Samsung TV Remote Not Working? Fix in Minutes

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Is your Samsung TV remote not working? I know how irritating it is when this happens and you just can’t figure out what’s going on.

But you’ll be pleased to know that it’s actually very easy to fix a non-working Samsung TV remote, with only a few minutes of your time and the proven steps that I’ve compiled in this guide.

We’ll start with the simpler steps then move onto the more complex fixes, but I’m confident that most of you will be able to fix your remote with just the first few steps, and you won’t need to do anything complicated.

samsung tv remote not working

Samsung TV Remote Not Working?

If your Samsung TV remote is not working, remove the batteries, clean the battery contacts with 99.9% isopropyl alcohol, hit the remote against your palm a few times then try new a new set of batteries in the remote.

This should solve most people’s problems, but if this doesn’t work, then follow the complete set of troubleshooting steps below to fix an unresponsive TV remote. You should take a look at the linked guide if your Samsung TV won’t turn on.

1. Check for Dead Batteries

The most common reason why your Samsung remote doesn’t work is that the batteries are dead or dying.

This might seem like an obvious point, but it always pays to try changing your batteries, preferably first trying them in an appliance that you know works, so that you can confirm that they hold charge.

remove tv remote batteries

You can also try cleaning the battery contacts in the remote. As batteries age, they can leak and cause corrosion within your remote’s contacts.

A quick dab of 99.9% isopropyl alocohol is usually enough to remove any gunk that would otherwise prevent the batteries making a proper contact within your remote.

If you’re using a newer Samsung TV remote (2021 onwards), then you might struggle to open your remote’s case to get at the batteries, in which case a butter knife comes in handy, which you can see in the below video.

2. Un-Stick the Buttons

If your Samsung TV remote buttons are not working, but you are sure the batteries are ok, then try removing the batteries, holding down the power button for 10 seconds to drain any residual power, then forcefully mash every button on the remote, slapping it against your palm a few times.

samsung tv remote power button

You might have to repeat this several times.

You will also need to put quite a bit of force into pushing the buttons. Don’t be afraid of damaging your remote – as long as you are only hitting it against your hand and only using your fingers to push the buttons it will be fine.

stuck samsung tv remote buttons

Over time, your remote’s buttons can begin to stick, and just like with a computer keyboard there is a limit to how many simultaneous button pushes the remote will recognize.

So, one or more buttons stuck in the “on” position can prevent other buttons on the remote from working. You’ll know if this is your problem if some buttons on your remote work, but others don’t.

Typically, the volume button will stop working as this is one of the most used buttons and is therefore most susceptible to getting dirt stuck inside it.

This is more likely to be a problem with the older Samsung TV remotes that contain a larger number of buttons (on the left below), but can occur with the newer Bluetooth / WiFi models too.

samsung tv remote ir and wifi
The old (left) and new (right) designs of Samsung TV remote

3. Run a TV and Remote Update

It’s important to keep any electronic devices up to date with the latest firmware, none more so than smart TVs.

You should follow the system update procedure on your TV as this has been known to fix issues with the remote, particularly if you are using a new wireless remote.

If your remote is totally broken and you can’t access your TV’s menus to perform the update, then use the SmartThings App, which I cover further down this article.

Smart Samsung TVs support auto-updating of firmware, but you can’t assume that this is turned on for you.

To check that auto-updating is on for firmware / software on your Samsung TV:

samsung tv remote home button
  1. Press the Menu or Home button on your remote and go to Settings.
  2. Click Support.
  3. Then Software Update.
  4. Agree to any terms and conditions that may popup, then switch on Auto Update.
samsung tv auto update

For older Samsung TVs, you’ll need to update the firmware by USB. To do this:

  1. Press the Menu or Home button on your remote and go to Settings.
  2. Go to Support.
  3. Then Contact Samsung or About This TV.
  4. Take note of the Model Code and Software Version currently installed.
  5. Go to Samsung’s Support site and enter your model number.
  6. Select Manuals & Downloads and look for the newest firmware version.
  7. If this Firmware Version is later than the version you noted was installed on your TV, then download it, along with the Firmware Update User Manual which will give you full instructions on how to install your update.
samsung tv usb firmware update

4. Check Your Infrared Emitter Works (if using an IR remote)

Samsung TV remotes come in two flavors: Infrared (IR) and RF (Bluetooth / Wi-Fi) models.

