How to Cast Local Media From Your Mac to Chromecast
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If you want to cast content from Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, or any other streaming app to your TV, you can do a lot worse than buying a Chromecast. The majority of popular streaming apps are Chromecast-enabled and can begin playback at the touch of a button.

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But what about local media? Specifically, local media that you have saved on your Mac? How can you connect a Mac to a Chromecast so you can stream movies, TV shows, music, photos, and other files directly on the big screen?

In this article we’ll show you how to stream to a Chromecast from your Mac.

Chromecast Apps for Mac Videos

We’ll start with movies, since that’s what the Chromecast excels at.

If you have locally saved movies on your Mac that you want to stream on your Chromecast, you’re going to need to use a third-party app.

Airflow

airflow mac app

Our first pick is Airflow. It lets you watch local content on your Chromecast and also on any Apple TV boxes that you have in your home.

We particularly like the app due to its incredible ease-of-use. Once you’ve installed the app on your system and performed some initial setup steps, you just need to drag-and-drop a video file into the app’s window to start playback.

Other noteworthy features include support for subtitles, the ability to create playlists, synchronized playback positions, and support for 5.1 surround sound audio.

A license for Airflow costs a one-time fee of $18.99.

Download: Airflow ($18.99)

Videostream

videostream mac app

The other Chromecast app for Mac that’s worth considering is Videostream. It used to only be available as a web app, but a desktop version was released in mid-2018. The web app is still supported, but we do not recommend using it.

Videostream makes our list primarily because of the impressive list of supported video and audio codecs. At the time of writing, it offers more than 400. The list is growing all the time.

Once again, the setup process is fast and painless. Once the app has located the Chromecast on your network, starting video playback is as easy as selecting the video you want to watch via the in-app browser. The video will begin almost instantaneously.

Unlike Airflow, Videostream does have a free tier. However, if you want to create and use playlists, edit your subtitles’ size and color, use the night mode, or enable auto-play, you will need to pay for the premium version. It costs $1.49/month, $14.99/year, or $34.99 for a lifetime pass.

Videostream also has free apps in the Google Play Store and Apple App Store. You can use them to control playback without needing to touch your Mac.

Download: Videostream (Free, premium version available)

How to Stream Music to Chromecast From Mac

airfoil mac app

Your MacBook, like most laptops, kicks out a fairly low volume from its built-in speakers. We’ve talked about a few ways to fix Mac audio Want Better Mac Audio? Here's What You Need to Do Want Better Mac Audio? Here's What You Need to Do Macs are known for a lot of things, but great sound isn't one of them. Here's what you can do to give your Mac's sound a boost. Read More , but using external speakers (or headphones) is almost always the best idea.

If you’ve got an expensive sound system connected to your TV, you might want to take advantage of it by casting your local iTunes library directly to your Chromecast.

The best solution to stream local music from a Mac to a TV is Airfoil. It can send any music playing on your computer to dozens of different devices, including Chromecasts, Apple TVs, SONOS speakers, Bluetooth speakers, and HomePods. It even works with streaming apps like Apple Music (which is not Chromecast-enabled).

The Airfoil app costs a one-time fee of $29.

If you don’t want to shell out on Airfoil, an alternative (yet less elegant) solution is to upload all of your local music to Google Play Music. You can upload 50,000 tracks for free. As you’d expect, Google’s own streaming music app is tightly integrated with Chromecasts, so playback is straightforward.

Download: Airfoil ($29)
Download: Google Play Music Manager (Free)

How to Stream Photos to Chromecast From Mac

pictacast mac app

If you’re wondering how to send photos to your Chromecast from a Mac, you will be disappointed to learn that the options are extremely limited.

Indeed, the best option out there is PictaCast for Chromecast. It’s an app in the Chrome Web Store, which means you’ll have to run it on Google Chrome rather than from your desktop. If you’re one of the people who hate using Chrome on a Mac, it’s not ideal.

You just need to tell the extension which local photos you want to appear on your Chromecast; then you can sit back and relax. Customizable features include the background music, slideshow speed, an on/off time display, and support for rotated displays.

The free version of the app lets you cast photos for 30 minutes per day. If you require more time, you’ll need to buy the full app for $2.

Download: PictaCast (Free, premium version available)

How to Cast Your Mac Desktop to Chromecast

Remember, if you’re running Chrome on your Mac, you can use it to cast your entire Mac desktop to your Chromecast device.

To do so, open Chrome and head to More > Cast. Then click on your Chromecast’s name and select Cast desktop from the dropdown list of sources.

Although this approach lets you use your Chromecast with any local media on your Mac, it can be prone to lagging and poor resolution. As such, it’s a reliable solution for casting music and some photos but is not a long-term answer for casting movies and TV shows.

Other Ways to Stream Media From a Mac

The various solutions we’ve looked at in this article show that it is possible to use a Chromecast on a Mac. Sure, it’s not as straightforward as casting from Windows or Android, but it is doable.

Taking a step back, however, if you’re a Mac user who doesn’t already own a Chromecast, we wouldn’t recommend buying one. Instead, you should consider buying an Apple TV instead; it’s tightly integrated with macOS and offers a less frustrating and more seamless user experience.

