Hey there! If you own a Chromecast with Google TV, you‘re likely interested in removing restrictions and unlocking more features. By jailbreaking your Chromecast, you can access a world of streaming possibilities beyond the Google Play Store.
In this guide, I‘ll walk you step-by-step through the entire jailbreak process. I‘ll also provide tips to use your new jailbroken Chromecast safely and legally. Let‘s get started!
What is Jailbreaking a Chromecast?
Jailbreaking gives you root access to the Chromecast operating system, allowing installation of unauthorized apps and services. It‘s similar to rooting an Android phone or jailbreaking a Firestick.
On a fundamental level, jailbreaking involves enabling advanced developer settings on the Chromecast. This lets you:
- Install apps from outside the Google Play Store
- Sideload streaming services like Kodi and Plex
- Download retro game emulators, media players, and other apps
Jailbreaking does NOT require modding the firmware or hardware. The process is 100% software-based and completely reversible.
Benefits of a Jailbroken Chromecast:
- Access to thousands of streaming apps and addons
- Install popular media centers like Kodi
- Play classic games using emulators
- Watch free movies, TV shows, sports, and PPV events
- Use unofficial streaming services and IPTV
- Customize the interface with third-party launchers
- Block ads system-wide with ad blockers
- Enhanced privacy and security using a VPN
Let‘s look at how to jailbreak your Chromecast and unlock these awesome benefits.
Requirements to Jailbreak Chromecast
Jailbreaking a Chromecast with Google TV is simple as long as you have:
- Chromecast with Google TV (2nd gen model released 2020/2021)
- USB-C cable to connect the Chromecast to your TV
- USB wall adapter or other power source
- Google Account to sign in to the Chromecast initially
- Internet connection (the faster the better)
That‘s it! As long as you have the Chromecast hardware and a Google Account, you can successfully jailbreak your device in just a few quick steps.
Now let‘s get started…
Step 1: Enable Developer Options
The first step to jailbreak your Chromecast is enabling Developer Options. This unlocks settings like allowing installation of unauthorized apps from unknown sources.
Here‘s how to enable Developer Options:
- From the Chromecast home screen, go to Settings
- Select System, then choose About
- Find and select Build
- Tap on Build repeatedly until you see a message that "You are now a developer!"
- This message confirms Developer Options are now enabled
It generally takes about 7-10 taps on the Build option to enable Developer Options. This menu is initially hidden but allows advanced functionality once unlocked.
Step 2: Install the Downloader App
Now that Developer Options are enabled, we need an easy way to install APK files. This is where the Downloader app comes in handy.
Follow these steps to install Downloader:
- From the Chromecast home screen, select the Apps tab
- Click the magnifying glass icon to search apps
- Search for "Downloader" and select the Downloader app by AFTVNews
- Click Install to download it onto your Chromecast
- Once installed, go back to the Chromecast home screen
We‘ll use the Downloader app frequently to sideload apps onto the Chromecast.
Step 3: Allow Apps from Unknown Sources
By default, the Chromecast is restricted to only installing apps from the Google Play Store. We need to lift this restriction to install apps from outside sources.
Here‘s how to allow apps from unknown sources:
- From the home screen, go to Settings
- Select Apps, then choose Security & Restrictions
- Turn on the setting for Allow Apps from Unknown Sources
- A confirmation prompt will appear – make sure to enable this for the Downloader app
This adjustment tells the Chromecast to now allow app installs outside the Play Store.
Step 4: Install Aptoide TV App Store
Aptoide TV provides access to thousands of streaming apps and services not available on the Play Store. Let‘s get it installed:
- Launch the Downloader app on your Chromecast
- Enter hobsoft.com/app in the URL box and click Go
- Select the Aptoide TV APK file to download
- Click Install on the pop-up prompt
- Press Done once the install finishes
- Delete leftover installation files by pressing Delete
- Return to Apps menu and launch Aptoide TV
Aptoide TV offers a universe of unique apps – get ready to explore!
Step 5: Install Kodi (Optional)
Kodi is the most popular media player for streaming tons of free movies, shows, live TV, and more. Here‘s how to install it:
- Open Downloader and enter hobsoft.com/kodistable
- Select the Kodi APK to download
- Click Install, then press Done when finished
- Delete leftover installation files
- Access Kodi from the Chromecast‘s Apps menu
Once installed, Kodi acts as a central hub for all your media. You can add addons and personal media libraries.
That covers the jailbreak process! Now let‘s dive into how to use your jailbroken Chromecast.
Downloading Apps and Addons
Your jailbroken Chromecast lets you install apps from outside the Play Store. Here are some of my top recommendations for apps to try:
Media Apps and Kodi Addons
- Cinema APK – Movie and TV streaming app, similar to Popcorn Time
- CatMouse – Extensive selection of movies, shows, anime, sports
- Plex – Stream from your media library and podcasts
- Kodi – Install addons like The Crew, Seren, and The Oath for free streaming
Retro Game Emulation
- RetroArch – All-in-one emulator for classic systems like NES, SNES, Genesis, etc.
