Here, you’ll learn what you need and how to get it hooked up to your Steam Deck’s input devices.
Steam Deck: A Guide to Mouse and Keyboard Controls
Several add-ons, accessible through USB or Bluetooth, are compatible with the Steam Deck. If you want to use a mouse and keyboard with your Steam Deck, you’ll need a USB-C dock or hub because it only has a single USB-C connector.
However, Bluetooth is already integrated into the system, so you may use a Bluetooth wireless mouse and keyboard without installing any additional hardware (so long as they don’t utilize a proprietary 2.4GHz protocol).
Likewise, switching between game mode and desktop mode affects how Bluetooth peripherals are connected to your Steam Deck. Connecting a Bluetooth device in desktop mode is the same on any Linux computer, but in game mode, you’ll need to use Steam Deck’s settings menu.
Step-By-Step Guide on Hooking up A USB Keyboard and Mouse to A Steam Machine
A USB-C hub or dock will allow you to hook up a USB mouse and keyboard to your Steam Deck. It is important that the dock or hub has enough input for the mouse and keyboard.
A powered USB-C hub is ideal if you plan on using your keyboard and mouse for extended periods of time without having to worry about their battery life, as the USB-C port used to connect peripherals like a mouse and keyboard is also used to charge the device.
To utilize a USB mouse and keyboard with your Steam Deck, follow these steps:
- You can dock your USB-C device or hub into your Steam Deck.
- Connect the pointing device and typing instrument to the dock or hub.
- Using a USB-C hub, a mouse and keyboard can be connected to a Steam Deck.
A mouse and keyboard will work immediately when connecting to your Steam Deck.
Tutorial for Pairing a Bluetooth Gamepad and Keyboard
Bluetooth wireless input devices can be connected to the Steam Deck. Establishing the connection can be done in either game or desktop mode, and once made, it will remain even if you transition between the two modes.
Only Bluetooth-enabled gadgets can be used in this operation. In some cases, the Steam Deck may not be compatible with your devices if they require a USB dongle to connect.
If the dongle is Linux-compatible (the foundation of the Steam Deck), you’ll need to enter desktop mode, connect the dongle to a USB-C hub, and install any necessary device-specific software.
During gameplay on a Steam Deck, you can pair a Bluetooth mouse and keyboard as detailed below.
- You need to activate the steam by pressing the button.
- A Steam Deck’s Steam button.
- Go into your device’s settings.
- Emphasis is placed on particular Steam Deck settings.
- Choose the Bluetooth option.
- In this case, Bluetooth is being featured on a Steam Deck.
Before putting your mouse into pairing mode, double-check that Bluetooth is turned on by tapping the toggle and setting it to the “on” position.
- A Steam Deck with the Bluetooth switch selected.
Mark the mouse as your preferred input device.
- There is a Steam Deck with a BT5.1 mouse indicated.
To begin pairing, activate the keyboard and look for it in the list of accessible devices.
- The K480 is highlighted on a Steam Deck keyboard.
Installing a Bluetooth Keyboard and Mouse on A Desktop
Using a mouse and keyboard coupled in game mode will continue to function when switched to desktop mode. Alternatively, you may go to desktop mode and use the touchscreen to tap the tiny Bluetooth icon on the taskbar to establish a direct connection between a mouse and a keyboard.
To utilize a Bluetooth mouse and keyboard with your Steam Deck while in desktop mode, follow these steps:
- Put the Power Button on Steam.
- Strength is emphasized on Steam Deck’s primary menu.
- A desktop environment can be accessed by clicking the appropriate button.
- Displaying a Steam Deck with the option to Switch to Desktop underlined.
- The Bluetooth icon can be found in the far right corner of the desktop.
- The Steam Deck desktop with the Bluetooth icon is selected.
Select the “Add New Device” option.
- In a Steam Deck, the new Add New Device button is circled.
- If you have already associated Bluetooth devices and don’t see this option, you can add another device by clicking or tapping +.
- Start the pairing process by putting your mouse in the appropriate mode, then selecting it from the list and proceeding by tapping Next.
- The next step in the Linux Bluetooth Device Wizard is highlighted.
Select the plus sign (+) in the Bluetooth settings.
- Plus shown in Steam Deck’s desktop Bluetooth configurations.
When your keyboard appears in the list, put it into pairing mode by tapping or clicking the corresponding icon, and then choose it.
- The K480 keyboard is featured in the desktop Bluetooth settings of Steam Deck.
After being prompted, enter the PIN into your keyboard.
- Steam Deck’s desktop Bluetooth device wizard requires a PIN code entered via the keyboard.
Is It Necessary to Use a Mouse and Keyboard with Steam Deck?
The Steam Deck comes with a default set of controls that are suitable for most games. However, these controls are not optimal for every title. The Steam Deck’s analog sticks, buttons, triggers, paddles, and touchpads can all be programmed to perform different actions, however, some games are best played with a mouse and keyboard.
Connecting these devices to your Steam Deck is necessary if you plan on playing any of these games or if you simply choose to use them instead of the included controller.
Another option for using a mouse and keyboard with a Steam Deck is the desktop mode option. It’s technically possible to utilize a touchscreen in desktop mode in place of a mouse and an on-screen keyboard, but doing so is tedious and inefficient.
Touchscreens have their limitations; tapping on some icons might be tricky; utilizing a mouse and keyboard simplifies many tasks. What the heck, dragging and dropping is a problem.
A keyboard and mouse are required if you plan on hooking up your Steam Deck to a monitor and using it for anything beyond simple text entry, including online browsing and gaming. In general, the on-screen keyboard isn’t ideal, but it may get the job done for simple tasks like looking for files.