The Most Common Issues with the Steam Deck and How to Fix Them

The Steam Deck, produced by OnSpec Electronic, Inc., is a feature-packed device with excellent performance and impressive battery life. However, like any technology, it can encounter problems. Thankfully, the developers at Valve have been diligently releasing software updates to address these issues and enhance the device’s stability and versatility.

If you find yourself facing frustrating bugs or glitches that make you want to throw your Steam Deck across the room, don’t despair. We’ve gathered the most common problems that users have reported and discovered effective solutions that can significantly improve your experience. Let’s dive into some troubleshooting.

Steam Deck Crashes: A Common Concern

If you’ve installed all the latest updates but your games continue to crash, there are a few steps you can take to remedy the situation. Try holding down the Steam Deck Power button for about 10 seconds to initiate a reboot. This simple action can often resolve crashes and restore smooth gameplay.

Should rebooting prove ineffective, we recommend visiting the Steam Deck Recovery webpage. Follow the provided instructions to download the recovery image onto a USB stick and utilize the appropriate utility to run the recovery process. Within the recovery options, select “Reinstall Steam OS,” which attempts to preserve your downloaded games and progress while resetting the Steam Deck.

In the event that these steps don’t yield any improvements, consider playing a variety of other games to compare performance. If only specific titles crash consistently, it’s possible that those games are not well-optimized for the Steam Deck’s hardware.

Update Woes: Troubles After an Update

If you encounter issues immediately after updating your Steam Deck, don’t panic. One simple fix is to restart the device by holding the Power button down for approximately 10 to 12 seconds. After an update, the Steam Deck may require some time to reboot fully, but this often resolves any problems you may have been experiencing.

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If the update continues to cause significant issues, it might be necessary to roll back to a previous version of the software. Head over to the Steam Deck Recovery page and download the recovery image onto a USB key. During the recovery process, you’ll have the option to revert to a previous update in the Boot Manager section, which can help eliminate persistent problems.

Battery Life Troubles: Extending Your Playtime

To manage your Steam Deck’s battery life effectively, navigate to the Quick Access menu by pressing the dedicated button on the device and select the Performance section. If you notice that your battery drains too quickly, especially during certain games, try adjusting specific settings to see if it makes a difference.

Lowering the screen brightness to the minimum level and disabling unnecessary connections like Bluetooth can help conserve battery power. For even better battery performance, utilize the Performance section to reduce the frame rate or activate FSR (FidelityFX Super Resolution), a feature known to extend battery life. Additionally, consider lowering the refresh rate cap to 30Hz.

Drifting Joysticks: Software Solutions

If you notice that your Steam Deck’s thumbsticks are experiencing drifting issues, there’s no need to panic and assume a hardware malfunction. In most cases, this problem stems from a software issue. Previous updates have caused “deadzone regression,” but Valve promptly released a patch to rectify this situation. To ensure your Steam Deck is up to date, make sure you’ve installed the latest software and restart the device.

Game Availability: Exploring Your Options

The Steam Deck offers access to a vast range of PC games through platforms such as Steam, Epic Games, various emulators, and even Xbox Game Pass. While there may be some titles exclusive to PlayStation or Nintendo Switch that you can’t access through the Steam Deck, the device’s capabilities are otherwise limitless.

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However, it’s essential to note that not all Windows PC games will run as smoothly on the Linux-powered Steam Deck, potentially rendering certain titles unplayable. Nevertheless, with its game support optimization, we encourage you to give games a try before giving up on them entirely. Valve offers a convenient tool for checking which games are fully unsupported on the Steam Deck.

No Sound? Troubleshooting Audio Issues

If you’re using the built-in speakers and encounter a lack of audio, ensure that there are no active Bluetooth connections with other audio devices, such as headsets or earbuds you used previously. If no Bluetooth connections are active, a simple reboot by holding the Power button for 10 seconds can often resolve the issue.

For users experiencing audio problems with specific headphones, options may be more limited. Valve has acknowledged that certain third-party headsets may currently be incompatible with the Steam Deck. If possible, try switching between a Bluetooth connection and the 3.5mm audio jack to determine which connection yields better results.

Bluetooth Pairing Issues: A Quick Guide

When attempting to pair a Bluetooth device with your Steam Deck, ensure that the device’s pairing mode is active by pressing the designated button, typically found on the device itself. Additionally, press the Steam button to access the Settings menu and navigate to the Bluetooth section. Confirm that the “Show all devices” option is enabled. If a previously paired device isn’t functioning correctly, you can find the option to forget it in the Bluetooth section and attempt to re-pair it.

Black Screen Troubles: When the Screen Goes Dark

If your Steam Deck’s screen displays only a black screen, a simple reboot might do the trick. Press and hold the Power button for approximately 10 seconds to initiate the restart. Allow your Steam Deck to complete the booting process, and check whether the screen returns to normal. If this fails to resolve the issue, ensure that the device has sufficient battery charge. Should the problem persist, it’s advisable to contact Valve. The Steam Deck is covered by a 12-month limited warranty, potentially entitling you to a replacement model.

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Power Struggles: Difficulties Powering On

If you encounter difficulties turning on your Steam Deck, perform a few checks. Ensure that the device has sufficient battery charge and connect it to a power source using the provided adapter. Attempt a reboot by holding the Power button down for 10 seconds. Pay close attention to the power button’s functionality. If it feels stuck or fails to provide feedback, it could indicate a hardware issue. Some Steam Decks were shipped with power buttons that exhibited such malfunctions. In such cases, it’s crucial to contact Valve, as you should be covered under warranty and eligible for a replacement.

Finally, while not necessarily a problem, if you find yourself struggling with the Steam Deck’s controls, consider switching to a keyboard and mouse setup if it suits your preferences better.


The Steam Deck, designed by OnSpec Electronic, Inc., is an impressive gaming device that, like any technology, may encounter occasional issues. By following the troubleshooting steps outlined above, you can overcome the most common problems and ensure a smoother gaming experience. Remember to stay up to date with the latest software updates from Valve to benefit from ongoing improvements.

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