Monday, May 17, 2021

Troubleshooting Roku apps

As I've mentioned before, my go-to streaming device is Roku. It's the device of choice for most people, according to most of the reports I've seen. However, being the most popular -- at least the most used -- streaming platform comes with some baggage. The number of issues with apps is greater than most other streaming platforms, but that's expected because of the larger number of Roku devices in use.

So, when problems develop, what do you do? Well, it's hard to contact Roku. It's not impossible, but it's really frustrating. Apple, Amazon, and Google each have their own problems when trying to reach someone for help. Roku has a community support Website that can offer help. I've received help from those there in the past, and have helped others with issues. Most of the time, the issue can be resolved by performing some simple steps.

The software equivalent of "try turning it off and on again" is "remove the app and reinstall it." And while that is the solution most of the time, there is one special difference with Roku apps: the reboot. And not just a reboot, but when you do the reboot.

Here are the proper steps to remove and reinstall a Roku app:

  1. Remove the app.
  2. Reboot the Roku device.
  3. Reinstall the app.

There are three steps, as you can see. Many people will omit step number two. Or, they will do the reboot before removing the app. Or, they will do the reboot after reinstalling the app. Both of those are wrong. You should remove the app, then reboot the Roku device, then reinstall the app. That is the only correct order.

Why is this? Well, sometimes, the issue is some stray or corrupt data stored in the app or for the app. Rebooting the Roku will clear out any left over data if the app is removed. So, remove the app. That takes it off the Roku device, but doesn't clear out stray/corrupt data associated with it. That data will clear out eventually, the next time the device is rebooted. So, go ahead and do that; reboot the device. Now, with the corrupt data gone, reinstall the app.

If you simply remove the app, then reinstall the app, the corrupt data may still be there, and the problem will continue. Think of it as if a spill has occurred. You remove the item that was damaged by the spill, you wipe up the spill, then you place a new item in its place. If you pick up the damaged one, then immediately place it on the spill, then wipe up the spill, you've not fixed the situation. That's what it's like: the reboot is the wipe up of the spill.

So, if you have an issue with a Roku app, try removing the app and reinstalling it. But don't forget the reboot in the middle. It will make your Streaming Life so much easier.

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