How to Chromecast From Mac

Set-up is easy

Three second-generation Chromecast digital media players shown in available colors of canary yellow, black, and tomato red.

Google Chromecast (and its faster, smarter sibling, Chromecast Ultra) seem like they’re magic. The cheap, tiny, self-contained dongle is about the size of a cookie. Plug it into your TV and you can view just about anything from your Mac laptop on the big screen. Video, photos, streaming music, video conferencing, you name it and Chromecast can likely handle it.

Here’s how to Chromecast from Mac onto any TV or monitor.

What To Cast

There are all sorts of reasons to cast what’s on your Mac’s screen to your TV:

  • Watch Amazon Prime Video on your TV (and overcome Chromecast’s lack of compatibility with Amazon Prime) by casting through the Chrome browser
  • Share whatever’s on your screen with everyone in the room (vacation pictures, videos, work projects, status boards)
  • Show Albums from your Google Photos
  • Send presentations and slideshows from your Macbook on any HDMI screen cable-free
  • Put a Google Hangouts call onto a big screen so you don’t have to crowd around your laptop’s (relatively) small screen
Group of high school or college students in a video conference, waving to a female instructor on the screen.
Ariel Skelley, Getty Images 

What Do I Need to Cast from Mac?

  • Chromecast or Chromecast Ultra
  • A TV or monitor with an available HDMI port
  • Macbook running OS 10.9 (Mavericks) or above
  • RECOMMENDED: Macbook Pro 2011 or newer, Macbook Air 2012 or newer
  • MINIMUM: Macbook Pro 2010, Macbook Air 2011
  • Access to your Wi-Fi network
  • The most current version of Chrome browser
  • About 10 minutes

Haven't set up your Chromecast yet? Check out our handy How-To.  We'll wait here.

  1. Open Chrome. For now, let's assume you want to get caught up on Amazon Prime’s delightful The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel before Season 2 debuts. Good choice!

    Screenshot of Google Chrome in macOS Dock
  2. Browse to the window you want to cast. Remember, nearly anything you can do in a Chrome window, you can cast: video, slideshows, presentations, music, web apps, and lots more.

    Selecting the Amazon Prime Video page for The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
  3. Select Cast from the menu bar’s View menu.

    Cast... menu in macOS Chrome web browser, in View menu
  4. Choose which of your connected Google devices to cast to. The example shows three connected devices: "Bedroom Chromecast," "The Living Room TV," and "Orange Mini." Let's cast to The Living Room TV.

    Screenshot of Bedroom Chromecast option in Cast to menu in Chrome
  5. Select Remote screen to cast fullscreen to your TV only.

    Volume adjustment and screen selection in the Cast window

    Then adjust the volume slider on the same window. Note that this volume control is separate from your TV’s volume. You may need to adjust both your cast’s volume and that of your TV to get the best sound level.

    See how the tab being cast now displays a blue screen icon? This is useful for keeping track of which tab is casting if you've got a lot of tabs open.

  6. Control playback of whatever you're casting from your Mac's screen using the Play, Pause, Forward, and Back on-screen buttons.

    Playback controls on your Mac's screen when Casting to a TV.
  7. When you're done watching, viewing, sharing, whatever-ing, click STOP to release the Chromecast.

    Stop button when finished Chromecasting from your Mac
  8. That's really all there is to it.

Do I Need Install An Extension from the Chrome Store?

No. The ability to cast without an extension has been built into Chrome for Mac since August 2016. So if you've updated Chrome anytime within the past few years, Chrome should handle casting exactly as we’ve outlined here.

What Can I Do If Video Playback Isn’t Ideal?

For best results, close all the open tabs, especially if they’re doing any streaming. You might also consider closing any inactive apps on your Mac. The fewer things your Mac’s processor has to distract it, the more energy it can put into making your cast content buttery smooth.

A Quick Note On Performance

As long as you’re running Mac OS X 10.9, you should be able to cast just about anything Chrome can display.

Your video streaming experience is a processor-intensive experience, and quality is going to be a function of the age and performance of your Mac.

Google’s guidance on minimum system requirements is accurate. Even a bone-stock 2011 MacBook Air should be able to cast streaming video without hiccups.

Casting from a Late 2008 13” MacBook Core 2 Duo with maxed-out RAM, we found the MacBook struggled to send video of an acceptable quality. Even scaling back Prime Video’s Video Quality to Good barely smoothed out the relatively modest motion processing demands of our test video, rendering picture quality that was only passable at best.

Net-net, pay attention to Google’s system requirements and you should be good to go.

Even if you're already running an Apple TV, Roku, or one of Amazon's Fire TV devices, adding a Chromecast is a low-cost way to make sharing content from your Mac quick and easy.