The cast feature or mirror feature of a smartphone is one feature many people don’t know how to use. It begs the question of why you buy a smartphone and never get to use some awesome features 0n the phone.
And the good thing about using the cast function is that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to get it going. In some cases, you won’t spend a dime to get it running.
So what’s is the cast function all about?
What is the cast feature?
In simple terms, the cast feature in Android phones (it is also available for iOS devices) is a technology that allows people to project whatever is on the Android screen to a much larger screen like a TV or computer monitor.
The advantages are immediately obvious. The most apparent is that, with the cast feature, a larger group of people would be able to view the display comfortably.
For instance, you can use this feature to watch a movie on your device with family and friends on your larger TV screen. And you can also project files onto a larger screen so your colleagues at work can have a look at what you are trying to say without having to huddle together in a tight, uncomfortable way.
Before the advent of the cast feature, the traditional way of viewing your device’s screen on a larger display is to use cables to attach the two. Cast though is wireless. No need for cables.
Not all Android phones have the cast feature embedded in them. To determine if your phone is compatible, just tap on ‘Display‘ under ‘Settings’. You should see ‘Cast screen‘ or ‘Mirror display’ if your phone is compatible.
Cast-compatible TVs and computers
The TV you want to project the device display to must also be compatible with the cast feature. Most modern flat screen TVs (LED) have this feature.
Knowing if you flat screen TV is Cast-compatible is not as easy as finding that out in your smartphone. The easiest way is to check the TV’s manual.
The next best way is to go ahead and connect both devices to see if it works. If it doesn’t, then your TV is not compatible with the feature.
But that doesn’t mean you would never use the cast feature on your phone with your TV. Since most LED TVs come with an HDMI port, you can always buy a dongle specifically made to use this function.
There are many types. The most popular is the Chromecast dongle made by Google. Other models from different manufacturers are cheaper. Most of them can do the job as well as the Chromecast dongle.
Once dongle is attached to the HDMI port, you are good to go.
In computers, you can also use the dongle option if your computer does not support the cast feature. One the other hand, there are several softwares you can download to your system that would enable you to achieve the same goal.
But there are many of them that promise the world. Most times, how effective they are depends on your laptop’s specifications. So you might have to try a few before you get the one that works very well on your computer.
‘Casting’ your device to a larger screen
So you now have everything you need to view your device on a much larger screen. For this guide, we are going to assume you bought a dongle like Google’s Chromecast or similar.
1. Attached the dongle to the HDMI port of your flat screen TV. The TV should be plugged into a power source. Switch it on.
2. With your TV remote control, go to the menu and select the input source where the dongle is connected to. The setup menu display would appear on the screen.
Follow the instructions to get it going on your TV.
3. Go to settings on your Android device, open Settings > Display > Cast screen/ Mirror display (depending on how it is written on your phone model)
4. For those who don’t have the cast feature on their device, you can download and install it from Google Play Store. But make sure your device is at least an Android 4.4.
After installing, you can now get the cast screen feature by opening up the Chromecast app you downloaded. You would see cast screen in the menu.
5. Tap the cast screen on your device Android device
6. Click on ‘Enable wireless display‘. You should see you TV displayed in the list. Tap on your TV to begin casting.
You should now see your Android screen displayed exactly the way it is on your TV screen. Now you can sit back, relax and enjoy you those videos in your Android phone on your flat screen TV.
Mirror your Android device to a PC using the cast feature
Casting your Android display to your PC, whether laptop or desktop computer, follows the same steps with the TV guide.
Again, the assumption is that you have already purchased a dongle that can connect to the HDMI port of your laptop.
1. Attach the dongle to the HDMI port of your system. Then follow the setup instructions that appear on the monitor.
2. Go to the cast feature on your Android smartphone and repeat the same process in casting the Android phone to a TV.
Apart from using a dongle to cast your Android phone to your PC, there are other ways it can be done without using a dongle. This involves the use of an app that you have to install on your smartphone and PC.
As a matter of fact, there are several apps that can be used to mirror your Android display on the larger PC display.
The disadvantage of this method (though cheaper as you don’t have to buy the dongle) is that you have to try different apps until you get the one that works very well with your PC.
However, if all you want to do is view some documents on the larger PC display, most of the apps can handle casting very well.
Problems (like freezing and lagging) begin to pop up when you graduate to heavy files like HD videos and games.
If you want to give that a shot, this guide is as good as any to lead you through the process.