Google Chromecast free update finally makes it easy to use headphones — here’s how

Chromecast with Google TV connected to display
(Image credit: Google)

Chromecast on Google TV just added a new update that lets users take advantage of both audio switcher functionality and simplified Fast Pair, making compatible headphones easier to use with one of the best streaming devices.

Fast Pair allows you to automatically connect devices, namely Google Pixel Buds, to a TV with ease, while the new switcher helps you choose audio output on the fly via a handy quick settings tile.

These updates were long touted by Google as being priorities to include on Chromecast with Google TV (4K), first announced all the way back in 2022. Now, you’ll be able to use some of the best headphones without any friction on Chromecast.

Streamlining audio on Chromecast with Google TV (4K)

The new update on Google Chromecast is free to all users and should roll out automatically. If not, you can always head to Settings > System > About > System Update. It’s that simple!

At just under 170MB, this new update will ensure you get streamlined device paring with Fast Pair and a simpler audio output. Fast Pair makes leveraging the best wireless earbuds that much easier with a simple prompt at the top corner of the TV that alerts you when a compatible device is near. Once paired, you can easily choose audio output via the Connect screen.

A new Audio Output tile on the Google Chromecast screensaver will also help users save a ton of time sifting through settings. Now, you can simply choose where you want sounds to go via this new tile on the fly. Plus, it even shows the device it’s outputting to, so you always know where the TV's sound is coming from, whether that be a soundbar, headphones, or even the set's onboard speakers.

The update makes it super easy for users to keep quiet while still enjoying their favorite content via Google Chromecast. If you have a newborn baby or light sleepers nearby, these new features will make it far less stressful to dive into shows like the newly released "Shogun" on Hulu without waking the entire household.

The update also includes an Android security patch and “other bug fixes and performance improvements.” For any additional information, you can always check Google’s official updates page, which gives detailed insights about Chromecast’s patches.

If you have Google TV software on your display, like the Hisense U7K or TCL QM8, the software update should be rolling out to you in the near future, as well. The tech conglomerate has kept busy of late streamlining its Chromecast functionality, last witnessed in an update amid CES 2024, which included TikTok casting and wider TV support.

While these are welcome additions, Chromecast is still missing some features promised by Google in the past, namely spatial audio and Matter support. The former will make leveraging a TV as a smart hub all the more easier, while spatial audio ensures sounds are crisp, cinematic, and all around the user — most widely experienced via Dolby Atmos.

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Ryan Epps
Staff Writer

Ryan Epps is a Staff Writer under the TV/AV section at Tom's Guide focusing on TVs and projectors. When not researching PHOLEDs and writing about the next major innovation in the projector space, he's consuming random anime from the 90's, playing Dark Souls 3 again, or reading yet another Haruki Murakami novel.