If you use Chromecast, you love its convenience and ease of use.
But there are times you want to watch something without everyone receiving a notification, and you really don’t want someone else to control your device.
So how do you make a Chromecast private?
To make a Chromecast private, you can create a guest account or turn off Guest Mode, create a guest network, set up a separate VLAN network, or use a travel router. To keep your Chromecast secure, change your password frequently and use a Virtual Private Network (VPN), as it masks your IP address.
Just because you’re annoyed that others in your household are interrupting your movie with silly YouTube videos or TikToks, you should also learn how to secure your Chromecast from hackers.
In this article, we’ll talk about the steps you can take to make your Chromecast private.
So let’s get started!
How Does a Chromecast Work?
You probably already know what a Chromecast does – let you cast from a device to a tv with a Chromecast dongle plugged into the HDMI port.
But how exactly does it work, and why is it important to know this?
The Geeky info is that Google used a DIAL Service Discovery Protocol along with Software Development Kits and Application Programming Interfaces so that third-party services can develop an app that works with Chromecast.
All of this means that when a device sends a request to access something on the internet, the Chrome browser built into the Chromecast retrieves the web content.
So your device isn’t doing the streaming – it sent a request asking Chromecast to stream the content, and Chromecast went to the URL and began streaming.
That’s why you can turn off your device, and the content will continue to stream.
Your device is like a remote at that point, with the ability to pause, start, change the volume, and so forth.
And that’s why it’s also easy for anyone on the same Wi-Fi as your device to control the Chromecast.
They aren’t controlling your device but the Chromecast browser.
Control Chromecast Access From Your Device
Most routers allow you to create a guest network.
If your router has that functionality, then you can create a guest network and use it in one of two ways to keep your Chromecast yours.
After you create the network, you can give others in the house the password for the guest network and then change the password for the original account so only you can use it.
You can also create a guest account that only you know the password to and broadcast the Chromecast when using that account.
The only downside to this approach is you’ll have to connect to the guest account whenever you want to cast media.
If your router won’t let you create a second network, you’ll need to use your device’s settings to keep others from accessing your Chromecast. This is a two-step process.
To keep others from taking over your Chromecast, do the following:
- Open the Google Home App.
- Find Your Cast Device.
- The Chromecast Settings Icon will be at the top right corner.
- Toggle off the “Let others control your cast media.”
Unless you want everyone to be notified when you use Chromecast, you can disable Notifications on your Android device as well by doing the following steps:
- Open settings.
- Tap on Google in the “Personal” section.
- Find Cast Media Controls option.
- Toggle the media controls option off.
If you cannot create a guest account on your router, then you need to enable Guest Mode in Chromecast.
No one else will be able to cast to the Chromecast without asking for permission.
Guest Mode also makes erasing history easy, as your phone considers it a temporary account.
However, you won’t be able to send or receive texts while using Guest Mode.
You might also like: Is Chromecast better than screen mirroring?
Create a VLAN Network
A VLAN (Virtual Local Area Network) lets you split your internet network into separate networks where each device on one VLAN can communicate with other devices on the same network but not on others.
With a VLAN, you can control more than one device, which could be handy for a home office or if you rent out part of your house and want to keep your devices more secure.
Setting up a VLAN isn’t something you wake up one morning and decide you want to do.
You need to know something about network configuration, IP addresses, and gateways.
If just hearing those words gives you headaches, then a VLAN isn’t for you.
But if you’re feeling brave and want to tackle a VLAN, check out this article on setting up a VLAN.
The step-by-step guidelines are a plus, and it links to a helpful design tool.
Use a Travel Router
Even though it’s called a travel router, you don’t have to travel to use it.
But with using one, you can do the following:
- Create your own network. Instead of connecting your devices to your home’s Wi-Fi, connect the router. Then, add your devices to the travel router. You’ve just created a mini network, and no one knows how many devices are connected to the router.
- Boost the signal. If you have dead spots in your home, the travel router acts as a wireless extender to remove them.
- Be able to watch Chromecasts when you travel. Most hotels would prefer that guests pay for their services, so they create authentication networks that prevent Chromecasts from accessing their network. Connecting a Chromecast to a travel router bypasses the authentication process.
When looking for a travel router, check the Wi-Fi standard and don’t buy something below Wi-Fi 5.
Most travel routers need an external power source, but some run on battery power.
If you cannot find a model that suits you, then get one with a USB port so you can power it through a laptop.
Keeping Your Chromecast Secure
Now that you know how to keep members of your household from trolling your Chromecasts, you might want to think about keeping your neighbors out.
Chromecasts themselves are challenging, but not impossible, to hack.
Google first learned of a security bug in 2014 and fixed it.
Unfortunately, in 2019, a group of hackers did just that to thousands of users as a warning to strengthen their router’s security.
So what should you do?
Rather than worry about your neighbor finding out about your viewing habits, strengthen your wireless security.
Here are several simple steps to take:
- Change your password frequently.
- Check that your router is updating firmware.
- Turn off Universal Plug and Play (UPnP). Hackers have created malware programs that exploit a weakness in UPnP.
The most important thing you can do to protect your wireless security is to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN).
A Chromecast is an additional wireless device in your home. If hackers know your IP address, they can start looking for vulnerabilities in your system.
A VPN hides your IP by masking or hiding that address. A computer-savvy neighbor can figure out your IP address and look for ways to take over.
However, a VPN hides your IP address. It’s like you moved even though you’re still living down the street.
VPNs also encrypt your information before you send it out. If hackers do get a hold of your data, they won’t be able to access it.
Your neighbors probably won’t ask you to subscribe to PewDiePie, which the Chromecast hackers did, but a VPN will keep them from accessing your network.
There are several ways to keep your Chromecast secure.
Setting up a Guest account or using guest mode works but using travel routers or setting up a VLAN adds an additional layer of security.
And a VPN protects not only your Chromecast but your entire network.