How-to: Setup and Use Chromecast to stream your content from a Mac and iOS device

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The Chromecast, Google’s streaming HDMI dongle came out last summer. It is compatible with any Android device running 2.3 or later, iOS device with iOS 6 or 7, and any Mac or PC. Initially, users were able to stream Netflix or Youtube from an iOS device and Android device, Google Play Movies and Music only on Android, or cast websites using the Chrome browser on a computer. The Chromecast works differently from Airplay in that you can multitask and do other tasks on the device or you can let it go to sleep while streaming.

Very quickly after its release, Chromecast has received support for Hulu +, Pandora, and HBO GO. Last month a major update added ten new apps including Plex, Vevo, Songza, Red Bull TV, Post TV from the Washington Post, Viki, RealPlayer Cloud, Avia, Revision3 Internet Television and BeyondPod. The most recent update the Chromecast received allowed users to stream Google Play Movies and Music directly from the Chrome browser on a computer.

In this How-to, we’ll discuss how to setup the Chromecast, use it with a Mac and iOS device and explore its gaming potential.

Setup the Chromecast

The Chromecast does need an actual power source, so you can either plug it into a USB port on your television, or use the micro USB to USB power adapter that comes with it. As I’ve never had a reason to use the USB port on my Samsung 32″ flat screen, and it is easy to locate right underneath the HDMI port, I used that to connect my Chromecast.

To get the Chromecast to turn on, all you have to do is plug it into the HDMI port and the USB port on your TV. When it first boots up, you see the traditional Google Chrome logo followed by a slideshow of pretty scenery pictures while it waits for you to set it up.

You can either set it up on an iOS device by downloading the Chromecast app, or on a PC or Mac by using Google Chrome as your web browser and visiting the Chromecast setup page.


If you choose to setup your Chromecast from your computer, Google’s setup page will direct you to download either a browser extension for Chrome or a standalone app. In this how-to, we’ll select the standalone app.


When you start run it for the first time, the Chromecast app searches for a Chromecast on your local network. There will also be a prompt to download the extension we didn’t install earlier. If you plan on streaming from the Chrome browser to your TV, you’ll need to install this extension.

If you miss this step, you can always download the Chromecast extension for the Google Chrome web browser here. Once installed, the Cast Extension is located in the upper right hand corner on the Chrome toolbar. The Cast icon is shaped like a square with the lower left hand corner being replaced by the ubiquitous “Wi-Fi bars” icon.


To continue, click the blue “Set Up” button.

To finish the set up process, the Chromecast app will ask you to confirm that your TV is on the correct input by confirming a string of random characters that are on the computer screen matches the ones that appear on the TV.

Once all of that has been done, the Chromecast has been set up successfully and you are ready to start using it.


The Chromecast does not come with a traditional remote control, so you do have to use your tablet, phone, or computer to control it.

Using with a Mac

When using the Chromecast with the Mac, you have to use the Chrome browser. Some websites are optimized and designed for casting. Those sites include YouTubeNetflixGoogle Play Movies and Google Play Music. Websites that are optimized for casting have the Cast icon built into the site itself as opposed to just on Chrome’s tool bar. For example, Netflix is optimized for casting. If you try to use the Cast icon in Chrome’s tool bar, it alerts you to use the Cast icon on the website instead.

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On the video controls the Cast icon appears with a prompt to Play on Your TV.

Screenshot 2014-01-30 17.16.03When you click the Cast icon, you get to choose which device you want the video to play on: the computer or the Chromecast. If you have multiple Chromecasts in the house on the same Wi-Fi network, this is where you would choose which one you want to connect to.

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While the computer connects to the Chromecast, the TV shows what will be playing shortly.

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This image will appear on the computer once the video starts playing on the TV. The Cast icon turns blue while connected to the Chromecast.
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While the video is playing, you can browse the web using Chrome (or whatever internet browser you prefer), read your email or put your computer to sleep.

Casting support for sites that are not optimized for Casting is still in beta. Typically news sites will cast fine to the TV. Here is 9to5Mac on Chrome and on my TV. Pressing the Cast icon projects it onto the TV.

