How to turn off your Roku—and why you don’t want to

Roku is a brilliant streaming device —and some would argue it’s the best streaming device—but it has a quirk when it comes to power. Some Roku models come with a remote that features a power button, but when you press that button…  all it does is turn your TV off and on. Wondering how to turn off Roku? The secret is that officially, you can’t. But there are a few workarounds.

Before we show you how to turn Roku off, let’s talk about why you might not want to.  

Why you shouldn’t turn off Roku

The first reason you probably should leave your Roku alone is service speed. Roku installs its updates in a low-power sleep mode while not in use. If you unplug your Roku and turn it back on, you’ll have to wait for new updates to install and for the service to reboot.

That might be annoying, but it’s not the worst problem. In our tests, unplugging your Roku regularly forced us to reauthenticate Roku channels like HBO Now upon turning the device back on. Let’s be clear, this didn’t happen every time. Still, it’s an unnecessary hassle when it came time to catch up on Insecure.

We never had the problem with Hulu or Netflix, but Showtime and HBO both required reauthenticating at least one out of five times we tried unplugging our streaming stick. This may have been a bug, but give what a pain turning off your Roku is, we’d argue it’s just not worth it.

how to turn off roku Photo via Roku

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How to turn off Roku 

The secret to turning off your Roku, which probably won’t surprise you, is to unplug your device. Roku isn’t designed to be turned off, with the exception of the decommissioned Roku 4.

How to turn off Roku 4

If you own a used Roku 4, navigate to the Settings menu. Then go to Systems, Power, and select Auto-Off. With this setting on your Roku 4 will automatically power off 30 minutes after it’s been sitting idle.

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How to turn off all other Roku devices

For every other Roku device, you’re going to have to manually unplug or disconnect the power. Getting up and pulling a plug every time you want to kill the device can become a pain. If you’re the sort of person who insists on turning your Roku off every day, there’s a handy workaround: the smart outlet. Connecting your Roku to a Wi-Fi-enabled smart outlet lets you turn Roku off with just your smartphone.

There is one exception to the rule: Roku’s that are powered via your TVs USB port. When your TV turns off, power is also cut to your Roku device. However, this dramatically increases boot times. We recommend just using the AC power option and a smart outlet if turning off your Roku matters to you.

New to cord-cutting? Here are our picks for the best movie streaming sites of 2018 and free live TV apps and channels. If you’re looking for a specific channel, here’s how to watch HBO, Showtime, Starz, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3, AMC, FX, Fox News, MSNBC, CNN, CNBC, FS1, TBS, TNT, Golf Channel, Cartoon Network/Adult Swim, Lifetime, Discovery, PBS, the CW, BBC, CSPAN, NBA TV, MTV, the Weather Channel, and NFL RedZone without cable, as well as free movies on YouTube. If you’re on the move, here’s how to watch Fox Sports Go and live stream NBC Sports.

John-Michael Bond

John-Michael Bond

John-Michael Bond is a tech reporter and culture writer for Daily Dot. A longtime cord-cutter and early adopter, he's an expert on streaming services (Hulu with Live TV), devices (Roku, Amazon Fire), and anime. A former staff writer for TUAW, he's knowledgeable on all things Apple and Android. You can also also find him regularly performing standup comedy in Los Angeles.