Steam allows you to remotely install games from your smartphone, just like you can with a PlayStation 4 or Xbox One. You can download games to your gaming PC from anywhere, ensuring those big downloads are complete and the game is ready to play when you get home. You can also do this from any web browser.
This only works if you’re signed into Steam on a PC and if Steam is currently running on that PC. The PC must be powered on, and not in sleep or hibernation mode. Many PCs are configured to automatically sleep and hibernate by default, and that’s a good setting for saving power. So you’ll have to decide whether this is worth disabling a useful power saving setting.
To ensure your PC doesn’t go to sleep or hibernate when you’re away from it, head to Control Panel > System and Security > Power Options > Change when the computer sleeps. Set it to “Never”. You can still manually initiate Sleep mode from the Start menu.
You can access this feature using Valve’s official Steam mobile app, available from Google Play for Android, Apple’s App Store for iPhone, and even the Windows Store for Windows Phone. Install the Steam app on your smartphone and sign in with the same account you use in Steam on your desktop PC.
Once you’ve signed in, tap the menu button at the top left corner of the app and tap “Library” to view your game library.
At the top of the Library page, you’ll see your “Current Steam Login”, which tells you which PC you’re currently signed into Steam with. This is the PC you’ll be installing games on. You can use the filter box to search for specific games or sort them by name or playtime and look through your entire library.
If a game is currently installed on your PC, you’ll see it as “Ready to Play”. If a game isn’t yet installed, you can click the download button to the right of the game’s name to begin installing it.
Once you’ve begun a download, you’ll see the download progress on this page. You can also pause and resume downloads using the buttons here.
You can also buy games in the Steam mobile app and immediately begin downloading them in Steam on your PC.
If you have a product key from a physical game or a website that sells Steam keys, you can now even activate these while away from Steam. Head to the Activate a Product on Steam web page and provide the CD key or product code. You’ll have to do this in your web browser because the option isn’t integrated into the Steam mobile app, but you can always do it via the web browser on your phone.
The Steam app also provides other useful features, like a code-generating feature that works with Steam Guard to secure your Steam account. You can configure Steam to require a code generated by the app on your phone each time you sign in, in addition to your password. It’s also required for confirming trades on the Steam Community Market, which is essential when you’re selling your Steam trading cards for Steam credit.
You can also do this from the Steam website in any web browser. Be careful to only sign into Steam on PCs that you trust.
To do this, head to the Steam website and sign in with the same account you use in Steam. Hover over your name at the top of the Steam page and click “Profile”.
Click “Games” at the right side of your account profile page.
You’ll see a page showing the name of the PC you’re currently signed into Steam with and listing the games on your library. It works just like the Steam mobile interface. You can filter your games or sort and scroll through them. Installed games read “Ready to play”, while games you can install read “Not installed”. You can install them by clicking the download button to their right and they’ll immediately begin installing. The download progress will appear on this page, too.
In the future, you can bookmark this page and come directly here. The address is
steamcommunity.com/id/NAME/games/?tab=all , where “NAME” is your Steam name.
You can also purchase Steam games from the Store on the website and immediately begin downloading them, or activate product keys on your Steam account using the the Activate a Product on Steam web page and immediately begin downloading them.
Services like EA Origin, GOG Galaxy, and Blizzard Battle.net don’t offer a similar feature. However, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. It just means you have to set up a remote desktop tool on your PC. You can then remotely access it from another computer—or even your phone, if you’re prepared to navigate your phone’s desktop on a small screen.
Once you’ve set up remote desktop, you can do anything on your PC remotely, including downloading and installing games. Of course, it is a lot less convenient and streamlined.