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How to fix a Roku remote that's not working

The Roku Streaming Stick 4K's remote
(Image credit: Henry T. Casey)

Need to know how to fix a Roku remote that's not working? Well, we've got some pretty good news. As we've experienced, the solution is often pretty easy (and accomplished in 3 the good news is that there may be an easy solution. With the below advice, you may be back to streaming your regularly televised shows, movies, Twitch or YouTube channels or something else — in no time at all. 

With its small profile and relatively few buttons, Roku remote controls are simple and straightforward. This is a key reason for why the Roku Streaming Stick 4K holds the throne atop our best streaming devices list. However, occasionally, you may find Roku is not working, and if the issue is your remote, here's how to fix it.

If your Roku remote has stopped syncing, your first step to try and solve the issue is swapping in new batteries. If that doesn't work, there are a few other methods you can try before you give up. And if these tips don't work, you can replace it with another one from Roku — or turn a device you already own into your new Roku remote. Read on to find out how to do all of these things. (And in related news, the best Roku remote is finally being sold with the Roku Ultra)

How to fix a Roku remote: Pair your Roku remote

The Roku remote seen here's back panel is slid off, and its green light next to its button is blinking).

(Image credit: Future)

Let's assume that you've already tried replacing the batteries. (Almost every troubleshooting guide has these exhaustive details on how to replace batteries, but let's be honest: If you're here, you've almost certainly tried that already.)

Instead, let's take a look at the second most common cause of Roku remote woes: pairing. When you first set up a Roku player, it should automatically pair with your remote control. In fact, newer models will even pair your remote control directly with your TV, so you can control volume and power settings, too.

The trouble is that a variety of factors can disrupt this pairing, from shaky Wi-Fi to a factory reset. And if your remote control won't interact with your Roku, then your streaming gadget is basically inoperable. Luckily, every Roku device has an easy way to reestablish the connection. Here's how you do it:

  1. Remove the back cover from your Roku remote. 
  2. Find the pairing button, underneath the batteries.
  3. Bring the remote as close as you can to your Roku device.
  4. Hold down the pairing button for 3 seconds

A pairing dialogue should pop up on screen within a few more seconds.

That's really all there is to it. If the pairing screen doesn't pop up, try the following steps.

1. Remove the batteries from your Roku remote, then reinsert them

2. Reboot the Roku device (if it doesn't have a physical button, unplug and re-plug in its power supply.) 

3. Hold down the pairing button while the device starts up.

4. Or, try pairing the pair the remote on a different wireless network. Wi-Fi strength is a big reason why remote pairing sometimes fails, but your connection will persist, even after you bring the Roku back to the original network.

If absolutely none of the above works, you do have another option. It's time to whip out your smartphone and try the Roku mobile app.

How to fix a Roku remote: Use the Roku mobile app

Roku's mobile app is extremely robust. You can search for media, discover new channels and cast your own content on screen. 

More importantly for the purposes of this article, you can use your phone as a remote control with this app. Simply install the Roku app for iOS (opens in new tab) or Android (opens in new tab), connect your phone to the same wireless network as your Roku player, then tap on the Remote tab. A screen with a D-pad and a handful of media controls will pop up, and voilà: You've got a bona fide Roku remote.

The Roku Channel and Remote tabs of the Roku remote app

(Image credit: Roku)

While you could just use your smartphone as a Roku remote forever, this probably isn't the best idea. It's a drain on the phone's battery, and you probably need your smartphone for other things. So if you think your Roku remote is gone for good, you'll have to get a new one.

How to fix a Roku remote: Try a different remote

Roku remote not working: types of Roku remotes

(Image credit: Roku)

At the time of writing, Roku sells three different remotes (opens in new tab): the Roku Voice Remote Pro ($30), the Roku Voice Remote ($20) and the Roku Simple Remote (with IR) ($15).

To determine which remote works with your player, it's best to visit the Roku website, as it stays updated with the most current information. Basically, though:

  • Roku Streaming Stick (Plus, 4K and 4K+ models): Roku Voice Remote Pro, Roku Voice Remote
  • Roku Ultra: Roku Voice Remote Pro, Roku Voice Remote, Roku Simple Remote
  • Roku TVs: Roku Voice Remote Pro, Roku Voice Remote, Roku Simple Remote
  • Roku audio products: Roku Voice Remote Pro, Roku Voice Remote, Roku Simple Remote
  • Roku Premiere: Roku voice remote
  • Older Roku 2 and Roku 3 models: Roku gaming remote
  • Roku Express 4K Plus: Roku Voice Remote
  • Roku Express and most older Roku models: Roku Standard IR remote

The exact feature set varies depending on the remote. The Roku Enhanced voice remote offers a headphone jack for private listening; some offer programmable channel buttons; some offer power and volume controls for your TV. 

There's now an even better option, too, in the form of the Roku Voice Remote Pro, which offers features including hands-free controls, custom shortcuts, and private listening. It's also the first Roku remote to be fully rechargeable.

Read our hands-on review of the Roku Voice Remote Pro and then see our in-depth guide on how to replace your Roku remote.

Roku Voice Remote Pro

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Whatever the case, we'd recommend ordering these remotes directly from the Roku website (opens in new tab), because Roku makes the compatibility of each device very clear. Third-party retailers aren't always as good at this, and you don't want to experience any problems with your replacement remote.

Now you know how to fix a Roku remote that's not working, take a look at some of our other Roku guides, including how to use screen mirroring on Roku and what we think is the first thing every Roku owner should do. And if you're looking for some viewing inspiration, check out our guide on the best Roku channels.

Marshall Honorof is a senior editor for Tom's Guide, overseeing the site's coverage of gaming hardware and software. He comes from a science writing background, having studied paleomammalogy, biological anthropology, and the history of science and technology. After hours, you can find him practicing taekwondo or doing deep dives on classic sci-fi.