Roku streaming devices have established themselves as one of the best ways to access all the best streaming services, from Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video to HBO Max, Disney Plus, Apple TV Plus, and more. And controlling things from the palm of your hand is the Roku remote. Today’s Roku remotes are sophisticated and can do a little bit of everything thanks to their versatile design and Roku’s expansive platform. Depending on the type you have, they can support voice controls and have finder features in case you lose them, personal shortcut buttons, a jack for using headphones, and more.
Those features are great … if your Roku remote is working. And while they're supposed to pair and work right out of the box, sometimes they need a little troubleshooting. Fortunately, users can quickly pair their remotes with a few quick steps or reset them if it looks like something’s wrong. Here’s how to pair a Roku remote or how to reset it if need be.
New Roku remotes generally have Bluetooth pairing options to link to your Roku device for more advanced features — these usually pair themselves after you pop the batteries in and are good to go out of the box. Some of these new remotes include the Voice Remote and Enhanced Voice remote, which you can distinguish by either microphone buttons or magnifying glass search buttons. This is a sign that the remote is meant to be paired.
However, some Rokus, especially older models, use a “simple remote” that operates via an infrared connection. These remotes don’t have advanced features like voice commands, but they also don’t need a Bluetooth connection to work. You do not have to pair these remotes — just pop in the batteries and point them at the set top box. They tend to have fewer buttons, and instead of mic or search options, they have basic back and replay features.
Usually, Roku remotes are either paired right out of the box, or you will pair the remote during the first setup process, which can’t be completed without a paired remote. After the first pairing, Bluetooth remotes are typically remembered by the Roku device. But sometimes things go wrong. If you updated or reset your Roku, it may have forgotten the remote, and you’ll have to pair it again. If your old remote was replaced with a new version, you will have to pair the new remote to get it working.
This process will work with handheld and tabletop Roku voice remotes. If possible, make sure your Roku is updated to the latest software version before you begin.
Step 1: Turn your Roku device on (usually just by plugging it in).
Step 2: Insert batteries into your Roku TV remote. If your remote already has batteries but isn’t paired, you may want to remove and replace the batteries first. Do not close the battery case when you are finished — leave it open. If you have a rechargeable Roku remote, then just flip it over.
Step 3: Look inside the battery compartment, toward the bottom. You should see a small button and a status light. That’s your pairing button. On the rechargeable remote, this button is located on the lower back of the remote. Holding the remote a couple of feet away from your Roku device, press and hold the Pairing button for several seconds. The status light will begin to flash when the remote goes into pairing mode.
Step 4: On your Roku screen, you should see a notification that says “pairing remote.” After several seconds, the remote should pair and will be ready to use.
Step 5: If your Roku is struggling to pair with the remote, try pairing from your Roku device instead. Go the Home screen and select Settings. Select Remotes and devices, then Set up a new device. Choose Remote to put the Roku device in pairing mode. Now hold down the Pairing button on your remote again.
You can easily reset your Roku device by unplugging the power cable for about five seconds, then plugging it back in. This can sometimes help solve Bluetooth problems that crop up when connecting the remote. But you can also restart the remote itself to see if that helps. Here’s how:
Step 1: Take the batteries out of your remote.
Step 2: Turn on your Roku device.
Step 3: Insert the batteries into your remote again. Press and hold the Pairing button, but this time for a long time, around 20 seconds. The status light will flash green, at first slowly, then more rapidly. When the green flashes become fast, release the pairing button.
Step 4: Your remote will restart and attempt to automatically connect to your Roku device. Give it a minute, but if the remote looks like it can’t connect, press the Pairing button again to enter the normal pairing mode.
Still frustrated with your remote? You don’t have to use it. Roku also has a remote app that you can download to your phone and use it for all TV-related controls. Here’s how to download it for Android, and here’s how on iOS.
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