Do you have games on your Steam account you’d like to share with friends and family? You can do that using Steam’s “Family Sharing” feature. It allows others to access and play games from your library at no additional cost.

How Does the Sharing Feature Work on Steam?

Before we get started with using the sharing feature, let’s look at how it works. As the name suggests, Steam’s Family Sharing feature allows others to play games from your Steam library without needing to pay for the games. After enabling the feature, all the games in your library will also appear on your friend’s Steam account. You can allow up to 5 accounts and 10 devices to get access, and those users get to play the games with their own achievements.

Note, however, that Steam won’t let you choose which games get shared; your entire library will be available through Family Sharing. Keep this in mind if you have games with sensitive content in your library, as parental controls don’t apply here.

The biggest catch of this feature, though, is that you and others won’t be able to play any game in your library while someone else is playing a game from your library. As the owner, you get priority, but this inconvenient limitation does mean you’ll have to be careful about when you and the people you share with are playing games. If you, as the owner, choose to play a game when someone is using your library, Steam will give that person two minutes to save their progress and close the game before they’re automatically kicked out of the game.

How to Share Your Game Library on Steam

To start sharing games, you’ll first need to enable Steam Guard, a two-factor authentication system that protects your Steam account from malicious login attempts. Also, have your friend and the device they want to access your library with ready for the process.

Enabling Steam Guard

Fire up the Steam client. On the top-right corner, click on “Steam,” and then click on Settings.

Go to Steam settings

In the Settings window, click on “Manage Steam Guard Account Security.”

Manage Steam Guard account security

You can choose between email authentication or authenticating from your phone using the Steam app for Android or iPhone. We recommend choosing the latter as it’s quicker and easier.

Check the option for getting steam guard codes that you prefer

Check the “Get Steam Guard codes by email” radio button. This will require you to re-login to your Steam account.

Enter the Steam Guard code that you receive in your email, and you should be able to log in to your Steam account.

Enter the Steam Guard code

RELATED: How to Move a Steam Game to Another Drive, The Easy Way

Sharing Games on Steam

With Steam Guard enabled, you’re now ready to authorize the device for Family Sharing.

In the Steam client, at the top right corner, click on Steam > Settings. On the left window panel, click on “Family.”

Go to the Steam family section

On the right Family window panel, check the “Authorize Library Sharing on This Computer” checkbox.

Check the authorize checkbox

Now, log out of your account and ask your friend to log in to their Steam account on the computer.

Again log out of your friend’s Steam account and log in to yours.

Head over to the “Family” settings. You should now see your friend’s username in the eligible accounts section.

Share with eligible accounts checkbox

Click on the checkbox and click OK. Then, let your friend log in to their account on the computer.

Head over to the Library section, and you should see your games in their library.

If you’re a regular Steam user, you might be interested in its in-home streaming feature, that
allows you to stream your gameplay to other displays on the same network.

RELATED: How to Set Up and Optimize the Steam Link for In-Home Game Streaming

Profile Photo for Mohammed Abubakar Mohammed Abubakar
Abubakar is a freelance writer for How-to Geek. Although he holds a degree in Computer Science, he chose a career in writing to help people with technology. He has two years of experience writing about consumer electronics, Android, Linux, Windows, and open-source software on websites like Fossbytes.
Read Full Bio »