Now you can root Google’s Chromecast (again)

It’s been over a year since Google started selling Chromecast. The $35 device plugs into your TV and lets you use a phone, tablet, or desktop web browser as a remote control while streaming internet video from Netflix, Hulu Plus, YouTube, and many other services.

Shortly after the Chromecast launched, developers started trying to find ways to do new things with it — and last July the first security vulnerability was discovered that let users root the device. It didn’t take long for Google to push a software update that removed that capability.

A year later there’s now a new way to root a Chromecast.

chromecast root

A group of developers has released a tool called HubCap which allows you to root a Chromecast running software build 17977 or earlier.

If you plan to root your Chromecast, you should probably do it pretty quickly: Google releases software updates for its media streaming device pretty regularly and it might not take long before the company pushes a patch for the security hole exploited by HubCap. And if you don’t have a rooted and modified Chromecast the only way to prevent it from downloading updates from Google automatically is to keep it turned off or disconnected from the internet.

Unfortunately this particular root method isn’t quite as simple as last year’s. You’ll need a Teensy or Teensy++ USB development board and a USB OTG cable.

HubCap was developer by fail0verflowgtvhacker, and Team Eureka.

via XDA Developers

  • Someone from the other side

    Pardon my ignorance, but what benefit do I get from a rooted chromecast? It never appeared to be much of a platform to me…

    • http://www.liliputing.com/ Brad Linder

      At this point there’s not much reason unless you’re a developer. But if devs *do* come up with some nifty new Chromecast tricks in the future you may want to have a rooted device… And it may be harder to gain root access in the future if google patches this vulnerability.

      • CyberGusa

        Well… There’s mirroring… Something that Chromecast still doesn’t really do by default… There’s also those who live in areas where Google still limits Chromecast usage… along with being able to load up custom firmware from developers that may have enabled features/functions not normally available…

      • Super123

        Mirroring is limited? I though Brad said Miracast was limited.
        Mirroring is something Miracast does by default.
        It’s on default in my Sony TV, which also has a Netflix app.

      • CyberGusa

        Yes, Mirroring is limited because that’s not the primary purpose for Chromecast… It’s like a self contained media streaming receiver that your device just tells it what to stream and from where… which is why you can even turn your device off and the Chromecast will continue to stream what it was last told to…

        This does make it more flexible because it’s not limited to what your device is doing but for use for Mirroring what’s on your device is not what it was intended for and thus it’s limited in that respect by default…

        You can Mirror from a Chrome Browser tab but that’s not exactly the most stable and can lag/stutter and if using a traditional desktop OS then there isn’t much else you can mirror…

        Thus the need for alternate solutions, such as rooting and loading custom firmware… at least, if you want to mirror and not just stream media all the time…

      • Jon

        You can mirror from the chromecast app itself.

      • CyberGusa

        Only from an Android device! So does not apply to any PC device…

      • Killerc

        @CyberGusa:disqus While that may of been true when you wrote that it certainly isnt now. Chromecast streams fine from pc, video 1080pHD + 7.1 ac3 audio. I’ll leave it there because reading the rest you have no clue what youre on about for some reason, youve created a feature that doesnt exist and a problem that was a non issue.

      • CyberGusa

        First, you’re replying to a post that’s over 7 months old! At the time what was stated was absolutely true!

        Second, the primary point of Chromecast is to stream… This has not changed! Mirroring is a secondary feature and is thus inherently limited even though they have improved that function a bit now…

        Really, this is the selling point of Chromecast that you can stream from nearly any source and it will handle it after you tell it what to do… Unless the file is on your PC you can even turn your PC, or mobile device, off and continue to watch the video or listen to the music!

        So, if you’re arguing against that then you don’t understand what Chromecast is all about or at the very least don’t understand the difference from streaming and mirroring…

        And yes, mirroring is still limited as it works by effectively streaming video to your computer from the internet via your router, then streaming it back to your router and then streaming it out once more to your TV, resulting in heavy network traffic and even for a direct mirroring technology like Miracast bandwidth is very important to how smooth it can function, especially as audio has to share the bandwidth and any interference on the same frequencies (2.4GHz especially) further reduces it and is why many can’t use the feature for something that requires close to real time responsiveness like for gaming…

        So, it does very well when doing what it was intended and streaming music or videos but mirroring was never its intended function and is something they just added to better compete against the competition…

    • phissith

      My question exactly!

  • Tired8281

    I had a Chromecast at launch that I was able to root. The only good trick I was able to make it do was to sell on ebay for $100.

  • MikeG

    Chromecast app on android allows full mirroring of the device, works excellent considering what its doing. Videos playback very well, I use it to cast redbull live events from there app because there app doesn’t cast live events as well as there baked in chromecast support does’nt work. Go to Chromecast app and pull out side menu and select cast screen,easy as that. if you turn off screen you lose video, if your listening to music apps they will keep playing I believe.

    • Android user

      I believe that only works with 4.4 KitKat Android.

  • Rabidmob

    It’s kind of sad that you have to hack your device to get admin control of it, doesn’t seem to help security.

    • Killerc

      Except you don’t need admin control as root does nothing as there is nothing developed. Like everything though it all starts from a jailbreak/rooted device so knowing how to root rom versions is going to be critical if they do come up with some amazing feature that can only be used as root.

  • Danny Maldonado

    I am one of the lucky ones that purchased a root-able one when they first came out and never saw the reason why root then and I still don’t see one now unless they come up with some crazy stuff I don’t see why you should do this