How to set up and use your Google Chromecast device

Google Chromecast is designed for the big screen, letting you project movies and shows from your tablet or mobile device to your TV. The USB-enabled device is available in two different models — the Google Chromecast (3rd Generation) costing $35 and the Google Chromecast Ultra, which, as you’d expect, comes in at a higher price of $69. With that extra price, though, you can enjoy more features like 4K viewing once you’ve set up your Chromecast. 

How to set up your Google Chromecast

The Google Chromecast set up process is straightforward. Unbox your device and make sure you have the Google Home app installed to your iOS or Android mobile or tablet — formerly known as the Google Chromecast extension download. Make sure you connect your mobile or tablet to the same Wi-Fi network that you want to use for Google Chromecast.

To start your Google Chromecast, plug the USB cable provided into the wall using the adaptor or straight into your TV. Follow these easy instructions to get started.

  1. Plug your Chromecast into your TV and wait for it to turn on.
  2. Open the Google Home app on your iOS or Android device.
  3. Select the Devices button in the upper right-hand corner of the Google Home app. Or use the on-screen prompt to set up a new device if it appears.
  4. Click the Setup function, and Google Chromecast will set up automatically. 
  5. Check that the code on your mobile or tablet device matches the one on your TV screen, then press Yes.
  6. Name your device something memorable so you can always connect easily. Just type in the new device identifier.
  7. Connect your Google Chromecast to your Wi-Fi network then start using your apps.

If you want to sync content across your devices, sign in to your Google account. That way, you can access all of your YouTube videos, music and anything else you’ve bought using your Google account from your Google Chromecast and other devices.

How to use your Google Chromecast

So now you’re set up and ready to get going, but how does Google Chromecast work? You can use your Google Chromecast for tons of activities, from streaming your favorite TV shows to listening to podcasts and music. 

Download your favorite streaming apps

You can start streaming your favorite movies and shows from your TV by downloading streaming apps to your Google Chromecast. There are hundreds of apps to choose from, including Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, HBO Max, Hulu, Netflix and YouTube TV. You can even download streaming apps like Watch Food Network and Comedy Central. Remember, you’ll need to have a paying subscription to these services to watch any of their content, even though it’s free to download the apps.

Now that you’ve chosen your apps, you’ll probably want to know how to stream Chromecast to your TV. You’ll need to make sure your cell phone or tablet is connected to the same Wi-Fi network as your Chromecast. Open any of your downloaded streaming apps, log in and click the Cast button — this is usually in the upper or lower right-hand side of your screen. Select your Chromecast from the list of available devices, and your streaming app will launch on your TV.

Listen to music and podcasts

As well as streaming, you can download audio apps to listen to music and podcasts, such as Google Play Music, iHeartRadio, Pandora and Spotify. You can choose to cast these apps to your TV following the same process as with streaming apps, or you can even cast to an audio device.

For an audio device, once you’ve pressed the Cast button in your chosen app, select your audio device from the drop-down menu. If you’re connected successfully, the Cast button should change from grey to blue. Then press play and start listening!

Mirror your device to your TV

You can also mirror your device to your TV, so whatever you’re viewing on your cell phone is displayed on the big screen. This is different from casting because you’re simply moving what you see on your screen to your TV exactly as it is, rather than streaming music or videos through an app.

To set up your Chromecast for mirroring, make sure the Microphone permission in the Google Play services app on your device is enabled. Otherwise, your device will stop mirroring as soon as it’s connected to your TV.

It’s also worth switching off Power Save Mode on your device because this can limit the quality of display on the big screen.

Make sure your device is connected to the same Wi-Fi network as your Chromecast, then open the Google Home app. Choose the device you want to cast your screen to and press the Cast button. Then, select Cast Screen. To stop, just open the Google Home app again, tap your device and press Stop Mirroring.

Cast photos and slideshows to your TV

You can even use your Google Chromecast to stream a slideshow on your TV through Google Slides. Open the Google Slides app on your computer or mobile device and press Present in the top right corner. Whatever slide you’re currently viewing on your other device will appear on your TV. 

Use your arrow keys to flick through the presentation. Or set the slides to change automatically by using the Auto Advance Options to change the time limit. 

If you need to, you can view a presentation with speaker notes too. When you click Present, choose Presenter View from the drop-down menu, then click Speaker Notes.

Our hot take

If you appreciate videos, presentations and photos on the big screen, Google Chromecast is ideal for you. You can easily cast or mirror your screen from your phone to start streaming your favorite movies, flick through a presentation or just appreciate your vacation photos in all their glory. 

Using your Google Chromecast is as simple as downloading the Google Home app (once known as the Chromecast extension download) to your iOS or Android device and casting your screen. Remember, for it to work, you must be connected to the same Wi-Fi network on your cell phone or tablet and Chromecast.

Elly Hancock