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Why Your Samsung TV Remote Doesn’t Work (5 Fixes to Try)

Last Updated Apr 14, 2022
using samsung remote on samsung tv
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Samsung TV remotes are as advanced as the television technology that it controls. While some are pretty “down to earth” in terms of functionality, others feature things like touchpads. Fortunately, fixing your Samsung remote when it stops working is generally the same despite your model.

If your Samsung remote stops working or only has partial functionality, it can generally be chalked up to four potential issues: bad sensors, bad batteries, a defective remote, or other internal issues.

While you’re working on a fix, there are other ways to control your Samsung TV, and one of the most convenient is a universal remote app or the Remote for Samsung app (Android or iOS); it’ll keep you going while you work through the following five fixes.

Test Your Samsung Remote’s Infrared Sensor

First and foremost, you want to check to see if the infrared (IR) on your Samsung remote is working properly before getting involved with soft resets or any kind of disassembly.

You can test the IR on your Samsung remote by using your smartphone camera. All you need to see is whether or not there is light activity coming from the IR on the remote. You can’t see it normally, but you can see it on your smartphone’s camera screen.

Look at your smartphone screen and point the Samsung remote at your smartphone’s camera. If you start pressing buttons on your Samsung remote, you should see a flash of light when you are looking at your phone’s screen each time you press a button on the remote.

If you get a flash, then you’ve eliminated two possibilities:

  1. The first is that your batteries are working, at least enough to generate power to the infrared sensor.
  2. The second is that the infrared sensor is properly working as well.

Reset the Samsung TV

An operating infrared means that your remote is working to some degree, so now you should turn your attention to the Samsung TV. Often, a soft reset will solve the problem, and that’s what your next step should be.

To reset your Samsung TV:

  1. Turn off the TV.
  2. Unplug it from the wall.
  3. Wait approximately one minute at a minimum.
  4. Plug the Samsung TV back in.
  5. Try to turn it on by using the remote only.

If it doesn’t turn the TV on well, you know the remote is working, so the next logical step is to assume that the Samsung TV’s receiving sensor is faulty. It’s the sensor on the TV that interacts with the IR on the remote.

Check the Samsung TV’s Remote Sensor

The problem with the sensor is that there is really no way of knowing whether it is working for sure or not. What you can do is clean it and ensure that nothing is getting in between the sensor and remote.

It’s easy for a cord to dangle in the way of the sensor, especially when you have a ton of things hooked up to the TV, such as gaming consoles. LED strip backlights, cable box, soundbars, or surround sound speaker systems.

One cord hanging in front of the sensor is all it will take to disrupt the signal pathway.

It could also have a lot of smudges on it, so be sure to clean it with rubbing alcohol and dry it completely with a small rag or paper towel. Once it’s clean, reset the Samsung TV as described above.

Identify Any Pairing Issues

It may be that the Bluetooth pair between the Samsung remote and TV has dropped, which is something that low batteries can cause.

  1. Remove the old batteries and grab new ones, but don’t insert them yet.
  2. Hold down the power button for half a minute.
  3. Put the new batteries in.
  4. Attempt to pair the remote by holding down the Play and Back buttons at the same time.

With Samsung TVs, this is the most common way to establish a connection with the remote and the TV for the first time or after the connection has been lost.

See if the Touchpad is Inoperable

If you have a newer Samsung TV, then the odds are that you have a touchpad remote. If the touchpad is inoperable or acting finicky, it’s most likely a calibration issue.

  1. Press and hold any number key for half a minute.
  2. When the calibration process starts, follow the instructions.
  3. The remote light should blink twice when the calibration procedure is complete.

Final Thoughts

It’s not uncommon for remotes to lose their connections with their respective TVs. In fact, the more technology advances, the more likely such a circumstance will occur. With the five fixes listed above, you should be able to set it right again.

If none of the fixes work, then there is probably an internal issue with the remote, or the sensor on the TV is defective. The best thing that you can do, then, is contact Samsung Customer Support. You especially need to do so if the TV is still under warranty.

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