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How to use Chromecast – Set up, stream, mirror and turn off

Google Chromecast 2015

The Chromecast has the ability to make any TV smart: here's how to use Chromecast for everything


How to use Chromecast with Spotify – get the party started

One of the best things about the Chromecast is the ability to allow multiple people to control it, and Spotify is a great example of this. To play Spotify through a TV, open your Spotify app and look at the status bar at the bottom of the app. If your Chromecast is available, you’ll see the Cast logo and ‘Devices available’.

Tap the status bar and then select your Chromecast. Anyone with access to your Wi-Fi network can do the same thing, although there’s currently no way for other users to queue up tracks; if they select a song it will start playing, interrupting whatever else is playing.

How to use Chromecast with YouTube – collaborate on playlists

While Spotify may seem the obvious place to allow multiple people to contribute to a party’s soundtrack, it’s actually YouTube that offers the best functionality when it comes to queuing up music and videos. This is because the Chromecast YouTube app has a queuing function built into it.

To use Chromecast with your YouTube app, simply tap the Cast button that should appear in the YouTube app when you’re on the same Wi-Fi network as your Chromecast. When you select a video, you’ll be given the option to either queue (below) it or play it on your Chromecast. Hit Play and it’ll begin playing immediately. If not, it’ll appear in your queue, which can be found in the small window at the bottom-right of the YouTube app. You can open this at any time to start your queue playing.

For anyone else who wants to join in, they can do exactly the same. First, get them to connect to the same Wi-Fi network as your Chromecast and then make sure their YouTube app is connected to the Chromecast. If they want to add a video, they simply add it to the queue in the same way you did. They won’t be able to sneak unwanted content onto your queue because every time a video is added to the queue, a box will pop up on the Chromecast screen to show who’s added what. You can skip to any video currently in the queue by selecting it, and this won’t remove any videos that were in the queue before it, so you can jump around between videos as you wish.

How to customise Chromecast backgrounds – use Chromecast as a digital photo frame

Chromecast does a great job of serving up gorgeous landscape images when you’re not actively Casting to it. It takes photos from a variety of sources including Getty, 500px and Google+ for its background, but did you know you could add your own?

First, you’ll need to upload some pictures to Google Photos. Do this via the web interface at Make sure you’re logged into the same Google account that you use on your Android phone. Create an album and upload some photos to it, either by dragging them in from your desktop or clicking the upload button at the top of the page. If you already use Google Photos, you can either create an album just for Chromecast photos or use pre-existing albums.

To do this, go to Home and select the Devices tab. Tap on ‘Edit Backdrop’ below the backdrop image. From here you’ll see a list of backdrop sources. Select the Google Photos option at the top and tap the ‘Selected items’ button. Now select all the albums you want to include. If you want only your personal photos to show up in Chromecast’s rotation, you’ll need to switch off all the other photo sources on the previous menu. Otherwise, your personal pictures will be included in Chromecast’s rotation.

Another handy tip: if a photo comes up in the rotation and you want to find out more about it, such as where it was taken, you can tap the History button in the Devices tab to see details of the last five photos displayed on your Chromecast (above), including links to the original website where the image was published.

How to factory reset Chromecast

If you’re having problems with your Chromecast and want it to forget everything it knows about your devices, accounts and Wi-Fi networks, you can factory reset it.

In the Devices screen, tap the three dots button on the top-right of your Chromecast’s image and then tap Device Settings. Tap the three dots on this screen and select Reset. This will delete everything from the Chromecast, starting it as if it was fresh out of the box.

Chromecast Guest Mode explained

Chromecast Guest Mode is a handy feature that lets guests in your house connect directly to your Chromecast without giving them access to your Chromecast. This lets them use it in exactly the same way that they could use it if they were on the Wi-Fi network, the only difference being that you can revoke Guest Mode access at any time, kicking people off your Chromecast without having to change your Wi-Fi password.

You can switch off Guest Mode at any time by heading to the Devices tab and selecting the three dots menu, selecting Guest Mode and turning the toggle to Off.

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