Roku Remote Not Working? Try This

Posted by Jamie on December 16, 2018

When it comes to watching shows or movies, few conveniences seem quite as necessary as a remote, and that’s no different if you use a Roku device. Your Roku device isn’t much good to you if you have to keep getting up to change the channel, manually navigate the menu, or use your phone to do it. While a simple piece of plastic, the remote control is an essential part of the experience. So if your Roku remote is not working, here are a few methods you can try to fix it.

There are two types of Roku remote controls: the standard infrared remote, and the Enhanced ‘point-anywhere’ remote. The standard Roku remote works like any other, by firing an infrared beam at the box containing a signal that the device interprets as an action. The Enhanced Roku remote uses Wi-Fi, which is why you don’t have to point it directly at your Roku for it to work.

When it comes to troubleshooting, there are a few similarities and a few differences for both types of remote. In either case, troubleshooting shouldn’t prove too difficult.

Fix any Roku remote that isn’t working

The most basic troubleshooting steps are the same, regardless of the Roku or remote you use.

  1. Reboot the Roku box or remove the streaming stick from your TV. Give it a minute and then connect is all back up again. Retest.
  2. Change the batteries in the remote control and retest. You can ‘reboot’ the remote by removing the batteries, leaving them out for a second, and replacing them in the correct order. This can be effective, too.
  3. If you use an HDMI streaming stick, try an extender cable to connect it to the TV instead of connecting it directly. Roku recommend this as a troubleshooting check, as HDMI interference has been known to interfere with streaming sticks in the past.

Fix a standard Roku remote that isn’t working

The standard Roku remote uses an infrared beam to send signals to the device. If the above steps didn’t work, try these:

  1. Watch the front of the box to see if it sees the beam. You should see the status light flash if the box sees the infrared command. If there is no flash, it’s the remote. If there is a flash and nothing happens, it could be the box.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 is a process of last resort, but if you have proven the remote to work and the box is not acting on the signal its receiving, it may be your only option. This is especially true if the box will not respond to the mobile app, either.

Fix an Enhanced Roku remote that isn’t working

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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, it is possible that you need a new remote. Retry these troubleshooting steps a couple of times first, just to make sure. If you have a buddy with a Roku, try swapping remotes temporarily to test. This will prove beyond doubt which device is at fault.

Got any other Roku remote troubleshooting tips? Tell us about them below if you do!

4 thoughts on “Roku Remote Not Working? Try This”

Gary says:
I have the enhanced roku remote and use the stick. I have control of the Roku but it stopped controlling the TV functions. I’ve reset the Roku have hit the reset button on the remote several times. Any clue to what I can try?
~m says:
My non-enhanced Roku remote is out of control. a single push of an arrow/directional key causes the cursor/selection to move many many many times. I changed the batteries, unplugged and replugged. Bought a new Roku box. Same thing. The TV’s own remote seems to work fine. Any ideas?
Rob Conn says:
For the Roku IR remote, if the above steps don’t work, try what I did.
Pry open the remote.
On the circuit board, where the buttons press, use a metal scraper (I used tweezers) to scrape the the film away. (why mine had a brown film, I don’t know).
Once all the squiggly lines where the buttons make contact are shiny, clean the backs of the button with some alcohol and let dry.
Put the remote back together.
Hans Schaper says:
Read your comment. My remote would work at times but I continually had problems with the on (OK) button. After scraping off film on circuit board it now appears to be working. (To bad I already ordered new one) Thanks for the tip.
Stormy Ogden says:
I’m on day 3 of trying to get my remote to work. I have a Roku 2XD so i’m not able to get any help from Roku. This is where i am with this problem now. The best way to explain it is my remote will not let me change to any channels. There is a signal going to the box but the box flashes like crazy.I hear clicking sounds but no channel change and if it finally does go to a channel the remote just keeps scrolling through all the movies. I do not know what else to do. It’s not the batteries, that was the first thing i did, put in new batteries. I have the standard remote and no cell phone to replace the remote. And without the use of the remote i’m unable to do a factory reset. I’m lose, any help or suggestions, thank you.

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