How to Use Chromecast without Wi-Fi
Google’s Chromecast hooks up to your TV through HDMI and uses Wi-Fi to connect and stream from most networked devices like smartphones and laptops, and it also uses pre-installed apps that require internet access. So, what can you do if you don’t have Wi-Fi? The answer is easy; you make Wi-Fi so that a device can connect to Chromecast and operate it online or mirror its display.
You can use Chromecast without dedicated Wi-Fi using one of the following options:
- Use Chromecast Guest Mode
- Use WLAN without internet (following pre-setup procedures) for mirroring a device
- Use mobile hot-spot as the router and a second device to connect to Chromecast
- Use a travel router for WLAN and your device to connect to Chromecast
- Use an active ethernet port (requires a special Chromecast power adapter)
- Use Connectify Hotspot on a laptop via active ethernet connection
There are plenty of sources that can provide wireless internet while traveling, including Hotel Wi-Fi, portable hot spots, smartphone hot spots, ethernet connections, and more. You can also create a WLAN to use later without an internet connection, although that restricts what Chromecast can do. Here are the details.
1. Connect Devices to Chromecast without Internet
Google certainly improved things when they added Guest Mode, which allows Chromecast to connect to any Google casting capable device that doesn’t have Wi-Fi internet. However, the Chromecast still requires an internet source through a host (hotspot, router, or ethernet), as shown in the Google image below.
So, can you use Chromecast without Wi-Fi in Guest Mode? The answer is yes, and no. You can use Chromecast on devices without Wi-Fi to mirror the device’s screen. However, you can’t use Chromecast’s full functionality without an internet connection from a host, as shown in the Google image below.
If you have not realized the functionality of Chromecast’s Guest Mode Wi-Fi beacon yet, it lets your Android tablet or smartphone’s 4G and 5G streaming apps work directly on your TV. Users with iOS 11.0+ are also able to use Guest Mode with certain restrictions, as shown in the Google image below.
If the above information on using Chromecast without Wi-Fi sounds confusing, you’re not alone. In different terms, you can connect a device to your Chromecast without using the internet, so that part is true. However, an internet connection is still required for Chromecast to offer Guest Mode. You can also mirror devices to Chromecast, which is mentioned below.
2. Use Chromecast on Wi-Fi without Internet
Even with the previous information on casting, that’s not to say that you cannot mirror your tablet, phone, or laptop without Wi-Fi. Google says Chromecast needs a host, but that doesn’t mean that the host must have an internet connection.
You simply set up the Chromecast at home with an internet connection using two devices, one for the setup and one for the WLAN. You enable hotspot on your smartphone, connect device 2 (PC, tablet, etc.) to the phone’s hotspot, configure Chromecast using device 2, and then shut down device 2. The Chromecast is now configured to the phone’s hotspot (WLAN), whether it has an internet connection or not.
When connecting the Chromecast to the pre-configured mobile hotspot while traveling, the TV will say it lost the internet. Ignore that notification and select the mirror option from the Home app found on your smartphone. You’ll then see your Android phone mirrored to the TV. In this scenario, casting on-demand streams and installed apps will not work, but mirroring will.
3. Use Your Smartphone’s Hot Spot
When traveling, the Chromecast can rarely access a dedicated Wi-Fi network, such as hotel internet and public Wi-Fi hotspots. The provider’s two-factor system requires you to accept the service’s terms and conditions, requiring browser functionality that Chromecast doesn’t have.
By launching the hot spot option in your smartphone, you provide the internet that the Chromecast needs for it to operate correctly. Unfortunately, you still need a dedicated source to connect and operate with the Chromecast. This scenario means that your smartphone has to serve as the router, so a second device is required to join the network and connect to the Chromecast device—used as the source to mirror.
If your smartphone has no mobile broadband service for any reason, you cannot use it as the source for internet connectivity. However, you can still connect in Guest Mode. So, without mobile Wi-Fi, what can you do? Check out method #2 below.
4. Use Chromecast with a Travel Router
Grab a 3G/4G/5G portable router with paid service and use it as your hot spot. It’s that simple. No required public Wi-Fi agreements to accept and no insecure internet connections. Connect the Chromecast to the hotspot using your smartphone and Google Home, and then connect the device you want to use with the Chromecast, such as your tablet, laptop, or even the smartphone.
5. Use Ethernet
Chromecast does not have an ethernet jack, but Google makes an ethernet power adapter for the device. You plug an ethernet cable into the power adapter’s jack and an internet source’s ethernet jack, insert the power adapter into the wall, and then connect the USB cable from the adapter to the Chromecast to power the device.
Besides special power adapters, some mobile routers feature an ethernet connection too, which you can use to create the Wi-Fi you’re missing for Chromecast and other devices. All you have to do is plug the mobile router into the hotel’s “active” ethernet wall jack, and you’re all set!
Note: If you want to use a travel router, be sure to set up the device at home first by assigning it an SSID and password, unless it uses mobile broadband for Wi-Fi and is already set up.
After completion of the above procedures, follow the steps below.
- Connect your Chromecast to the pocket router/hotspot device via the Chromecast app on your Android or iOS smartphone or tablet.
- At your hotel, connect the pocket router to the Ethernet connection if required and an outlet or USB port to power it. Some devices have rechargeable batteries, mostly if they use 3G/4G/5G as the internet source.
- Connect your devices wirelessly to the pocket router’s connection generated by the ethernet from the hotel’s internet service or by the mobile broadband signal it receives.
6. Use Connectify Hotspot
Connectify Hotspot is a great way to share your laptop’s Wi-Fi or wired internet connection as a wireless local area network (WLAN) hotspot location. While it is a paid-for app, there is a free version with basic functionality.
The website states that the app requires Windows 7, 8, 8.1, or 10. However, the paid Hotspot PRO and MAX editions also let you use your smartphone’s hotspot to serve as the router for Chromecast. But again, that uses your phone as the dedicated internet provider, so you’ll need another device for casting.
Here’s how to use Connectify Hotspot on your laptop.
Using Connectify Hotspot on a Windows Device or A Smartphone with Hotel Wi-Fi
- Connect your smartphone, tablet, or laptop to your hotel’s Wi-Fi, accepting the terms and conditions, which Chromecast cannot do.
- Open Connectify Hotspot and share your connection as a Wi-Fi network.
- Connect your Chromecast to the new hotspot you have created by using your smartphone’s Chromecast app.
As you can see, Chromecast is unique from other TV streamers/casters because it features a Wi-Fi beacon that gets used for Guest Mode. Still, that beacon won’t work unless the Chromecast has a valid internet connection. The connection allows your tablet, smartphone, or laptop to link up, even if they don’t have Wi-Fi. Just remember that the Chromecast still needs a Wi-Fi internet host, unless you want to mirror a device only.
When portable routers (a.k.a pocket routers, mobile routers, portable hotspots) get used as the internet source/WLAN network, they offer actual internet to the Chromecast device as an alternative Wi-Fi source. This scenario is just another way to use your Chromecast when it cannot access a dedicated internet connection, like hotel Wi-Fi.
The ethernet option does allow the use of Chromecast without Wi-Fi, as long as you got the special AC adapter or attach an ethernet cable to a portable router.
In closing, yes, you CAN still connect Chromecast (without active internet) to devices, as long as it gets used for mirroring. Otherwise, a dedicated internet device and a device to work with Chromecast are required.