As part of its Sonos One launch event in New York, Sonos also revealed that Alexa voice control is now available for all Sonos devices.
If you are part of its public beta program, you can add Alexa support to your Sonos speaker or entire system through some very easy steps. And if not, you can join the program for free.
We explain exactly how below. We also guide you through the set-up process to add Alexa support to your Sonos devices.
You will need at least one Alexa-enabled device somewhere in the home in order to speak to the Sonos system, but that can be an Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, a Fire tablet, even a smartphone with Alexa compatibility, such as the HTC U11.
How to join the Sonos public beta program
To add Alexa support to your existing Sonos setup, you need to enrol for the Sonos public beta program as the software is the testing phase at present so might have the occasional little bug.
Here's how if you aren't already enrolled:
- First ensure that your iOS or Android smartphone or tablet is on the same home Wi-Fi network as your Sonos system.
- Open the Sonos application.
- Open Settings (which is in the More tab on the navigation bar at the bottom of the latest version).
- Open Advanced Settings near the bottom of the options.
- Open Beta Program and tap Join the Beta Program bar (it might ask you to log into your Sonos account to verify).
Once joined, you will be prompted to download an update for your Sonos app and system in the More menu. Tap the Update icon that appears and follow the instructions.
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How to enable Alexa support
When you have enrolled into the Sonos public beta program and updated your app and speaker(s), you need to enable Sonos skill in the Alexa application.
- Open the Amazon Alexa app on your smartphone or tablet.
- Tap the menu icon in the top left-hand corner.
- Tap on Skills.
- You are best advised to search for Sonos in the skills search bar at the top of the screen.
- The Sonos skill should appear at the top of the search results, tap on it and then tap Enable.
- The skill will require authorisation from Amazon to link your accounts, which will be done first via a redirect to Sonos' homepage in order to sign into your Sonos account.
- When successfully logged into your Sonos account you will need to give permission to allow Alexa to control your Sonos system. Hit Okay.
- You now need to sign into your Amazon account.
- A new window will pop up that says, "To continue, close this window to discover devices you can control with Alexa." Hit the X in the top right-hand corner.
- Tap Discover Devices. This will search your home network for all compatible Sonos speakers.
- All your speakers should now be listed and you can send music, etc to them via an Alexa device.
How Alexa works on Sonos
Alexa support for an existing Sonos speaker doesn't quite turn it into an Amazon Echo. Instead, you can use an Alexa-enabled device to send music and other audio tracks to your Sonos speaker.
For example, say "Alexa, play Stone Roses in the living room" and music by The Stone Roses will start to play on the Sonos speaker you have previously designated "living room".
You can pretty much play anything that the Sonos app recognises. Another example is that you can play or shuffle Sonos playlists you've manually created. Or if you have a Spotify or Amazon Music account, you can play tracks from either through the speaker.
What you don't get is the Sonos speaker talking back to you. Alexa effectively becomes the Sonos controller, the Sonos speaker itself does not become a voice assistant.
Still, it is an excellent addition to what is already a well-served proposition.