10 Best Ways to Use the Roku Mobile App

Use your smartphone to control your Roku

Roku Mobile App screen examples

The Roku Mobile App can serve as an alternative or replacement for the Roku remote control. While the app duplicates most of the functions of a Roku remote with some added benefits, it's not a universal remote, and can only control Roku devices.

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Use the Mobile App as a Roku Remote Control

Roku Mobile App control pad screens for Roku Stick, Box, and TV

The Roku Mobile App features an onscreen touchpad that duplicates the Directional Keypad and other controls found on a Roku TV, streaming stick, or box remote.

For Roku TVs, additions to the touchpad controls include a power on/off icon in the top right corner, and volume level and mute icons along the bottom row.

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Use the Roku Mobile App's Swipe Pad

Roku Mobile App swipe feature

The Roku Mobile App allows you to exchange the Directional Keypad for a Swipe Pad to navigate either a Roku device or Roku TV's menus.

To activate this feature:

  1. At the top of the mobile app, tap the Controls icon, represented as three horizontal lines.
  2. Tap Remote Type.
  3. Tap Swipe.
  4. The Swipe Pad appears on the main remote control screen.
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Use the Roku Remote App to Check out What's On

Roku Mobile App 'What's On'

If you tap the What's On icon, the Roku Mobile App highlights a selection of free, popular, and trending movies and TV shows.

Select a specific movie or TV show, and the pp will take you a screen providing a synopsis, a trailer or preview, cast information, and app/channel viewing options, including any rental, subscription, or pay view pricing information.

You can also follow movies, TV shows, actors, and directors by placing them into My Feed to provide updates on viewing options.

At any time you can select viewing options for a specific TV show or movie and start watching.

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Use Keyboard or Voice Search and Voice Control

Roku Mobile App text and voice search

If you know what movie or TV show you want to watch, you can use either text or voice search to find it. You can also search to find a specific Roku channel you might be looking for.

If the TV show, movie, or channel is available it'll be displayed for further action, such as viewing or adding it to your viewing list.

In addition to search, you can also use your voice to navigate the home page, launch channels or a specific movie or TV show on selected apps, and, with Roku TVs, switch from a streaming app to the ​HDMI inputs.​

Examples of voice commands include:

  • "Launch YouTube."
  • "Search for Dramas."
  • "Watch Stranger Things on Netflix."
  • "Tune to ABC."
  • "Switch to HDMI 2."

The Mobile App Voice feature is not Alexa or Google Assistant-based. It is Roku's internally developed voice control system. However, you can control Roku devices using Alexa and Google Home products separate from the Roku Mobile app.

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Launch Your Favorite Channels

Roku Mobile App My Channels/Home Screen

Using the Roku Mobile App, you can launch any channel or app displayed on the My Channels Page of your linked Roku Device or TV. These channels reside on your Roku device, so you don't need to cast them from the Mobile App.

If you have a Roku TV, in addition to the streaming channels and apps, you can also use the Mobile App to switch the TVs HDMI, AV, and Antenna inputs.

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Use the Roku Mobile App to Add Channels From the Roku Store

Roku Mobile App channel store and add channels

You can use the Roku app to find and add channels.

  1. Select channels through the Roku Channel Store by scrolling through the official list or by finding the channel through search.
  2. Once you find the channel you want to add, tap the icon for the channel.
  3. Once on the channel's app page, tap Add Channel.
  4. The channel will be placed at the bottom of the channel listing on the mobile app and the device's home screen as part of your home screen favorite channels.

If you have more than one Roku device on the same account, channels added via the Roku Mobile App can be accessed on all Roku devices.

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Use the Roku Remote App's Private Listening Feature

Roku Mobile App private listening feature

The Roku Mobile App provides the ability to listen privately to your Roku channels using the smartphone's earphones.

  1. Tap the Headphones icon in the Mobile App.
  2. This will take you the screen that confirms activation of Private Listening.
  3. Plug in your earphones to your smartphone and start listening.
  4. Use the phone's volume up and down controls.

For Roku TVs, private listening is only available for streaming apps and digital antenna channel sources. You cannot use the Mobile App private listening feature from HDMI-connected sources.

If you don't see the Headphones icon, it possible you don't have the latest version of the app or your Roku doesn't support Private Listening via the Mobile App. This may affect Roku models 1, 2, and 3.

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Share Smartphone Content With the Play On Roku Feature

Roku Mobile App play on Roku

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

To launch the Play On Roku feature:

  1. Tap the Photos+ icon on the navigation bar at the bottom of the Roku app.
  2. Tap Music, Photos, or Videos to choose what you want to share from your mobile device. When prompted, grant access to your media library.
  3. Tap the specific photos, videos, or music to share on your Roku TV.

Play On Roku supports several file formats:

  • Photos: JPG, PNG
  • Video: MP4 (MPEG-4 Pt 14), MOV, M4V
  • Music: MP3, M4A. DRM-protected music files, such as M4P, are not supported.
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Using the Roku Mobile App to Manage Multiple Roku Devices

Roku Mobile App Roku devices

If you have more than one Roku device, Roku's Mobile App can control all of them, but not at the same time. You must designate or switch the Roku device you want to control.

To do so:

  1. Tap Settings in the bottom right of the app screen.
  2. You will be taken to a page displaying the Roku Device the mobile app is currently linked with.
  3. To change devices, tap Switch Roku Device.
  4. The app will then search for other Roku devices.
  5. Once all your devices are discovered, you can change the Roku device you want the app to control. Tap the picture of the device and wait for confirmation that the app has linked with the selected device.
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Use Roku Mobile App to Fast Start a Roku TV

Roku Mobile App fast tv start feature

For Roku TVs, you can use the Roku Mobile App to activate Fast TV Start. This feature allows for faster startup time and enables the TV to download and install updates while in standby mode.

Here are a few things you can do with Fast TV Start enabled:

  • You can tap the power icon to turn on the TV or tap the microphone icon and use a voice command such as "Launch TV." Either way, your TV will turn on faster than usual.
  • If you say "Launch YouTube," the TV will quickly turn on and open the YouTube Channel.
  • If you have an antenna connected to your TV, you can say "Tune to CBS" and the TV will quickly tune to the local CBS affiliate station.

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

The TV uses more power in standby mode when Fast TV Start is activated.