As long as remotes have existed for us to lose, we have found new and interesting ways to lose them (did you check in your refrigerator?). But now with new and more complicated devices, like the Roku streaming device, we have even more remotes to misplace. If you’re facing the all-too-common issue of a lost Roku remote, then don’t fear! Help is here.
Even if you lost your Roku remote and your Roku can’t connect to WiFi, we have a few fixes that are sure to get your Roku streaming once again.
Follow the troubleshooting and Roku remote recovery steps below to get back to streaming with your Roku.
Table of Contents
- 1 1. Use Roku App for Android and iPhone
- 2 2. Take Batteries Out
- 3 3. Re-Pair Roku Remote
- 4 4. Hard Reset
- 5 5. Connect Roku via Ethernet & Use Phone App
- 6 6. Buy a New Roku (Remote)
- 7 7. Rare Case: Use a Phone With an IR Blaster
- 8 8. Control Roku with Computer
- 9 9. Trick Roku Into Thinking You’re at Home
1. Use Roku App for Android and iPhone
Most likely, unless something drastic happened, like you dropped your Roku remote in the fish tank or your dog ate it, that Roku remote is going to show up sooner or later. Sometimes, all you really need is something to help you keep watching content until one day you move the couch and find it under a pile of dust bunnies. If that’s the case for you, then you need to get the FREE Roku app for your phone!
The Official Roku App is actually super useful! It does a few really important things for us.
Why use the official Roku app to replace your lost Roku remote?
- The Roku app acts as a virtual version of your normal (physical) Roku remote, enabling you to navigate using Up, Down, Left, Right, Center button, Back button, Play / Pause, and Home button
- You can install Roku apps (aka channels) on your Roku right from your phone (making it much easier than entering Private Roku Channel Codes using the physical Roku remote)
- Gives you a virtual keyboard, so you use your phone to input text into your Roku instead of using the pesky Roku remote to hunt-and-peck individual characters one-by-one
Not sure how to get started with the Roku App or want some insider tips on how to get the most out of it? Check out our guide: Roku Keyboard (How to Install and Use Roku App for Mobile Phones)
Roku Remote App Alternatives
If the original doesn’t have exactly what you’re looking for, sometime you can find it from third-party developers who have more of an incentive to listen to what users really want. It never hurts to look at the competitors to see what else is out there.
These apps are third-party spin-offs of the official Roku app:
- Roku Remote Control: RoSpikes (on Google Play Store)
- Roku Remote Control: RoByte (also on Google Play Store and iOS)
Roku Relayis not a Roku remote app. It’s an app to set up a device called Roku Relay
2. Take Batteries Out
If you don’t have a lost Roku remote, so much as one that just isn’t working, then there are a few other options available to you.
One that is surprisingly simple, and works more often than you would think is just taking the batteries out of the Roku remote and putting them back in. Sometimes this fixes any Roku remote not pairing issues you have. Also, try to switch the batteries (so Battery A is now where Battery B was, and vice versa).
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This is one of those solutions that seems to obvious, but don’t knock it until you’ve tried it! Replacing (or switching) Roku remote batteries works in a lot of cases, and can save you a lot of hassle.
3. Re-Pair Roku Remote
Look on the back of your Roku remote for a button. If there’s a button on the back of the Roku remote, press and hold the button for 5 seconds. This will put the Roku remote into Pairing mode.
You won’t find this on all Roku streaming devices! For example, Roku Premiere does not have this. You’ll know the remote is in Pairing mode when the LED light is flashing.
Re-pair the Roku remote, and then follow these easy steps:
- Go to Settings
- Then select Remotes & Devices
- Scroll to Pair New Device and select
- Choose Remote
- Then follow the steps on your screen.
This works great if you just bought a new remote for your Roku. Basically you will just put both the remote and the Roku device into pairing mode, they’ll see each other, and then sync up (aka pair) with each other.
4. Hard Reset
It’s that time again folks! It’s a classic repair solution for a reason. For whatever reason, it just works. You guessed it, it’s time to do a hard reset or, as it is sometimes called, a power cycle.
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Doing a hard reset on your Roku remote is easy. Just follow along:
- Unplug the power from the wall
- Wait 30 seconds
- Plug it back in
Give your device a few moments to boot back up and finish its setup processes. Once it’s ready, try your remote again. With any luck, you’re back in action!
5. Connect Roku via Ethernet & Use Phone App
This is a great solution if you’re also having trouble connecting your Roku to WiFi (sometimes, when it rains it pours). Your WiFi will still need to work for other devices, but it does let you get around pesky Roku WiFi connection problems.
Another upside is that cable connections are frequently faster and much more reliable than wireless connections, so you may see improvements to your Roku’s speed after you implement this solution. To get started you’ll need to:
- Make sure that your Roku has an Ethernet port
- Connect your Roku to your cable modem or router using an Ethernet cable
- Use the Roku app to control your device
Since your phone should be connected to your WiFi already (same network as the Roku) the two devices should be synced up just fine. If you need help getting your Roku to connect to WiFi, we’d recommend taking a look at our article for some extra guidance: Roku Not Connecting to WiFi.
6. Buy a New Roku (Remote)
It’s never the first or the preferred choice, but if everything else has failed, your remaining option may be to consider purchasing a new Roku Remote. Fortunately, they’re not too pricey, and you’ll only need to spend $20 to get a new Roku Remote on Amazon.
Although, counter-intuitively, it’s a better deal to just buy an entirely new Roku that comes with a remote. If you haven’t bought a new Roku in a while, it might be a good time to consider upgrading your hardware.
So consider purchasing a new Roku and just using the remote from that – or replace your old Roku with the new one.
If buying a new Roku remote is still not an option you want to entertain, it is possible that your old one may still be covered under Roku’s warranty. Contact tech support to find out.
7. Rare Case: Use a Phone With an IR Blaster
If you have a smartphone that has an IR blaster (which is uncommon these days), you can use an app called Remote For Roku – WiFi and IR to operate your Roku. This should also work for any device that takes an Infrared signal (such as Firestick).
It’s a really handy trick if you happen to have the right equipment.
8. Control Roku with Computer
Some folks just aren’t big mobile users, and that’s ok. There’s a solution for you too! It just happens that you’re able to use your computer to control your Roku using a Chrome web app called Roku URL Player and Remote.
As you might guess, you’ll need to download Google Chrome in order to take advantage of this solution, but it’s a solid browser and absolutely worth taking out for a test drive if you’re not using it already.
9. Trick Roku Into Thinking You’re at Home
This one is probably our trickiest workaround, and likely not a long-term solution to your problem, but if you’re in a bind, it can come in handy.
Let’s say your Roku isn’t connecting to WiFi, you can’t connect it via Ethernet, and your remote isn’t working to let you change the preferred WiFi network. The perfect storm. All is lost, right?
Wrong! This is just how dedicated we are to bringing you solutions to even the most difficult problems. We do it because we care.
You can use 2 mobile phones to trick your Roku into thinking it’s connecting to your home WiFi network. Impossible, you say? Just follow these steps:
- Use phone #1 to start up a WiFi hotspot with the same Network name and password as your home WiFi network
- Then use phone #2 to connect to the WiFi hotspot that you set up on phone #1
- Download and install the Roku App on phone #2
With any luck, your Roku will connect to the fake home WiFi hotspot you’ve set up on your phone. Now your Roku and phone #2 are sharing a WiFi network! You can use the Roku App on phone #2 to adjust settings, or just stream movies until your lost Roku remote replacement comes in the mail.
This workaround comes with the added bonus of feeling a true blue tech wizard when you actually pull it off. Science!