Google changed the device-to-TV scene with Chromecast, but as with all technology, it can have problems. At some point, you may need to reboot or factory reset your Chromecast. While these options are slightly hidden to prevent an accidental reset, it’s a straightforward and simple process.
It’s worth noting here that rebooting and resetting have two very different outcomes. Rebooting harmlessly shuts down and restarts the Chromecast, while resetting wipes all your user information and makes the Chromecast as if you just took it out of the box.
How to Reboot or Reset Your Chromecast from the Google Home App
If have already have a Chromecast—be it a first or second generation—you undoubtedly have the Google Home app, since that’s required to set the device up in the first place. The reboot or reset process is the same regardless of whether you’re using iOS or Android, though naturally the menus look slightly different. I’m using an Android device for this tutorial, but you should be able to follow along easily with your iPhone or iPad as well.
The first thing you’ll want to do is make sure your Chromecast is on and connected to the network. If it’s powered by an AC adapter plugged into the wall, you shouldn’t even need to have the TV turned on (though it’s probably still a good idea so you’ll know it’s reacting appropriately). If you have it powered through a USB port on your TV, however, the set will likely need to be on before the Chromecast will power up.
Once your TV is on, fire up the Google Home app on yoru phone or tablet and tap the “Devices” button in the upper right corner. If you have multiple Google Cast devices, just scroll until you find the Chromecast you want to reboot or reset. Tap on the three-dot overflow menu in the top-right corner of the Chromecast card—it should be showing the same image that’s currently on your TV, known as a “backdrop.”
To reboot the Chromecast, just tap the “Reboot” option. Easy peasy.
To factory reset the Chromecast, tap the “Settings” button. Then, tap the three dot menu in the upper right corner and choose “Factory reset.”
Regardless of which one you choose, you’ll get a confirmation popup verifying that you want to execute that command. Once you’re sure that’s what you want to do, just tap “OK.” The device will do its thing—if you chose to reboot it, it’ll be back in action in just a few minutes.
If you’re performing a factory reset, it’ll take a few minutes to completely reset the device, then it will reboot and you can either unplug it (if you plan on selling it or the like), or go ahead and set it up again.
How to Factory Reset Your Chromecast Directly from the Device
If you can’t seem to access your Chromecast from the Google Home app, you’ll need to take a more hardware-based approach.
There’s no “true” way of merely rebooting the unit from the physical device. If you need to restart it, just unplug it and plug back up. It’s kind of a janky solution, but it gets the job done.
If you need to do a factory reset, you’re in luck: Google put a hard reset button on both the first and second generation Chromecasts, so you can perform a factory reset easily. And regardless of which model you have, the process is the same, making it even simpler.
The first thing you’ll need to do is physically access the device. That means pulling out the TV and digging around behind it. I’m sorry.
Once you’ve got the Chromecast in-hand—still plugged into the power and TV!—just press the one and only physical button on the side of the unit for roughly eight seconds. The Chromecast’s indicator light will blink while you’re holding the button—slowly at first, then faster once it gets closer to resetting. When the light goes solid again, you can let go. The Chromecast will reboot and reset.
After it reboots, you’re free to unplug it if you plan on getting rid of it. Otherwise, just go ahead and set it up again.
The Chromecast is a simple device with a lot of really practical uses under its hood. It’s always good to know how to reboot or reset your device should the need arise so you can get this brilliant little stick back into usable order as quickly as possible.