We had a friend visiting us this weekend. At one point while we were talking about this, that and the other thing, he asked if I had noticed that my Tunein app wouldn’t cast to my Google Minis since the latest update.
“My Tunein app can cast to my Google Minis,” was my rather unhelpful reply.
“Yeah, I use it all the time to listen to ball games and now it won’t work.”
“Wait, ball games? Like you mean the baseball ones that we pay for?”
And so it was that I learned that you can, in fact, play Tunein Premium audio on your Google speaker. You can’t do it in the way that you should be able to do it, but something is often better than nothing.
The key is the cast button in the now playing view of each station. Duh, right? How did you not know that, Steve?
The answer to that question lies mostly in habit. I’ve been using Tunein for a lot longer than I’ve owned smart speakers. I’ve seen that button, but it’s just become part of the furniture at this point, something I skipped over originally because I didn’t have any devices that could take advantage of it and continued not to bother with because I figured I’d need a chromecast or some shit to make it work. Beyond this one thing I have no use for one of those at this point, so it never really occurred to me to muck about in there.
Which brings me back to the weekend and the revelation that my tendency to leave well enough alone may have had me missing out.
Wanting to see if I could fix my buddy’s broken, I fired up the Tunein app and tried to cast a game. And what do you know, tapping on the cast button didn’t cause me to get yelled at about needing technology I didn’t have. It brought up a list of available speakers and all I had to do was tap the one I wanted. Cool.
And it was then that I found the aforementioned broken.
If the audio is already playing on your phone, it no longer automatically switches over when you select a device to cast to. Worse yet, you can’t just stop it and start it again once you’re casting, because the stop button is dimmed and the play button does nothing when you mash it. So you’re left with audio that plays neither on your phone nor your speaker.
But I did manage to get around this, much to the joy of my friend and I. So for the benefit of anyone either having the same problem or trying to figure out how to do this in the first place, here’s what I did. Note that I’m using Voiceover on an iPhone, so if my instructions sound a little weird to some of you, that’ll be why.
- Open Tunein and find the stream you’d like to cast. Double tap it to make sure it plays.
- Since it won’t automatically switch the audio from your phone to your speaker, once you hear audio on your phone, hit stop.
- Double tap the button that says something along the lines of cast not connected state.
- A list of available devices should appear. Double tap the one you want. It may take a bit longer, but within a few seconds you should hear the sound of your stream coming from it.
If you forget to hit stop before trying to cast and all you get is either nothing or a short tone, no worries.
- Hit the close button near the left of the screen. This should take you back to where you were, I.E. your home screen or your search results.
- Once there, find a different station and start playing it. This should get the audio playing from your selected device.
- Once it does, hit the close button again, find the stream that you did want to hear (it should be near the top of your recent list in the home screen) and double tap it. Since casting is now working, it should switch pretty quickly and you should be good to go.
Oddly, if you do forget to stop and have to do the play a different station from your recents trick, you can’t just play the station you’re already on. You have to select a different one and then switch back. I have no idea why, but I tested this three or four times and got the same result in every case, so that’s just how it works.
And handily, the cast function won’t take the rest of your audio with it, so you’re free to listen to the game or a podcast or one of those commercial free music streams without it having to compete with voiceover or your ringtones as you use your phone for everything else.
So there. It’s not exactly “hey Google, play the Toronto Blue Jays on Tunein,” but it’ll work until Google and Tunein decide they’d like to be awesome and sort out this very obvious shortcoming.