Imagine you want to show your friends a funny YouTube video, only to suffer through a loading circle before your Chromecast completely disconnects and goes offline.
While that’s frustrating, there are some simple troubleshooting steps you can perform to try to get your Chromecast working again when it disconnects.
Perform a Power Cycle
There’s a running joke among tech support people that the first step to troubleshooting is turning it off and turning it back on again.
More often than not, that fixes the problem.
We’ve all experienced devices freezing on us, and the usual culprits are software glitches and processing errors.
You can often fix these by performing a power cycle, which clears the internal memory.
Note: this isn’t the same as performing a factory reset, which we’ll cover later. You won’t lose any data or settings by power-cycling your Chromecast.
Simply unplug your Chromecast’s power cord and let it sit for 15 to 20 seconds. Then plug the cable back in and let it reconnect to your Wi-Fi.
If your Chromecast is warm to the touch, leave it powered off for a few minutes before plugging it back in.
Check Your Cables
Cables can become loose or damaged from time to time, especially if you have pets.
Verify that the USB, power, and audio cables are in good condition. There shouldn’t be any rips or frays in the cable itself. The end connectors should be solid and not wobble when you touch them.
When reconnecting cables, always make them as secure as possible without forcing them.
Also, make sure you’re using official Chromecast power cables. Trying to save money with knockoffs or third-party cables can cause connection problems.
Move Your Chromecast Away From TVs and Wires
While your Chromecast needs to be connected to your TV (obviously), surrounding it with other wires and connections can be problematic.
If not adequately shielded, cables can “bleed” their signal, causing electromagnetic interference (EMI). This interference can cause data loss or connection issues with nearby devices.
If possible, give your Chromecast several inches of space between it and other cables. If your TV has HDMI ports in different locations, plug your Chromecast into the port farthest away from other devices. This minimizes interference and may improve your connection.
Check Your Smartphone Settings
Often, the issue lies with the casting device, not your Chromecast. When your Chromecast keeps disconnecting from one specific device but works fine with every other device.
For example, if your smartphone has aggressive battery optimization settings, it may disable Wi-Fi to save power. This prevents apps from running in the background, drawing power.
Although these settings are great for saving battery life, they wreak havoc with your Chromecast’s connection. Try turning them off and relaunching the app to see if it makes a difference.
This applies to all mobile devices: tablets, smartphones, and Chromebooks often have very aggressive power-management settings.
Update Your Browser or App
Another common culprit that causes your Chromecast to disconnect is outdated apps or web browsers.
You can update your apps directly from the Google Play Store for Android devices. Simply click on your account icon in the upper right-hand corner and select Manage Apps & Games. This lets you update all your apps at once or individually.
If you’re casting from a web browser, you can check for updates in Chrome’s settings.
Launch the browser from your PC, then click on the three vertical dots in the upper right-hand corner to open the Settings menu. On the next screen, choose About Chrome, and the browser will automatically check for updates and download them.
After the browser installs the updates, close it and reopen it. The app may start downloading and installing updates after clicking on the three dots. Once it’s done, close and relaunch it.
Update Your Device’s Firmware
Although less frequent, your modem and router need updates too.
Check with your internet service provider (ISP) or the modem’s manufacturer for firmware update instructions. Often you can do this on your ISP’s website without needing to call tech support.
After you complete the updates, reboot your modem, and reconnect all your devices, including your Chromecast.
If you’ve never checked for them, or it’s been a while, you could have several firmware updates. Be patient, then check every three to four months in the future.
Verify the Wi-Fi Connection
If your Chromecast keeps disconnecting, it could be because of Wi-Fi issues. Outages and spotty coverage areas are obvious culprits, but you could also have problems with a particular network band.
For example, if you have a primary network and a separate network for guests? Alternately, do you have a dual-band router with separate connections for 2.4GHz and 5GHz?
These can lead to connection problems if your devices aren’t on the same network or band.
Say your TV connects to your main network that’s secured. However, your Chromecast is up and running on your public or guest network. Guess what? You’re not going to be watching any shows that way.
Verify that your smartphone or PC and Chromecast are connected to the same network name.
You might need to go into the settings and tell the device to “forget this network,” or there may be a setting that automatically connects it to a specific network.
The same goes for mismatched connections on different bands.
Ideally, you want your Chromecast and other devices connected to the 5GHz band. It’s less crowded and supports higher speeds, and your Chromecast will perform better on it.
Move Your Chromecast Closer to Your Router
The first thing you want to check when your Chromecast keeps disconnecting is the distance from your Wi-Fi modem or router. The farther away your Chromecast is from the modem, the more likely you’ll run into problems.
Thankfully, this is a simple fix, and all you need to do is move the Chromecast and modem closer together.
However, if you have lousy Wi-Fi coverage everywhere in your house, you may want to invest in a mesh router system.
Mesh routers have multiple access points instead of one router that sits where the cable comes into your house. The overall coverage area increases by spreading the access points throughout your home. So when one access point is starting to lose signal, another one is there to pick up the slack.
It gives you better coverage in basements, upper floors, and rooms at the end of hallways.
You can also move your modem to a more central location. Get it out of the basement or the top floor, and keep it off the floor. Wherever you decide to place it, just be sure the Chromecast is within 20′ of your router.
Troubleshoot Your Modem
If all your devices are disconnecting, not just your Chromecast, the problem may be your modem.
Like the steps we took earlier with your Chromecast, power-cycle your modem and check for loose connections.
If it’s a cable modem, disconnect the coaxial cable and any splitters. Inspect the wires for any defects and swap them out, if necessary.
Once you’ve reconnected and secured the cables, plug the power supply back in. Make sure the modem boots back up and shows that it’s online.
If there’s a problem, contact your ISP to do advanced troubleshooting. They can make a remote connection and run diagnostics. Your ISP can also change the programming and send you another modem.
Verify Your Bandwidth
Some Wi-Fi networks and plans can’t support as many devices as we’d like. If you have several devices streaming at one time, you may be using your maximum bandwidth if you’ve got a basic plan.
If that’s the case, your connection will seem fine with only a couple of devices at once. However, your signal strength drops as soon as you hook up four or five.
Check with your ISP or router manufacturer to see how many devices their hardware supports. You might need to upgrade your plan or modem. Upgrading your Internet service results in a nearly instantaneous speed boost. Once your provider makes the changes online or over the phone, you’ll reboot your modem to get them. You can then try your Chromecast again.
However, if a faster plan requires a new modem, you usually have to wait for a technician to come to your house to install it.
Use a Hardwired Connection
Despite your best efforts, your Wi-Fi may not work well when using your Chromecast. If you’ve tried moving, resetting, and reconnecting things in vain, you may need to bite the bullet.
Instead of relying on Wi-Fi, connect your Chromecast to your modem or router using an Ethernet cable.
Unlike Wi-Fi, a hardwired connection is constant and doesn’t rely on signals sent through the air. An Ethernet cable is less likely to encounter interference, remaining steady and stable.
Perform a Factory Reset
Your final option is performing a factory reset on your Chromecast. This should be a last-ditch effort because it erases your saved settings, and you’ll need to start from scratch.
However, a factory reset eliminates any glitches and software incompatibilities. You can perform a factory reset from either the Settings menu or the Google Home app.
If a factory reset doesn’t work, you will need to replace your Chromecast.