7 Causes of a Non-Working Samsung TV Remote

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Samsung TV remotes usually stop working because of dirt or grime underneath the buttons that can be removed by taking out the batteries and then mashing the remote’s buttons.

If this doesn’t work, then it’s worth trying some of the other fixes detailed below, which I’m confident will get your remote working again.

Note: this guide is for standard Samsung remotes. If you have a Solar Remote or Frame TV remote, then take a look at my specific tips to fix those.

Why Is My Samsung TV Remote Not Working?

Cause Explanation
Dead Batteries Simple to check, try changing your remote’s batteries.
Stuck Buttons Dirt or grim underneath the buttons can stop them making contact, or keep them stuck in an always-on position.
Infrared Problems A damaged infrared LED in your remote or the receiver on the TV means they can’t communicate.
Mechanical Damage Physical damage to the circuit boards or buttons is often simple to fix with TV remotes.
Loss of Pairing Smart Samsung remotes need to be paired to your TV for most of their features to work.

How to Fix a Broken Samsung TV Remote

You can see all the tips in the quick video below, or read about them in more detail following this.

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 alcohol is usually enough to remove any gunk that would otherwise prevent the batteries from making proper contact with 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 of how to open a Samsung TV remote.

2. Un-stick the Buttons

If your Samsung TV remote buttons are not working, but you are sure the batteries are okay, 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. Check Your Infrared Emitter Works

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.

4. Check for Infrared Line of Sight

For the IR Samsung remotes, you should check that you have a clear line of sight 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 appliances that could cause RF interference are switched off.

5. 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 exclusively 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 when paired 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 the 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.

Read More:

How to reset Samsung TV without remote

6. 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 TVs 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 surprised how long the components within your TV can hold a charge, and you want to make sure it has fully reset.

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 has 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 the model to follow the steps above.

7. 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 flathead 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 been 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.

If you find that your remote’s buttons are too damaged to make proper contact with the circuit board underneath, then you can try using a graphite pencil and super glue to improve the connection, as in this YouTube video.

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 it 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.


  • Most Samsung TV remotes stop working because of dirt getting caught underneath the buttons, which stops the buttons from making contact with the circuit boards.
  • Removing your remote’s batteries, holding down the power button for 10 seconds, and then mashing the buttons several times can help to remove any dirt stuck under the buttons.
  • Make sure your remote has fully charged batteries.
  • If the IR emitter isn’t sending a signal (which you can see by looking at it through an Android phone camera), then try taking your remote apart and cleaning it.
  • You can use a graphite pencil to improve the conductivity of the buttons if necessary.

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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How to connect Samsung TV to Wifi without remote

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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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