The 10 Best Ways to Use the Roku Mobile App

Use your smartphone to control your entertainment options

If you have a Roku streaming device, such as a streaming stick, set-top box, or Roku TV, the companion Roku mobile app for iOS or Android provides a wealth of resources, including serving as a remote control, launching channels, searching for content, and much more. Here are our picks for the 10 most helpful Roku mobile app functions.

The Roku mobile app can control Roku-enabled devices but isn't a universal remote capable of controlling other entertainment sources.

Use the Mobile App as a Roku Remote Control

If you've misplaced your Roku remote control, the Roku mobile app duplicates its directional keypad and other controls. Here's how to access the remote control feature.

Before you begin, download the Roku app for iOS or Android and make sure your mobile device is on the same Wi-Fi network as your Roku.

  1. Open the Roku mobile app on your iOS or Android device.

  2. Tap Remote on the bottom menu.

  3. With the onscreen remote, use the arrow keys to navigate the Roku menu just as you would with the physical remote.

    Access the Roku remote on the Roku mobile app by tapping Remote

Use the Roku Mobile App's Swipe Pad

The Roku Mobile App lets you swap the traditional directional keypad for a Swipe Pad for navigating a Roku's menus. Here's how to activate this feature:

  1. Open the mobile app and tap Remote to access the remote control.

    Access the Roku remote on the Roku mobile app by tapping Remote
  2. At the top left of the screen, tap Controls (three lines).

  3. Under Remote Type, tap Swipe.

  4. Tap the Back arrow.

  5. You're now in Swipe menu mode. Use swipe gestures to navigate the Roku menu.

    Access the Roku app's swipe menu remote

Use the Roku App to Find Out What's On

The Roku app makes it easy to check out what's on, highlighting a selection of free, popular, and trending movies and shows. Select a show to play it, share it, and learn more about its viewing options. Here's how:

  1. Open the Roku app and tap Roku Channel.

  2. Scroll and browse a variety of categories, including Sitcoms, Family Night, Comedies, Crime, Game Shows, and many more.

  3. Tap on any show to bring up a synopsis, cast information, viewing options, and more. Tap Play to go directly to the show.

    Find current programming with the Roku app

Use Keyboard or Voice Search

If you know what movie or TV show you want to watch, use text search or voice search to find it. Use text or voice to search for a Roku channel, as well.

Use your voice to navigate the home page, launch channels, or a specific movie or TV show on selected apps. Issue voice commands like, "Launch YouTube," "Search for Dramas," "Watch Stranger Things on Netflix," and "Tune to ABC."

  1. From the Roku remote screen, tap the magnifying glass to launch a search.

  2. For a text search, type the name of the show, movie, or channel into the search field.

  3. Tap a search result to bring up more information, including viewing options. Tap an episode or movie to launch the show.

    Search for a show or movie via text in the Roku app
  4. For a voice search, tap the magnifying glass, then tap the microphone in the search field.

  5. Tap Give Access to let Roku access your device's microphone.

    Tap the Magnifying Glass and the Microphone to start a Roku voice search
  6. Tap OK to confirm.

  7. Speak your search term. The Roku app will display your results.

    Complete a voice search in the Roku mobile app

Launch Your Favorite Channels

It's easy to launch a channel directly from the Roku mobile app.

  1. Open the Roku app and tap Remote.

  2. Tap Channels on the bottom right.

  3. Swipe to scroll through recent channels on your Roku. Tap a channel to instantly launch it on your Roku-equipped TV.

    Launch a Roku channel directly from the Roku mobile app

    If you have a Roku TV, use the Roku mobile app to switch the TV's HDMI, AV, and antenna inputs.

Use the Roku Remote App's Private Listening Feature

The Roku mobile app lets you listen privately to your Roku channels using your headphones.

For Roku TVs, private listening is available only for streaming apps and digital antenna channel sources.

  1. Open the Roku app and tap Remote.

  2. Tap Controls (three lines) from the top right.

    Tap Remote and Control to launch Private Listening mode.
  3. Toggle on Private Listening to stream audio through your mobile device.

  4. Tap OK to confirm that Private Listening has been activated.

    Toggle on Private Listening and tap OK.

Add More Channels to Your Roku in the Mobile App

It's easy to add more channels to your Roku by accessing the Roku Channel Store directly from the app.

  1. Open the Roku app and tap Devices.

  2. Tap Channels.

  3. Tap Channel Store.

    Navigate to the Roku Channel Store on the app
  4. When you're in the Channel Store, check out the featured channels or scroll to browse by genre.

  5. Tap on a channel to see more information.

  6. Tap Add Channel to add a channel to your lineup. Tap OK to continue. Launch the channel immediately or at any time.

    Add a channel to Roku via the Roku mobile app

Share Smartphone Content With Play on Roku

The Play on Roku feature lets the Roku app share music, photos, and video stored on your smartphone with your Roku device or TV.

  1. Open the Roku app and tap Devices.

  2. Tap the Media icon to launch Play on Roku.

  3. Select MusicPhotos, or Videos.

    Select Devices and Media to launch Play on Roku
  4. Tap Give Access to permit Roku to access your photos and videos. When prompted, tap OK to give access to your photo library.

  5. If you selected Photos, tap the album you want to display.

  6. Tap the Play button from the bottom. Your photos will display on your TV.

    Select media from your phone to Play on Roku

Using the Roku App to Manage Multiple Roku Devices

If you have more than one Roku device, control them one at a time with Roku's mobile app.

You must switch to the Roku device you want to control.

  1. Open the Roku app and tap Devices.

  2. If you have more than one Roku, tap the one that's not currently connected.

  3. The selected Roku device is now connected, and the Roku mobile app will control that device.

    Control more than one Roku device in the app

Use Roku Mobile App to Fast-Start a Roku TV

For Roku TVs, use the Roku mobile app to activate Fast TV Start. This feature allows for faster startup time and lets the TV download and install updates while in standby mode.

When Fast TV Start is enabled on a Roku TV, tap the microphone icon and use a voice command, such as "Launch YouTube," and the TV will turn on and go directly to YouTube.

To turn the TV off, tap the microphone icon, and say "TV off."