To learn more about streaming content from your Mac, read our articles explaining how to combine AirPlay and Google Cast Combine AirPlay and Google Cast With a Mac Mini and AirServer Combine AirPlay and Google Cast With a Mac Mini and AirServer Want to stream via AirPlay, Google Cast, and more with just one device? This dream setup is possible with a Mac mini and AirServer. Read More and how to view photos on your Apple TV How to View Mac Photos or iPhoto Slideshows On Your Apple TV How to View Mac Photos or iPhoto Slideshows On Your Apple TV Whether you're using the Photos app or Apple's older iPhoto, it's easy to share your slideshows with friends, family or colleagues. Read More .

Explore more about: Chromecast, Google Chrome, Media Streaming, .

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  1. Roman
    December 3, 2018 at 2:18 pm

    I also managed to play a video and cast it by simply dragging and dropping the video file into chrome.

  2. John Murphy
    November 28, 2017 at 2:38 pm

    Why say Airflow is completely free, when it obviously is not? I went through the trouble of downloading and am now being asked to pay

  3. rune
    November 25, 2017 at 12:51 pm

    why do you list Airflow as free, when it only gives a 20 minute playing, and then demands close to 20 dollars?
    I dont mind paying for apps I use, but please be accurate :)

  4. Merv
    September 28, 2017 at 10:22 am

    Airflow is NOT free! It looks it, but then when you open the app you need to activate it to play more than 20 minutes. Ridiculous that this isn't mentioned!

  5. Yuri Osborne
    February 15, 2017 at 11:53 pm

    AirFlow ! Boom! It played an .avi, .mp4, .mkv , Right off the bat!!
    My phone immediatly had a mini remote in the notifications screen, then as I was playing an XVID encoded .avi I tried to throw some .jpg in and see if i could see some pics,,,it didn't work . But it recognized that they were unplayable files and didn't crash the stream.
    Nice work on the app guys!
    Plex is awesome ,but so involved.
    Thanks for the recommendation ,wish I had seen this a year ago!

  6. Alex Bransby
    January 20, 2017 at 12:08 am

    Airflow was EXACTLY what I was looking for!, Thought id have to shell out and buy AppleTV!

  7. Kieran Soms
    December 2, 2016 at 3:08 am

    Awesome. I am just at a point where I am done with giving apple my money. Got a chrome cast 2 today because I want to have the features of an apple tv, and used airflow which works great. The only time it doesn't work the greatest is when you're loading Blu-ray movie files through it that are essentially above 8-9GB. I found it worked perfectly for everything under that, but over it was buffering slow.

    This may also have been because my network strength is at about half at this part of my condo so hoping it's better in the new place.

    The only thing you lose is games from apple tv vs chromecast, but I have a ps4 already for that so I don't see a point. The new version of Google Home app is really good and has tons of apps available that work with the cast and almost replace all of the apple tv features entirely.

    Seriously worth the $35. F apple and their $100 equivalent.

    Great article btw, it made me decide to go through with getting a CC2.

  8. Andrew Fraser
    August 18, 2016 at 10:36 pm

    I found Airflow was buffering quite a bit. I quit the program and then tried to use Videostream and had no issues at all so I immediately bought the monthly "Premium" subscription on their website ($1.71 USD a month) which is about the same as a cup of coffee. I'm more than happy with their service and will continue to use it.

    Thanks for the great article and be sure to support developers!

  9. et
    June 17, 2016 at 10:50 pm

    Thanks for this cool Airflow tip! It's a real nice well functioning and easy to use program!!

    • Mihir Patkar
      August 18, 2016 at 7:02 am

      Glad you liked it :) I'm a big fan of the app now

  10. ALS
    June 13, 2016 at 3:02 pm

    HELP! I do not want to cast videos or music or photos. I want to cast my DESKTOP. Not a browser window, the actual desktop where I can edit files on my hard drive using programs installed on my computer. I have a mac and a chromecast and they are on the same network. Can I do REAL casting of ANYTHING on my screen to a bigger one?

    • Gabe
      August 6, 2016 at 4:35 am

      In the Chromecast extension for Chrome:
      If you click on the icon on the toolbar, in the top right corner of the popup, there's a very tiny drop down arrow. If you click on that, there's a "Cast screen/window (experimental)" option, which will let you cast your desktop.

    • Mihir Patkar
      August 18, 2016 at 7:02 am

      Gabe's method is best for that.

  11. Thanh T
    May 24, 2016 at 11:41 am

    Give AirParrot 2 a go, you won't be disappointed!

    • Mihir Patkar
      August 18, 2016 at 7:02 am

      I'll check it out, thanks!

  12. Phil
    March 6, 2016 at 10:34 pm

    Thanks for this very interesting post. I just bought my self a Chromecast today, for my bedroom TV (mostly for netflix). For now I have only tried Videostream to play local video.
    I also have an apple tv in my living room for the apple tv of a lot more features (Games, VOD, screen mirroring on both mac and Iphone, and Sound sharing). And it real time HD screen mirroring.
    For my AppleTv is really easier and works perfectly with both iPhone and Mac. But Chromecast is cheaper and handy for netflix. But if you have an iPhone and no netflix account, I will recommend the former generation of Apple Tv, that you can find for 80$.