Sites that contain videos might cause some issues when casting. Video sites that have mobile apps that are supported by Chromecast, such as Hulu Plus, allow full screen casting to the TV. However, this could slow down your computer and network, so it is recommended to have the computer plugged in, close out any other programs, and have it close to the wireless router or connected via Ethernet.

Video sites that do not have mobile apps supported by Chromecast tend to have issues while casting. For example, Amazon Prime Instant Video allows you to cast videos, but not in full screen mode. In this mode, the video’s audio track is also not sent to the Chromecast and will keep playing from your computer’s speakers. When going to full screen, the video completely stops on the TV, instead showing you the website with no video while the video plays in full screen on the computer.

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Since casting is in beta, the functionality of websites that contain video can change at any time. Website developers do have the authority to improve functionality with the Chromecast, or completely block and turn off being usable with the Chromecast.

Using with iOS Devices

With iOS devices, you can cast purchased movies and TV shows from the Google Play Movies and TV app. To do so, first select the video you want to watch, then tap the Cast icon in the upper right hand corner. Then just choose which device you want to view it on. When the device is connected to the Chromecast, the Cast icon turns blue.

The video playback can’t be controlled using normal methods such as Control Center or the lockscreen media controls. Instead, you have to go into the app in which you are casting the video to control it. Certain music apps will allow you to use Control Center to start and stop playback while others won’t.

Once you know how to Cast from one app, it works very similarly in the other apps that are compatible with Chromecast. Find the Cast icon, which is typically either located in the upper or lower right hand corner, tap on it, select which Chromecast you want to cast it to, and then the content appears on your television.

Using with Gaming

Gaming is not officially supported with Chromecast, but there is huge potential in its gaming capabilities. Tic Tac Toe is not the most exciting game in world, but the technology and power behind it shows off its multiplayer gaming potential.

To start playing, you will need to download the Tic Tac Toe for Chromecast app. It is available for free in the App Store and in the Google Play Store. This game requires two devices, and can work with both two iOS or Android devices, or a combination of both.

Connect both devices and the Chromecast to the same Wi-Fi network and open up the app on the mobile devices.

The Android app has a different color scheme, but works very similarly to the iOS app. First the tap on the Cast icon, to choose which Chromecast to connect to, and then wait for an opponent to join the game.

The connection occurs instantaneously and the game automatically assigns whether you are the O or the X.

Then you can start playing Tic Tac Toe. The game appears on your device as well as on the big screen. When you play, you see what is on the little screen and on the big screen at the same time.

And that’s it! Now you know how to setup your new Chromecast, connect to your computer and mobile devices, and even play a game of Tic Tac Toe on your TV.

If you want to get one for yourself, the Chromecast is only $35.00—about a third of the price of an Apple TV.

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  1. Miguel Meza - 9 years ago

    AppleTv 3 is now $75.00 at the website! I have 3 chrome cast and 1 Apple TV, recommend the Apple TV

  2. Hackintosh Slovakia - 9 years ago

    its not working with itunes so why buy this cheap hardware? any reason?

    • Kyle A. Johnson - 9 years ago

      its not supposed to work with itunes. i have a chromecast and it works great, i highly recommend itto anyone looking for a way to stream netflix or hulu to their tv. If your strictly a iOS user you may want to spend the extra money to get the apple tv so you’ll have your itunes purchases but if you arent using iOS then chromecast works great and its less expensive

    • echochen1362 - 8 years ago

      Totally agree! But I found this tutorial about how to cast iTunes content to Chromecast easily.
      And I bought a Chromecast to have a try. It really works! Now I kind of like the Chromecast.

