In a perfect world, screen mirroring is something Chromecast users shouldn’t have to do.
Compared to apps that support Chromecast natively—letting you hit the Cast button and have just the video appear on the screen moments later—mirroring your entire display is an inferior process. Because the video is streaming to Chromecast from your device instead of the Internet, it puts a major drain on battery life, and is prone to stuttering or choppiness.
Still, there are times when screen mirroring is your best option. It’s the only way, for instance, to watch Amazon Prime videos on Chromecast, and it’s the simplest method for viewing photos on the big screen from social networks such as Facebook. Screen mirroring is supported on phones running Android 4.4.2 or higher, and web-page mirroring works with any computer running Google’s Chrome browser.
Here’s how to do it:
Mirroring in the Chrome browser
To mirror the display from a laptop or desktop, you must use the Chrome browser for Windows, Mac, or Chrome OS. Because tab mirroring can drain battery life, however, you may want to plug your laptop into a power source first.
With the browser open, follow these instructions:
- Visit this link to the Google Cast Extension listing in the Chrome Web Store, and click the blue Add to Chrome button. You should now see a Cast button near the top-right corner of the screen, right next to the settings button.
- From any webpage you want to mirror, click the Cast button, then select your Chromecast. Mirroring will continue for as long as this browser tab remains open.
- If your video stream is choppy, click the Cast button, then click the gear icon to open Cast extension settings. Select a lower-quality option in the Tab casting quality section.
- When you’re finished watching, either close the browser tab that’s being mirrored, or click the Cast button and then click Stop casting.
Mirroring from an Android device
Technically, Android screen mirroring should work with any phone or tablet running Android 4.4.2 or higher, though some devices are better optimized than others. (Here’s a full list of optimized devices.) Also, the process is a bit easier if your phone or tablet runs Android 5.0 or higher.
Again, it’s a good idea to keep your device plugged into a charger while watching a movie or TV show.
For devices running Android 5.0 or higher:
- Swipe down from the top of the screen to see the notification shade, then swipe down again to view quick settings.
- Tap the Cast button at the bottom of this menu, then choose the Chromecast to which you want to mirror the display.
- Exit this menu and head to whatever app or website you’d like to mirror.
- To stop Casting, return to the quick settings menu, press the Cast button, then press the 'x' icon next to your Chromecast.
On all Android devices running Android 4.4.2 or higher:
- Install the official Chromecast app from the Google Play Store if you don’t have it already.
- Open the app, then click the menu button (a stack of three horizontal lines) in the top-left corner.
- Select Cast screen/audio from this menu, then press the yellow Cast screen/audio button and select your Chromecast.
- Exit this app and head to whatever app or webpage you’d like to mirror.
- To stop mirroring, return to the Chromecast app, open the Cast screen/audio menu and press Tap to Disconnect.
In both cases, you’ll want to rotate your phone into landscape mode while watching a video. Otherwise, it’ll occupy only a small vertical slice of the television screen.