How To Reset And Pair Your Roku Remote

Owning a Roku can be quite beneficial for anyone who likes to watch movies and TV shows using various streaming services. However, when its remote fails to work even after you put in new batteries, the device can also be frustrating. In some cases, simply pointing the Roku remote with a little bit more accuracy and at a shorter distance from its receiver is enough to fix the issue, but troubleshooting the remote that came with a newer Roku model will probably require a hard reset. You may even need to pair the remote with its companion device all over again.

Before you can do either of those things, though, there are at least two things you will need to know about the remote: which type it is and what kind of battery it uses. Depending on which remote design is associated with your Roku streaming device, you may or may not have the capability to perform a system reset when your remote stops working as intended. The type of battery used by the remote also determines the location of a crucial button needed to re-pair a remote that has lost its connection with the Roku.

The three different types of Roku remotes explained

There are two types of general remotes that come with every Roku streaming player or Roku TV, and there are specific ways to troubleshoot each one. The first is called a simple remote. Much like the conventional TV remote and as its name implies, the device simply uses line-of-sight infrared technology to transmit button commands. For that reason, the remote works best when it is pointed directly at a Roku streaming player or a Roku TV within close proximity and without any objects obstructing its path. A simple Roku remote uses standard AAA batteries that need to be replaced once they run out of juice.

The other type of Roku controller is a voice remote. This one is more advanced in terms of features and doesn't require you to directly point it at your Roku device for it to work. Instead of using infrared, the voice remote transmits commands via wireless internet connectivity. More importantly, with the press of a button, you can control your Roku device through speaking. A basic Roku voice remote also uses standard AAA batteries that need to be replaced periodically. The pro version of the voice-capable controller, however, comes with a rechargeable battery and a micro-USB port that is used to connect the device to a power source (via Roku).

How to determine what type of Roku remote you have

Not sure what kind of Roku remote your device uses? As explained by Roku in a support document, there are a couple of easy ways to find out.

  1. Look for a button on the remote that bears either a microphone or magnifying glass icon. These buttons enable you to use Roku's built-in voice command features.
  2. Remote the remote's battery cover if it has one and look for a button located below the battery compartment.
  3. If your remote doesn't have a battery cover, look for the button directly on the back of the remote. This is a reset/pairing button that can be used to reboot a malfunctioning Roku remote, which we'll get to later.

If you are able to find all of the above-mentioned buttons, then that means you have a voice remote. Only voice remotes have built-in pairing capabilities with their partner streaming devices. On the other hand, simple Roku remotes lack those buttons and can only go through very basic troubleshooting solutions, such as restarting, clearing the path between the remote and the Roku streaming device, pointing the remote toward the receiver at a higher angle, or repositioning the Roku player so that it's more accessible.

How to restart your Roku device and remote

When your Roku streaming device is freezing up or your remote isn't working correctly, the problem can often be fixed by simply rebooting the machine, which Roku calls a system restart. If that method doesn't work, however, users also have the option of resetting the device, which will return it to factory settings. That means you'll need to set the device back up as if it is new, and that's why you should try restarting the device before resetting it. The steps to restart are identical for the simple Roku remote and the basic voice remote, both of which use standard AAA batteries:

  1. Slide the battery compartment cover off and remove the batteries.
  2. Disconnect the main device's power cable and reconnect it after at least 5 to 10 seconds have passed.
  3. Immediately after Roku's main interface appears onscreen, complete the restart process by re-inserting the batteries into the remote and sliding the cover back in place.

The following are steps for people who own a Roku Voice Remote Pro:

  1. Disconnect the main device's power cable.
  2. Reconnect it after at least 5 to 10 seconds have passed.
  3. As soon as Roku's main interface appears onscreen, complete the restart process by long-pressing the pairing button on the remote for 20 seconds.
  4. When you see a slowly blinking green light stop then switch to rapid-fire blinking, let the reset button go.

Another way to restart that works for most types of Roku remotes is by going through the gadget's "Settings" menu. This is the option you'll want to use if the Roku's power cord is located somewhere difficult to reach, according to the company.

  1. Hit the Home icon on the remote.
  2. Go to "Settings."
  3. Pick "System."
  4. Choose "Power." If it's unavailable, go to the next step.
  5. Hit "System restart," then confirm by choosing "Restart."
  6. Immediately after Roku's main interface appears onscreen, follow step 3 onwards for your specific Roku remote listed above.

Simple Roku remote users can instantly press buttons to check for responsiveness. Those who own voice remotes have to wait at least half a minute to check whether the system restart fixed the issue.

How to pair your Roku voice remote

After performing a restart on your Roku voice remote, in some cases, it should automatically trigger a pairing process after the main interface appears onscreen. If it doesn't, here's how you can re-pair your remote with its accompanying Roku streaming device:

  1. Long-press the pairing button for 5 seconds until the status light above it starts blinking. If this doesn't happen, you may need to put in new batteries or plug your remote into its charger.
  2. A pairing dialog box should appear onscreen to indicate that the process is ongoing. Give the reconnection at least half a minute to complete before you press any button.
  3. Once the pairing screen disappears, test if the reconnection was a success by long-pressing the voice button (either a microphone or a magnifying glass icon). If a status indicator pops up at the top-right corner of the screen saying that the Roku device is listening for audio commands, then that means your voice remote is functional once again.

If the pairing screen never appears, try going over all of the steps again. According to Roku, you have half a minute from the time the main Roku interface initially appears onscreen to long-press the reset button to start the pairing process. If the steps for resetting and re-pairing your Roku remote do not work even after you put in new batteries or charge your device, you may need to replace it with a new one.