So you just unpacked your shiny new Roku streaming player, Roku TV, or streaming stick only to realize the remote is missing. Or perhaps your existing Roku remote stopped working suddenly.
Either way, this leaves you with a problem – no remote means no WiFi connection. Without access to wireless internet, your Roku is essentially useless.
Don‘t panic though! There are some simple, effective workarounds that will get your Roku back online quickly, even without a functioning remote control.
In this detailed guide, I‘ll walk you through the steps to connect your Roku to WiFi using just your smartphone or computer. With a bit of cleverness, you can regain full access to streaming, apps, and other Roku features.
Why Getting Your Roku Online Without a Remote Matters
First, let‘s look at why being able to connect your Roku to the internet without a remote really matters:
- Roku requires WiFi – All Roku devices rely on a wireless internet connection for core functionality like streaming shows, using apps, watching live TV, and navigating menus. Without WiFi, it won‘t work.
- No physical buttons – Unlike old TVs, Roku devices don‘t have manual buttons for changing settings. The only way to configure WiFi and other options is via the remote.
- Remote issues are common – Lost, broken, or battery-dead remotes are some of the most frequent Roku problems that can render devices useless until fixed.
According to Roku‘s website, Americans streamed over 7.5 billion hours of content on Roku players in 2022 Q1 alone. That‘s up 28% year-over-year!
With Roku‘s immense popularity, a missing or non-working remote can be massively inconvenient. But don‘t worry – where there‘s a will, there‘s a way to get back up and running quickly.
Method #1: Connect a Paired Roku to New WiFi
If your Roku stick, box, or smart TV is already connected to your WiFi but you need to switch networks, the fix is straightforward using the Roku mobile app.
Here are the steps:
Step 1: Download the Roku App
First, download the free Roku app on your iOS or Android phone or tablet. This will give you a software remote to control your Roku.
Step 2: Connect Phone to Your Roku‘s Current WiFi
You‘ll need your phone on the same WiFi network as your Roku initially. Check your phone‘s WiFi settings to see what network it‘s on.
Step 3: Open the App and Select Your Roku
Launch the Roku app. It will auto-detect your Roku device if you‘re on the same network. Tap on your Roku to connect.
Step 4: Tap on the Remote Icon
On the bottom menu of the app, tap on the "Remote" icon to access the virtual remote.
Step 5: Navigate to Settings > Network
Use the on-screen remote to select "Settings" on your Roku, then choose "Network" in the settings menu.
Step 6: Select "Set Up Connection"
Go into "Set up connection" and confirm the "Wireless" option is selected.
Step 7: Connect to New WiFi Network
Finally, pick your new WiFi from the list and enter the password when prompted.
That‘s it! Your Roku will disconnect from the old WiFi and connect to the new wireless network. Pretty painless, right?
Method #2: Connect Unpaired Roku Via Mobile Hotspot
What if your Roku isn‘t currently connected to the internet? Maybe you‘re setting up a new device or changed routers. Don‘t worry – you can still get online.
This clever trick involves using your phone‘s mobile hotspot to get your Roku temporarily connected so you can select your actual home WiFi network.
Step 1: Turn On Mobile Hotspot on Your Phone
First, enable the mobile hotspot or tethering feature on your smartphone to broadcast a WiFi network from your phone.
Make sure your phone has an active cellular data connection to power the hotspot.
Step 2: Rename Hotspot to Match Your Home WiFi
Here‘s the key step – give your phone‘s temporary hotspot the same name as your home WiFi network.
For example, if your home WiFi name is "MyHomeNetwork", rename your phone hotspot to "MyHomeNetwork".
Step 3: Connect Roku to the Hotspot
With your renamed hotspot enabled, turn on your Roku. It will automatically connect to your hotspot because it recognizes the WiFi name.
Step 4: Launch Roku App and Detect Device
Now that your Roku is online via the hotspot, open the Roku app on a different phone and it will detect the device.
Step 5: Select Roku and Tap on Remote
Choose your Roku in the app and tap on the on-screen "Remote" icon.
Step 6: Choose Your Home WiFi
Finally, open network settings and select your actual home WiFi network, enter the password, and connect.
That‘s it! By mimicking your home WiFi name with your mobile hotspot, you can trick your Roku into connecting so you can select the real WiFi network. Pretty clever!
Method #3: Connect Brand New Roku Out of the Box
If you just got a new Roku and need to set up WiFi but don‘t have a working remote, there‘s one more option. However, it requires access to your wireless router.
What You‘ll Need:
- Roku Device
- Router + Ethernet Cable
- Roku Mobile App
Here are the steps:
Step 1: Connect Roku to Router with Ethernet
First, connect your Roku player or TV directly to your wireless router using an ethernet cable. This will get your device online.
Step 2: Launch Roku App and Detect Device
With your Roku now connected via ethernet, open the Roku app on your smartphone. It will detect the new Roku box.
Step 3: Select Roku and Tap on Remote
Choose your Roku in the app and tap the virtual "Remote" icon to control it.
Step 4: Go to Network Settings
Using the on-screen remote, select "Settings" on your Roku, then choose "Network" in the settings menu.
Step 5: Set Up Wireless Connection
Go into "Set up connection" and select the "Wireless" option.
Step 6: Connect to Home WiFi Network
Finally, pick your home WiFi network from the list and enter the password to connect wirelessly.
Once connected over WiFi, you can unplug the ethernet cable. Your new Roku is ready to start streaming!
Troubleshooting Tips for Roku Remote Issues
Before trying any remote workarounds, it‘s a good idea to troubleshoot your existing Roku remote if possible:
- Change batteries – Dead or low batteries are the #1 issue with Roku remotes. Try fresh batteries first.
- Re-pair remote – If not connecting, hold the pairing button and move closer to the Roku to re-establish connection.
- Try a universal remote – Many TV universal remotes can also control Roku. Dig one out if you have it.
- Check for damage – Make sure there‘s no visible damage to the remote. Cracked plastic or moisture can disrupt the wireless signal.
- Factory reset – Resetting your Roku box or stick can sometimes resolve remote pairing problems.
- Contact support – If you continue having issues, reach out to Roku‘s customer service for assistance.
Regain Full Use of Your Roku Player or Smart TV
As you can see, with just a bit of WiFi trickery and your smartphone, you can get your Roku connected and back up online in no time.
A non-working remote is super annoying, but doesn‘t have to ruin your entertainment. Armed with the right workaround, you can get your Roku operating again quickly.
So don‘t despair – try one of these methods above to get reconnected. Before you know it, you‘ll be back to streaming your favorite shows, movies, and more.