Sonos abandons hated 'recycle mode' which bricked speakers after user backlash

Sonos has abandoned a controversial ‘recycle mode’ that bricked its expensive speakers.

Any customers with older Sonos speakers can join a ‘Trade Up’ scheme to get a 30% discount on a newer device, like the Sonos Beam or Sonos Move.

In order to do this, users must activate ‘Recycle Mode’ through the Sonos app. This provides them with a discount code but also starts a 21-day countdown timer on their older speaker that ends with it being ‘permanently deactivated’.

That means all the data on it is erased and the speaker is bricked, rendering it unusable in the future.

Now this hated function has been abandoned, The Verge reported. Owners will still be able to trade in their old device and even choose to ‘keep it, give it to someone, recycle it at a local e-waste facility, or send it to Sonos and let the company handle the responsible recycling part’,

‘The reality is that these older products lack the processing power and memory to support modern Sonos experiences,’ the company told the site.

‘Over time, technology will progress in ways these products are not able to accommodate. For some owners, these new features aren’t important. Accordingly, they may choose not to participate in the Trade Up program.

‘But for other owners, having modern Sonos devices capable of delivering these new experiences is important. So the Trade Up program is an affordable path for these owners to upgrade.

‘For those that choose to trade-up to new products, we felt that the most responsible action was not to reintroduce them to new customers that may not have the context of them as 10+ year old products, and that also may not be able to deliver the Sonos experience they expected.’

Many observers describe Recycle Mode as an example of planned obsolescence – deliberately building a product with an expiry date in mind so that customers are forced to buy the latest version.

The problem of consumer electronics going to waste is on the increase.

The Electrical Waste Recycling Group says that about 500,000 tonnes of electronics are recycled in the UK each year. But that’s a tiny proportion of the unrecyclable ‘e-waste’ going to landfill.

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