Google Chromecast with Google TV on table style photo
David Imel / Android Authority

The smart TV market is convoluted with all kinds of devices, operating systems, and user interfaces. It continues to be a mess. This is what makes Chromecast dongles an enticing offering. They offer smart TV-like functionality without all the fuss and complications. Cast from your smartphone to your TV – that is the Google Cast promise. And it does this at a very reasonable price!

There are multiple ways to do this, though. Traditionally, this was only possible when connected to the same Wi-Fi, but now it’s possible to cast without being in the same network.

You can cast content using a supported app like Netflix, YouTube, Hulu, and many others. It’s also possible to mirror your Android phone’s screen to it.

Before you read: How to set up Chromecast with your phone


How to cast your content

3rd-gen Chromecast

Casting videos, images, or music is a straightforward process if your smartphone/tablet and the dongle are connected to the same Wi-Fi network. Here’s how to do it!

How to cast to Chromecast with a smartphone:

  1. Connect your smartphone (Android or iOS) to the same Wi-Fi network as the dongle.
  2. Open a supported app and launch the content you want to cast.
  3. A Google Cast icon will appear, usually in the top-right corner.
  4. Tap on it and select the device you want to cast to.
  5. Watch the magic happen!

How to cast to Chromecast with a computer:

  1. Connect your computer to the same Wi-Fi network as your dongle.
  2. Open a supported service’s website using Chrome.
  3. Start playing the content you want to cast.
  4. The Google Cast icon should show up. Tap on it and select the device you want to cast to.
  5. Enjoy!

Don’t leave guests out of the party! One of Google’s coolest features allows users to cast to Chromecast without being connected to the Wi-Fi network at all. Google calls this feature Guest Mode. Just keep in mind this won’t work with the newer Chromecast with Google TV.

How to cast to Chromecast without Wi-Fi:

  1. The host needs to open the Google Home app.
  2. Scroll down and select the Chromecast device.
  3. Tap on the gear icon in the top-right corner.
  4. Hit Recognition & sharing.
  5. Go to Guest Mode.
  6. Toggle Guest Mode on.
  7. Guests can now go to the Chromecast-supported apps and hit the Cast button.
  8. Select Nearby device and follow instructions.
  9. The Chromecast will ask for a PIN, which the host can provide.
  10. Enjoy your content!

Also: Chromecast not working? Here’s how to fix it!


How to mirror your screen to Chromecast

Third-gen Chromecast

You got an app that isn’t supported, or simply want to show others your screen? There’s a way to do that too! This is how you do it.

How to mirror your smartphone to Chromecast:

  1. Connect the phone and dongle to the same Wi-Fi network.
  2. Open the Google Home app on your smartphone.
  3. Find the Chromecast device you want to mirror your screen to and tap on it.
  4. Tap on the Cast my screen button in the lower-left corner.
  5. Select Cast screen.
  6. You can hit Stop mirroring when done.

How to mirror your computer to Chromecast:

  1. Connect the computer and dongle to the same Wi-Fi network.
  2. Open the Chrome browser on your computer.
  3. Hit the 3-dot menu button in the top-right corner.
  4. Select Cast….
  5. Hit the Sources button and select Cast tab, Cast desktop, or Cast file.
  6. Click on the Chromecast device you want to mirror your screen to.
  7. Click on it again to stop mirroring.

Next: The best media streaming devices money can buy