Where Does Steam Save Games? (on Windows, macOS, and Linux)

Lindsay Hayes

Steam's default location for saving games depends on your OS. On Windows, it stores game files by default in the C:/Program Files (x86)/Steam/Steamapps/Common folder. With a Mac, go into Library/Application Support/Steam/userdata. For Linux, it's the user data folder in .local/share/Steam. However, you can choose a custom save location during installation.

In the past, I've tried to uninstall apps or games for some extra space and found that the uninstaller application leaves some files behind. It's because of this that I set out to find where Steam installs games on your computer. I started with Windows, but I eventually found out where the files for your Steam games are, regardless of the operating system.

So, where does Steam save games? I put this guide together to answer that question and more. Let's get right into it.


Where Do Steam Game Files Go By Default?

If you're looking for where a specific game's files are stored when you install it through Steam, it will always be in the same folder as the main Steam files.

However, you might not know exactly where to find Steam's installation files in the first place, especially if you're using macOS or Linux.

Don't worry though, I'll show you exactly where to find the folders for each Steam game that you have installed.

Note that these are the default locations for each operating system. During installation, you have the option to choose a custom directory. However, if you don't change it, these are the folders used.

Gamer Playing Online Game on the PC

"Program Files" in Windows

Finding where your Steam game saved files are is actually very straightforward on Windows. These files are stored in the C:/Program Files (x86)/Steam/Steamapps/Common folder, though it may also be in another drive such as D:

Here's what you need to do:

  1. Open Windows Explorer. You can do this quickly by pressing the Windows key + "E".
  2. Open your boot drive, which is usually the C: drive for most people. You can access this from the side panel.
  3. Enter the "Program Files (x86)" folder.
  4. Now, double-click the "Steam" folder.
  5. Go into "Steamapps".
  6. Finally, double-click on "Common".
  7. Inside the folder, you'll find multiple subfolders for each of the games that you have installed through Steam.

Note that titles in your Steam library that haven't been installed on your PC won't have a Steam library folder here. It's only after you install it that the game will have a folder show up.

"Application Support" in macOS

Now, to find where your game saves if you're on a Mac computer, you need to look somewhere completely different. After all, these are different devices and they use unique file systems, so you won't find a Program Files folder here.

You're aiming to get to the Library/Application Support/Steam/userdata directory. While you can directly enter this path, I will show you how to navigate manually.

  1. Open the "Go" menu by clicking its text in the menu bar.
  2. Open "Computer".
  3. Now, open "Macintosh HD".
  4. From here, choose "Library".
  5. Now, you should see the "Application Support" folder. Enter it.
  6. Open the "Steam" library folder.
  7. Finally, go into "userdata".
  8. Now, for each of the different titles you have installed, you should see Steam library folders. Each one contains the game data for these installed games.

"Share" in Linux

Finally, if you're running the Steam app on a Linux OS, you'll need to follow a different path to get to the game data and local files you're looking for.

The exact path you're trying to follow is ~/.local/share/Steam/userdata. You can navigate using the terminal, but I'll be showing you how to get to this folder using the GUI.

  1. Open your File Explorer. You should be in the Home Directory by default.
  2. Double-click the ".local" to open it.
  3. Now, enter the "share" folder.
  4. Here, you'll see "Steam". Go into this folder.
  5. Now, all you have to do is enter the "userdata" directory.
  6. Once here, you'll see the different folders for the games you've installed, each with the game data for that specific title.

How to Instantly Locate Game Files from Steam?

Here's the cool thing though; if you don't want to have to remember how to get to your Steam files for each operating system, there's a convenient way to jump straight to the saved files for a specific game by using the Steam app.

Young Boy Checking his Gaming Status

This is all you need to do to:

  1. Open the "Steam" app on your computer.
  2. Once open, go to the Steam Library section by clicking "Library" at the top of the Steam interface.
  3. Now, you should see all the games you own, whether installed or not, in the left sidebar.
  4. Right-click on a specific game.
  5. Click "Properties".
  6. Now, choose the "Local Files" tab from the left panel. Note that this won't be available if the game is not installed on your computer.
  7. Click the "Browse" button and this will take you directly to where the game data is stored.

