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The 7 most common Google Chromecast issues and how to fix them

Android Police 9/28/2022 Stephen Perkins
© Provided by Android Police

Google Chromecast allows you to stream video from Android devices and your laptop to your television. Google also makes various Chromecast dongles that are both affordablthe e and among best streaming devices you can buy. Just tap a button and select where you want to watch your content; at least on a good day, it doesn't get any easier than this. Multiple variables are at play when using a Chromecast, and not everything always works as it should. Here are some of the most common issues you might face when using your Chromecast with your home network.

How to fix weak Wi-Fi signal or constant disconnects on your Chromecast

Many older Google Chromecast dongles suffered from weak Wi-Fi signals; however, the streamers released over the past few years offer solid connections. Of course, this doesn't mean your Chromecast will work perfectly with your setup since other things could affect your signal strength. If you're having wireless issues on your Chromecast, it'll instantly ruin your content streaming experience. We'll review a few things to try that might help straighten things out in the below sections.

How is your Chromecast connected to your television?

The first thing you need to look at is the placement of the Chromecast itself and how far away the Wi-Fi access point is. Believe it or not, the position of the HDMI ports on your TV relative to the location of your Wi-Fi access point can sometimes cause issues. The signal might have to pass directly through the TV itself, adding to the overall signal degradation. In this case, you might consider getting an good HDMI extender and moving the Chromecast away from the TV into a better position.

Change the Wi-Fi frequency your Chromecast uses

​​​​​​The Wi-Fi frequency you use when setting up your Chromecast is another thing to consider. By default, most wireless routers will have dual-band Wi-Fi support, giving you access to both 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequencies. 2.4GHz offers solid speeds at longer distances; however, it's more open to noise from other wireless devices. 5GHz is a shorter range frequency, but it can push even higher speeds with less interference, making it ideal for streaming. Both have pros and cons, but the one you chose during your setup might be part of the issue.

If your wireless router and Chromecast are not within a reasonable range of each other, your signal strength would be affected using the 5GHz band. You can't physically change that because it works over a shorter distance when compared to 2.4GHz. In this case, you'll need to switch your Chromecast over to 2.4Ghz to increase its wireless signal strength. You can change that on Chromecast with Google TV by going to SettingsNetwork & Internet. You'll need to do this in the Google Home app for older Chromecast models.

Connect your Google Chromecast to a wired ethernet connection if possible

Instead of moving your whole entertainment setup to accommodate your Chromecast signal issues, you might consider dropping the wireless aspect altogether. It's always better to have a dependable wired connection than a questionable wireless one any day. At the same time, a Wi-Fi mesh network where the access points all have Ethernet ports would give you maximum flexibility. But we'll talk a bit more about that later.

Your Google Chromecast constantly shuts down or reboots

Most Chromecasts are powered by a USB cable rather than a proprietary charger, which is very convenient. And since TVs have at least one USB port, some might try to power their Chromecast directly from their TV. In theory, that sounds like a solid plan — it powers on when the TV does. However, those USB ports can't output enough power to keep more powerful devices running during peak loads. In this case, you'd need to remove the power brick that came with your Chromecast and plug it into the wall instead.

Plugging old Chromecast models into a USB port on your TV might have worked back then, but unfortunately, that's no longer the case. Your TV could potentially power the older models because your phone does most of the heavy lifting. However, the latest Chromecast with Google TV is a standalone device that uses even more power than previous models. You'll definitely need the charging brick plugged into the wall if you want it to work correctly, but there are some useful USB-C hubs for that too.

Nothing shows up when you're trying to cast from another device

This issue can be puzzling, but it falls into the same category as the previous tip about dual-band Wi-Fi. You typically get to choose the Wi-Fi network during setup, but there's a catch. Your Chromecast and the device you're trying to cast from must always be on the same Wi-Fi network. The Chromecast won't appear on the list if both devices are on different networks or wireless frequencies. In this case, you just need to ensure your Chromecast is on the same network as your primary devices.

