How to connect your Roku device to WiFi without a remote


roku tv

  • There’s a way to connect your Roku device to a new WiFi network without a remote, though it involves a number of steps and requires two mobile devices.
  • The Roku mobile app works well as a replacement remote once your phone and Roku device are once your on the same network.
  • Your phone’s Mobile Hotspot can stand in for the network saved on your Roku to allow you to connect the device to a new network, but you’ll need another mobile device to act as your remote.

Newer Roku models, save for the top-of-the-line Roku Ultra, use WiFi exclusively to connect to a network. This is fine if you have your remote handy when you use the device on a different network (like a hotel). Connecting to a new network without a remote can be tricky, however.

Assuming you know the WiFi network name (SSID) and password saved on the device, you can set up a mobile hotspot on your phone to create a WiFi access point for your Roku, as Reddit user mclassy3 points out.  

You’ll need two mobile devices to accomplish the task of connecting and navigating with the Roku app. You will use one to act as the mobile hotspot, and another to use as the remote.

Be sure you have the free Roku mobile app installed on the phone or tablet you plan to use as the remote before you begin. The app is available for Android and iOS devices.

How to connect Roku to WiFi using a mobile hotspot

Before proceeding, note that not all mobile plans include mobile hotspot access. Be sure to check your wireless service plan before using the mobile hotspot option on your smartphone. You may end up paying additional service charges if it’s not included on your plan.

Though the below steps are for an Android phone, you’ll follow analogous steps for any other phone. 

1. From the Settings menu on your phone, tap “Mobile Hotspot.”

2. Tap “Set up Mobile Hotspot” to open the Hotspot menu.

mobile hotspot

3. You will be prompted to continue to the next menu after seeing a notice about Mobile Data usage. Tap Ok to continue.

4. From the “Set up Mobile Hotspot” menu, add the WiFi network information that is saved on your Roku device. Enter the network name (SSID) and scroll down to enter the password.


5. Save your newly created Mobile Hotspot.

6. Review the settings and connection instructions before tapping Ok to activate the Mobile Hotspot.

How to use your mobile device as a Roku remote


The Roku app can control a Roku device as long as the device and the app are using the same network. Be sure your mobile device is connected to the same network as the Roku (in this case, a mobile hotspot running on a different device).

1. Launch the Roku app.

2. Tap the Remote icon at the bottom of the screen to open the remote.

3. The default remote layout is nearly identical to the hardware remote. Tap the keys as you would on your regular remote.

The app’s remote layout can be switched to use swipes instead of button taps. You can switch between the remote layouts by changing settings from the remote settings menu.

How to update WiFi settings on a Roku without a remote

1. Connect a second mobile device to the mobile hotspot, then launch the Roku app.

2. Using the Roku mobile app as a remote, go to the Network settings in your Roku device.

1_settings (2)

3. Change the network settings to match the new WiFi network you want the Roku to use.

4. Toggle off the Mobile Hotspot on your phone and connect it to the new WiFi network you just used for the Roku.

5. Use the Roku mobile app remote as you would the original hardware remote.

A hardwired connection via ethernet could also be a great alternative here, though you can only use one on a few older Roku models.

Related coverage from How To Do Everything: Tech: 

  • How to restart your Roku device when it’s freezing or running slowly

  • How to turn off any Roku device

  • How to add channels to your Roku device in three ways

  • How to factory reset a Roku device

SEE ALSO: The best streaming sticks and boxes you can buy

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