Sonos not working? How to fix the most common Sonos problems

We’ve always scored Sonos multi-room speakers well in our reviews, but that doesn’t mean you won’t encounter any problems using one. Here’s a guide to some of the more common Sonos problems, and how to fix them.

Sonos Wi-Fi problems: Fix 1

One of the most common problems Sonos users may face is an issue with Wi-Fi. That’s because unlike more traditional speakers, Sonos operates over your home internet connection, which can be tricky at times.

If you’re using your Controller app and you can’t seem to play music on your system, or even find a system, it may be because your Sonos speaker and your Controller device are on different Wi-Fi networks. To work, the Sonos Controller app needs to be on a device that’s using the same internet connection as your Sonos speaker.

That means if your phone is connected to mobile internet – or another Wi-Fi network – that isn’t your home internet, it won’t work with the Sonos speaker. The fix is easy enough: make sure your device is connected to the same network as your speaker.

If you find the Speaker was connected to the wrong Wi-Fi network at setup, you’ll need to set the speaker up again.

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Sonos Wi-Fi problems: Fix 2

If you have a connection but the signal is poor, there are a couple of fixes you can try.

The easiest solution is simply to move your Sonos speaker closer to your router, or wherever your best source of internet is. Because Sonos relies on a Wi-Fi network, you need to make sure the speaker is near to a router, rather than having it near your phone or tablet, as would be the case with a conventional Bluetooth speaker.

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Ideally, you’ll have your Sonos speaker in the same room as your router, with a direct line of sight between the two. That’s the best case scenario, but it’s not always possible. So if you can’t do that, try minimising the number of walls separating the speaker and router.

Sonos Wi-Fi problems: Fix 3

If you’re desperate to stick Sonos speakers in the furthest reaches of your home, but aren’t convinced your Wi-Fi is up to scratch, you can buy a Sonos Boost. It’s a slightly tricky concept, so here’s how it works.

In a standard set up, your Sonos speakers – and other connected devices, like phones, tablets, and laptops – will all connect to your router for internet, no matter where they are in the home. So if one speaker is far away, it’ll still have to rely on the weak connection.

But when you plug a Sonos Boost into your router, that all changes. Your phones, tablets, and laptops will still connect to your router as usual, but Sonos devices will now connect to the Boost on a dedicated wireless network that’s been created specifically for the Sonos system.

But it gets better: Sonos Boost will daisy chain the wireless signal through your Sonos speakers. So a Play:1 in the furthest reaches of your home could connect to a Play:1 closer to the router, which could connect to a Play:5 closer to the router, which could connect to the Boost. This should significantly improve signal in larger homes.

Related: Sonos Tips and Tricks

Sonos Wi-Fi problems: Fix 4

If Wi-Fi is still being an issue, the obvious ‘last resort’ fix is to simply connect your Sonos speaker directly to the router using an Ethernet cable. These can be picked up fairly cheaply online, or at a local electronics retailer. This should remedy all Wi-Fi problems.

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Sonos Wi-Fi problems: Fix 5

Another solution, which is slightly more technical, could relate to Wireless MAC Filtering.

When you set up a Sonos speaker in your home, it should automatically receive an IP address from your router. But some routers have an ‘advanced’ setting for MAC Filtering that stops the router from giving the Sonos speaker an IP address until you manually approve it i.e. add the Sonos product’s MAC address to a list in your router’s settings.

So if your Sonos speaker is unable to get an IP address from the network, you’ll need to add the MAC address of your device. You can find the MAC address on the bottom of your speaker – it’ll be listed as the serial number. Unfortunately, adding MAC addresses can be different for every router, so you’ll need to check with your router manufacturer for details on that – if you’re not sure how to do it already, mind.

Sonos not working in stereo

So you’ve just bought two Sonos Play:1 speakers, and you’ve set them up with a view to do some serious stereo listening. But rather than acting as left and right speakers, they’re just playing their own individual sound. Well unfortunately, Sonos speakers won’t automatically enter stereo mode unless you configure them to do so. But the good news is that it’s super easy to do.