Alternatively, after you right-click on a game from the Library section, hover the mouse over the "Manage" option. Select "Browse local files" and this will take you to the relevant folder.

Where Do Steam Save Files Go?

So, now you know where your game data is stored when you installed a game through Steam.

However, in some cases, you might notice that the Steam save files for the games you've played are not stored in the folder where Steam's installation files for the various titles are.

This is because the location for Steam save files is dependent mostly on the game developers and where they've coded these save files to be stored.

While this means there isn't a definite location for game saves, there are a few likely locations you can check if you're looking out for Steam save files. Let's talk about them.

Local Storage

Essentially all Steam titles I know will have your saved files somewhere on your computer. This allows them to access your saved game files without much delay. It also enables you to play games offline and continue from where you stopped.

However, when it comes to exactly where these Steam save files are stored, it depends on the game in particular. Different game developers choose different default locations.

Person Playing a Video Game in a Computer

How to Back Up Save Files to Another Drive?

Once you've located your saved files, you might want to keep them safe. You can put them on an external or another internal hard drive (or partition).

Here's how:

  1. Go to where the save file or folder is.
  2. Right-click on the file or folder.
  3. Select "Copy".
  4. Navigate to the other drive and find exactly where you want to store the game saves.
  5. Right-click and select "Paste".

Just like that, you've made a manual backup of your saved files. You can restore your progress when you reinstall by putting these saved files exactly where you took them from originally.

Steam Cloud

Steam users will find that most games have their saved files stored locally. However, there's a large number of titles that have support for what is known as Steam Cloud.

This is Valve's cloud service that keeps copies of the most important game data so you won't lose any data even after switching computers or uninstalling and reinstalling a game.

How to Know if a Game Supports Steam Cloud Saves?

You can tell easily if a game is cloud-enabled. It's better to know for sure instead of assuming. This will stop you from uninstalling a game thinking that your saves are on the cloud when they are not.

Here's how:

  1. Open "Steam".
  2. Click on "Library" at the top of the Steam interface.
  3. Choose the game you want to check for.
  4. Look at the bottom-right corner of the game's banner. If you see the Steam Cloud logo, it is cloud-enabled. Alternatively, you can press the info icon, which looks like an "i" in a circle, and you'll see it written clearly whether it supports "Cloud Saves".

Note that you can also go directly to the store page for a game if you don't have it purchased on Steam yet. Checking here is a little bit different though.

Just scroll down a little and look at the right side. You'll see a list of features that the game has, and you should see whether "Steam Cloud" is one of them, right from the store page.

How to Enable Steam Cloud Sync?

Most users will have their cloud functionality enabled by default, but some games might have it turned off. Fortunately, there's a way to enable cloud syncing for all games that support it, with just one toggle.

  1. From inside Steam, click the "Steam" button in the top-left corner.
  2. Select "Settings".
  3. From the left side of this window, choose "Cloud".
  4. Now, put a checkmark beside "Enable Steam Cloud synchronization for applications that support it".
  5. Click "Okay".

With that, all the games that can store their saved files on Steam servers will do so, alongside the saved files on your local storage.

Person with Headphones Playing Computer Game

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Final Words

The default location of saved files of Steam titles depends on the OS you use. For Windows, this is C:/Program Files (x86)/Steam/Steamapps/Common. For macOS, it is Library/Application Support/Steam/userdata; and on Linux, it is ~/.local/share/Steam/userdata. These local save files let you play games offline and continue from where you stopped.

If you're looking for your saved files, it depends on the specific game you're playing. Some games store their files in the Steam directory, others have their saved files in the Documents folder. With a lot of games, the saved files are also stored on Steam servers.

Lindsay Hayes

Hi, I’m Lindsay, a techie from Kansas City. That’s right; I’m a born and bred Midwesterner. I learned to take electronics apart at my dad’s GameStop way back when, and I haven’t stopped since. I spend most of my time checking out new gadgets.
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