The Complete Guide to Rooting Chromecast

Rooting it using FlashCast and PwnedCast ROM
Rooting it using FlashCast and PwnedCast ROM

What is Chromecast?

Chromecast is a US$35 digital media streaming adapter from Google that you plug into your TV’s HDMI port. Using your smartphone as a remote control, you can use Chromecast to access online video contents (e.g. Netflix, YouTube) or stream almost any kind of content from the Chrome browser on a computer. In this guide, you will be rooting your Google Chromecast.

 

Rooting Chromecast? Why do it?

Expand the functionalities of the Chromecast. For example, change the DNS settings on the Chromecast or open up the pandora box of future customization. Better to leave your options open, right?

Well, if you don’t root it, you still can stream any local media to Chromecast using Fling. Share videos from your Android phone’s Gallery, Dropbox or Drive to Chromecast via AirCast.

Note: I won’t be held responsible if the Chromecast device is damaged / bricked. Flashing firmware is a risky process and things may go wrong.

 

Can all Chromecast be rooted?

Unfortunately no. For the Chromecast to be root-able, it must be on the initial software (build 12072) which it is shipped with. If it is still pristine inside the box then you are in luck. Go on to the next section.

However, if you have set up your Chromecast to a WiFi network with Internet connectivity, it is likely that its software has been updated automatically to one that patched the boot vulnerability. Better luck next time.

If you are considering picking up a new Chromecast to root it, there is a (unofficial) guide to identify rootable Chromecast based on it serial number. Check out the list of rootable Chromecast.

 

Err, what do I need in order to root Chromecast?

To root the Chromecast, you will need the following:

  • A Chromecast device (with vulnerable bootloader. E.g. build 12072)
  • The latest version of FlashCast (USB image for modify Chromecast). Download it here
  • The latest version of PwnedCast ROM. Download it here.
  • A USB drive (min. size 128MB) that you are willing to erase
  • A powered Micro-USB OTG cable

Powered OTG cable and USB drive
Powered OTG cable and USB drive

For the FlashCast, just download the latest release from FlashCast GitHub and proceed to the next section.

 

Ok, I got the stuffs. How do I make a FlashCast USB drive?

If you do not have a FlashCast USB drive, follow this section closely.

Installing FlashCast to USB drive

Firstly, we will write the content of the FlashCast software to the USB drive. For this, you will need either:

  1. Windows – Win32DiskImager; or
  2. Linux, Mac OS X – dd command

For Windows machine,

  1. Download and extract the contents of Win32DiskImager.
    You should have a new folder with *.dll files, *.txt files and Win32DiskImage.exe
  2. Extract the contents of FlashCast software to a folder.
    You should end up with a FlashCast*.bin file.
  3. Insert the USB drive to your computer’s USB port.
    A new drive should appear. Take note of the drive letter.
  4. Launch Win32DiskImager by double-clicking on Win32DiskImage.exe.
    A new application named “Win32 Disk Imager” should launch. 

    Win32 Disk Imager for writing the FlashCast bin to USB drive
    Win32 Disk Imager for writing the FlashCast bin to USB drive
  5. In the Win32 Disk Imager app, select the FlashCast*.bin file for the Image File text box.
  6. Under the Device drop down, select the drive letter of the USB drive.
    Warning: Make sure you have selected the correct drive letter for the USB drive before proceeding. Everything on the target drive will be erased.
  7. To write the FlashCast*.bin file, click on the “Write” button.
  8. Wait for the process to complete before proceeding to the next section.
    Note: The USB drive should be unreadable and Windows would prompt you if you want to format it. Do not format the USB drive.

For Linux or Mac OS X machine,

  1. Extract the contents of FlashCast software to a folder.
    You should end up with a FlashCast*.bin file.
  2. Launch Terminal.
  3. Navigate to the folder containing FlashCast*.bin by using the “cd” command.
  4. Ensure you are in the correct folder by using the “ls” command.
    You should see FlashCast*.bin as one of the listed files.
  5. List the currently attached disks by using “diskutil list”.
    The list of disks and partitions should be listed. Disks are listed as /dev/diskN where N is a number (e.g. /dev/disk0, /dev/disk1)
  6. Insert the USB drive to your computer’s USB port.
    A new volume should be mounted.
  7. Locate the newly added disk by using “diskutil list“.
    A new disk should appear. Take note of the number of the disk (e.g. /dev/disk2). 
  8. Unmount all volumes on the new disk using “sudo diskutil umountDisk /dev/diskN” and replace N with the number from Step 7 earlier.
    The system should reply that umount of all volumes on the disk was successful.
    Note: Make sure you have located the correct disk number before proceeding. Everything on the target drive will be erased. 