First, you’ll need to make sure you have compatible devices. The Sonos speakers that support stereo pairing are:

  • Two Play:1 speakers
  • Two Play:3 speakers
  • Two Play:5 (1st and 2nd gen) speakers

Sonos recommends placing the two Sonos speakers you want to pair roughly eight to 10 feet apart from each other. And your listening position should be between eight and 12 feet from the pair Sonos products. The closer you get, the more the bass increases, while moving further away will improve stereo imaging.

sonos play 3

It’s worth noting that with the Play:3 speakers and Play:5 speakers, you can position them in horizontal or vertical orientations. So if you plan on stereo pairing two of them, you’ll need to make sure they’re both in the same orientation.

On the Sonos Controller app for iOS and Android, head into Settings, then Room Settings. From there, select one of the speakers you want to pair, and then hit ‘Create Stereo Pair’. You’ll be guided through the process.

On the Sonos App for PC or Mac, do one of the following:

  • On PC, select Manage > Settings
  • On Mac, select Sonos > Preferences > Room Settings

Then, head into the dropdown at the top labelled ‘Room Settings for’ and choose one of the speakers you want to pair. Then hit the ‘Create Stereo Pair’ button and follow the instructions.

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My friend has a Sonos speaker, and it sounds better

If you’re not content with the sound quality of your speaker, it might be because of the room it’s in. The layout of a room, and where the speaker is placed in that room, has a significant impact on the way you hear the music.

That’s why Sonos developed a feature called Trueplay, which tunes your Sonos speaker to the room you’re in. It works by using the microphone in your iOS device to measure how sound reflects off walls and other surfaces and objects in your room. It’ll then tune your speaker to make sure it sounds great. The entire process takes about three minutes, so it’s not particularly laborious.

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To activate Trueplay, head into your Sonos music menu, tap Settings, then Room Settings. Then go into the room you want to tune. If you haven’t tuned a room yet, a red dot will appear next to the room name. Tap ‘Trueplay Tuning’, and then follow the instructions.

Bear in mind that you’ll need to grant Sonos permission to use the microphone on your iOS or Android device for this to work.

It’s also worth noting that it’s important to minimise noise during the tuning process e.g. make sure noisy appliances aren’t running, and don’t have a conversation. You might need to remove any phone cases from your handset too, to make sure the microphone is working correctly. And it’s important to cover as much of the room as possible with your movements when tuning – there’s an instructional video in the app that will guide you on how to do this.

Sonos error message when updating

If you’re trying to update your Sonos speaker and you’re getting an error message, it could be one of a huge number of reasons.

Fortunately, Sonos has a comprehensive error page that lists off all the possible update errors you could encounter, which you’ll find here.

I want to sell my Sonos speaker, but can’t figure out how to do a factory reset

When you’re selling a Sonos speaker, you might want to factory reset it. This is what you’ll do when you want to register the Sonos system to a different email address, or wipe the saved data from a player. It’s different from a reboot, because it deletes information that can’t be restored.

As such, it’s important that you understand you will lose all of your data on the Sonos speaker if you factory reset it. So don’t accidentally do this. If you’re just trying to reboot your system because it’s not working correctly, simply unplug the Sonos speaker from the power outlet, wait 10 seconds, and then plug it back in.

sonos play:3

To factory reset your Sonos speaker, follow these steps:

For Play:1, Play:3, Play:5 (gen1), Connect, Connect:Amp, and Playbar:

  • Unplug the power cord from wall outlet
  • Press and hold Play/Pause button while simultaneously plugging power cord back into wall outlet
  • Continue holding the button until the light starts to flash amber and white
  • Once the factory reset is complete, the light will flash green

For Play:5 (gen2), Boost, Bridge and Sub:

  • Unplug the power cord from wall outlet
  • Press and hold the Connect button while simultaneously plugging power cord back into wall outlet
  • Continue holding the button until the light starts to flash amber and white
  • Once the factory reset is complete, the light will flash green

My music library isn’t working

As with Sonos update error messages, there are a whole variety of reasons why your music library might not work correctly.

Sonos has a webpage devoted entirely to all of the potential error messages that may crop up when trying to get your music library to work, which you’ll find here.

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Have you experienced any problems with your Sonos speakers? If so, let us know in the comments.