How to Fix It When Chromecast Isn't Working

Troubleshooting solutions that get you back to streaming

Google Chromecast is a popular media-streaming device that's convenient, robust, and reliable. Still, you may encounter issues with your Chromecast dongle, leaving you without any streaming content. You may receive an error message such as, "No Cast Devices Found," or "Your Casting Performance May Be Limited," or you may not receive any error messages, but the device stops working.

Here's a look at why your Chromecast might be malfunctioning and how to get it up and running again.

This article discusses troubleshooting steps for first-generation through third-generation Chromecast devices as well as the Chromecast Ultra.

Causes for a Malfunctioning Chromecast

There are several reasons why your Chromecast isn't properly streaming media content. The Chromecast may not be able to detect your Wi-Fi network, or your router may be broadcasting on an incompatible frequency. The device might be missing some necessary firmware updates, or it may not be getting enough power.

Whatever the reason for a malfunctioning Chromecast, try these troubleshooting steps to fix your Chromecast.

Google Chromecast
Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

How to Fix a Malfunctioning Chromecast

Go through the following troubleshooting steps to see if one of these easy fixes solves the problem and gets your Chromecast streaming properly once again.

  1. Restart the Chromecast. Unplug your Chromecast, wait a few minutes, and then plug it back in. This often solves the issue. A simple restart is different from resetting a Chromecast to factory settings (see below), which is a more drastic measure.

  2. Reboot the router. If restarting the Chromecast didn't work, reboot your router. Unplug the Wi-Fi router from the power source. Wait 30 seconds, and then plug it back in. See if this solves your Chromecast problems.

  3. Reboot the computer, tablet, or smartphone. If you control your Chromecast from your phone, tablet, or computer, reboot that device. A quick reboot often solves multiple problems.

    If you use a smart TV, check the TV's instruction manual for rebooting instructions.

  4. Use the Chromecast extender. Older versions of Chromecast came with an extender. Since TVs might block a Chromecast's signal, this extender might help Chromecast's ability to detect the Wi-Fi network. If your model came with one, insert the extender into the HDMI port on your television and then plug in the Chromecast. See if this solves the problem.

  5. Check the router's frequency. Most modern routers operate on a frequency of 2.4 GHz, 5 GHz, or both. Chromecast is compatible only with 2.4 GHz networks, so make sure your router broadcasts on that frequency. If it doesn't, reset the router to the proper frequency and see if this fixes the Chromecast issue.

  6. Check for network congestion. If the problem is weak signal quality or constant buffering, your Chromecast may not be receiving a strong signal. If you reset the device and checked for physical interference, see how many devices are connected to the 2.4 GHz network in your home. If the network is too congested, it can cause low signal quality. Disconnect unnecessary devices and try the Chromecast again.

  7. Check for a Chromecast firmware update. You may experience difficulty casting or streaming if your Chromecast needs a firmware update. Check to see if updates are available, update the device's firmware, and see if this solves the problem.

    Check to see if your router and smart TV need a firmware update, as well. If any device in the system needs a firmware update, your ability to cast and stream may be affected.

  8. Change the power supply. Chromecasts include a power supply, but most people use a USB or HDMI port on their television to power the device. While this works, it can sometimes cause power stuttering and spontaneous restarts. If you experience any of these problems, disconnect the Chromecast's power from the television and plug it into an outlet.

  9. Update Chrome. If you cast from your computer, you may need to update the Chrome browser. If there's a newer Chrome version available, you may experience problems with your Chromecast.

  10. Reset the Chromecast to factory settings. If other measures failed, reset the Chromecast to factory settings, then see if that corrects the problem. You'll need to go through the setup process again, but resetting a Chromecast to factory settings often solves a variety of incompatibilities and other issues. This process changes the Chromecast's identification number, but this won't affect your devices.

    If you use Chromecast with a smart TV, you might need to power cycle the TV. Press and hold the power button for 30 seconds and release it to cycle through the TV's power. Check the user manual for further instructions.

  11. Contact the Chromecast support team. If all else fails, contact the Chromecast support team by phone, online chat, or email, and see if they can help you resolve the problem.