I love Chromecast and have set up various Chromecast devices for family and friends down through the years. While generally easy to configure, every now and then I’ve come across connection issues.
This might occur when the Google Home app on my phone or tablet can’t find the Chromecast device or the Google Home app says Chromecast is offline when it shouldn't be.
This has happened to me in a number of scenarios …
- On initial setup of Chromecast
- Occasionally my phone fails to cast to the TV requiring some troubleshooting of the Google Home app
- Moving the Chromecast device to a TV in another room or to a different house during holidays
- Recent changing of my Wi-Fi network name or password
- When I upgrade my phone and need to get my apps and devices back up and running
I’ve listed some of the troubleshooting steps I’ve taken to resolve the problem below. These steps are progressive, starting with the most basic issues and working towards more complex solutions.
1. Check the Power!
It might sound silly, but just make sure Chromecast is actually powered on! You should see an LED light on your Chromecast device. Also, make sure your TV is powered on and you’ve switched to the HDMI input source that Chromecast is installed on!
Depending on the generation of Chromecast you have connected, you should either see the Chromecast screensaver or Google TV.
Note: I recommend you provide a permanent power supply to your Chromecast device (using the power cable and adapter supplied). Some people power Chromecast via a USB port on the TV or other nearby device. While this can work, it can result in Chromecast constantly going on and off, as that other device is powered on and off. I find it best to keep them separate.
2. Both devices need to be on the same Wi-Fi Network
The most common reason I’ve found when diagnosing this issue is the device I'm using has Wi-Fi turned off and is on 3G/4G or is connected to a different Wi-Fi network.
Both Chromecast and the device that has Google Home installed need to be on the same Wi-Fi network to communicate.
Checking which Wi-Fi network your Chromecast is connected to depends on the Chromecast version you have.
- For the latest “Chromecast with Google TV” devices, you can use the physical remote and go to your Google Profile in the top right and click Settings and then Network & Internet.
- For older versions, you can go to the Google Home App, select Chromecast, then Settings, Device Info and then Wi-Fi (If Chromecast does not appear, you may be logged into the wrong Google account)
Checking which Wi-Fi network your phone or tablet is on depends on which operating system you are running. For Android, you can usually drag from the top down to see the Wi-Fi symbol and name of the network. For iOS, you go to Settings > Wi-Fi.
3. Check your Internet Connection
After ensuring you are on the correct Wi-Fi network, do a speed test to check if you have an active internet connection. For this ensure you have “Mobile Data ” temporarily turned off.
For this, you can simply Google “Speed Test” in a browser and click “Run Speed Test”
If Google is not loading or the Speed Test is stalled then you have a router issue and will need to restart it. Failing that you’ll need to check with your internet service provider.
4. Configure Device Settings
If using an Android device with Google Home, make sure “Nearby Device Scanning” is enabled when setting up Chromecast as it allows Google Home to pair with the device.
Also, enable “Location Services” and Bluetooth so your device can automatically find Chromecast to set up.
More info here.
5. Restart Devices
Oftentimes, a simple restart or “power cycle” of the various devices can iron out any connectivity issues.
For this, you will want to unplug, wait for one minute, and plug back in the Chromecast device and your Wi-Fi router. You can also restart the device that has Google Home installed (typically your smartphone).
Once everything boots back up, the connection may be solved.
6. Update Google Home App & Firmware Updates
An out-of-date Google Home app can sometimes be the reason why you can’t find your Chromecast device. For this, you simply need to go to the Google Play store or Apple App Store, find the Google Home app, and click update.
If Chromecast can connect to the internet, a simple restart as above will force download the latest firmware.
As part of this troubleshooting, it’s worth downloading the latest firmware for both the phone or tablet device you have Google Home installed on along with the Wi-Fi router itself.
Everything should be running the latest version of software to rule out any issues from old buggy code.
7. Log out and Log in to your Google Account
Similar to the device restart, it’s worth logging out and logging back into your Google Account on your smartphone. While a little illogical, this can sometimes straighten out the Google Home app.
8. Check the LED Indicator lights on your Chromecast dongle
Chromecast has an integrated light that provides an explanation as to what it is doing or what state it is in. Checking this light will let you know if the problem is with Chromecast.
If you see a pulsing white light, then it means the device is disconnected from Wi-Fi and needs to be set up.
