Why Your TV Remote Still Won’t Work With New Batteries

Why Your TV Remote Still Won’t Work With New Batteries

While there are plenty of smart TVs and streaming apps that allow you to make selections using your phone, most televisions still come with remotes that turn the TV on and off, adjust the volume, and switch functions, among other things.

So, let’s say your remote stops working, or slows down considerably, or gets to the point where you have to press a button really hard four times before anything happens. You try changing the batteries—perhaps even twice—but it’s still not functioning properly. Here are a few of the reasons why this may be happening, and how to address them.

Why your TV remote still won’t work after replacing the batteries

Of course, TV remotes differ depending on their brand, functions, and age, but here are a few of the most common reasons they’re not working properly, even with new batteries:

The new batteries weren’t installed correctly

Double-check your new batteries to make sure that the positive (+) and negative (-) terminals match up with the corresponding markings in the remote. While you’re in there, check the expiration date of the batteries to see if they’re still good.

The battery compartment is dirty

Take out the batteries and inspect the compartment, looking for dust, debris, or evidence of battery leakage or corrosion. If you find any of the above, start by cleaning it out using a dry cotton swab or toothbrush.

To deal with any battery corrosion, dip a clean cotton swab in isopropyl alcohol, then use it to remove any buildup from the compartment—particularly, the battery contact points. This previous Lifehacker post contains more detailed instructions.

The TV needs to be reset

It may be an issue with your TV, not your remote. Always start with the easiest fix, which in this case is unplugging the TV from the electrical wall socket, waiting five minutes, and then plugging it back in. You also may need to press a small “power” button on the TV itself for the remote to work.

Some TVs have factory-reset functions, but as with other electronics, this will likely undo any adjustments you’ve made to the settings.

The TV’s remote sensor is dirty

If you haven’t done so already, wipe down the remote sensor on the front of the TV to make sure dust or dirt isn’t coating it and preventing the remote from working. While you’re at it, wipe down the signal emitter on the top of the remote, too.

The TV software may not be up-to-date

If you have a smart TV, check to see whether it’s running the latest version of its software, and update it if necessary.

The remote’s infrared signal may not be working

Point your phone’s camera at the emitter on top of the remote, and then press any button on the remote. You should see a red light—which may be blinking and/or faint—on your phone’s screen. If you don’t see the red light, and you’re positive the batteries are new, installed correctly, etc., then the remote likely needs to be replaced.

The Cheapest NBN 50 Plans

Here are the cheapest plans available for Australia’s most popular NBN speed tier.

At Lifehacker, we independently select and write about stuff we love and think you'll like too. We have affiliate and advertising partnerships, which means we may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. BTW – prices are accurate and items in stock at the time of posting.


Leave a Reply