Top 6 New Chromecast Tips and Tricks for Maximum Awesomeness

The New Google Chromecast is loaded with features and grown-up. Check out the top tips and tricks.

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Craig Hanks
YouTube Channel Manager & Streaming Expert
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February 18, 2021
7 min read

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I'm a big fan of the new Google Chromecast and if you want to see my entire review of this from when it came out, you can check that out in the description below, I'll have a link to it, but anyway, part of the reason I'm such a big fan of it is that it comes with a remote and has its own operating system and all that stuff that makes it look and feel more like a real streaming device. And with all of that other stuff comes more opportunities to make your device even better.

The old Chromecast was, well, it was super simple. Some people preferred that. I prefer this version because, yeah, there are things you can do to make it work even better. We're going to go through some of those today. I'm going to give you a few tips and tricks to get the most out of your new Chromecast device, and so if you've got one, go ahead and plug it in, grab the remote and follow along.

Let's get started. All right, thanks for watching everybody. If this video is helpful to you, then hit the subscribe button, make sure you like this video and all that stuff.

Remapping Buttons with Button Mapper

All right, let's dive into the new Google Chromecast and how to get the most out of it. The first thing I would say is you've got to get to know your remote. There are a few things that it can do, beyond just obviously pointing and clicking. Now, there are a few buttons on here that you may want to get to know. Right down here, you see YouTube and Netflix these little buttons right there. Simple enough, you could just use those to open up YouTube and Netflix. On the other hand, you can long hold that YouTube button and it's going to pull up all of your YouTube apps on there. So you can do YouTube, YouTube TV or YouTube Kids.

The Netflix button does not have an option to remap it to another one, except it kind of does, and we're going to get there right now.

There is an app, let me go to my app list here. It's called Button Mapper. All right, so if I open up Button Mapper it's exactly what it sounds like. You can take just about every button on here and remap it to do something else.

Now, there are some buttons that there's a premium version, you'd have to unlock the premium version to remap it like the back button, but for the most part you can go ahead and remap most of everything on here. So in my case, I've remapped button two, my YouTube button, so that I can have it do different things because frankly it's easy for me to open up YouTube and I don't do it as often as I do some other things. So I thought it would be fun to try to remap it. With a single tap, I open up Prime Video instead of YouTube. With a double tap, I open up Spotify, and if I long press on this now, I get the Twitch app. So yeah, there are levels of it. If you want to get the premium version, because you just hate having the back button be a back button, then yeah, I guess you can do that but it is still pretty nice to get those other two buttons, the YouTube and the Netflix buttons, to do whatever you want them to do.

The last thing I'll mention on this remote is this home button. If you leave it as is, you know you haven't remapped the home button, then you can long hold that and that will open up your settings menu, that kind of sidebar. So you can go to the settings or you can go right over here and turn on your screen saver right away. So let's say you've got, I dunno a house party going on because it's, post-COVID, let's use our imagination. You’ve got a house party going on.

You've turned on your Spotify playlist and you just want to run some Google photos on your screen saver. Well, you can do that just by long holding on that home button.

Rearranging your Homepage App

All right, your next tip is going to be rearranging your homepage apps. If you go to your homepage, click on home a couple of times, it takes you to your home page and right down here under the top picks for you, it shows you your apps. It's only going to show you, well, apps on here and you can go in here right on this front page, you can long press on those and move them around a little bit on there, but you're only going to be able to move those 12 apps.

I'm going to move this up into that gray section, that is what's going to show up on your home, and by the way, I've got quite a few apps on here and I actually ran out of room. I had to delete some apps that I wasn't really using to make room for some other ones, and if you want to do that, consider getting a USB-C adapter.

The device itself, the Chromecast device has a USB-C port on the back. You plug in a USB-C adapter or something that splits into a few different inputs and you can add a thumb drive and still have it plugged in to the wall.

Keeping up with your Recommendations

All right, tip number three is to keep up with your recommendations. One of the great things about the new Chromecast device is the Android TV or the Google TV platform, I should call it.

