How to Access Desktop Mode From Game Mode on Steam Deck (Tutorial)

how to access desktop mode from game mode on steam deck
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In this guide, I’ll show you how to enable Desktop Mode from Game Mode on Steam Deck so that you can quickly access Desktop Mode without switching entirely from one more or the other.

Desktop Mode overtop of Game Mode allows you to quickly access settings, apps, or features without needing to completely switch.

And the whole process only takes a minute to complete.


To enable this feature, you must run version 3.5.5 of Steam Deck OS or higher. This feature below does not exist in older versions of Steam.

How to Check Your Version of Steam

To check and make sure you have the latest version of SteamOS:

  1. Press the Steam button.

  2. Navigate to Settings > System.

  3. Scroll down and make sure the version you have is 3.5.5 or higher.

From this same screen, you can also Check For Updates to force the newer version of Linux onto your device.

How to Access Desktop Mode From Game Mode on Steam Deck (Step-by-Step)

Switch to Desktop Mode

First, you have to switch to Desktop Mode on the device to get everything setup for the first time. To do this, press down the power button in the top right corner of the device and then select Switch to Desktop.

steam deck switch to desktop

Open Up a Konsole Terminal

Once you are in Desktop, you have to open up a Konsole command line terminal. To do this, click on the Steam icon in the bottom-left corner, type in Konsole and open up the application.

run konsole on steam deck

Add the Nested Desktop Application to Steam

Enter in the command below into the terminal and hit enter:

steamos-add-to-steam /usr/bin/steamos-nested-desktop

This command adds the new SteamOS Nested Desktop application into your Steam interface.

konsole command to install steamos-nested-desktop

Return to Gaming Mode

Double click on the Return to Gaming Mode icon on the desktop to return back into Game mode on Steam Deck.


And that’s it! There will be a SteamOS-Nested-Desktop application in your library that you can run to easily launch Steam Deck’s Desktop Mode on the device.

steamos-nested-desktop in steam library


  • Ryan William

    With over 7 years of hands-on experience in the dynamic world of augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and mixed reality (MR), Ryan is a recognized authority in the field. His collaborations with industry giants like Meta and HTC underscore his expertise in shaping the AR/VR landscape. Ryan has written over 2,000 blog posts, offering in-depth insights, reviews, and analyses of the latest mixed reality technology. From groundbreaking games to cutting-edge hardware, Ryan's extensive knowledge ensures readers are always at the forefront of AR/VR/MR, as well as Steam Deck, news.

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