How to Use Steam Guard Mobile Authenticator

Protect your games with two-factor authentication

Steam Guard can help secure your Steam account. However, the basic email-based code provisioning system isn't as secure as it could be. If someone steals your Steam login information, there's a chance they can compromise your email.

That's where the Steam Guard mobile authenticator comes in. It adds an extra layer of security to protect your digital library, virtual items, and online reputation.

A person uses the Steam Guard mobile authenticator to log in to Steam.
Westend61 / Getty

What is Steam Guard?

Steam Guard is a two-factor authentication feature of Steam. It provides an additional level of security above your username and password. With this feature enabled, Steam Guard asks you for a one-time code every time you log in to Steam on a new device.

While Steam Guard may seem like an unnecessary inconvenience, it keeps your account safe. Since you're the only one with access to the temporary codes generated by Steam Guard, nobody can steal your account. Even if they obtain your password, they can't log in.

There are two versions of Steam Guard. The basic version sends you a code in an email each time you log in through a new device. The other generates a temporary code through the Steam mobile app on your phone.

The Steam Guard mobile authenticator is more secure since a thief would need your phone in their physical possession to break into your account.

Who Needs the Steam Guard Mobile App?

The Steam Guard mobile authenticator isn't strictly necessary. Still, it's convenient and adds an extra level of security to your account. If you own several Steam games or have expensive items in games like DOTA2 and CS:GO, using the Steam Guard mobile authenticator is worth your time.

Using the mobile authenticator also has benefits, if you want to utilize the Steam trading functionality or buy and sell items on the Steam Market. In addition to providing mobile authentication codes, the app allows you to instantly approve or deny any Steam trade or Steam marketplace transaction.

How to Set Up the Steam Guard Mobile App

Setting up the Steam Guard mobile authenticator is a two-part process. First, you'll set up the Steam mobile app. Then, you'll activate the authenticator feature. During this process, you need access to the email address that's associated with your Steam account.

To set up the Steam Guard mobile app and activate the mobile authenticator, you need a smartphone and a valid phone number. Steam doesn't accept voice over IP (VOIP) phone numbers. If you only have a VOIP phone number, you'll need a regular cellphone to take advantage of the Steam Guard mobile authenticator.

Here's how to set up the Steam mobile app and activate the Steam Guard mobile authenticator:

  1. Download and install the Steam mobile app on your phone.

  2. Launch the Steam mobile app on your phone.

  3. Enter your Steam username and password, then select Sign in.

  4. Look for an email from Steam with a temporary Steam Guard code. When it arrives, return to the Steam app on your phone, and enter the code.

  5. At this point, you are signed in to the Steam mobile app. You still must set up the mobile authenticator feature.

  6. Tap the (three horizontal lines) menu button in the upper-left corner. Tap Steam Guard in the menu that slides open, then tap Add Authenticator.

    An Android phone using Steam Guard
  7. Enter your phone number, and select Add phone. Then, wait for an SMS from Steam. When you receive it, enter the code provided into the SMS code field, and select Submit. Finally, write down the recovery code, and wait for the timer to expire.

    The Steam mobile authenticator setup process.
  8. At this point, the Steam Guard mobile authenticator is set up. Whenever Steam prompts you for a Steam Guard code, open the mobile authenticator app to generate a code.

How to Use the Steam Guard Mobile App

The Steam mobile app provides access to many Steam functions through your phone. You can view the Steam store, check your friend list, send messages and trade requests, view your profile and games, and more.

Beyond the store and the social functions of the app, you can also confirm or reject trade offers and Steam Marketplace transactions and retrieve temporary Steam Guard codes any time you want to log in to Steam on a new device.

Here's how to find your temporary codes in the Steam Guard mobile authenticator:

  1. Open the Steam mobile app.

  2. Tap the (three horizontal lines) menu button in the upper-left corner.

  3. Tap Steam Guard.

  4. You'll receive a six-digit code in the app. Enter it into Steam.

    These codes are temporary, and the bar below the code indicates when it expires. If the bar is red when you open the app, wait for a new code.

    How to use the Steam mobile authenticator.
  5. If Steam doesn't accept your code, it probably expired before you entered it. Open the authenticator again and generate a new code.

If a code from your Steam Guard mobile authenticator didn't work, and you entered the code before it expired, make sure the time settings on your phone are correct. The authenticator doesn't require an internet connection to function, but the time must be accurate.