IR Samsung remotes are the older type, and can be identified by a clear section of dark plastic at their end, along with the familiar Samsung design that you are used to.

This clear section of plastic contains an emitter that sends an infrared signal directly to the TV.

Check that this IR emitter doesn’t have any obvious damage, and isn’t blocked by gunk.

tv remote ir emitter

To check that your remote is actually sending an IR signal, you will need a phone or digital camera as infrared is not visible to the human eye.

Activate the camera on your phone, or a live view mode on your digital camera and point your remote at your camera. Press a button and you should see a light appear in the IR emitter of your remote.

checking if a tv remote is working

Note that not all models of iPhone will be able to see the infrared beam, as they filter out IR signals. If you have to use an iPhone, then first check that you can see infrared by using a remote that you know is working.

If you don’t see an IR signal and you have confirmed that your camera doesn’t filter IR by testing it with a known working remote, and you have tried replacing the batteries, then you will need a replacement remote as it is unlikely that you can fix this issue at home.

5. Check for Infrared Line of Sight

For the IR Samsung remotes, you should check that you have a clear line of site between your remote’s IR emitter and the IR receiver on your TV.

how to point your tv remote at your TV
Make sure you point your remote at your TV, not your cat.

Locate your TV’s IR receiver and confirm that it isn’t blocked by ornaments on your TV shelf, and isn’t damaged.

The IR receiver is usually located beneath the red light on your TV.

tv ir receiver

Because the IR receiver on your TV is most likely to be at the bottom, it is very easy to accidentally cover it up when cleaning around your TV shelf.

If you are using the RF TV remote, then check that any nearby applicances that could cause RF interference are switched off.

6. Reset and Re-Pair Your RF Remote with Your TV

If you are using a newer Samsung TV remote from the 2021 QLED models and up, then your remote probably does not use IR, but instead relies on Bluetooth or your home Wi-Fi network to connect to your Samsung TV.

This enhanced Samsung remote does not require a line of sight to your TV to work, but can be less reliable than a standard IR remote and can become unpaired from your TV.

The new models of Samsung remote can be identified by having fewer buttons and a microphone button which lets you use your voice to control your TV.

new samsung tv remote
The new Samsung TV remote

Samsung Smart TV Remote Not Working

You need to reset and then re-pair your smart remote to get it working again.

  1. Press and hold the Return and Enter buttons at the same time for at least 10 seconds.
samsung smart tv remote reset
  1. The LED light at the top of your remote should blink a few times to confirm the reset.
  2. Switch your TV on so that you can re-pair your remote.
  3. Stand within 1 foot of your TV and hold down Return and Play/Pause at the same time until a message appears on screen telling you your remote is connected.
pair samsung smart tv remote
  1. Your smart TV remote should now work normally again. If not, try the next step.

7. Cold Boot and Factory Reset Your Samsung TV

Resetting your TV and remote can help resolve any issues, particularly if you are using the newer smart TV remote.

Power cycling or cold booting your TV will clear out any issues with non-permanent memory and reset your main board and WiFi without losing your personal settings.

This is quick and painless and won’t cause you to lose any of your saved settings.

  1. Plug your TV in and switch it on.
  2. Pull the plug out of the wall socket.
  3. Wait a full 10 seconds.
  4. Plug your TV back in and try switching it on. You should see a red light if you have been successful.

You can also power cycle your Samsung TV if this hasn’t been successful.