For 2nd Generation, 3rd Generation and Ultra Chromecasts, if you see a solid orange light (or a pulsing orange light with a black screen), it means you need to restart the device. Failing that, a factory reset is needed.
For 1st Generation Chromecasts, a solid red light (or a pulsing red light with a black screen) means the same thing.
A solid white light on all Chromecast versions means the device is working as normal.
More information on the various LED states is available here.
9. Wi-Fi Range or Interference Issue
Wi-Fi has a limited range so it’s possible that you are trying to install Chromecast too far away from the router. This was an issue for me when I installed Chromecast in our converted garage which had solid block walls.
To see if Wi-Fi interference is an issue, try to temporarily set up Chromecast closer to your router to see if the Google Home app can find it.
2.4GHz Wi-Fi can travel further than 5GHz Wi-Fi so if range or interference is a problem, then I recommend switching Chromecast to 2.4GHz when setting it up. Note: This may impact the quality of stream as 5GHz Wi-Fi transmits more data at a shorter range, such as 4K video content.
Long-term solutions for a Wi-Fi range issue include installing Wi-Fi repeaters, mesh Wi-Fi, or using a Chromecast Ethernet adapter to avoid the issue altogether. More info on the Ethernet adapters is available here.
10. Minimum Device Specifications for Google Home, Chromecast and your TV
As with all smart home products, there are minimum specifications to consider.
Google Home can only work on Android phones or tablets with Android 8.0 or greater installed. Apple devices need to have iOS 14.0 or greater installed.
Your phone or tablet needs to be modern enough to connect over 5GHz Wi-Fi (Most are but just in case!)
TVs obviously need an HDMI port. My experience is that older generations of Chromecast simply need to be connected to a HDMI port while newer models of Chromecast need a port that supports HDCP 1.3 or higher. 4K streams require HDCP 2.2 or higher so you may need to check which HDMI port on your TV supports this.
If you think your device specs may be a problem, you could try and set it up on a different phone or tablet to see if that works.
More information on specs available here.
11. Check Wi-Fi Band
While most Chromecast devices support both 2.4GHz and 5GHz Wi-Fi, the older 1st Generation devices only support the 2.4GHz band.
So if you only have a 5GHz Wi-Fi router then you won’t be able to connect to the 1st Gen device.
The solution to this is to configure an additional 2.4GHz network in your router settings (Assuming it's a dual-band router) and connect to that.
12. Check Wi-Fi Configuration
Sometimes your Wi-Fi network can be working against you, if your Google Home app is having trouble finding Chromecast.
If for security reasons you have set your Wi-Fi network to be hidden then you will need to manually type in the SSID and Password on the Wi-Fi connection page.
AP Isolation or Guest Network
For security purposes, some routers prevent devices from communicating with one another on the same Wi-Fi network. This is called Client Isolation and is common on Guest Wi-Fi Networks for additional protection.
Chromecast doesn’t work with these security configurations so they would need to be disabled or Chromecast setup on the main Wi-Fi network to operate.
Note: Wi-Fi Guest Networks are different to Chromecasts “Guest Mode” which allows users to cast without being on the Wi-Fi network.
More info here.
If you have a complex firewall configuration in your home, it may also be blocking device communications and is worth checking out
The second generation of Chromecast had some unusual quirks when connecting to 5GHz Wi-Fi. The router needed to be in “Mixed Mode” and there could not be any special characters in the Wi-Fi name.
I am not sure if a firmware update was issued to resolve this so it is worth checking if none of the above steps have worked.
13. Factory Reset Chromecast
When all else fails, it's time to hard reset or factory reset your Chromecast device. This will allow you to set up Chromecast again from scratch.
While the device is powered on and in the TV’s HDMI slot, you press and hold the physical button on the Chromecast device until the LED indicator starts flashing yellow, red or orange (depending on the Chromecast version you have).
When the light turns white you can let go of the button and the device will restart.
At this point, you will need to set up Chromecast again. The video below walks through the process for the Chromecast with Google TV.
14. Contact Google Support
If none of the above troubleshooting steps have worked, then it’s possible there is a fault with the Chromecast device itself.
In this case, it’s best to contact Google support directly to see if there’s anything they can do.
I hope the above steps help in getting your casting experience back up and running. If you have other tips or tricks I’ve missed, please let me know in the comments below.