Chromecast, Google’s $35 TV-on-a-stick (which, incidentally, just got an overhaul), has one noticeable deficit: no remote control. The reason: Your phone (or tablet) is the remote.
With the Chromecast app on your Android or iOS device, you’ll be able to set up your new Chromecast, fiddle with its settings, find videos to watch on it, and even “cast” whatever’s on your screen, games included.
Controlling your new Chromecast also goes beyond the Chromecast app itself—indeed, there are dozens of Android and iOS apps that’ll work hand-in-hand with Chromecast. All you need to know is which button to tap.
Read on for 8 ways to make the most of Chromecast using your Android or iOS device, starting with…
Rename your Chromecast [Android and iOS]
Your new Chromecast probably came out of the box with a name like “Chromecast8988,” but you can always call it something else. Indeed, you can rename your Chromecast anything you want, particularly if you plan on having a couple of Chromecasts that you’ll need to tell apart.
Just launch the Chromecast app, tap the Devices tab, then tap the Settings button (the one that looks like a gear) for the particular Chromecast you’d like the rename. Tap Name, then pick a new name for your Chromecast—say, “Ben’s Chromecast,” or “Living room Chromecast.”
Customize the screensaver [Android and iOS]
When your Chromecast is idling on your TV, it’ll display an assortment of generic still images onto the screen—pandas, waterfalls, sea shells, you know the drill.
You can easily customize what your Chromecast displays when you’re not actively casting videos, with your choices ranging from albums in Google Photos to snapshots in your Flickr account.
Again, open the Chromecast app, tap the Devices tab, tap the Settings button for the Chromecast you want to tweak, then tap Backdrop.
On the next screen, you’ll be able to choose from ten options, from snapshots in your Google Photos albums to your Facebook photos, images from your Flickr account, headlines from Play Newsstand, art from the Google’s Cultural Institute and Open Gallery, and even satellite images from NASA. You can also add an overlay in the bottom corner of the screen with your local weather.
Bonus tip: To find an interesting image you saw on the Chromecast screensaver, open the Chromecast app, and tap the Devices tab. Tap the little clock icon next to the name of the current image, then tap the left arrow to review the most recent backdrop images.
Search for videos with your voice [Android and iOS]
No more click-click-click to search for movies and TV shows using a remote. The Chromecast app will let you search for videos via voice command, and it’ll also search for titles across all your various Chromecast-compatible streaming apps—no more paying to rent a movie on Google Play only to find out it was available through your Netflix subscription.