      • vivimuke - 8 years ago

        I have tried this great software, and I really appreciate your post. ~\(≧▽≦)/~

  3. bjtechnews - 9 years ago

    I kind of like the Chromecast. It would be nice to display PowerPoint slides to Chromecast. I know you can use Google Drive which is web-based and have the Chromecast plugin to work, but it would be nice if it was integrated in all apps. I found it easy in setting it up –

  4. Jo Moma - 9 years ago

    I wasted my time! I purchased Chromecast and followed the instructions… I have the cast icon on my pc. But when I try to cast to my HDTV I have this message. “No device found.” I’ve uninstalled, and re-installed Chromecast. Reset my router, rebooted my computer. (Chromecast simply does not work on my network.) I can’t cast from my cell phone because all I use the cell phone for is to make phone calls, nothing else, my cell phone is not internet enable, I don’t use it to tweet, (never signed up for an acct., don’t need one.) and I do not own a tablet. I just have a pc on my desk. Chromecast is a defective product, it should never have been released on the market until all the bugs were worked out its applications. So I am going to return Chromecast to the store and get my money back, and go with a Roku 3.

    • Kyle A. Johnson - 9 years ago

      Just cuz you cant figure it out doesnt make it defective. You just gotta be smarter than the chromecast.

    • Pat Louise - 9 years ago

      Wow lol this thing even works with smartphones so ya I have no idea what you have but it basically works with anything. Use google and do some research before you buy something

  5. Jo Moma - 9 years ago

    One more thing! I don’t own a Mac, or, Apple product, I won’t buy them. How many times can you hype up an iPhone, IT’S BIGGER, it’s smaller, thinner, LARGER, it’s a tablet. I want a cell phone to make calls on that is it! And I want a computer I can do any upgrades on myself, for pennies, like replacing the motherboard, ram, power supply, installing the OS my choosing. So my previous comment about Chromecast don’t say I need to get an Iphone or an iPad, or a MAC to use it! Because it ain’t going to happen!!!

  6. Tallest Skil - 9 years ago

    Why do any of us care about this?

  7. Robert Mao - 9 years ago

    A few more fun games and apps for Chromecast:

  8. Wendiboo Hoy - 9 years ago

    How do I disconnect an internet hotspot and reconnect my chromecast using another hotspot.

  9. Tom Vincent - 9 years ago

    I made some videos to help explain how to use Plex, Chromecast and you will be able to watch Xbmc channels. Iphone Ipad Android

  10. Carlos Quadros - 9 years ago

    how do i get my surround sound to work???with chromecast movie???

  11. everlastphotos - 9 years ago

    Have a question, can I use my tv remote control to watch netflix and other things with my chromcast device ? Or I can use only with my iphone or computer?

  12. Mario Taalman - 8 years ago

    Ik speel af via mijn samsung tablet maar krijg wel beeld en geluid maar geen ondertitels(subtitles) Hoe los ik dit op

  13. Sarah Boyer - 8 years ago

    I am not seeing the ‘cast’ icon on Netflix from my iPad, Any suggestions?

  14. Nick Fowler - 8 years ago

    I noticed you had Downton Abbey on your screen. Where did you get it?

  15. Dan Lawrence - 7 years ago

    Hello. I am trying to set up chrome cast on my macbook its running OSX 10.9.5 . when I go to the set up website (on my macbook) it only offers the ipad and iphone versions of the app. I am rather confused. I called the customer support (what a joke) and still no luck. is there any other way to get the correct app?

    • Rebecca Salisbury-Moss - 7 years ago

      Hi. I’m having the same problem and getting very frustrated. Did you have any luck?

    • Are you using Googles web browser Chrome or Safari?

    • Joanna Blain - 7 years ago

      You’ll need to add the Google Cast extension. To do this go to while using Google Chrome as a web browser. Select, ‘Learn How to Cast to Your TV’. Scroll down the page until you see the section titled, ‘Cast Websites from Your Laptop’. In the body of the section below you’ll see a link that reads, ‘Google Cast extension’. Follow that link and add the extension.

  16. hawktalks - 7 years ago

    Well first it is much more of a headache than the Apple tv… Coz it doesn’t mirror as simply as the Apple tv.
    Can someone tell me, how do I stream movies on my laptop through chromecast ?

  17. logmouse (@logmouse) - 7 years ago

    Hi, They don’t make ChromeCast app for Apple Mac anymore. Only iphone/ipad so this guide is obolsete.

  18. logmouse (@logmouse) - 7 years ago

    Also, idea was to cast Youtube and locally stored films to the Chromecast from Apple Macbook. This functionality is unavailable in the Chromecast Chrom plugin. I can do this from my Android phone.