While the phrase “steam cloud” may conjure up images of a boiling kettle or an old-timey train, when it comes to video games it’s a killer feature of the largest PC gaming platform. If you game on Steam, you’ll definitely want to know how to use Steam Cloud game saves. When things go wrong, you’ll be glad your precious hours of progress are safely stored where no one can delete them.

What Are Steam Cloud Saves?

Games that you buy and download through Steam can upload and download save game files to Steam’s servers. In other words, if you lose your computer’s data, set up a new computer or play your Steam games on multiple computers, you can retrieve your latest save game via the internet. 

When you uninstall a game and then reinstall it at a later date, your save games will be restored as well. In general, Steam Cloud saves let you forget about your save data and just get on with gaming.

Does Every Game Support Steam Cloud Saves?

Not every game on Steam supports cloud saves. This is something that’s left up to the developer. All games don’t work the same either. Developers get to choose what data is uploaded and what isn’t. If you want to know if a Steam game supports cloud saves, simply go to its store page and check if the Steam Cloud logo is under the list of game features.

Ensuring Cloud Saves Are Active for Your Game

It’s possible to disable cloud saves for all games on a given Steam computer. You can also enable or disable the feature for individual games as well. If your game supports Steam Cloud saves but isn’t syncing, you can check if the feature is enabled with ease.

To check the global cloud save settings:

  1. Open Steam.
  2. Select Steam > Settings.
  3. Switch to the Cloud tab.
  4. Ensure that Enable Steam Cloud synchronization for applications which support it is toggled to your preference.
  1. Select OK.

To check cloud save status for individual games:

  1. Open Steam.
  2. Go to your Steam library.

[4 Steam Library 1.jpg]

  1. Right-click on the game in question.
  2. Select Properties.
  1. Switch to the General tab. 
  2. Check that cloud synchronization is toggled according to your preference.

Again, not all games have the Steam Cloud save feature, so if you don’t see that option for an individual game, it probably doesn’t support it. We encourage you to make manual backups of your save game data in that case.

Finding Downloaded Steam Cloud Saves on Your PC

Speaking of making manual backups,you can actually access the local copy of your cloud saves on the local machine. As long as you know the folder locations, of course:

  • PC: C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\userdata
  • Mac: ~/Library/Application Support/Steam/userdata
  • Linux: ~/.local/share/Steam/userdata

Just remember that these are the default locations where cloud save data is stored locally. If you specified a custom folder when you installed Steam, you need to go to that folder instead.

Inside these folders, you’ll find the saves stored according to Steam App ID. This is a unique number that corresponds with a game’s catalogue number in the Steam store. You can easily find which ID goes with which game by entering the ID number on SteamDB.

What to Do with Steam Cloud Save Conflicts

Sometimes, you’ll get an error message from Steam that there’s a conflict between the save game stored on your local computer and the one that Steam has on their server. This usually happens because you progressed on two different versions of the same save game file. 

Most of the time, the right choice is simply to pick the most recently modified version of the file, but in some cases that may actually not be the save you want. Just to be safe, we recommend choosing to cancel the cloud sync conflict the first time you see it. 

Now go make a backup of the local file using the folder locations we just discussed in the previous section. If it turns out that the local files were the ones that you should have kept, you can go back and replace them manually.

Manually Download Your Steam Cloud Saves

Another neat option is the ability to view and download your Cloud Sync files using a web browser. Simply go to the View Steam Cloud and log into your Steam account if you aren’t already.

Here you can see every individual game file that’s stored in your Steam Cloud Sync account. All you have to do is select the download button and you have a copy for yourself. This is useful for using save files with other versions of a game and to quickly make a backup of the cloud files before they are removed in a sync conflict resolution as we just saw.

Just bear in mind that more than save game files are stored here. Developers may choose to store other data, such as game configuration files, right alongside your saves. So make sure you’re downloading the right thing!

How to Fix the “Steam Was Unable to Sync” and Other Issues

The last bit of crucial information you need to get along well with Steam Cloud saves is what to do when things go wrong. Here are some general tips:

  • Check the Steam home page to see if their servers are down.
  • Restart your modems, routers and computer.
  • Connect to a different network.
  • Check your firewall and antivirus settings.
  • Disable any software that monitors or modifies network traffic to check for conflicts.
  • Disable your VPN, Steam doesn’t like them and they can get you banned.

Now you’re armed with all the knowledge you need to get the most out of the Steam Cloud save feature. Which means you can get back to the all-important job of enjoying your video games.