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How to set up Steam Link on iPhone, iPad and Apple TV

How to set up Steam Link on iPhone, iPad and Apple TV

What is Steam Link?

Initially, Steam Link was a $ 50 set-top box that you connected to the TV. It allowed you to stream your Steam library from a host computer on the same network. He arrived with those already missing initiative Steam engine Valve .

Because most gamers now own mobile devices, smart TVs and set-top boxes, Valve discontinued the hardware version in favor of an application-based solution. However, Apple removed the Steam Link app from Valve Software in May 2018, citing «commercial disputes.»

Much has changed since then, including the addition of support for the Xbox Wireless controller and PlayStation 4 DualShock. Meanwhile, Valve has added Bluetooth Low Energy support to its custom Steam controller so players can pair it with mobile devices.

The Steam Link app finally returned in May 2019, allowing PC gamers to play their favorite Steam titles on iPhone, iPad and Apple TV.

It is no longer blocked for home networks

According to Valve, the host computer must have a minimum quad-core processor to use Steam Link. The company does not specify other recommended or minimum hardware requirements. However, your PC should run your library at an acceptable resolution and frame rate, even during streaming.

The host PC must also use a wired (Ethernet) or connection 5 GHz wireless. The first is the best option, although most home networks do not have Ethernet cables everywhere. The same is recommended for client computers.

Finally, Valve expanded the streaming component of Steam (now called Remote Play) in June 2019. As long as you associate the host and client, and the host remains actively connected to the Internet, you can stream your library directly from your computer from anywhere , not just when I’m home. Again, however, the network connection is vital, especially if you want to stream games over a cellular connection.

Finally, the game is based on the host computer’s hardware, local area network connection, local traffic, and client device. To stream outside your home, you need to consider additional factors, including internet bandwidth, wireless service provider connection, and proximity to the nearest Valve data center.

In this guide, we’ll show you how to enable Remote Play, pair controllers, and connect Apple devices.

Enable remote playback (Steam)

To enable Remote Play, turn on your host computer, open Steam, and sign in to your account. Click «Steam» in the upper left corner, then select «Settings» from the drop-down menu.

In the pop-up panel, click «Remote Play» ( previously «Live streaming from home» ) and then click the checkbox next to «Enable Remote Play» if it is not already checked.

Click "Remote playback" and then click the checkbox next to "Enable remote playback" to enable this option.

Then click «Advanced Host Options» under the list of associated devices. On the next screen, you can make adjustments to allow the best possible remote playback.

To begin, turn off the sound on the host. Select the «Enable hardware encryption» and «Prioritize network traffic» options, then click OK.

You can experiment with the other settings and see how streaming works on your network.

Select the desired options from the "Advanced Host Options" menu, then click OK.

For best results, don’t allow Steam to change the resolution to suit your streaming client. For example, if you stream to a 4K TV, but your PC can’t resolve that resolution, you’ll experience low frame rates and delayed entry. If necessary, you can manually adjust the resolution in the game to suit the client device.

Another option is to adjust the capture resolution dynamically. This bases the image quality on the network bandwidth. So if someone starts watching Hulu or Netflix while streaming a game, this option reduces the resolution so that they don’t experience slow frame rates or delays.

Connect compatible controllers to Apple TV

We’ll start with Apple TV. You may want to enable this option if you have a huge 4K TV connected to your Apple TV device. Or maybe you work on the computer all day and you don’t want to sit in front of one to play games. This setup gives you a console experience.

First, select the wheel icon on your Apple TV to open the «Settings» application.

Select the "Settings" application.

Then use the Siri Remote trackpad to highlight «Remotes and devices»; press down on the trackpad to select it.

Select "Remote controls and devices".

On the next screen, highlight «Bluetooth» and then tap down on the trackpad to select it.

Select "Bluetooth".

Here’s how to pair the controller:

  • MFi controller: press and hold the dedicated Bluetooth button.
  • Xbox wireless controller: press and hold the Connect Back button.
  • DualShock PlayStation 4 controller: press and hold the PS and Share buttons until the light bar flashes.

When your controller appears in the «Other devices» list, select it and then press down on the trackpad of the remote control. After a while, Apple TV moves the controller to «My Devices.»

Of course, not all controllers work the same. Here are some shortcuts you can press for entries that are not physically available in your model:

A list of shortcuts to the Steam Link controller.

