Last year, Apple unveiled AirPlay 2 — an updated version of its proprietary wireless protocol that allows for easy sharing of audio, video, photos, and more. Following that reveal, Sonos announced in October that AirPlay 2 support would be coming to its wireless multiroom speakers. And now, it has become official. AirPlay 2 has arrived on compatible Sonos speakers, making these guys the first third-party speakers to boast AirPlay 2 support. The feature is being introduced retroactively via a free software update.
That said, there’s a bit of a catch: If you’ve got an older Sonos model like the Play:1, you won’t be getting AirPlay 2 compatibility. However, Sonos also promised that future products will support AirPlay 2. As for older models, the company says they just don’t have the horsepower required. For example, the Play:1 has just one sixteenth the power of the Sonos One.
Fortunately, this doesn’t mean that older speakers will be entirely unsupported. All you need is one supported model in order to use AirPlay 2, then that speaker will distribute the audio to your other speakers. That means that you could have a house full of Play:1 models, along with one Play:5, for example, and you’ll be able to take full advantage of the AirPlay 2 functionality. It’s not exactly ideal, but it does mean that you won’t have to replace all of your Sonos speakers just to use one new feature.
This situation isn’t new for Sonos. When the Sonos One launched, it was the first to feature a microphone, but that brought a new level of usefulness to owners’ entire systems. “Many of you have Sonos gear that’s over a decade old and is still getting better every day,” the company wrote in the blog post updating owners on the progress of AirPlay 2 support.
With the addition of AirPlay 2, you’ll now be able to use your Sonos speakers to play music or other content from your Mac, as well as all iPhone and iPad apps like Music, TV, YouTube, and Netflix. Sonos speakers will also support multi-room audio playback with HomePod and Apple TV, and you can leverage Siri to control Apple Music and Podcast playback from your iPhone, iPad, HomePod, or Apple TV.
If you want to know more about AirPlay 2, check out our detailed guide where you can learn everything you need to know.
Updated on July 11: AirPlay 2 is now available on new Sonos speakers.