aThe Google Chromecast is a popular device that can turn an ordinary TV into something much smarter. But questions abound about how it works, and whether you need to have a WiFi connection for it to operate. We'll be plunging into these murky depths in this article, sweeping away the dirt and debris, and leaving you gazing into crystal clear waters for the answer. But enough laboured metaphors. Let's get going.
Does Google Chromecast need WiFi?
Designed to be as user-friendly as possible, the Chromecast is designed to plug straight into an HDMI port on your television. Google does, however, state that it needs a WiFi network to connect with. You can also use an Ethernet adapter if you prefer.
The reason for this is that the Chromecast needs to be on the network, in order to communicate with whatever service is providing the video. It isn't simply mirroring what's on your phone screen; it's using the phone more like a smart remote control, that links the Chromecast to whatever service you need to access.
That being said, some users have managed to use a Chromecast without a WiFi connection. We'll talk you through how this works, next.
How to use Chromecast without WiFi
We'll clear this up right away: your Chromecast will need to some sort of internet connection in order to work fully. However, it doesn't necessarily mean that you always need a WiFi connection on your device, thanks to something called Guest Mode.
Guest Mode was designed by Google to allow people to use a Chromecast, without necessarily accessing the WiFi network it is connected to. The owner of the Chromecast can allow others to connect to it, without giving them access to their WiFi network. As long as the Chromecast is linked to a network, you can use Guest Mode to link your phone to it, and play content that way. It's a good solution if you don't have access to that WiFi network. To set up Guest Mode as the host:
- Open the Google Home app
- Tap your device Settings > Recognition and sharing > Guest mode
- Turn on Guest mode
To connect as a Guest:
- Open any Chromecast-enabled app and tap the Cast button
- Select Nearby device and follow the prompts to connect
- Enter the 4-digit PIN that your host provides
This will let you connect to the Chromecast, even if you don't have access to the WiFi network. But what if there is no WiFi network for the Chromecast itself to connect to? Can you use mobile data instead?
Can I use Chromecast with mobile data?
Some users have reported being able to create a mobile hotspot, and connect and run their Chromecast through that. But there is a catch. In order to do this, you need to have two devices. The first device to create the hotspot, and a second device to link to the Chromecast. You'll almost certainly need a healthy data allowance as well.
But if this sounds like the thing for you, here's how you do it:
- Use your first device to create a hotspot
- Then connect your second device to that hotspot
- Use your second device to link the Chromecast to the hotspot
- Finally, use this same device to cast to your Chromecast
Essentially, your first device uses mobile data to create a WiFi network. It's doing all the work. Your second device and the Chromecast then use that network to communicate and cast your content.