Give your friends a break. Instead of asking them to huddle around your Android phone so you can show photos from a recent trip or play the latest viral video, use a Chromecast device to mirror your Android phone's display to your TV.
Not only does it result in a more comfortable viewing experience, but mirroring your phone also makes it easier to play some of your favorite mobile games on your TV.
Let's take a look at what you need, as well as a couple of different methods for mirroring your display.
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Here's what you need
For example, though both the Galaxy Note 10 and Google's own Pixel 4 are supported devices, only the Note 10 is listed. If your phone isn't on the supported list, you can still follow the steps below -- you'll just see a warning that you may have performance issues. The Galaxy S10 has this warning, but in my testing, I haven't experienced any issues.
In addition to an Android device, you'll need a Chromecast, and either a TV with Chromecast built-in or a smart display like the Google Nest Hub. If you don't know whether your TV has Chromecast built-in, the best way to check is to see if it shows up as an available casting device when you follow either method below.
Use the Google Home app
The most reliable and consistent way to mirror your Android phone's screen is to use the Google Home app. If you've already set up any of Google's smart speakers, Nest Wifi or Chromecast devices, you likely already have it installed. If not, you can download it from the Play store.
With the Home app installed, here's what you need to do:
1. Open the app and select the Chromecast device you want to use.
2. Select the Cast my Screen button at the bottom of your screen.
3. Accept the prompt that reminds you that whatever is on your phone will be visible on the TV. You may see a second prompt that warns you if your device isn't optimized.
To stop casting your screen, tap on the button labeled Stop mirroring in the Home app.
There's an easier way, but it depends on your phone
Using the home app isn't a lot of work, but there's an even easier way: Use the Casting shortcut in the quick settings panel. Here's how:
1. Swipe down from the top of your Android device to reveal the Quick Settings panel.
2. Look for and select a button labeled Screen cast.
3. A list of Chromecast devices on your network will show up. Select the one that's connected to your TV, and a few seconds later your Android phone's screen will show up.
4. Stop casting your screen by following the same steps and selecting Disconnect when prompted.
If you can't find the Screen Cast option in the Quick Settings panel, tap on the pencil icon to edit which options are available and add the Screen Cast button.
It's not clear why some devices, such as the Galaxy S10, lack the cast button in the settings panel. At first, I thought it had to do with which devices are on Google's optimized device list, but the Pixel 4 XL isn't on the list, and it has the quick settings option. In other words, if your phone doesn't have the shortcut option, don't give up. You can still mirror your phone using the Home app.
Remember, whenever you're mirroring your screen, anything and everything that shows up on your phone or tablet's display will also show up on the TV. Meaning, any alerts and notifications, along with their contents, will be broadcast for all to see. Also, since there will potentially be a lap between your phone and TV when casting, stick to playing slower games and avoid titles like Fortnite.
If you're looking for ways to get more out of your Chromecast, check out these tips. Google announced six new Assistant features in January you'll want to know, whether you have one of Google's smart speakers or displays.