How to connect your Roku device to Wi-Fi without a remote, using a mobile hotspot and the Roku app

  • You can connect Roku to Wi-Fi without a remote by setting up a mobile hotspot and using the Roku app.
  • You need two mobile devices to do so — one for the mobile hotspot and one to use as the remote. 
  • Before you begin, make sure your cellular plan allows you to set up a mobile hotspot.
  • Visit Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

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

If you know the Wi-Fi network name (SSID) and password saved on your Roku, you can set up a mobile hotspot on your phone to create a Wi-Fi access point for your Roku. 

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

How to connect Roku to Wi-Fi without a remote

To connect Roku to Wi-Fi without a remote, you’ll need to set up a mobile hotspot on one device, download the Roku app to use as a remote on another device, then use the Roku app to connect your Roku to the same mobile hotspot network.

Here’s a full step-by-step breakdown. 

Set up 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.

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 Wi-Fi 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.

Set up the Roku app to use as a remote

1. On another mobile device (i.e. not the one that’s generating the mobile hotspot), download the Roku app for iOS or Android. 

2. Open the app and 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.

Use the Roku app to update your Roku’s Wi-Fi settings

1. Using the Roku mobile app as a remote, go to “Settings” on your Roku and select “Network.”

2. Change the network settings to match the new Wi-Fi network you want the Roku to use.

3. Toggle off the Mobile Hotspot on your phone and connect it to the new Wi-Fi network you just used for the Roku.

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

If you don’t have the ability to connect to a mobile hotspot, you can still use the Roku app on your mobile device as a remote control — as long as your mobile device and Roku are already connected to the same network. 

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