Sonos up­date adds Airplay 2 sup­port

Con­trol the Play:5, Sonos One, Play­base, or Beam via Siri, sync with Homepod, and more.

Macworld (USA) - - Contents - BY JA­SON SNELL

In July, Sonos re­leased sup­port for Ap­ple’s Airplay 2, giv­ing a dra­matic boost in func­tion­al­ity to cer­tain Sonos smart speak­ers via a soft­ware up­date ( go.mac­ If you’ve got a Sonos One, Beam, Play­base, or sec­ond-gen­er­a­tion Play:5, you’ll need to up­date your Sonos IOS app and then use the new app to in­stall the soft­ware up­date.

This is a big step for­ward in flex­i­bil­ity for Sonos prod­ucts—keep in mind that

Sonos speak­ers don’t do Blue­tooth or Airplay 1, so they’ve been pretty firmly locked in their own uni­verse un­less you added a don­gle or ran a soft­ware bridge ( go. mac­ But once a Sonos speaker gets Airplay 2, you can do a lot more than just play au­dio di­rectly to that speaker from a Mac or IOS de­vice.

Per­haps most im­pres­sively, all Airplay 2 speak­ers can play mu­sic in per­fect syn­chro­niza­tion. If you’ve got a Homepod or two and a com­pat­i­ble Sonos de­vice, you can now se­lect all those de­vices and play mu­sic through them, en­tirely in sync. Even bet­ter, if you’ve got in­com­pat­i­ble Sonos de­vices and place them in the same group as an Airplay 2–com­pat­i­ble Sonos de­vice via the Sonos app, those speak­ers will also play syn­chronously. I was able to get mu­sic to play in sync through­out my house, via a paired set of Home­pods, a Play:5, and the (in­com­pat­i­ble) Play:1 in my bath­room.

Sonos Airplay 2 speak­ers need to be added to the Home app, giv­ing you ac­cess via Siri. To add a speaker, tap the plus button, then Add Ac­ces­sory, then Don’t Have A Code or Can’t Scan. On the fol­low­ing screen, my speaker ap­peared as a large icon, wait­ing to be added.

Siri con­trol is pretty great. I was able to tell my iphone to play some mu­sic in the garage, and in a cou­ple of sec­onds, mu­sic sprung from the Play:5. You can con­trol Sonos de­vices via the Homepod, too:

When lis­ten­ing to mu­sic on a paired set of Home­pods in my liv­ing room, I said, “Hey Siri, also play this in the garage,” and the mu­sic im­me­di­ately picked up on the Play:5 in the garage, in sync.

With all this talk about Airplay 2, it’s worth not­ing that Airplay 2–com­pat­i­ble speak­ers also sup­port the orig­i­nal Airplay pro­to­col. It’s not as ro­bust—ev­ery­thing’s got a two-sec­ond buffer­ing de­lay, for in­stance—but I was able to play a pod­cast from my iphone us­ing Over­cast (which doesn’t sup­port Airplay 2) to the Play:5 and my pair of Home­pods.

Just be­cause these Sonos de­vices sup­port Airplay 2 doesn’t mean that they lose any of their other, ex­ist­ing fea­tures. Sonos has done some nifty en­gi­neer­ing to bridge the gap be­tween Airplay and any other Sonos speak­ers in your home. That starts with the abil­ity to group non-airplay Sonos speak­ers with an Air­play­compat­i­ble one in or­der to cre­ate a larger play­back group, but it doesn’t stop there. You can con­trol play­back from the Sonos app, so you can pause, re­sume, and even skip to the next track— not just on Sonos speak­ers, but on all the speak­ers that are con­nected to­gether. This ex­tends to the con­trols on the Sonos hard­ware it­self. When my (non–airplay 2) Sonos Play:1 was play­ing along with the Play:5 and the Home­pods in my liv­ing room, I was able to press the play/pause button in the bath­room and pause the mu­sic ev­ery­where.

This up­date makes the $199 Sonos One ( go.mac­ that much more com­pelling. It’s not only a frac­tion of the price of a Homepod, but it’s now a fully Airplay 2–com­pat­i­ble cit­i­zen. No, you can’t talk to it us­ing Siri (it’s got Ama­zon’s Alexa as­sis­tant on­board), but you can con­trol it us­ing Siri on your other Ap­ple de­vices. ■

Siri con­trol is pretty great. I was able to tell my iphone to play some mu­sic in the garage, and in a cou­ple of sec­onds, mu­sic sprung from the Play:5.

An up­dated Play:5, Garage, ap­pears in the itunes list of au­dio de­vices.

With Airplay 2, Sonos speak­ers gain Siri sup­port.

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