  1. Switch off and unplug your TV.
  2. Hold down the physical power button on the TV for at least 15 seconds.
  3. Wait for at least 30 minutes for any residual power to drain from the TV’s capacitors (which are capable of storing charge for several minutes).
  4. Plug your TV back in and try switching it on.
samsung tv power button
Samsung TV’s have their power button underneath the Samsung logo

Make sure you do wait for the full 30 minutes before plugging your TV back in – you would be surpised how long the components within your TV can hold charge, and you want to make sure it has fully reset.

Although this seems a very basic step, don’t overlook it because in the vast majority of cases a simple soft reset fixes most issues.

If you need to, then factory reset your Samsung TV:

  1. Press the Menu or Home button on your remote and go to Settings.
  2. Then General & Privacy.
  3. And Reset.
  4. Enter your PIN, which by default is 0000 (four zeroes) for Samsung.
  5. Then select one final Reset in the popup.
samsung tv factory reset

Samsung have provided a video of these steps in the video below.

If your remote is not working at all, then you can get to the same menu items by using the physical Menu button that is most likely underneath your Samsung TV’s logo, next to the Power button.

Press this and use the Volume + and – or Channel + and – depending on model to follow the steps above.

8. Look for Mechanical Damage

If none of the other fixes have worked for you, then it’s likely that there is some mechanical damage within the remote. This is particularly true if some buttons work but others do not.

To fix this, you can disassemble your remote, clean the components with isopropyl alcohol, and confirm that there is no damage to the circuit boards.

Although this seems a fairly extreme step, the only other option is to order a replacement remote, so why not give it a go?

To disassemble your Samsung TV remote:

  1. Remove the batteries.
  2. If there are no screws to open the remote’s case, use a flat head screwdriver with the tip pushed in between the two halves of the remote.
  3. Twist the screwdriver and the case should pop open.

Then carefully remove the circuit board and buttons, swab with 99.9% isopropyl alcohol and remove any dirt or gunk that might have got caught under the buttons.

Check that the battery leads are not corroded and once you have given all parts a good clean, put it back together again and test.

TV remotes are actually very simple devices and this is unlikely to take you more than a couple of minutes even if you’ve not done anything like this before.

Take a look at the video below for a demonstration of how to open and clean a Samsung smart TV remote.

And the next video covers how to do the same for an older Samsung TV remote.

What if Your Samsung TV Remote is Still Not Working?

If your Samsung TV remote is still not working, then you have two choices:

  • Use the SmartThings app.
  • Buy a replacement Samsung TV remote.

The SmartThings TV app is a very easy to use replacement for the remote, but is only available on newer Samsung TVs.

Simply download the SmartThings Remote App from the Android Play store or the Apple App store and install on your phone.

If you have not installed SmartThings onto your TV and it didn’t come pre-installed, you now need to do this from the Apps menu, which you should be able to do using the buttons on your TV, or the remote if possible.

Add your TV to your phone’s SmartThings app by opening the app on your phone, then pressing Devices -> Home -> + -> Add Device.

There are also plenty of generic Samsung TV remotes available to buy from any of the big box stores if you would prefer.

Samsung TV Not Responding to Remote? How to Fix

If your Samsung TV is not responding to your remote, then to fix it:

  1. Remove the batteries, clean the contacts and replace with a fresh set of batteries.
  2. Slap the remote into your palm a few times and mash the buttons in case any are stuck.
  3. Check the IR works using a digital camera (or some models of smartphone).
  4. Restart your Samsung TV.
  5. Check for any obstructions or conflicts that could stop the remote’s signal reaching your TV.
  6. Run any updates on your TV.
  7. Try to re-pair your RF TV remote, if you have this type.
  8. Check for liquid damage.

If your Samsung TV remote is still not working, then you can either use the Samsung app or buy a new generic remote from most big store retailers.

Or let me know if you still have a problem in the comments below and I’ll try my best to help.

Read More:

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Follow Tim Daniels:

Hi, I'm Tim Daniels, photographer and photo trainer, founder of Lapse of the Shutter and creator of the totally free Lightroom Develop System. I've travelled to (probably) 30 countries over the last few years, taking photos and licensing them around the world, and creating lots of free photography learning resources. Read More ...

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