    Writing the FlashCast bin to USB drive using dd
    Writing the FlashCast bin to USB drive using dd
  9. Write the FlashCast*.bin by using “sudo dd if=flashcast*.bin of=/dev/diskN” where flashcast*.bin points to the correct filename and N is replaced with the disk number from Step 7 earlier.
    For example, “sudo dd if=flashcast-1.1.bin of=/dev/disk2”
  10. Wait for the process to complete before proceeding to the next section.
    Note: The USB drive should be unreadable and system would prompt you to initialise the disk. Do not initialise the USB disk.

 

Setting up the FlashCast USB drive filesystem

Now that the FlashCast image has been written to the drive. It is time for the FlashCast to set up the USB drive filesystem. To do this, perform the following steps:

  1. Connect the Chromecast to the TV.
  2. Ensure that the TV is tuned to the Chromecast input.
  3. Connect the male end of the Micro-USB OTG cable to your Chromecast.
  4. Plug the USB drive to the USB-A female connector of the OTG cable.
  5. Simultaneously hold the button on the Chromecast and connect the Micro-USB power connector to the Micro-USB port of the OTG cable.
    You should see a red light on the Chromecast that last approximately 9 seconds
  6. Only release the button when the light changes from red to white.
    You should see a screen that mentions about FlashCast. It is at this screen you release the button. 

    Rooting it using FlashCast and PwnedCast ROM
    Rooting it using FlashCast and PwnedCast ROM
  7. After showing the FlashCast screen for approximately 9 seconds, the Chromecast will reboot.
  8. Disconnect the power from Chromecast.
  9. Unplug the USB drive from the OTG cable.
  10. Now the filesystem on the USB drive should have been set up properly. Proceed to the next section.

 

Placing PwnedCast ROM into the FlashCast USB drive

We will first download a rooted ROM onto the FlashCast USB drive.

  1. Download the latest release of PwnedCast ROM.
  2. Plug the FlashCast USB drive into your computer.
    A new USB drive should appear.
  3. Copy the downloaded PwnedCast ROM zip file to the root folder (top most level) FlashCast USB drive.
  4. Rename the PwnedCast ROM zip file (on the FlashCast USB drive) to “eureka_image.zip” without the quotes.
    It should appear like E:\eureka_image.zip.
  5. Safely eject the USB drive from your computer.

 

Rooting the Chromecast using PwnedCast and FlashCast

This is the final step and the actual rooting of Chromecast. We proceed to root your Chromecast.

  1. Connect the Chromecast to the TV.
  2. Ensure that the TV is tuned to the Chromecast input.
  3. Connect the male end of the Micro-USB OTG cable to your Chromecast.
  4. Plug the USB drive to the USB-A female connector of the OTG cable.
  5. Simultaneously hold the button on the Chromecast and connect the Micro-USB power connector to the Micro-USB port of the OTG cable.
    You should see a red light on the Chromecast that last approximately 9 seconds
  6. Only release the button when the light changes from red to white.
    You should see a screen that mentions about FlashCast. It is at this screen you release the button.
  7. The FlashCast screen will stay for approximately 6 minutes as it is flashing the Chromecast. As long as the Chomecast LED is white, it is still flashing the PwnedCast ROM.
  8. The Chromecast will automatically reboot once the process completes.
  9. Ensure that you see the following bootloader when it is booting up.

    Successfully rooted the Chromecast with FlashCast and PwnedCast
    Successfully rooted the Chromecast with FlashCast and PwnedCast
  10. Congratulations. You have rooted your Chromecast.

Well, have fun with your rooted Chromecast! Check out Fling and AirCast (mentioned in earlier section).

 

Treat shadowandy!

If these step-by-step guides have been very helpful to you and saved you a lot of time, please consider treating shadowandy to a cup of Starbucks.  

5 thoughts on “The Complete Guide to Rooting Chromecast

  • December 5, 2013 at 5:19 pm
    Permalink

    Thank you for sharing. Your post worth of reading. Waiting for new posts.

  • June 23, 2014 at 9:17 am
    Permalink

    Thank you so so much for giving mac os instruction. really appreciate it.

  • February 2, 2015 at 10:32 am
    Permalink

    Hi Bro,

    Can I still buy the chromecast out there and root them now?
    Heard that new serial number one is un-rootable.

    Thanks in advance!

  • February 4, 2015 at 11:03 pm
    Permalink

    Ken,

    I cannot root it if others said that it is un-rootable. I did some Chromecast root using the (HubCap) Leonardo method though.

Comments are closed.