The Google Chromecast, recently changed to Google Cast, connects to a TV or projector and displays content from a phone, tablet or Chrome browser on a computer by casting the content to the Google Chromecast. However, when the user isn’t casting a video or something from their computer’s Chrome browser, the Chromecast/Google Cast shows some beautiful backdrop images. They work like a slideshow screen saver. Here we’ll show users how to customize what shows up in this slideshow screen saver.
See our review of the original Google Chromecast
Many Google Cast or Chromecast users didn’t realize they can customize what images the Google Cast uses to create this slideshow screen saver.
By default the Google Cast app uses curated photos from professional photographers, news photos, weather images, Google Earth images or headlines from Google Play Newsstand. However, users can add content from photos online. The Google Cast Backdrop settings will also let users choose from their own Google Photos, Facebook, or Flickr. This works with the Android version and the iOS version of the app. We’ll show the steps for the iPhone app, but it looks almost identical to the Android version.
How to Change Chromecast Backdrop Images in Google Cast
To get started, open the Google Cast app. Across the top you’ll see three tabs with one in the middle reading DEVICES. Tap it. If you configured your Google Cast to work already, then it will show up on this screen. If not, follow our guide on how to set up the Google Cast.
The app includes two ways to get to the Backdrop settings. Just below your Chromecast listed in the app, you’ll see EDIT BACKDROP (see image on left above). Tap it to get to the settings where you will change the sources for the Backdrop images. Alternatively, the app shows the menu button, three vertical dots in the upper right corner of the Google Cast’s box (see image below). Tap on the dots and the menu pop up shows a list of options. Tap on Backdrop Settings.
The following screen will show up. The left image below shows the top half of the settings screen and the right side shows the bottom. To change which images the Backdrop on the Google Chromeast uses, tap on each item.
For example, tap on Flickr and it opens the following screen (see left below) to add your Flickr account in the Google Cast app. Turn on Flickr by tapping the slider switch at the top of the screen. Then tap on the blue CONNECT button at the bottom of the screen.
Enter the user credentials on the next screen. This brings up an authorization screen (right image above). Tap on OK, I’LL AUTHORIZE IT. The next screen shows a slider switch labelled Selected albums. It’s turned off by default. Turn it on and the user’s Flickr albums show up. Select the albums to include in the Backdrop image screen saver. If the user leaves the Selected albums slider off, the app will select random photos from all albums.
The other content options work similarly. You will need to turn on Selected albums for Google Photos and Facebook as well. Other items on the list include other customizations. Google Cast lets users add the following kinds of photos and images:
- Google Photos – personal account
- Facebook – personal account
- Flickr – personal account
- Play Newsstand news images – customize in the Play Newsstand app
- Curated news – the app selects from a predefined set of news sources
- Art – images from professional artists
- Featured photos – images from professional photographers
- Earth and space – images from NASA and Google Earth
- Weather details from your locale – uses local settings from phone to choose weather images
There’s one more configuration option controls how fast the images change in the Backdrop slide show. Tap on Custom speed and turn on the orange slider switch by tapping it. Choose one of three speed options (see on left below).
- Slow (0.5x)
- Normal (1x)
- Fast (2x)
I timed the fast option and the image changes after about 20-22 seconds per image.
When customizing weather, tap on Weather towards the bottom of the Edit Backdrop settings screen. Turn on the Weather option by tapping the orange slider switch. Pick from Fahrenheit or Celsius by tapping the corresponding orange slider switch.
Play Newsstand requires you to turn on the slider next to Customize in Newsstand and Your News.
If you ever want to remove any of the options, tap the above source options (Google Photos, Facebook, Flickr, etc) and remove the account. You can also remove all the customizations by tapping on the Remove your Backdrop preferences option at the bottom of the Backdrop settings screen.
After customizing the settings above, the Google Cast/Chromecast will always use these settings so long as the user connects to the Internet. Turn on the TV and the slide show will begin.