Google Photos logo on Google TV

Devices such as the Chromecast with Google TV can display a Google Photos slideshow as the screen saver. If you’d like to use your TV as a giant photo frame, we’ll show you how to set this up.

During the Chromecast’s initial setup process, you’ll be asked to choose an “Ambient Mode.” This is what Google TV devices call the screen saver. Google Photos is one of the options during setup, but if you didn’t select it then, you can do it now.

First, of course, you’ll need to be a Google Photos users for this feature to work. The other thing you’ll need is the Google Home app for iPhone, iPad, or Android, which is where the setup takes place.

Open the Google Home app on your phone or tablet, find your Google TV device, and select it.

find your google tv device in the google home app

Tap the gear icon in the top-right corner of the device page.

Next, select “Ambient Mode” from the Device Settings.

select ambient mode from the settings

You will now see the different options for the screen saver (Ambient Mode). Select “Google Photos” from the list.

choose google photos from the ambient mode options

Albums from your Google Photos account, the account associated with the Google Home app, will appear. Select all the albums you want to see in Ambient Mode on your Chromecast with Google TV.

select albums to show in ambient mode

When you’re finished selecting albums, tap the back arrow in the top-left to proceed.

tap the back arrow

Next, there are a number of additional Ambient Mode options. You can choose to show the weather, time, device information, and personal photo data. You can also put portrait photos side-by-side, enable photo curation, and adjust the slideshow speed.

ambient mode options

The last thing you might want to adjust is how long the TV screen will stay on a.k.a. how long your slideshow will play. On your Google TV device, select your profile icon in the top-right corner of the home screen.

Next, select “Settings” from the menu.

select settings

Scroll down and select “System.”

select About

Scroll down again and choose “Energy Saver.”

select energy saver

The Energy Saver setting is what determines how long the display will stay on while inactive. Select “Turn Off Display” to change it.

select turn display off

Lastly, select one of the time increments from the list.

select a time increment

That’s it! You will now see your Google Photos albums on your Chromecast with Google TV in Ambient Mode!

Profile Photo for Joe Fedewa Joe Fedewa
Joe Fedewa is a Staff Writer at How-To Geek. He has been covering consumer technology for over a decade and previously worked as Managing Editor at XDA-Developers. Joe loves all things technology and is also an avid DIYer at heart. He has written thousands of articles, hundreds of tutorials, and dozens of reviews.
Read Full Bio »