- PPSSPP – Sony PSP emulator with tons of games
- Dolphin – GameCube and Wii emulator, plays Mario Kart, Zelda, and more
Live TV and IPTV
- Smarters IPTV – Connect to IPTV playlists for live TV channels
- TiviMate – Excellent IPTV client with EPG guide data
- Mobdro – Aggregates live TV streams from various sources
Tools and Utilities
- VPN Clients – TunnelBear, Surfshark, NordVPN, etc.
- Ad Blockers – Blockada, Blokada, DNS66
- Launcher Manager – Customize your Chromecast‘s home screen
The process for installing any app is simple:
- Open Downloader and enter the APK download link
- Select the APK and click Install
- Open the app from the Chromecast‘s Apps menu
Finding trustworthy APK download sources is crucial. Always exercise caution before installing apps from an unknown developer.
Using a VPN on Your Jailbroken Chromecast
One of the first apps I recommend installing is a trusted VPN service like Surfshark or NordVPN.
A VPN encrypts all the traffic leaving your Chromecast to hide your streaming activity. This prevents your ISP from throttling your connection speed or taking punitive action if you stream pirated content.
Benefits of using a VPN on a jailbroken Chromecast:
- Hide your IP address and location
- Encrypt data so ISP can‘t see what you‘re streaming
- Prevent speed throttling for high bandwidth activities like 4K video
- Adds critical privacy and security when using public WiFi
- Allows access to region-restricted content worldwide
A quality VPN is vital to securely and privately using a jailbroken device. Never stream without one!
Gaming Emulators for Chromecast
Your jailbroken Chromecast opens up retro gaming using console emulators. Apps like RetroArch let you play all your favorite old school games again.
Some of the best emulators available include:
- RetroArch – All-in-one emulator for systems like NES, SNES, Game Boy, Genesis, MAME, and more
- PPSSPP – PlayStation Portable emulator with hundreds of PSP games
- Dolphin – Play GameCube and Wii games like Mario Kart, Zelda, Super Smash Bros, and more in HD
- Mupen64 – Nintendo 64 emulator for classics like Mario 64, Zelda: Ocarina of Time, etc.
Retro gaming on a Chromecast is awesome. Just connect Bluetooth gamepads and enjoy reliving your childhood!
Important Legal Considerations
While jailbreaking your Chromecast is perfectly legal, you do need to be mindful of copyright laws when streaming content.
Some key ground rules to remember:
- Avoid pirated movies or shows from sketchy sites – These likely violate copyright. Stick to legal addons.
- Don‘t share paid streaming service logins – This violates terms of service. Use your own accounts.
- Be wary of pirated sports and PPV – Live sports piracy is heavily enforced.
- Use a VPN to protect yourself if streaming grey area content
- Disable background app refresh and clear cache frequently – Don‘t keep incriminating data stored
Jailbreaking gives you more freedom and flexibility for streaming. But make sure to avoid blatant piracy of copyrighted material. Use common sense.
As long as you stick to legal addons and take precautions, jailbroken streaming is safe to enjoy!
Maintaining Your Jailbroken Chromecast
Here are some tips to keep your jailbroken Chromecast humming along smoothly:
- Close background apps when not in use – This frees up memory and processing power
- Clear the cache of apps periodically – This removes clutter and speeds up loading
- Disable auto updates for sideloaded apps – This prevents unwanted updates from breaking mods
- Use wired ethernet for faster speeds if possible
- Connect to 5Ghz WiFi instead of 2.4Ghz for less interference
- Restart the Chromecast weekly – Rebooting keeps the OS running cleanly
- Factory reset if issues persist – Wipes the device back to stock settings if needed
Proper maintenance is key for stability. Following these tips will maximize the performance of your jailbroken Chromecast.
Reverting Back to Stock Firmware
If you ever want to revert your Chromecast back to factory settings, follow these steps:
- Go to Settings > System > Reset
- Select Factory data reset
- Confirm the data reset
- The Chromecast will reboot back to stock firmware
This will remove all jailbreak modifications, sideloaded apps, and return the Chromecast to its out-of-the-box state.
Troubleshooting Common Jailbreak Issues
Jailbreaking is generally smooth, but occasional issues can crop up:
Can‘t enable Developer Options – Rapidly tap the Build number until the "You‘re a developer!" message appears. It usually takes multiple tries.
Apps won‘t install – Make sure to enable Apps from Unknown Sources under Security settings. Also try reinstalling the Downloader app.
Kodi has no data – Ensure you have addedworking addons through the Kodi file manager. Many addons need to be updated periodically.
Chromecast is slow or buggy – Try clearing app cache, closing background apps, or rebooting the device. For persistent issues, factory reset.
VPN not working – Enable Always-On VPN under Android settings. Connect to a server in a different country than your location.
Troubleshooting jailbreak problems just takes a bit of patience. Follow standard IT best practices like rebooting, reinstalling apps, clearing cache, etc. And don‘t hesitate to factory reset if needed.
As you can see, jailbreaking your Chromecast with Google TV opens up an amazing world of streaming possibilities!
The ability to install any app removes restrictions and unlocks virtually endless entertainment options. Make sure to take precautions like using a VPN to protect your privacy and security.
I hope this guide gave you a full overview of how to jailbreak your Chromecast, from initial setup to installing your favorite apps and addons. Let me know if you have any other questions! I‘m always happy to help fellow cordcutters. Enjoy your jailbroken Chromecast!