How to Install Steam on Ubuntu 24.04, 22.04 or 20.04

Steam Client has revolutionized gaming on Linux, bringing a vast library of games and an active community platform to users’ fingertips. It’s not just about playing games; Steam offers a comprehensive suite of features to enhance your gaming experience. Some of the key highlights when using Steam Client on your system include:

  • Steam Play: This feature allows you to buy a game once and play it on any supported platform, providing flexibility and saving money.
  • Big Picture Mode: Designed for use with your TV and game controller, this mode turns your computer into a console-like experience.
  • Steam Workshop: Access thousands of mods and community-created content, expanding your games beyond their original scope.
  • Cloud Saves: Your game progress is saved online, enabling you to pick up where you left off from any device.
  • Family Sharing: Share your games with family members, each with their achievements and saves.
  • Community Hub: Engage with a vibrant community, join groups, form clans, chat in-game, and more.
  • SteamVR: Dive into the virtual reality world with comprehensive support for VR games.

Steam Client on Linux provides access to various entertainment options and represents a significant step forward in gaming technology and community engagement. Now, let’s explore the technical details of installing Steam on your Ubuntu system, ensuring you have access to all these features, and more.

Steam Pre-installation Steps

Update Ubuntu Before Steam Installation

Before proceeding with the installation process for Steam on your Ubuntu system, it is crucial to ensure your system is up-to-date. Keeping your system updated helps prevent any package conflicts that might arise during the installation.

To update all your system packages, run the following command:

sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade

This command will update your Ubuntu system packages and ensure you have installed the latest versions.

Install Initial Packages for Steam

In this step, install additional packages to facilitate Steam installation on your Ubuntu system. These widely used packages are available in most Linux distributions.

To install these packages, run the following command:

sudo apt install software-properties-common apt-transport-https curl -y

These packages provide essential functionality like secure APT, certificate management, and HTTPS support, which helps ensure a smooth installation process.

Enable 32-bit Support For Steam (Optional)

To ensure compatibility with 32-bit and 64-bit games in Steam’s extensive library, enable 32-bit support. Lower-end systems, which often run 32-bit games, particularly benefit from this support. Meanwhile, high-powered systems experience no negative impact from installing additional packages.

To enable 32-bit support on your Ubuntu system, run the following command:

sudo dpkg --add-architecture i386

Enabling 32-bit support, you can enjoy various games on your Ubuntu system, regardless of their requirements.

Select Steam APT Installation Method

Option 1: Install Steam with the Ubuntu Default Repository

To install Steam on your Ubuntu system, use the standard default repository for the initial approach. Although many recommend this method, it may not offer the most recent stable release of the Steam client. If you want the latest version, opt for the second method.

To install Steam using the Ubuntu default repository, run the following command:

sudo apt install steam-installer steam-devices

This command installs the Steam installer and required device packages from the Ubuntu default repository.

Option 2: Install Steam on Ubuntu via Steam APT Repository

The second method of installing Steam on your Ubuntu system involves importing the official Steam repository using the APT package manager. While this approach requires a few more steps, it ensures that you always have the latest and most up-to-date version of Steam directly from the source.

Import Steam GPG Key

First, you need to import the GPG key that verifies the authenticity of the Steam package installer. Run the following command in your terminal:

curl -s http://repo.steampowered.com/steam/archive/stable/steam.gpg | sudo gpg --dearmor -o /usr/share/keyrings/steam.gpg > /dev/null

This command securely downloads the GPG key and stores it in your system’s keyring.

Add Steam APT Repository

Next, add the official Steam repository to your system by executing the following command:

echo deb [arch=amd64 signed-by=/usr/share/keyrings/steam.gpg] http://repo.steampowered.com/steam/ stable steam | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/steam.list

This command adds the official Steam repository to your APT sources list, ensuring you can install packages.

Update APT Cache After Steam PPA Import

Now, update the APT package information to recognize the newly imported repository:

sudo apt update

This command updates your system’s package information to include packages from the newly added Steam repository.

Install the Steam on Ubuntu via APT Command

Finally, install the Steam Launcher and its required dependencies with the following command:

sudo apt-get install \
  libgl1-mesa-dri:amd64 \
  libgl1-mesa-dri:i386 \
  libgl1-mesa-glx:amd64 \
  libgl1-mesa-glx:i386 \
  steam-launcher

This command installs the Steam Launcher and the necessary OpenGL libraries for 64-bit and 32-bit architectures.

