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How to Connect a Mouse and Keyboard to Steam Deck

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  • Posted on 15th Sep, 2022 20:09 PM
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You can connect a mouse and keyboard to a Steam Deck via USB, or pair them via Bluetooth in gaming mode or desktop mode.

What to Know

  • Via USB: Connect a USB-C dock or hub, and plug your USB mouse and keyboard into it.
  • Bluetooth in game mode: Press the Steam Button > Settings > Bluetooth. Place device in pairing mode. Tap your device and press A
  • Bluetooth in desktop mode: Bluetooth icon on taskbar > Add new device. Place device in pairing mode. Select your device and tap Next.

This article explains how to connect a mouse and keyboard to a Steam Deck.

How to Use Steam Deck With a Mouse and Keyboard

The Steam Deck supports a variety of peripherals, which you can connect via USB or Bluetooth. Since the Steam Deck only has a single USB-C port, connecting both a mouse and keyboard requires a USB-C dock or hub. Bluetooth is built into the system though, so you don’t need any additional hardware to connect a wireless mouse and keyboard as long as they use Bluetooth and not a proprietary 2.4GHz system.

The procedure for connecting a mouse and keyboard to your Steam Deck via Bluetooth also differs depending on whether you connect them in game mode or desktop mode. It works just like connecting a Bluetooth device to any Linux computer if you do it in desktop mode, but the process relies on the Steam Deck’s settings menu in game mode.

How to Connect a USB Mouse and Keyboard to a Steam Deck

You can connect a USB mouse and keyboard to your Steam Deck if you have a USB-C hub or dock. The hub or dock will need to have enough ports to accommodate both the mouse and keyboard. If you want to use your keyboard and mouse for long periods of time, then a powered USB-C hub will work best, because the USB-C port that’s used to connect peripherals like a mouse and keyboard is the same port that’s used for charging the device.

Here’s how to connect a USB mouse and keyboard to your Steam Deck:

  1. Connect a USB-C hub or dock to your Steam Deck.

  2. Plug your mouse and keyboard into the hub or dock.

  3. Your Steam Deck will automatically recognize the mouse and keyboard, and you can start using them right away.

How to Connect a Bluetooth Mouse and Keyboard in Game Mode

The Steam Deck also supports wireless mouse and keyboard connections via Bluetooth. You can establish the connection in either game mode or desktop mode, and the devices will remain connected when you switch between each mode.

This procedure only works for Bluetooth devices. If your devices use a USB dongle to connect, that may or may not work with your Steam Deck. If the dongle is compatible with Linux (which is the underpinning of the Steam Deck), you will need to switch to desktop mode, plug the dongle into a USB-C hub, and install any software required by the manufacturer of your device.

Here’s how to connect a Bluetooth mouse and keyboard to a Steam Deck in game mode:

  1. Push the Steam Button.

  2. Select Settings.

  3. Select Bluetooth.

  4. Check the Bluetooth toggle to make sure it's on, and tap it if it isn't, then place your mouse in pairing mode.

  5. Select the mouse from the list of available devices.

  6. Place your keyboard into pairing mode, and select it when it appears in the list of available devices.

How to Connect a Bluetooth Mouse and Keyboard in Desktop Mode

If you connect a mouse and keyboard in game mode, you can switch to desktop mode and they will remain paired and continue working. You can also connect a mouse and keyboard directly from desktop mode if you prefer, but it’s a bit more difficult because you have to use the touch screen to tap the tiny Bluetooth icon on the taskbar. 

Here’s how to connect a Bluetooth mouse and keyboard to a Steam Deck in desktop mode:

  1. Press the Steam Button, and select Power.

  2. Select Switch to Desktop.

  3. On the desktop, tap the Bluetooth icon on the lower right part of the task bar.

  4. Tap Add New Device.

    If you've already paired Bluetooth devices and don't see this option, click or tap + instead.

  5. Put your mouse in pairing mode, then select it and tap Next when it appears in the list.

  6. Tap or click the + in the Bluetooth menu.

  7. Put your keyboard into pairing mode, then select it and tap or click Next when it appears in the list.

  8. If prompted, type the provided PIN using your keyboard then press enter.

Why Connect a Mouse and Keyboard to Steam Deck?

While the Steam Deck includes a set of built-in controls that work well for a lot of games, they aren't perfect for all games. The Steam Deck does allow you to customize the functionality of the analog sticks, buttons, triggers, paddles, and touchpads, but some games just require a mouse and keyboard. If you’re trying to play one of those games, or you just prefer a mouse and keyboard over a controller, then you’ll want to connect these peripherals to your Steam Deck.

The other reason to connect a mouse and keyboard to a Steam Deck is the setting called desktop mode. While it’s possible to navigate desktop mode using the touchscreen in place of a mouse and type using the on-screen keyboard, it isn’t very efficient. It can also be difficult to tap on some icons using the touchscreen and various other functions are all easier with a mouse and keyboard. Heck, dragging and dropping is problematic,

If you want to connect your Steam Deck to a monitor and use it for word processing, web surfing, or even gaming, a keyboard and mouse are essential. While the on-screen keyboard is good enough for basic tasks like searching for files, it doesn’t work well for anything more involved than that.

FAQ
  • How do I bring up the keyboard on my Steam Deck?

    Press the Steam+X buttons to bring up the on-screen keyboard on the Steam Deck. Use the same key combination to close the virtual keyboard.

  • How do I connect my Steam Deck to my TV?

    To connect your Steam Deck to a TV, you need an HDMI to USB-C adaptor. Plug an HDMI cable into your TV or monitor, plug the adaptor into the USB-C port on your Steam Deck, then attach the HDMI cable to the HDMI end of the adaptor.

  • How do I connect Airpods to my Steam Deck?

    To put your Airpods in pairing mode, place your AirPods in their case, open the lid, and tap the button on the case until the status light starts blinking. Then, go to Steam > Settings > Bluetooth and choose them in the list of available devices.

  • How to connect a Steam Deck to my PC?

    To connect a Steam Deck to your PC, use the Winpinator app. You can also transfer files via an exFAT formatted micro SD card or USB stick, a network drive, or a Samba share.

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