Steam Deck gets a lock screen – here’s how to make the device more secure

Steam Deck Lock Screen
(Image credit: Valve)

Valve has pushed out a new update for the Steam Deck which brings with it a commonly-used feature on the security and privacy fronts – namely a lock screen.

As you’re no doubt aware, the lock screen is a security feature whereby the device is locked, and needs to have a PIN entered to actually get into the system and do stuff, thereby preventing the possibility that anyone could pick up your handheld and start messing with it.

The Steam Deck’s lock screen requests a six-character PIN, and if you don’t know that PIN, you won’t get in.

This feature is something that a good many folks have been clamoring for since the device was launched, and indeed some have been scratching their heads as to why Valve hasn’t provided this protection before now, considering that the Steam Deck is a full PC, possibly with all manner of sensitive details on it (aside from just your games and saves).

Wondering how you make use of this new capability? Well, stay tuned, because we’ll talk you through exactly what you need to do in order to make your Steam Deck more secure in the section which follows below.

How to turn on the Steam Deck lock screen

  • First of all, you’ll need to head to Settings > System, and install the new update (which actually adds a whole bunch of stuff on top of the lock screen – we’ve written more about this here, including a big move forward with full Windows 11 support).
  • When the update has finished – and it may take a little time, as there’s a fair bit going on with this one as mentioned – you’ll find that there’s a new tab in Settings, namely Security, so head here.
  • In the Security tab, you’ll see the ability to turn on the lock screen with three different choices: you can have it appear on system boot and wake, or before login, or when switching to Desktop Mode as required.
  • You can set the PIN using either digits via the touchscreen, or a combination of buttons if you’d prefer to memorize a pattern in that way.

Finally, it’s worth noting that if you installed the update right after it was released, and had issues with PIN entry, there was a bug in that initial update. Valve has since fixed that gremlin, later pushing out a new update complete with the resolution. So, you may need to reapply the update if you did run into any trouble as an early adopter of this upgrade.

Via The Verge

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).