Connect compatible controllers to iPhone and iPad

The process of connecting a controller to an iPhone or iPad is similar to the one described above, but it is much shorter. Just tap «Settings» and then «Bluetooth».

Make sure the «Bluetooth» option is turned on (green). When Bluetooth is turned on, your driver appears in the «Other devices» list. Touch it and it will move to «My Devices».

You do not need a controller to play games on an iPhone or iPad. Steam Link includes touch screen controls, similar to what you see in mobile games, such as a virtual «D» keyboard and action buttons.

This might be the ideal input for an iPhone, but not necessarily an iPad, depending on its size.

Connect a steam controller (optional)

If you have the exclusive Valve game controller, you can pair it with an Apple device after you’ve done a firmware update. To get started, connect the controller to your computer using a USB cable.

Then open Steam and sign in to your account. Click «Steam» in the upper left corner, then select «Settings» from the drop-down menu.

Click "Steam" and then select "Settings."

Click «Driver» in the list on the left, then click «General Driver Settings.»

Click "Driver" and then "General Driver Settings."

In the «Big Picture» Steam pop-up window that appears, select Steam Controller from the «Detected Controllers:» list. When its details appear on the right, click «Bluetooth FW» to update the firmware.

Click "Bluetooth FW" to update the firmware.

If you haven’t already, the update adds the ability to pair your Steam Controller with mobile devices using Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE).

Click «Start» to begin, but as indicated in the BLE update pop-up window, please do not disconnect the USB cable during the update.

Click "Start."

To use the Steam controller with the Steam Link application, you must activate Bluetooth LE pairing mode. Here are the four modes supported by Steam Controller now:

  • «Y» button + «Steam» button = Bluetooth LE Pairing mode: pair the controller with a mobile device.
  • «B» button + «Steam» button = Bluetooth LE mode: starts the controller in BLE mode.
  • «X» button + «Steam» button = Handset pairing mode: pair the controller with the wireless receiver supplied via USB (not Bluetooth).
  • «A» button + «Steam» button = Dongle mode: starts the controller in the original Receiver mode.

Then see the Bluetooth instructions in the Apple TV and iPhone / iPad sections to connect your Steam Controller to your Apple TV, iPhone, or iPad.

Set up Steam Link

With the host and drivers ready, you can download and install the Steam Link app. Open it and then click or tap «Start» on the home screen.

You will then be asked to pair a controller. This step simply provides instructions so you can skip them (if you followed the steps above, your controller is already associated, anyway).

Click or tap "Skip".

If you’re playing games on an iPhone or iPad, select «Use touch control» to use an on-screen game controller.

Select "Use touch control".

On the «Connect to computer» screen, select the host computer. If it is not listed, click or tap «Scan». If it still does not appear, check the network connection and computer firewall settings and verify that the firewall and the client device are on the same network.

The "Connect to Computer" menu in the Steam app.

After selecting the host computer, Steam Link provides a four-digit PIN.

The "Enter PIN" screen in the Steam app.

Enter this number in the Steam message that appears on the host computer screen, and then click «OK.»

Enter the PIN number and then click "OK".

Once paired, Steam Link tests the network connection between your host computer and the client device. Click or tap «OK» after completing the test.

Click OK.  "

If you go back to the «Remote Play» settings on Steam, you should now see the associated paired devices. For the following example, we add an iPhone and an Apple TV.

The "Remote Play" menu showing an "iPhone" and associated Apple TV "living room".

Ideally, you want to use the same network to pair the host and the client. However, if this is not possible, click or tap «Other computer» on the «Connect to computer» screen to retrieve a four-digit PIN.

On the host computer, go to Steam’s «Remote Play» settings, click «Pair Steam Link», and then enter your four-digit PIN.


At the end of the setup, the initial screen confirms the connection to the host computer and controller. It also provides a brief description of the overall quality of the connection (good, poor, etc.).

Select «Start playing» to upload to Steam’s Big Picture mode. After that, select the library and you will be able to launch any Steam game installed on the host computer.

Select "Start playing".

Select «Setup» to change hosts, configure the controller, or adjust broadcast settings. Note that you can test your connection in the network settings. There is also an «Advanced» section, where you can enable desktop playback, bandwidth or resolution, and more.