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There are tons of uses for a Chromecast, not least as an ideal way to watch your favourite streaming services whilst out and about. However, a Chromecast usually relies on a Wi-Fi network which might not always be available. This leads us to ask, can you use a Chromecast with a mobile hotspot?
Yes, you can cast to Chromecast from a mobile hotspot, although you’ll need separate phones for the hotspot and casting. Once you have set up the hotspot, connect your casting phone and open the Google Home app. Select the ‘plus’ icon and follow the onscreen instructions to set up your Chromecast.
In the rest of this guide, I’ll run through everything you need to know and break down the instructions step-by-step with screenshots to help you follow along.
What You Will Need
In order to use your Chromecast without Wi-Fi, you will need two mobile phones. One for the hotspot and another for casting.
- Phone 1 (hotspot phone) –This phone needs to have a data connection so it’s best to use your regular smartphone for this.
- Phone/tablet 2 (casting phone) – This does not need to have a data connection so you can use a spare phone without a SIM. You could also use a tablet for this. However, you will need to download the Google Home app and your favourite streaming services that support Chromecasting.
Why do you need two phones? To cast to a Chromecast, you must be using a phone on the same Wi-Fi network as the Chromecast. As you cannot connect to a phone’s own hotspot, you need a second phone for the casting.
Note: Mobile hotspots aren’t officially supported on Chromecasts so the below instructions are a workaround I’ve used on many occasions.
How to Use Chromecast with a Mobile Hotspot
Before you begin this tutorial, make sure your Chromecast is powered on and plugged in to the HDMI port on your TV.
Here is how to set up your Chromecast for casting on a mobile hotspot:
- Set up the mobile hotspot on your first phone.
- Connect to the mobile hotspot with your second phone.
- Open the Google Home app on phone two and set up the Chromecast.
- Begin casting.
Using your phone with a data connection, set up a mobile hotspot.
On Android, go to Settings > Connections > Mobile Hotspot and Tethering. Turn ‘Mobile Hotspot’ on. Here you can also update the hotspot settings.
On iPhone, go to Settings > Cellular > Personal Hotspot or Settings > Personal Hotspot. Then select ‘Allow Others to Join’. You can also configure the hotspot settings from this screen.
Make a note of the hotspot name and password.
This is the only time you’ll use the first phone. Set this aside and use another phone for the rest of this tutorial.
On your second phone, connect to the mobile hotspot using the password you took down during step one. Connecting to a hotspot is just like connecting to any other Wi-Fi network.
Once connected to the hotspot, using the same phone, open the Google Home app.
Choose ‘+’ in the top left corner and select ‘Set up a device’.
Select ‘New device’ and follow the onscreen instructions to set up your Chromecast.
Once the Chromecast has been set up, you can begin casting using the same phone as the previous step.
Things to Know About Casting on a Mobile Hotspot
By now, you should have your Chromecast set up on a mobile hotspot and be ready to enjoy casting without Wi-Fi. Here are a few useful things to bear in mind:
- Data Charges – Remember that you’ll be using the data connection on your first phone to stream, despite the fact that you are controlling it from your second phone. If you have a beefy data plan then there is little to worry about, if not, keep reading below for some tips to reduce the data usage of your Chromecast on a mobile hotspot.
- Reliability – In addition to data usage, you’ll need a reliable connection as the Chromecast doesn’t tend to buffer much video and could easily drop out.
- Firmware Updates – Be aware of your Chromecast needing firmware updates, these can use up a lot of data too.
How to Minimise Chromecast Data Usage
There is no global setting for changing the streaming quality of your Chromecast, instead, you’ll have to change the settings on an app-by-app basis.
Here is how to change the data usage for the background images and some popular streaming services:
Background Images: To reduce the data that’s used by your Chromecast for background images, go to your Chromecast in the Google Home app and go to the settings menu. Select Ambient Mode > Experimental > Low Bandwidth Mode.
Netflix: Go to Netflix.com and log-in with your account. Go to ‘Account Settings’ and you’ll find a list of profiles on your account. There are individual playback settings for each account, here you can change the default data per viewing screen between Auto, Low, Medium, and High. This will be applied to all of your devices including Chromecasts.
YouTube: When casting from YouTube, you can change the video quality from within the YouTube app. Select the three dots next to the video and you can choose different levels of quality. You can only do this once you’ve begun casting.
Prime Video: Amazon Prime has a dedicated setting within their app for casting video quality.
Chromecast Hotspot with One Phone
As soon as I share my above method for connecting your Chromecast using a mobile hot spot, the first question I’m asked is whether it’s possible with one phone.
Unfortunately, there is no way to use your Chromecast without Wi-Fi if you only have one phone. Remember that you can use a tablet instead, however, you cannot use a laptop as Google have stopped you using a PC or laptop browser to set up a Chromecast.
I attempted to use an Android emulator to set up a Chromecast from my laptop, however, the setup process requires Bluetooth to find the Chromecast which isn’t yet supported in any Android emulators.
Can I screen mirror with a hotspot?
Yes, once you have connected your Chromecast to the hotspot, you’ll have all the usual features available on your casting phone or tablet, this includes screen mirroring, casting audio and casting your Google Chrome browser window.
Can I use a Chromecast without a mobile hotspot or Wi-Fi?
No, the way a Chromecast works requires some sort of internet connection. Even if you have the media stored locally, you cannot send it straight to the Chromecast.
Does Chromecast have Bluetooth?
The hardware inside a Chromecast does have some sort of Bluetooth radio as this is used by your phone when setting it up. However, you cannot use Bluetooth to send audio or video to the Chromecast, it must be done over a Wi-Fi network.