Roku Remote Not Working? Here are the Top Fixes
It’s hard to believe that there was ever a time when TVs didn’t have remote controls. Today it’s impossible to buy almost any electronic device that doesn’t have a remote, and the Roku family of devices is no exception.
A Roku device isn’t a whole lot of good if you have to keep getting up to change the channel or manually navigate the menu. It is true that you can use your smartphone to control your Roku, but that doesn’t have the same one-button convenience as the standard remote. If your Roku remote has stopped working, it can be a real hassle.
This article will walk you through some troubleshooting steps to get your Roku remote back up and running.
Use the Roku App to Control Your Roku Device
If you’re in a bind and need to turn down your volume right now or need to turn on your Roku device, you can use the Roku app to control your device. Of course, we’ll teach you how to fix your remote in the following sections, but for now, let’s review how to control your Roku device without the remote.
- Using your smartphone, download the Roku app.
- Follow the tutorial, then, tap Sign in.
- Input the email and password you used when you first set up your Roku device.
- Tap on Remote at the bottom.
- Connect to your Roku when prompted and accept any permissions the app may need.
- Now, you’ll have complete access to your Roku device.
Hopefully, this section helped you control your TV. Now, let’s talk about how to fix your Roku remote.
Which Kind of Remote Do I Have?
There are a variety of Roku remotes used today. Troubleshooting and solving your issues is a lot easier if you can identify which remote you have.
There are standard infrared remotes, which work just like regular TV remotes. These remotes work by firing coded pulses of infrared light at the receiver.
WiFi-enabled remotes (often labeled as Enhanced remotes by Roku) can be pointed in any direction and still work because they actually connect to the Roku device itself via the Wi-Fi network.
- Look at the back panel of your remote. Remove the battery cover and see if there is a button inside or adjacent to the compartment labeled Pairing. If your remote has a Pairing button, you have an Enhanced remote. Otherwise, it is an infrared remote.
There are some troubleshooting techniques that will work on either type of remote and some techniques specific to each type, so let’s cover them next.
Common Roku Remote Troubleshooting Techniques
These tips will help you narrow down the issue on either type of remote.
- Reboot the Roku box or remove the streaming stick from your TV. Give it a minute, connect it again, and then retest.
- Remove the batteries from the remote, leave them out for a second, then replace them and retest.
- Change the batteries in the remote control and retest the device.
- If your Roku model plugs directly into the HDMI port, try removing it from the port and replacing it. Retest.
- If your Roku model plugs directly into the HDMI port, try using an extender cable to connect it to the TV instead of connecting it directly.
Techniques for Standard Infrared Roku Remotes
The standard Roku remote uses an infrared beam to send signals to the device. If the above steps didn’t work, try these:
- Point the remote at the Roku box and press buttons. Watch the front of the box as you do so. If the status light flashes as the box sees the infrared commands, then your remote is functioning and the issue is with the box. If the status light does not flash, then the issue is with the remote.
- Check your line of sight from the remote to the box. Infrared signals require an unobstructed line of sight in order to function.
- Place the Roku remote directly in front of the box and press a button. If the batteries are low but not empty, the strength of the beam may be enough to reach the box. Change the batteries if it works.
- Try the mobile app to make sure it is the remote that’s not working, and not the box.
If the box does not see the remote signal and the mobile app works, you have a faulty remote. If you can borrow a remote for the time being, go ahead, but it will be for the best if you replace the remote quickly.
If the box sees the signal and flashes the status light, there is an issue with the box. If this is the case, I would suggest a factory reset of the Roku device. This process is a last resort, but if you’re sure the remote works and the box is not responding, it may be your only option. This is especially true if the box will not respond to the mobile app, either.
Techniques for Enhanced Roku Remotes
The Enhanced Roku remote uses Wi-Fi instead of infrared, so it needs a couple of extra steps for troubleshooting. Try the steps above and then:
- Re-pair the remote by removing the batteries, turn off the Roku, leave it a second or two, and then power on the Roku. Once the Home screen appears, replace the batteries in the remote. Press and hold the Pairing button underneath the remote or in the battery compartment until you see the pairing light flash. Wait 30 seconds or so for everything to sync up and then retest.
- Re-pair the device with the mobile app. Occasionally, the Enhanced Roku remote will drop the pairing and stop working. If this happens, use the Roku Controller App and access the Roku Settings menu. Select to pair a new remote and repeat the re-pairing process above. This ‘frees up’ the box to work with the remote again.
If the box responds to the Roku Controller App and not the Enhanced Roku remote and you have performed the troubleshooting steps in this guide, you may need a new remote. Retry these troubleshooting steps a couple of times first, to make sure. If you have a buddy with a Roku, try swapping remotes temporarily to test.
Additional Tips for Repairing Your Remote
Here are some additional tips to remedy your Roku remote problem in a pinch.
- Perform a power drain on your Roku remote. Remove the batteries, press and hold any button on the remote for 10-30 seconds, and then reinsert the batteries and test the remote again. Sometimes a short can occur in electronics from aberrant charge buildup in circuit components, this can fix it.
- Your remote issue might be hardware related, such as a corroded connection on your remote’s circuit board. If you’re technically inclined, then take apart the remote and look for corrosion buildup, burn marks, or other indications of a problem. If it’s corrosion, such as from moisture, etc., gently clean away the debris with a toothbrush and rubbing alcohol, and reassemble the remote after letting it dry for at least 30 seconds. Note: This will void any warranty that you might have on the remote.
Frequently Asked Questions
If we didn’t answer all of your questions above, we’ve included this section to give you more information.
Where can I buy a replacement remote?
Can I upgrade my Roku remote?
Yes! If you have an older Roku version and would like to have the voice control feature on your Roku remote, you can upgrade the remote without having to upgrade the box. Do keep in mind that some remotes are not compatible with much older Roku devices so you should check for compatibility before making a purchase.
What batteries does a Roku remote use?
Most Roku remotes use two AAA or AA batteries. You can find the correct battery requirements on the back of the remote.
Is my remote covered under warranty?
Yes! Like the Roku device, its remote is covered under a one-year warranty. You can access everything you need to file a warranty claim on the Roku website.
As you can see, the techniques for troubleshooting and fixing a Roku remote are pretty standard for all remotes, with the exception of using the Roku app or device menu. You start with the obvious problem of faulty batteries or an obstruction of signal between the remote’s IR transmitter and the TV’s receiver and go from there.
Got any other Roku remote troubleshooting tips? Tell us about them below if you do!