Fix Steam Extra Sources List (Steam PPA)

Steam might have added two extra files for the stable and beta clients while installing the Steam PPA method. These need to be removed, or you cannot update your packages.

Note: This can be skipped if you did not install Steam from the Steam APT PPA and utilized the default Ubuntu repository.

List Steam Extra Sources Files

Run the following command to list all current Steam sources lists in your /etc/apt/sources.list.d repository:

ls /etc/apt/sources.list.d/steam*

This command will display the Steam sources lists present in your /etc/apt/sources.list.d directory.

Remove Steam Extra Sources Lists

You might see three files. At the beginning of this guide, you imported the steam.list, which is the correct one. The others are not necessarily incorrect but are redundant. While some users may think of using the beta version, it often lags behind the latest Steam stable version. Do not install Steam from beta unless an actual beta is available and announced.

In your terminal, run the following commands to remove the excess sources:

sudo rm /etc/apt/sources.list.d/steam-beta.list
sudo rm /etc/apt/sources.list.d/steam-stable.list

These commands will remove the unnecessary Steam sources lists from your system.

If you accidentally delete all three, re-import the sources list from this guide at the beginning of the section.

Refresh APT Index

Next, run an APT update to ensure your package list works correctly now:

sudo apt update

This command updates your system’s package information to reflect the removal of the extra Steam sources lists.

Launching Steam User Interface

CLI Method to Launch Steam

If you’re already working in your terminal, you can quickly launch Steam with the following command:

steam

GUI Method to Launch Steam

While the terminal option is helpful for quick access, most users prefer launching Steam directly from the desktop. To do this, follow the steps below:

  1. Click on the “Activities” or “Applications” menu, depending on your Ubuntu desktop environment.
  2. Search for “Steam” in the search bar.
  3. Click on the “Steam” icon to launch the application.

First-time Setup with Steam

Install the Required Packages for Steam

When you launch Steam for the first time, a terminal window may appear, prompting you to install additional packages necessary for running the client. Follow the on-screen instructions and proceed with the installation.

Note: If you have enabled 32-bit support on your system, you might encounter two prompts asking you to install the required packages.

Download and Update Steam Components

Once launched, you will observe a series of automatic pop-up windows showing Steam downloading and updating its components. Now, all you need to do is sit back and wait for the process to finish. For most users, this update should take only a few minutes.

Log in or Create a New Steam Account

Once the updates finish, the Steam Launcher login window will greet you. You can sign in with your existing Steam account or create a new one if you do not already have one.

To create a new account, click the “Create a new account” button and follow the on-screen instructions, providing the necessary information to set up your account. If you are signing in with an existing account, enter your account credentials and click “Log in.”

Enjoy Gaming on Steam with Ubuntu

Once logged in or registered, you have completed the Steam installation process and are ready to enjoy the platform’s vast games and features.

Browse the Steam store, discover new games, or search for your favorite titles. You can also socialize with other gamers, join communities, and participate in online multiplayer games. Steam offers a comprehensive gaming experience that caters to various interests and preferences.

Additional Steam Commands

Update Steam

Steam usually updates itself automatically, and Ubuntu desktop users may see notifications of available updates through the APT package manager. However, it’s a good idea to check for updates manually from time to time to ensure your Steam client stays up-to-date.

Run the following command in your terminal to check for available updates:

sudo apt update

To apply the available updates, run the following command:

sudo apt upgrade

Remove Steam

If you ever need to remove the Steam software from your Ubuntu system, follow these steps:

Run the following command in your terminal to uninstall Steam:

sudo apt remove steam*

For users who installed the Steam APT repositories, remove the repository using the following command:

sudo rm /etc/apt/sources.list.d/steam.list

Lastly, if you added the Steam APT repository and imported the GPG key, use the following command to remove the imported GPG key:

sudo rm /usr/share/keyrings/steam-archive-keyring.gpg

Conclusion

Throughout this guide, we’ve walked you through setting up Steam on Ubuntu 24.04, 22.04, and 20.04 LTS, covering everything from installation options to optimizing your gaming experience. We hope these tips help you dive into Steam’s vast library with ease, making your Linux gaming more enjoyable and hassle-free. Remember, whether you’re tweaking settings for better performance, organizing your game library, or customizing your profile, the key is to make Steam work best for you. Happy gaming on Ubuntu, and here’s to many epic gaming sessions ahead!

Joshua James
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