The Google TV platform is really, really great at making recommendations across a lot of different apps, and if you want the device to do that effectively you need to give it a little bit more input than just watching shows on it. So for instance, you can go to your watch list and if you have gone through and watched a few things from your watch list, just make sure that you have, that you've have marked it as watched and give it a thumbs up or thumbs down.

So in this case, yes, I've already watched The Living Daylights, and you know what? I love it. Timothy Dalton as James Bond in his first outing, it was great okay. So I'm going to give that a thumbs up, make sure you do that.

Take the five seconds after every time you watch a show or a movie, and mark it as watched and give it a thumbs up or a thumbs down and that's going to give the algorithm just more information to give you good recommendations. Get the most out of this machine.

Downloading Apps

Tip number four is about how to download apps to this Chromecast device. So if I go to the apps library on Google Chromecast, one of my least favorite things about it is that it is kind of difficult to search for apps. You can use the voice search menu, but you know, it's not always the most reliable way to find an app. It's a great way to find content, but not necessarily an app, and if you want to go through all of these categories and search for something that looks interesting, that can take you a little while.

So go onto your phone or your PC and go into the Google Play Store, and then when you go to download an app, you find one that you want to use, hit download on your PC or your phone. and you'll see a little down menu to choose any compatible device that you're signed into. So phones, tablets, the Chromecast, et cetera. You can download that app from your, you can say on your PC, download it to my Chromecast and it will do that for you.

Voice Search

All right, so I brought up the voice search option a moment ago and said, you know, it can be a little bit clunky for some things and I do want to talk a little bit more about what you can do with that voice search button. So like I said, you can long hold it to voice search or use the Google Assistant and it'll do that for you. That's fine.

But if you want to be a little bit quieter, I don't know, maybe you're doing some private listening with your headphones, which we'll talk about in just a second or for some reason you don't want to use the voice search, you can single click on that instead of long-pressing, you just press it for a moment and you can bring up a little keyboard for you to use.

It's a little bit clunkier, it's going to take a little bit longer but if you want to be silent, you can do that. Alternately, if you go from your homepage and you go to the search feature up on the top, you click on search instead of clicking on the button here, you're actually going to get some more recommendations of stuff to watch right there at the bottom of it.

Travel TV show, classic movies, adventure movies, whatever. We've got a lot of good recommendations here within those categories. So I have actually found myself using that more than once on this device.

Bluetooth for Private Listening and Gaming

The last one I have for you is Bluetooth. Don't forget that these devices these days all come with Bluetooth. So if you've got this Google Chromecast in your bedroom or you just don't want to wake up the whole house by watching something in the middle of the night, you can use headphones for private listening, or if you go to the apps menu, there are games.

Scroll all the way down to the bottom and they do have some games that you can play with the remote itself or that you can play by using the Bluetooth on a compatible controller like this PS4 controller, Xbox controller or there's a million third-party Bluetooth controllers out there that you can plugin.

So all you need to do, again, I'm going to long-press my home button and go to the settings, and if I come down here to Remotes & Accessories, I want to pair a remote or an accessory and in this case, it's going to be my headphones, and there you go, they are paired and ready to go.

So hopefully the Google Chromecast tips and tricks helped you out. Hopefully, there's something here that will make your experience with the new Chromecast even better. Thanks for watching everybody, and don't forget to subscribe because I do have more videos like this one. You may have seen a hint of it on my apps page but I am going to be doing a top ten hidden gems on the new Chromecast.

So make sure you're subscribed for that. We'll talk about some really great free content you can get on this device. All right, I'll see you next time.

Craig Hanks
Written by
Craig Hanks
Craig is a long-time writer, presenter, and podcaster, and he now runs the YouTube channel, where he strives to be far more charming and presentable than he is in real life. Within the umbrella, he has accidentally become a streaming expert after covering the streaming wars for almost three years. Craig is also the founder and host of The Legendarium Podcast, his outlet for his love of fantasy and sci-fi literature.

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