This story was updated on August 3, 2017 to reflect various updates to the products and processes associated with Chromecasting.
In a perfect world, screen mirroring is something Chromecast users would never need to do.
Compared to apps that support Chromecast natively—letting you hit the Cast button and have just the video appear on the screen moments later—mirroring your entire display is an inferior process. Because the video is streaming to Chromecast from your device instead of the internet, it puts a major drain on battery life and is prone to stuttering or choppiness—especially on slower Wi-Fi connections.
Still, there are times when screen mirroring is your best option. It’s the only way, for instance, to watch Amazon Prime videos on Chromecast, and it’s the simplest method for viewing photos on the big screen from social networks such as Facebook. Screen mirroring is supported on phones running Android 4.4.2 or higher, and web-page mirroring works with any computer running Google’s Chrome browser.