How to Enable SSH on Steam Deck for Advanced Users : Comprehensive Guide

How to Enable SSH on Steam Deck

The Steam Deck is Valve’s powerful new handheld gaming PC. One of the great features of the Steam Deck is the ability to customize and optimize it through the Linux-based SteamOS. 

Enabling Secure Shell (SSH) access allows advanced management and efficient maintenance of your Steam Deck remotely. 

This guide will walk through how to enable SSH on the Steam Deck for enhanced control and seamless remote access

What is SSH? 

SSH, also known as Secure Shell, is a network communication protocol that facilitates secure communication between two computers over an unsecured network. 

It provides a secure way for users, especially system administrators, to access a computer remotely. 

SSH ensures strong password authentication and public key authentication, along with encrypted data communications between two computers connected over open networks like the Internet.

Benefits of SSH 

It’s a powerful tool that allows users to remotely access and control their Steam Deck. 

Here are the factors that enable why SSH on your steam deck can be beneficial: 

  • Remote Management: SSH enables you to manage your Steam Deck remotely from another device which makes it convenient to transfer games, install modifications, manage game configurations, and monitor active processes.
  • Secure Communication: SSh is a secure communication protocol that adds an extra layer of security when accessing and controlling your Steam Deck remotely. It uses encryption methods to protect the connection and verify the user’s identity which also ensures data security during transfers. 
  • Efficient Maintenance: With SSH, you can easily perform maintenance tasks on your Steam Deck from your main workstation without the need for physical access. This includes making changes running commands and transferring files between devices. 

So, enabling SSH on your Steam Deck allows for seamless remote management, secure communication, and efficient maintenance tasks that enhance the overall user experience and flexibility for using the device. 

How to Enable SSH on Steam Deck

To enable SSH on your steam deck follow these steps below: 

Step 1: 

Switch to Desktop Mode by going to Steam > Power> Switch to Desktop. 

Step 2: 

Set a password and enable a terminal. The terminal should be something looking like this (deck@steamdeck~) $ 

Step 3: 

Enable the SSH service by running the command: sudo systemctl enable sshd.service.

Step 4: 

Start the SSH service with sudo systemctl start sshd.service.

Step 5: 

Check the status of SSH service using: sudo systemctl status sshd.service.

Step 6: 

Find out your Steam Deck’s LAN IP by running: ip addr | grep inet | grep wlan0.

Step 7: 

On your PC, verify you can SSH into your Steam Deck using your password. 

Step 8: 

Generate an SSH keypair for authentication. 

Step 9: 

Disable the sudo password for your user on the Steam Deck by running: echo “%wheel ALL=(ALL) NOPASSWD:ALL” | sudo tee /etc/sudoers.d/wheel >/dev/null and then delete your user’s password with sudo passwd -d deck.

These steps will enable SSH access to your Steam Deck, unlocking its full potential as a portable gaming powerhouse.

Alternatives of SSH for Remote Access in Steam Deck 

Some alternatives to SSH for remote access on your Steam Deck include : 

  • Mosh: Mosh is a tool that enhances SSh connections by providing persistent and responsive connections even in unstable networks. It improves the user experience compared to traditional SSH connections. 
  • SCP and SFTP: These alternatives use SSH for secure file transfer between computers but do not provide interactive shell access like SSH. Scp is used for copying files securely while SFTP is used advanced for more file transfer operations. 
  • Telnet: Telnet is an older method that allows remote access to devices but lacks the security features of SSH, It is considered less secure compared to SSH.  
  • Rsync: Rsync synchronizes files and directories between computers using a delta-transfer algorithm. It can utilize SSH as a transport layer or run as a standalone daemon, offering efficient file synchronization capabilities.
  • Bitvise SSH Client and SuperPuTTY: These clients support SSH, SFTP, and SCP protocols with advanced features like terminal emulation, tunneling, file transfer, and more, providing alternatives for remote access tasks. 

Evaluating which method works best for your specific needs and comparing the Steam Deck’s capabilities to other handheld gaming devices can help you make an informed decision.


Enabling SSH on your Steam Deck unlocks convenient remote management capabilities and secure communication. With just a few quick steps, you can set up password authentication or SSH keys for access from your main PC.

SSH gives you the flexibility to efficiently maintain your Steam Deck, modify games, transfer files, run commands, and monitor processes without physical access. Leveraging SSH transforms the Steam Deck into an even more versatile and customizable handheld gaming PC.

Mastering these advanced features can truly elevate your Steam Deck experience to the next level. Happy gaming and remote accessing!

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Saiful Emon

Emon is a tech enthusiast who loves to explore and write about the latest gadgets and innovations. Now he uses his passion and knowledge to cover topics like artificial intelligence, gaming, wearables, and the potential of computers. When he is not writing, he enjoys playing video games, watching sci-fi movies, and discovering new places.