Google’s Chromecast is one of the easiest, cheapest ways to stream just about anything on your TV. Here’s how to set it up.
Step One: Plug In Your Chromecast and Download the Google Home App
Plug your Chromecast into your TV and download the Google Home app on your phone or tablet.
Open the Google Home app and tap the devices button in the upper right-hand corner.
Tap “Set Up” under the option for your Chromecast and follow the prompts.
To set up your Chromecast, you’ll need the Google Home app (formerly the Google Cast app), available on iOS and Android. If your Chromecast is a hand-me-down or an eBay find, you might want to take a moment to factory reset it before continuing so you’re starting with a clean slate.
Although there are multiple generations of Chromecast and a brand new app, the general chromecast setup process hasn’t changed much. First, unpack your Chromecast, plug it in, and wait for it to power up. You can plug the USB cable into the wall using the included adapter, or the USB port on the back of your TV (as long as it provides enough power—some older TVs may not).
You’ll know it’s ready for setup when see the on-screen prompt, shown below. Note the randomly generated identifier in the lower left corner. Ours is “Chromecast0082,” but yours is likely different.
With the setup prompt on your TV screen, now’s the time to grab your phone or tablet and connect to the Chromecast to complete the setup process. Depending on which generation of Chromecast you have, the connecting-to bit is a slight different, so pay close attention to the next section.
Step Two: Connect to Your Chromecast
Although the setup process is largely identical for all versions of the Chromecast, there is one big difference between setting up a first generation Chromecast (which is a longer dongle with a thumb-like shape) and the subsequent generations (shaped like discs), so listen closely to save yourself a lot of frustration.
The second generation Chromecast and the Chromecast Ultra both support Bluetooth. When you plug in a new or factory reset second generation or Ultra model and start the setup process with the Google Home app, you will be connected over Bluetooth immediately. If it doesn’t, make sure your phone’s Bluetooth is turned on.
If you have a first generation Chromecast, however, you’ll need to connect to the temporary ad-hoc Wi-Fi network it creates. Open your phone or tablet’s Wi-Fi settings and search for a network with the unique name we noted above. In the case of our demo model here, that’s the “Chromecast0082.b” network seen below.
It’s worth noting that the ad-hoc Wi-Fi network is also the fallback method for the newer generations too. If for any reason you get an error during a Bluetooth-based setup process on a newer model, you can always open up the Wi-Fi menu on your phone and use the old Wi-Fi method.
Once you’re connected, continue to the next step.
Step Three: Configure Your Chromecast
With your Chromecast connected to your phone, it’s time to fire up the Google Home app and finish the configuration process. Most of the time you’ll be automatically prompted to begin the setup process right when you open the app, but if you aren’t, don’t worry. Simply tap the device icon in the upper right corner, seen below.
Devices in need of setup are grouped at the top of the screen. Confirm the Chromecast identifier on your phone matches the identifier displayed on your TV and tap “Set Up”.
In the first step of the setup process, the app will confirm the temporary identifier assigned to the Chromecast. Click “Continue”.
Next, the setup app will beam a confirmation code to your TV—the folks at Google are clearly very serious about making sure you’re setting up the right Chromecast. Confirm that you see the code by tapping “I See It.”
Next, you’ll be prompted to select your region (e.g. United States). Click “Continue.” You’ll be prompted to name your Chromecast. By default it has the randomly generated name (e.g. “Chromecast0089”), but the best thing to do is name it by the room it’s in (e.g. “Living Room” or “Bedroom”) for ease of use.