How to Download, Install and Play Steam Games on a Mac | Quick Guide 2022

How to Download Install and Play Steam Games on a mac

If you’re wondering how to play games on a Mac then the best way is to download and use Steam.  

I’ve been a member of Steam for over 10 years and have always found their service to be simply amazing. 

They offer a wide range of premium games and DLC content which can be downloaded to a Mac and all that’s required is a functional Steam account, the Steam application installed on the Mac and a valid credit card/debit card to purchase new games or extension packs.

If this is your first time using Steam on a Mac, read on as I take you through “How to Download Install and Play Steam Games on a Mac”.

How to Download, Install and Play Steam Games on a Mac

How to Download and Install Steam on a Mac

Installing Steam on a Mac is quite easy and all it takes is the right Mac operating system. 

To get Steam to work on a Mac, the system needs to have at least 1GB of drive space and should run on macOS 10.7 (Lion) or later.

How to Download Install and Play Steam Games on a mac

Older versions of macOS won’t support the Steam app and will throw compatibility warnings if you try installing the app.

  • If you have a newer version of macOS, you can download the Steam application from the official website
  • Once you click on the Install Steam button, the application will start the download process and a steam.dmg file will be downloaded to your Downloads folder on the Mac.
  • Next, locate the Steam.dmg file and double click on it to launch the installer.
  • Click on Agree
  • Once the app installs, drag the Steam icon into the Applications folder shortcut on your Mac
  • While launching Steam, if there happens to be an error warning “application downloaded from the internet”, proceed to click on Open as that’s Mac’s built-in security informing you that the app is a third-party software..

How to Setup an Account on the Steam App?

When the Steam application has been installed on the Mac, in order to play games or download any onto your computer, you will need to create a Steam account.

How to Download Install and Play Steam Games on a mac

You can choose to create an account via the Steam website or you can do so when the Steam app launches on your Mac.

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If it’s the latter, follow these steps:

  • Click on Create New Account and then go through the terms and conditions.
  • Once done, create a name and password for your account
  • Click on Next and then key in your email address for security reasons.
  • Now, click on Finish and a confirmation email will be sent to the registered email address.
    • Click on the link in the email to verify your email address
  • Once your account has been created, the Steam app will notify you that a mobile number  is required to keep the account secure.
    • You will be able to use Steam to download and play games on a Mac once the account has been created and verified.

How to Find Games for a Mac using Steam?

So the Steam app is pretty easy to use and all the important categories are listed at the top of the main  page. 

To find games on Steam you will have to click on the Store option and then choose any game from the list that appears on the page. You will be able to view every Steam compatible game ever made and that will include Windows, Mac as well as SteamOS.

How to Download Install and Play Steam Games on a mac

In order to make it easier to choose a specific game from the list, navigate to the right half of the page and then filter the games based on the OS by clicking the “Mac OS X” checkbox.

If you’re looking for a particular title, you can enter the name of the game in the search bar and click on the Search button to try and locate the game in the Steam app.

How to Install Games using Steam on a Mac?

Since the Steam app is essentially an app store that hosts games to download, all you’d have to do is select the game you want, download the game and then install it on your Mac.

However, there are three types of games available on Steam; Free to Play, Premium and Demos

How to Download Install and Play Steam Games on a mac

If a game is free to play then clicking on the Download and Install button will create a local copy of the game on your Mac which can be played at any time by double clicking on the game icon from the Library/Finder

A paid game on the other hand requires that you first buy the game and only when the purchase is successful will you be able to download the game locally onto your Mac.

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A demo lets you download the game for free and after the demo period is over (mostly 30 days), you will then be made to purchase the full version of the game if you wish to continue playing.

How to Download Install and Play Steam Games on a mac

One thing to remember while using the Steam app to purchase a game is that you will be asked if the purchase is for you or if you’re planning on gifting the game to someone else. 

Only if the game is for you can you download it on your Mac. If the game is for someone else then only that person will be able to download and play the game by signing into the Steam app using their registered credentials.

How to Play Steam Games on a Mac?

Steam doesn’t run games and will instead launch the game as a standalone app on the Mac. 

This is mainly due to the fact that all the games listed on Steam are made by different developers and no two games will have the same layout or control options.

So to make things easier for players and game developers, Steam has forfeited the ability to play the game and the Steam engine will only be used to keep players connected to the online gaming world.

How to Download Install and Play Steam Games on a mac

Games will launch similar to how a regular game would on a Mac and icons are created and stored every time a game is downloaded, so if you do not have the Steam app up and running, simply open Finder and double-click on the game you want to play.

Since all games have different controls and shortcut keys, you will have to refer to the in-game settings to find out what the controls are of that game. 

The only function that would remain standard is the switcher shortcut key (Cmd + Tab) to switch between games and apps.

Another point to note is that since the games run using Steam’s engine, every time a game is launched, the Steam app will also run in the background and you will be made to sign into your Steam account to play the game or access saved files.

Pros and Cons of using the Steam App on a Mac

The Steam app is relatively easy to useThe app tends to hang at times
Games are available at reduced pricesThe app also requires high-speed internet to stay connected
Has a mix of Free to Play and Premium titles
Has its own built-in game engine
The app receives regular updates

Troubleshooting Steam for Mac

Because the Steam app is linked to all the games, you will not be able to play anything if the Steam app is acting funny. I know because there were many instances where the Steam app randomly failed and the game stopped working.

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However, there are quite a few fixes that you can try if your Steam app does decide to die on you.

  • The easiest fix is to close and reopen the Steam app. Sometimes, closing the app will shutdown any tasks related to the app and restarting it will launch a fresh copy of the app. You can either use Activity Monitor to close the app, or right click on the app icon in the dock and then click on Quit.
  • Another fix is to check for an update and immediately download the new version of Steam. The new update should carry bug fixes that can get the app to work again.
  • You can also try using the Steam app in Safe Mode on your Mac and if it doesn’t run even in Safe Mode you can try the next fix.
  • Reinstalling Steam will always work, but while reinstalling Steam you need to ensure that all the files and folders except for the /Steamapps folder need to be deleted from the Mac before you can install a fresh copy of the app.
  • The final option is to check if your Mac has a pending update. Normally when the Mac has an update, the system itself will prevent Steam and some other third party apps from running until the system is updated to the latest version.


Steam is one sure shot way you can access top gaming titles on your Mac and the best part is the Steam app is free to download and a majority of the game titles on the app can be purchased at discounted prices.

While not every single game might be compatible with macOS, a significant portion of the games on Steam do and there are hundreds of games available such as Hitman, Counter Strike, Call of duty series, God of war, FIFA, Skyrim and loads more.

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