Check for a system update on your Google Chromecast

With so many TV models available today, some are bound to have an occasional issue regarding Chromecasts. It's incredibly challenging to make a single device that works perfectly with every TV model on the market. So whether the screen randomly blinks out, goes completely blank, or has other visual glitches, your Chromecast might need to be updated to fix these issues.

Google Chromecast system updates are typically installed automatically when you're not using your Google Chromecast, but you can check manually at any time. On the Chromecast with Google TV, you can go to SettingsSystemAboutSystem update. It'll check for any available updates at that point and install them immediately afterward. If you have an older Chromecast model, you'll need to open the Google Home app and reboot your device. Doing this will allow it to check for updates when it returns online.

Update your television's firmware

On the flip side, your Chromecast could be entirely up-to-date and not part of why you're having issues. Your TV has its updates straight from the manufacturer, which is a must for a smooth user experience. The firmware is responsible for how a device would interact with the TV and its HDMI ports, so that part needs to be as flawless as possible. You'll have to check your manufacturer's website on how to update your TV, but there should be a spot in the system settings to do it.

We've seen it before, but some TV models will get firmware updates directly addressing Chromecast-related bugs or visual issues. This is especially true when a new Chromecast model launches — the TV manufacturers might need to update their TV to support certain features. But not everyone keeps their TVs connected online at all times, so that doesn't help even if the manufacturer pushes out an update. If you can't figure out what's going on with your Chromecast, updating the firmware on your TV might be the fix you've been waiting for.

Factory reset your Google Chromecast

Sometimes, strange glitches or bugs can randomly pop up after various system updates, which can be challenging to troubleshoot. If all else fails, a factory reset is something that almost always seems to fix the problems with any device. It's a method you can effectively rely on as a last resort to iron out the issues possibly, and it's no different when it comes to your Chromecast. On the Chromecast with Google TV, you can go to SystemAboutFactory reset. You'll have to use the Google Home app for older Chromecast models.

Alternatively, you can hold the reset button on your Chromecast for a few seconds until it starts blinking to initiate a factory reset. As a quick reminder, make sure you connect the Chromecast to the same Wi-Fi network as your primary devices, which allows you to cast from them. Hopefully, the issues will be resolved once you're back up and running. If not, you might have to wait for a Chromecast system update or a firmware update from your TV manufacturer.

Consider upgrading to a Wi-Fi mesh network if you live in a big house

Upgrading your Wi-Fi network would benefit all of your wireless devices. Gone are the days when you had a single wireless router stuffed in the corner powering all the Wi-Fi devices across your home. This would create a problem for devices when they had to pass through multiple walls or were too far away. The greater the distance from the access point, the worse the signal quality. However, plenty of incredible Wi-Fi mesh networks help solve many of the pain points of wireless networking.

With a Wi-Fi mesh network, the primary wireless router would transmit that Wi-Fi signal to the other access points you'd place across your home. Rather than one device doing all the heavy lifting, they all work together to create a blanket of Wi-Fi to cover your entire home. That means dead zones, poor signals, and constant disconnects, in general, should be a thing of the past for good.

Many Wi-Fi mesh access points typically have at least one Ethernet port. This means you can use it to quickly hardwire any device you want, such as a Chromecast. You could even attach a Wi-Fi mesh access point to a multi-port network switch and plug in other devices. Using this method, your single access point can effectively give an internet connection to as many devices as needed.

If you're seriously looking to add a Wi-Fi mesh network to your home today, you should ensure it supports Wi-Fi 6 at the very least. Wi-Fi 6 and beyond is a big step forward for the wireless standard, especially regarding smart home devices. Some examples would include Chromecasts, smart light bulbs, and smart speakers.

Cast away!

There are likely other issues we didn't cover here; however, we just wanted to highlight some of the most common situations. Chromecasts are much easier to manage today than ever, especially after the big push for Google TV over Android TV. And with the new Matter smart home standard launching, things are about to get even more interesting for future devices.

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