How to Jailbreak a Roku Box or Streaming Stick

While true jailbreaking isn't possible, there are some workarounds

Jailbreaking refers to the process of getting around a device's restrictions to add apps or features that the manufacturer typically restricts. If you're wondering if you can jailbreak a Roku device, the short answer is no, because Roku uses closed system software. However, some workarounds will allow you to play additional content on your Roku.

This article covers Roku jailbreaking alternatives, including screen mirroring, casting, using the Roku mobile app, and playing content from a local network or USB drive.

Roku Streamers – Ultra, Premiere, Stick

Screen Mirroring With an Android or Windows Device

If you have an Android or Windows device, use screen mirroring to display whatever is on your device's screen, including app screens, videos, and more.

Depending on your device's manufacturer, screen mirroring may also be referred to as Smart View, Quick Connect, SmartShare, AllShare Cast, Wireless Display, Display mirroring, HTC Connect, Screen Casting, or Cast.

  1. From your Roku's main menu, navigate to Settings.

    Roku's settings menu
  2. Scroll down to System, and then select Screen mirroring from the right-hand column.

    Roku's System Settings screen
  3. Select Screen mirroring mode.

    Roku's Screen mirroring Settings screen

    While screen mirroring is active, you can't perform other tasks on your smartphone. If you tap another app or icon, the content will stop playing.

  4. Select Prompt.

    Roku's Screen Mirroring mode options

    Other options include Always allow, which lets devices connect immediately, and Never allow, which blocks any devices from connecting.

  5. Go to the Settings area of your Android or Windows device and tap Display.

    Android phone Settings with Display
  6. Scroll down and select Wireless Display.

    Select Wireless Display from the Android Phone's settings
  7. Select your Roku.

    Select your Roku device from the Android Settings screen
  8. You'll now see your device's content on your Roku-equipped TV.

    Traditional screen mirroring to a Roku isn't supported on iOS devices, but there are a number of apps to download on your Mac or iOS device, such as Mirror for Roku, that allow screen mirroring functionality.

Screen Casting

Another Roku jailbreaking alternative is casting. You'll need an Android or iOS device and a casting-compatible app such as Netflix or YouTube. Cast-compatible apps display the cast logo near the top of the app's screen. Here's how it works:

Casted content doesn't display phone menu bars or status icons. Unlike screen mirroring, it's possible to perform other tasks, or even turn off your phone, while casting.

  1. Make sure the streaming channel you want to cast is installed on your Roku.

    You don't have to open this app on your Roku; it just has to be installed.

  2. On your mobile device, open the app you want to cast, and then select the casting icon.

  3. Select your Roku device.

  4. The app will display a message that it's connecting to your Roku device, and then the app will automatically begin playing on your Roku-equipped TV.

    Open the app you want to cast on your mobile device and then select the casting icon from within the app.
    Select your Roku Device
    Message about Connecting to your Roku appears on the bottom

Play on Roku

Another jailbreak workaround is the Play on Roku feature, which is available within the Roku mobile app for iOS and Android. With Play on Roku, display photos and videos or send music to your Roku-equipped TV. This feature is compatible with the JPG, PNG, MP4, MOV, M4V, MP3, and M4A formats.

Before you get started, make sure to download the Roku mobile app to your device and connect your Roku.

Play on Roku can't be used with apps such as Netflix, YouTube, or Kodi.

  1. Open the Roku mobile app.

    

  2. Select Devices from the bottom menu.

  3. Select your Roku device.

    Open the Roku mobile app.
    Select Devices from the bottom menu.
    Select your Roku device
  4. Tap the Media icon to launch Play on Roku.

  5. Select Music, Photos, or Videos.

  6. Tap Give Access to permit Roku to access your photos and videos. When prompted, tap OK to give access to your photo library.

    Tap the Media icon to launch Play on Roku.
    Tap Give Access to let Roku access your media library
    Select Music, Photos, or Videos
  7. If you selected Photos, tap the album you want to display.

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

    If you selected Photos, tap the album you want to display.
    You'll see the photos from your album
    Photos will be added to Play on Roku

Play Content From a PC, Media Server, or USB Drive

Use a smartphone and your Roku streaming device to play content stored on a PC or media server with the Roku Media Player channel, which is preinstalled on your Roku streaming device. This app is designed to play music, photos, and videos from PCs and media servers on the same home network.

Here's how it works:

Roku Media Player is compatible with many media server software platforms, including PlayOn, Plex, Serviio, Tversity, Twonky, and Windows Meda Player.

  1. Open Roku Media Player.

    Roku Media Player Channel Icon
  2. On the Media Type Selection screen, select All, Video, Audio, or Photo.

    Roku Media Player Media Type Selection screen
  3. Select your media player.

    Roku Media Player App — Select Media Server Source
  4. In a folder, find the content you want to play.

    Media Server Folders as Displayed on Roku Media Player App

    If the content is in an unsupported file format, you won't see it.

  5. Press the OK or Play button on the Roku remote. Use the remote's controls to navigate your media, including play, pause, rewind, and fast-forward.

    Not all file types support all controls, however.

  6. To stop playback from the Roku Media Player, press the back button on the Roku remote.

Using Roku Media Player With a USB Drive

To use Roku Media Player with a USB source, you'll need a Roku device with a USB port, such as a Roku Ultra. Insert the USB drive, then open Roku Media Player. You'll see and select a USB drive icon, then explore your media to choose what you want to display.