Google Chromecast is a phenomenal way to get streaming content from your phone (apps like Netflix and Hulu) to your non-smart TV. It’s also one of the cheapest ways to add smart capabilities to any TV in your home. There are several Chromecast models and various generations of the product available, with each new entry introducing key features like 4K compatibility and an onscreen interface with the latest Chromecast with Google TV.
Like all modern tech, your Chromecast isn’t bulletproof. Once in a while, you may notice connectivity issues, glitches with your phone, and other small troubles that prevent you from using your Chromecast successfully. In this guide, we’ve rounded up some of the most common Chromecast issues and what you can do to go about troubleshooting and fixing each one.
Chromecast isn’t connecting to Wi-Fi
You may have noticed your Chromecast video looking tiled and spotty. Perhaps you’ve encountered one of several buffering screens when trying to stream your favorite show. Whatever the prevailing symptom, the cause can usually be traced to some kind of network issue.
With any network trouble, the first thing to try is a simple disconnect/re-connecting of all devices in the chain. In this case, that’s your Chromecast, router, and modem (if standalone). Unplug all your gear, plug it back in, then wait for your network to restore itself. Once your Chromecast reboots, grab your phone and try casting an app.
Still having Wi-Fi trouble? Each Chromecast product (save for the first generation) supports both 2.4GHz and 5GHz network bands. Depending on how far your TV and Chromecast are located from your home’s router, you may be better off keeping the device connected to one band over the other. The 5GHz band is stronger over short distances, but if your Chromecast is on the opposite end of your home from your router, the 2.4GHz (better long-range connection) band is probably the best bet.
To change Wi-Fi bands, grab whatever device your Google Home app is on. Launch the app, tap the Chromecast you’re having issues with, then tap Settings at the top-right corner of the screen. Tap Wi-Fi, then Forget this network. After doing so, you’ll be able to re-connect your Chromecast to a new Wi-Fi band. If you were originally connected to the 5GHz band, try connecting to the 2.4GHz option.
If there are still network issues, you may have noticed that your Chromecast came with an HDMI extender. While it’s nice to be able to nestle your device out of sight, the Chromecast may not be in range to receive enough Wi-Fi hand-shaking. If you’re having Wi-Fi troubles, try using the extender to push the Chromecast outside the back of your TV set. Doing so may be enough to improve the range of your device.
Chromecast randomly power cycles
Depending on how you’ve got your Chromecast connected to your TV for power, you may experience random power cycling. If your Chromecast is connected to your TV’s USB input for power, this may be the cause of your trouble. Most TV-based USB ports will supply enough juice to power external devices, but there are cases where this may falter.
One of the best ways to get ahead of this issue is to simply connect your Chromecast using the USB power brick that your device came with. This ensures a solid connection for your device at all times and also prevents your Chromecast from rebooting every time you power down your TV.
Your casting device loses its controls
A majority of Chromecast devices require you to tap a Cast button within each Chromecast-compatible app. Cast controls are essential to the Chromecast experience, but sometimes, the Cast feature (and related controls) can disappear from your mobile device. There could be a few reasons why this is happening, as well as a few fixes.
For starters, your phone or tablet may be running an older version of your chosen app’s firmware. While most iOS and Android devices will inform you if updates need to be completed, you can manually check yourself. For an iPhone or iPad, tap the App Store icon, then tap your profile image. Scroll down to the updates section of the screen. If the app you’re attempting to cast from has a required update, select the app and tap Update to start the process.
For an Android device, tap the Play Store icon. On the next screen, tap My apps and games, then find the app you’re having issues with. Tap Update or Update all to get all your apps on the current firmware.
If all your apps are up to date and you’re still losing cast controls, you can try rebooting your mobile device. Sometimes this is all it takes to correct the issue and you may never lose cast controls again. Depending on what hardware you’re using, you may have to wait for a major device update to come through before the issue completely disappears. Until then, keep rebooting.
Your Chrome browser isn’t up to date
If you’re casting content from the Chrome browser on your computer, you may have noticed that certain Chromecast controls are missing from your preferred sites. This may be because there’s a new version of Chrome that you need to update to. Fortunately, doing so is easy.
Jump on your computer, launch Chrome, then click the More icon (three dots in a column) at the top-right corner of the page. If you’re not on the latest version of the browser, you’ll see an option labeled Update Google Chrome. Click this option and then let the update run through.
Once completed, click Relaunch. Once Chrome is up and running again, go to the site you were casting from and you should see that your casting controls have returned.
If all else fails…
You’ve tried bettering your Wi-Fi and you’ve ensured all your settings are up to date, but the blasted Chromecast is still being finicky. When all else fails, you can attempt a factory reset of your Chromecast. Doing so will not delete any data from your mobile device or Google Home app, but once the reset is complete, you’ll have to re-add your Chromecast to the Home app.
To begin the reset process, locate your Chromecast’s physical reset button. This is commonly located by the power port on the device. Hold the button for 25 seconds.
The LED light on your Chromecast will start blinking orange, indicating your device is resetting. When the light is solid white, the reset is complete, and you’re ready to set up your Chromecast once again.
If you’re still having issues with your Chromecast or are experiencing issues we didn’t cover, you can check out Google’s support page for the product.