Steam Deck Troubleshooting

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Dec 24, 2008
United Kingdom
First steps

Before trying any of the detailed troubleshooting or contacting Steam Support, be sure you've tried the following:

  • Install any available system updates (Steam > Settings > System > Software Updates).
  • Restart your Steam Deck (from the Software Updates section or via Steam > Power > Restart).
  • Make sure that any third party applications that you have installed via Desktop Mode are exited or disabled and retest your issue.
  • If your Steam Deck is powered on but unresponsive, you can force a restart by holding the power button down for three seconds. If it remains unresponsive, there may be an OS-level issue. In this case, try holding the power button down for a full 10 seconds.

Power and charging

If it's your first time using your Steam Deck, you'll need to plug it in for a short time using the provided power supply in order to wake it from the battery-saving shipment mode. If you've used your Steam Deck before but it's currently not powering on, plug it in and check the LED next to the charging port.
  • If the LED is lit, the unit is receiving charge. The LED will remain lit when the unit reaches full charge.
  • If the LED flashes after pressing the power button, the battery is currently depleted. Plug it in using the provided PSU, confirm the LED is on, and leave it to charge for at least 15 minutes before powering it on.
  • If your Steam Deck appears to be charging normally but the power button is unresponsive, you can try holding the Volume + button while powering it on, then selecting
    to boot from the BIOS options.
If your device has been left on the charger for long periods of time, it may report less than 100% charge. This is normal. We allow the battery to slowly discharge after long periods of time under charge to optimize long-term battery health.

Steam Deck uses USB Power Delivery and does not support Fast Charging or Quick Charge specifications.


If you're having some trouble with inputs, you can go to Steam > Settings > Controller > Test Controller Inputs to run a test suite to help identify any problems. Complete the tests and exit with a long press of the B button.

There are many convenient button shortcuts you can use. For example, you can bring up the on-screen keyboard by pressing Steam + X.

Hold down the Steam button to see a list of all available shortcuts.

Controller configurations
To change your controls for an individual game, go to game details by highlighting a game in your Library and pressing the A button. Open the control settings by selecting the gamepad icon. Here, you can view and edit your current layout. You can also browse and apply configurations that have been shared by the community by selecting the current template and navigating to Community Layouts with R1.


The display is capped at a 60Hz refresh rate. The cap can be lowered to 30Hz in the device settings, but individual application settings with refresh rates above 60Hz won't improve performance and may drain battery charge faster.


Audio settings can be adjusted from Steam > Settings > Audio.

If there's no sound coming through the built-in speakers, make sure you don't have another audio-enabled device connected via Bluetooth, USB-C, or the 3.5mm jack, then switch to a different output and back to default speakers. You should also check to make sure UI sounds are enabled (Steam > Settings > Audio > Enable UI Sounds).

If there is still no audio then restart your system (Steam > Power > Restart).

Most 3.5mm and Bluetooth audio devices should work naturally with Steam Deck, but there may be specific devices that have problems interacting with SteamOS or do not work at all. We're continuously working to accommodate the largest possible range of third party devices.

The built-in microphone will be unavailable when using the 3.5mm audio plug. Be sure to use headphones with a built-in mic if you want to use voice while listening on 3.5mm audio.
The built-in microphone will still be available while using a Bluetooth audio device.


To pair a Bluetooth device, make sure that it is in pairing mode. Check your device's information if you're not sure how to do this. Then go to Steam > Settings > Bluetooth, find your device in the list, and either use the touch screen to select it or press the Menu button to see pairing options. If you're having trouble connecting to a previously paired device, you can try forgetting and re-pairing your device instead.

Bluetooth device not listed
If you're not able to find your Bluetooth device, you can go to Settings > Bluetooth, and toggle the "Show all devices" toggle to ON.

Latency issues
If you're experiencing latency or other performance issues with your Bluetooth device, start by disconnecting and reconnecting the device to refresh your connection. If the problem persists, you may want to forget and re-pair the device. If you're still having problems, you may want to change to a different A2DP codec such as SBC or AptXLL. You can do this from the Sound Settings in Desktop Mode (see below).


If this is your first time using your Steam Deck, you'll be prompted to connect to a Wi-Fi network during the setup process. You can use the onscreen keyboard to enter your password. You will need Wi-Fi access during the setup process so that you can log into your Steam account.

If you've already set up your Steam Deck and would like to connect to a different network, go to Steam > Settings > Internet, select your network, and enter the password using the onscreen keyboard.

Data storage

Your Steam Deck uses built-in storage by default. You can manage your system storage, as well as any other connected storage, from Steam > Settings > Storage.

MicroSD cards
MicroSD cards will need to be formatted before they can be used with your Steam Deck. To format a microSD card, insert it into the slot on the bottom surface and go to Steam > Settings > System > Format SD card. It may take a few minutes to complete the process.

Any UHS-I (class 3 or better) microSD card is supported. Steam Deck does not support UHS-II.

Desktop Mode

To access Desktop Mode, go to Steam > Power > Switch to Desktop. You can navigate the desktop by using the right Trackpad to move the mouse, R2 to left-click, and L2 to right-click.

While in Desktop Mode, Steam Deck functions like a normal PC - you can browse the internet, download and install applications, and run programs outside of Steam. Please note that Desktop Mode is still part of SteamOS, so you'll need to make sure that anything you're trying to use supports the Arch Linux distribution.

Care and maintenance


We recommend using the provided case for both short-term and long-term storage to avoid dust ingress, drop damage, and other issues.

  • Use a dry microfiber cloth to clean the display.
  • Use a small amount of isopropyl alcohol with a dry cloth to clean external plastic surfaces.
  • Do not use isopropyl alcohol or other liquids when cleaning around heatsink and fan vents, input wells (around buttons, trackpads, and thumbsticks), speakers, or ports. Use a dry cloth only.
  • Avoid using compressed air devices to clean the heatsink and fan vents, as this may interfere with internal components.

The Steam Deck's safe storage temperature range is between -20° - +60° C (-4° - +140° F).

The Steam Deck's safe operational ranges are:
  • Temperature - 0° - +35° C (+32° - +95° F)
  • Humidity - up to 85% non-condensing relative humidity
  • Altitude - up to 3500m

Long term storage
If you won't be using your Steam Deck for a while and would like to place it back into shipping mode to increase long term battery health, you can use the following steps to do so:
  • With the power supply plugged in, shut down the unit from Steam > Power. Check that the unit is completely off. There should be no haptic feedback from the trackpads.
  • Hold Volume+ and Quick Access (...) for 10 seconds. Then unplug the power supply while still holding those buttons down.
  • If done correctly, the LED should flash 3 times. A quick press of the power button should produce no response.
  • To wake your Steam Deck from shipping mode, plug in the provided power supply and power it on normally.
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