Installing and Using a MicroSD Card to Download Games on Steam Deck

There are a few different versions of the Steam Deck that players can purchase for themselves. The most obvious difference between these versions is their storage capacity, which in turn slightly increases the price of each version. There is an option of 64 GB, 256 GB and 512 GB when it comes to storage. In modern gaming, 64GB is not enough to download a single AAA game. While the latter options can hold up to five or six games, sometimes players just want more access. If players want more downloaded games, they can purchase and install a microSD card.

A microSD card is a small storage device mainly used to store files such as photos, videos and other data. However, gamers can take advantage of this technology to expand their Steam Deck storage. There are several affordable options for players, varying in storage capacity and read/write times. For example, some 512GB models from reputable brands can be had for under $60.

Once players have determined what price and storage capacity works for them, they can install the card on their Steam Deck and format it to put games on it. Players can read exactly how to do this below.

Installing the MicroSD card

With the microSD card in hand, locate the slot for it on the bottom of the Steam Deck. It is located on the right side of the bottom of the device. Your Steam Deck can be turned on or off for this process. Make sure to hold the card correctly; there should be an arrow on the card showing which way to insert it into the slot. As you insert the card, they need to apply a firm amount of pressure to make sure it goes all the way into the slot. You’ll know the microSD card is fully inserted if it doesn’t protrude from the bottom of the Steam Deck.

If you’ve done everything right, you’ll see a small icon appear at the top of the Steam Deck. If you inserted the card with the Steam Deck turned off, you can turn on the device and see if the icon is on the taskbar at the top of the screen. The icon looks like a postal piece in a square shape. If you see that icon, press it and go to the settings. If you don’t see it, remove the microSD card and try reinserting it.

In the settings, tap the ‘System’ tab on the left under ‘General’. Here you will see an option that says ‘Format SD card’, which you want to click. This will trigger a warning that will make sure you know that formatting this SD card will erase all previous data. If this is a new SD card then you have nothing to worry about. However, if the card has been used before, make sure all data on it is backed up to another device. Click “OK” to format the card.

Install games

This process can take different amounts of time depending on how much storage capacity the card has. Once it’s done, you can install games on it. Before you do that, though, you’ll want to enable the microSD card as your Steam Deck’s default save location. Although, if you didn’t populate your Steam Deck’s pre-installed SSD, keep that as default. When it is full, you can switch to the microSD.

We recommend using the internal SSD to download games that you want to load faster. The microSD card has a slower read/write time, which means that games take longer to load. Once that’s all done, go to your Steam library, select an undownloaded title and choose to download it.

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