Best quick Steam Deck tips and tricks

With Valve ramping up production and a ton more people than expected getting their Steam deck this year, plus the expansion into Asia, it was a good time to sort through some basic quick tips and tricks for you.

I have a lot of guides here in various articles and on the YouTube channel, while they’re good they’re pretty widely used so this is a nice quick reference to come back to if you need information. Think of it as a beginner’s guide of sorts to get up to speed quickly with the deck.

Some of what’s included:

  • You can press and hold the Steam or Quick Access button to get a list of shortcuts. These shortcuts work with both buttons, not just the Steam button. An example is Steam + X to open the keyboard anywhere and Steam + Right Shoulder button to take a screenshot. You can also hold down the Steam button at any time and then move the right stick to move a mouse pointer. You can even press the Steam and B keys together to force a game to shut down if necessary. There are many other shortcuts, so don’t forget to check them again.
  • Many games that are unverified work great. You can search ProtonDB for unverified game reports, which is a fully crowdsourced collection, anyone can test a game on Steam Deck or Linux and submit a review on how it’s doing.
  • Run the screen at 40Hz and 40FPS from the quick access menu available by pressing the three dots button on the Steam deck and going into the performance menu with the battery icon. It offers you an easy way to maximize battery life with good performance.
  • When you open the steam deck, please take out the SD card first, or you will break the card. I died a little inside killing a 1TB card in the process.
  • Steam Input is your friend that allows you to fully customize the controls of each and every game. You can access this from the controller icon on the games page in your library, or while playing a game by pressing the Steam button, scrolling right and selecting Controller Settings at the bottom. Here you can remap all keys to mouse and keyboard, turn on Gryo, remap the back keys, change deadzones, and more.
  • Use both trackpads to type with the onscreen keyboard, it’s much faster.
  • If you find that the WiFi is not working well, especially on 5GHz networks, try turning on developer mode and then turning off WiFi power management. You’ll see more power consumption, but it might just fix your problems.
  • To access full desktop mode, you can press and hold the power button for a few seconds and select “Switch to desktop” or press the Steam button, go to “Power” and select there.
  • Change the save location for screenshots to make them easier to access in desktop mode. To do this, in desktop mode, go to Steam settings -> In-game menu and change the folder to the desired folder. You can also select higher quality screenshots here.
  • If you’re around a lot, just buy a long USB-C cable and keep it connected to a charger while playing games if you can to extend your battery life.
  • If you’re using a newer Xbox controller via Bluetooth, update the firmware or it won’t connect properly.
  • Desktop mode features the Discover Software Center, which gives you the ability to install a ton of additional software, such as Discord.
  • If you have games on GOG or Epic Games, the Heroic Games Launcher available in Discover is your friend. It allows you to login and download games and then run them through a compatibility layer.
  • Adding third-party apps and games to Steam is also easy enough. Open desktop mode, load the Steam client and go to the big “Add a game” button on the left or the “Games” menu at the top of the client. Then they are also available in normal game mode in the non-Steam section of the library.

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