A Roku remote on a table.
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Few things can interrupt your Netflix night like your Roku remote unpairing from its streaming box. The cause—and fix—depends on what kind of Roku remote you have. Here, we’ll show you how to get the two devices communicating again so that you can get back to streaming.

Determine Which Roku Remote You Have

Whether you’re setting up a new Roku device or your remote and streaming device have become unpaired, the process of linking them back up will be the same.

Your first step will be to determine which type of remote you have: a Roku simple remote or a Roku voice remote. If your remote has a microphone icon beneath its purple directional pad, then it’s a voice remote. If it doesn’t, it’s a simple remote.

Pairing a Roku Simple Remote

A Roku simple remote doesn’t have a voice search button. With this type of remote, the first thing to do is check that it is, indeed, unpaired from your streaming box.

Roku simple remotes need a line of sight with the receiver embedded in your box, as they use infrared light (IR) to communicate with it. So if something is blocking the beam, moving it out of the way might be all that it takes to get the remote functioning again.

Assuming that there is nothing in the way of the remote and the receiver, your next step will be to remove and then reinsert the batteries in the back of the remote.

Warning: If the back of your remote is hot, do not open the cover, as this might mean that your batteries are corroded. Instead, put the remote on a non-flammable surface and wait for it to cool down before opening.

If that works, then you’re all set. If it doesn’t, try replacing the batteries and then aim your remote at the receiver and try a few test button presses. If the remote is still not working, it could be faulty and you should order a replacement.

Tip: Another way to see whether your remote is working is to use the selfie camera on your smartphone and aim the remote at it. Press a few buttons. If you see the remote’s light flashing as you press, then you’ll know that it’s likely functioning well and that there might be an issue with your streaming box instead.

Pairing a Rechargeable Voice Remote

If you have a Roku voice remote that has become unpaired, there’s no need to check for line-of-sight obstructions because these remotes communicate with their streaming boxes via a dedicated wireless signal (Wi-Fi Direct).

If you’re setting up a Roku voice remote for the first time, an onscreen guide will walk you through the process. If, however, your voice remote has become unpaired on a system that you already own, here’s what to try.

First, determine what kind of battery system your remote uses—either rechargeable or standard AA or AAA.

Back of rechargeable and battery-powered Roku remotes.
Roku

If you have a rechargeable remote, the first step is to make sure that it’s charged. To do so, connect a micro-USB cable to the charging port and plug the other end into an outlet containing a USB adaptor. The green status light will blink until the remote is charged, at which point, it will stay steady. If the light doesn’t flash when you plug the remote in, make sure that it’s not your charging cable that’s at fault by trying another cable and adaptor.

Sometimes, charging the remote might be all that it takes to get it working again. If that doesn’t work, you’ll want to reset the remote.

To reset the remote, make sure that your TV is on and that you’ve selected whatever port your Roku’s HDMI cable is connected to. Press and hold the pairing button located beneath the green status light. It should start flashing in about five seconds. Wait about 30 seconds while the remote establishes a connection with your streaming box. Once that happens, you will be guided through the re-pairing process via onscreen prompts.

Pairing a Roku Voice Remote Pro

If you’re trying to pair a Roku Voice Remote Pro in addition to the remote that came with your Roku, you’ll want to ensure that the streaming box is running Roku OS 9.4 or higher. To do so, press the Home button on your remote, and then go to Settings > System and select “System Update.” Then, select “Check Now,” and the system will check for and install the latest update if necessary.

If your remote isn’t working and you’re not able to do this, go ahead and try the pairing process anyway—if you have a recent enough OS version, it will work. If it doesn’t, it might help to know that most Roku remotes are interchangeable. If you have another voice remote at home, you could try pairing it and using it on the streaming box to download any needed updates. Alternatively, the Roku app on your smartphone could also get the job done.

Pairing a Voice Remote with Regular Batteries

If your Roku voice remote uses standard batteries, to get it paired, first, remove the back cover and take out the batteries. Also, unplug the power cable behind your streaming box, wait five seconds, and then reconnect it. Once the Roku home screen appears on your TV, put the batteries back in your remote.

Now, with the back cover of the remote still removed, press and hold the pairing button to the right of the green status light on the back of the remote and wait for it to begin flashing. Follow the pairing dialogue that will appear on your TV screen after about 30 seconds.

Try the Roku App on Your Smartphone

Whatever Roku you have, you can use the Roku mobile app for iPhone or Android to control it. If your Roku remote is broken, this can help tide you over until you buy a new remote or get help from Roku Support.

Michael Franco Michael Franco
Michael Franco is a freelance writer for How-To Geek. He has been writing about the serious and silly sides of science, technology, and home improvement for years. His work has appeared in Discover Magazine, CNET, Lifehacker, Islands Magazine, BobVila.com, Mindbounce, and various Discovery Channel properties.
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