How do I solve problems with private listening?


Private listening is a feature that allows you to listen to the audio from your Roku® streaming player or Roku TV™ through a pair of earbuds, earphones, or headphones. This feature is available if you have a Roku Enhanced Remote with headphone jack, or through the free Roku mobile app for iOS® and Android™ devices. This article helps address specific issues and provide ideas for general troubleshooting.

Why does video stop and start when activating private listening?

If you activate private listening when video is already playing, playback will stop and restart as the video is synchronized with the audio in your headphones. To avoid this behavior, insert the headphones and activate private listening before you start streaming the movie or TV show.

Why does the headphone icon not appear in the Roku mobile app?

To activate (and disable) private listening on the mobile app, you can tap the headphones icon on the remote screen.

headphone icon to activate private listening on the Roku mobile app

If you do not see the headphones icon, it is likely caused by one of the following:

  1. You are running an old version of the Roku mobile app.
  2. Your Roku device does not support mobile private listening.

If you have installed the latest version of the Roku mobile app and the headphone icon still does not appear, your Roku device does not support mobile private listening.  

Why does private listening stop on my mobile device when headphones are plugged in to my Roku remote?

Private listening cannot be activated on your Roku remote and your mobile device at the same time. If you need support for multiple listeners, use private listening on the Roku mobile app. Up to four mobile devices can be connected to a single Roku device for private listening.

How do I troubleshoot audio problems?

Guidelines outlined below will help to troubleshoot audio problems you may encounter while using private listening, such as:

    • Audio not heard
    • Audio out of sync
    • Audio stutters and pops

If no audio is heard:

  • Make sure your headphones are firmly plugged in, and then check that the remote or mobile device volume is not muted or very low.

If audio is out of sync:

  • Software will make attempts to auto-correct itself. Wait a moment before troubleshooting.

If audio stutters or pops or you continue to have other audio problems, try the following suggestions:

  1. Check that your headphones are securely connected by removing and firmly reinserting them.
  2. Make sure your headphones are working properly by listening to them while playing music from another app on your mobile device.
  3. Stop and resume the movie or TV show you are watching.
  4. If you are using the Roku mobile app, restart the private listening session by turning private listening off and on again. If this does not work, then close and restart the Roku mobile app:
    • iOS: Double tap the home button and swipe the Roku app to close it.
    • Android: Press the Recents button and then swipe the Roku app to close it.
  5. Restart your Roku device by unplugging the power cable and reconnecting.
  6. If possible, try a different pair of headphones.

If audio problems continue, check your network

Because audio for private listening uses the same wireless network as other devices in your home, it is possible that traffic to/from other devices on the network are impacting the quality of the audio. While using private listening, make sure no other devices on the wireless network are downloading or streaming music or video.

If you are using your Roku remote for private listening, try moving closer to your Roku device, as you may be out-of-range.

If you are still having audio problems, try the following:

  1. Unplug the power from your Roku device.
  2. Restart your router* by unplugging the power cable from the router, waiting 10 seconds and re-connecting. If possible, check the instructions from your ISP or router vendor as restarting may require that you press a reset button on the device. This will momentarily disconnect your Roku device and your mobile device from the network. Wait a few minutes while your router re-establishes the internet connection.
  3. Reconnect the power cable to your Roku device.

Pro Tips

The following suggestions should only be attempted if you are familiar with the topic and comfortable working with your networking equipment.

  • Check the user manual for the router or contact the router manufacturer to see if your router supports 5GHz. If it is supported, make sure the 5GHz network is enabled, then go to Settings > Network > Set up connection > Wireless and connect your Roku device to the 5GHz wireless network (e.g., MyNetwork_5GHz). You will also need to connect your mobile device to the same 5GHz wireless network.
  • Check the user manual for your router or contact the manufacturer to see if it supports Wi-Fi Multimedia (WMM). Disabling this feature may improve audio performance.
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