How to Disable Automatic Updates on Steam


Having trouble with Steam game updates or just want to manage your bandwidth usage? You can disable Steam automatic updates using this guide.

Steam isn’t a platform that stops moving—it has new games and new game updates released on a daily basis. New updates for your Steam games can mean bug fixes, quality-of-life improvements, and new gameplay features to try.

They can also introduce more problems, especially if a game bug finds its way into a new Steam game patch. If this happens, you might want to disable automatic updates on Steam. This will allow you to only update your Steam games when you want to. It’s also a good idea to do this if you’re currently playing on a metered or mobile connection.

If you want to know how to disable automatic updates on Steam, follow the steps below.

How to Set Download Restrictions for Steam

Steam will attempt to update games whenever you launch the Steam client. If a game is available, Steam will start to download it. You can change this behavior by setting download restrictions in your Steam client settings.

These steps will work for Steam users on PC or Mac.

To set download restrictions on Steam:

  1. Open the Steam client on your PC or Mac and sign in.
  2. From the menu bar, select Steam > Settings (on Windows) or Steam > Preferences (on Mac).
    Open settings on Steam
  3. In your Settings or Preferences menu window, select Downloads on the left.
  4. To limit Steam downloads to specific periods of the day, make sure to select the Only auto-update games between checkbox and select a suitable timeframe (in hours) from the drop-down options provided.
  5. If you want to stop Steam games from updating as you’re playing, make sure that the Allow downloads during gameplay checkbox is disabled.
  6. You can also limit Steam game updates as you’re streaming games across your network by clicking the Throttle downloads while streaming checkbox.
  7. To save your choices, press the OK button.
    Set download restrictions on Steam

The options above will, in various ways, set restrictions for game updates and downloads. You can also stop automatic updates for specific games (including disabling them entirely) using the steps below.

How to Stop Automatic Updates for Individual Steam Games

You can configure Steam to limit automatic updates for individual games. For instance, if you know a game regularly releases large game updates, you can set when you want these updates to download.

You can choose to update the game as soon as Steam detects an update. Alternatively, you can update your Steam games manually at a later date by letting Steam only check and install updates when you next launch that game.

Unfortunately, you can’t disable Steam game updates entirely. This is because Steam will always check for new game updates whenever you launch a game. This is to protect games (and the Steam infrastructure) from game mismatches and exploits, especially in multiplayer games.

To stop automatic updates for individual Steam games:

  1. Open the Steam client on your PC or Mac and sign in.
  2. Next, click the Library tab at the top.
    Open the Steam library
  3. Locate the game you want to stop automatic updates for from your library list on the left.
  4. Right-click the game and select the Properties option.
    Open game properties on Steam
  5. In your game options menu, click the Updates tab.
  6. From the Game Updates drop-down menu, select your preferred update method from the options provided.
    • Choose Always keep this game updated if you want Steam to always check for updates whenever the Steam client is launched. Steam will also check for updates when you launch the game.
    • Select Only update this game when I launch it to limit Steam game updates to whenever you launch the game. Steam won’t update your game when the client is launched.
    • If you want to always make sure the game is updated (even above other games you have installed), select High priority – always auto-update this game before others instead.
  7. Any changes you make are applied automatically, so exit the menu once you’re done.
    Set game update options in Steam

If Steam still continues to try to update your games after this setting is changed, you can try and restart Steam to resolve the problem.

Configuring Steam

If you’re trying to limit your bandwidth usage, you might want to follow the steps above to disable automatic updates on Steam. It’s also a good idea to do it if you’re worried about bugs or game instability in an unsuccessful game patch. Unfortunately, it isn’t possible to limit Steam client updates, as the client itself will stop working after a period without updates.

If that happens, you can always manually update your games at any point. When you’re ready to update again, you might want to think about increasing your Steam download speeds.

Running out of disk space? You could also move your Steam games to another drive. If you run into any issues with a new game, don’t forget to verify your game files on Steam first using the Steam client. Failing that, give Steam a restart before you consider removing and reinstalling your game next.