to support it anymore!” when it probably took more man hours to take it out of the code than it does to support it in the first place, but in reality, there are no logical reasons except that the decision was forced upon them by Apple. 

Fair enough, but if that is indeed the case, then they should be making an urgent effort to improve the app UX. Which they don’t appear to be doing. The focus seems to be on selling the hardware and keeping customers in their ecosystem. I get it from a profit perspective, but it sucks for their longtime customers. 

Fair enough, but if that is indeed the case, then they should be making an urgent effort to improve the app UX. Which they don’t appear to be doing. The focus seems to be on selling the hardware and keeping customers in their ecosystem. I get it from a profit perspective, but it sucks for their longtime customers. 

 

UX is a very subjective thing.  I don’t seem to have the problems other claim to have.  Then again, I’m pretty skeptical when it comes to UX “science”.  It seems more the flavor of the day than anything to do with actual performance or efficiency.

Userlevel 3
Badge +2

Fair enough, but if that is indeed the case, then they should be making an urgent effort to improve the app UX. Which they don’t appear to be doing. The focus seems to be on selling the hardware and keeping customers in their ecosystem. I get it from a profit perspective, but it sucks for their longtime customers. 

 

UX is a very subjective thing.  I don’t seem to have the problems other claim to have.  Then again, I’m pretty skeptical when it comes to UX “science”.  It seems more the flavor of the day than anything to do with actual performance or efficiency.

I won’t get into all the gory details of why I hate it so much (you can read the thread I posted for that). But I think it goes beyond a subjective opinion when very basic things like album release dates are missing. Maybe most people don’t care about such things, but music fans definitely do. 

Reply