Whether you’re using the remote controller that came with your TV or a universal remote, you may occasionally find the TV is no longer responding to your inputs. Even the best TVs in the market sometimes have challenges with tv remotes. There can be a number of reasons for this, but often this will require a reset of the remote. So how do you reset a tv remote control?

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • Dead or old batteries are the most common cause of a remote not functioning.
  • LED and fluorescent lights near or above your TV can sometimes interfere with a remote’s IR signal.
  • Dusty or dirty TV IR receptors can interfere with the proper function of your remote.

There are a couple of general methods that will cover most models of remote, universal, and otherwise, and they’re all simple and quick.

Resetting Your Remote

Some TV remote controls can occasionally go into a lock-up mode and either won’t respond to button presses or won’t communicate with the TV, but the most common cause of an unresponsive remote is a problem with the batteries. Having a faulty remote can be problematic when looking to cast to your TV. Here are some things to look for and steps to take first.

Check for Interference

Before you take other steps, check to see if there is anything obstructing the IR signal from the remote to the TV. If the IR receptor on the TV itself is dusty or dirty, try cleaning it. Lastly, fluorescent lights and LED lights can sometimes interfere with infrared, so try shutting any such lights near or above the TV off temporarily.

Check and/or Switch the Batteries

If your batteries aren’t fresh or have been knocked out of alignment, your remote will stop responding. Fresh batteries will often reset the remote and get it functioning again

Perform a “Hard” Reset

If new batteries don’t do the trick, you may want to perform a “hard” reset of your remote. Sometimes even with batteries removed, some power will remain in your remote and won’t allow it to reset completely. Instead of immediately replacing the batteries, leave the remote without batteries for 5-7 minutes and then put in batteries. Your remote will be returned to factory settings. This can also work even if you don’t need new batteries and just remove and replace the same ones after waiting.

Note that in a universal remote, this will also usually mean you’ll have to re-enter your TV’s device code like you did when you first set up your universal remote.

Model-Specific Soft Resets

Most remotes have reset functions specific to their model that involve a combination of held buttons. Instructions for this function can be found in a user’s manual, the manufacturer’s website, or sometimes even printed somewhere on the remote itself. It may be difficult to reset the remote of some TV brands such as 3D TVs and it may be prudent to know how 3D TVs work before seeking to reset the remote. This is a good first step much of the time before you try replacing batteries or performing a hard reset.

Insider Tip

Most remotes have reset functions specific to their model that involve a combination of held buttons.

F.A.Q.

Why isn’t my remote control working?

It could be a number of issues, however very often, dead batteries, interference from certain kinds of electronics, or obstruction between the remote and the TV’s IR receptors are the cause.


Should I try resetting my television if my remote doesn’t work?

Before you try changing batteries in the remote or performing a hard reset, it’s not a bad idea to try resetting your TV itself. To reset most TVs, unplug the TV and let it sit for five minutes or more, then plug it back in and power it up.


How do I perform a factory reset of my replacement remote?

Factory reset procedures for most remotes involve a sequence of pressing and holding various button combinations and can vary considerably from model to model- consult the remote’s manual or the manufacturer’s website for the correct procedure.



STAT: You can test to see if a remote’s IR signal is working by pointing it to a smartphone’s camera and pressing various buttons while powered on. The red IR light should show up in your camera’s viewfinder. (source)

STAT: Most problems with remotes are due to low batteries or IR signal obstruction (source)

STAT: The majority of universal and factory remotes take AAA or AA batteries (source)

Jed Smith

I'm a musician and recording engineer and live in Queens. I have a cat. Her name is Elsa. I love to write about consumer tech and musical instruments.

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