How to Install a MicroSD Card and Use It to Download Games to Steam Deck

ByLance T. Lee

May 17, 2022

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

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

Once players determine the price and storage capacity that suits them, they can then install the card on their Steam Deck and format it to hold games. Below, players can find out exactly how to do this.

Installing the MicroSD card

With the microSD card in hand, find the corresponding slot at the bottom of the Steam Deck. This is located on the bottom right side of the device. Your Steam Deck can be enabled or disabled for this process. Be sure to hold the card the right way up; there should be an arrow on the card indicating which way it should be inserted into the slot. When you insert the card, they need to exert firm pressure to ensure it goes fully into the slot. You will know that the microSD card is fully inserted if it does not protrude from the bottom of the Steam Deck.

If you’ve done everything correctly, 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 at the top of the screen in the taskbar. The icon looks like a square-shaped mail. If you see this icon, tap it and you will be taken to settings. If you don’t see it, remove the microSD card and try inserting it again.

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

Install games

This process may take more or less time depending on the storage capacity of the card. Once done, you can start installing games on it. Before you do that, though, you want to enable the microSD card as your Steam Deck’s default storage location. However, if you haven’t populated your Steam Deck’s pre-installed SSD, keep it as default. Then, when it’s full, you can switch to microSD.

We recommend that you use the internal SSD to download the games you want to load faster. The microSD card doesn’t have such fast read/write times, so it will take longer to load games. Once all of this is done, go to your Steam library, select an undownloaded title, and choose to download it.

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