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How Does Family Sharing Work on Steam

Discover the workings of Steam's Family Sharing, which allows family members to play games from your library without repurchasing.

Family Sharing is a feature on Steam that allows family members to play games from your library without the need to buy them again. To use this feature, a certain authorization process is in place to ensure better account control. This article will provide a clear understanding of how family sharing works on Steam and explain how to grant access to family accounts.

How Does Family Sharing Work on Steam

How Does Family Sharing Work on Steam

Steam’s Family Sharing is a great way to play a variety of games in one shared library. It’s easy, convenient, and fun! But wondering how? Let’s find that out further in this guide.

Quick Answer

Let’s see how you can enable Family Sharing on Steam:

1. Open your Steam app and click on the Steam option from the top left corner.

2. Click on the Settings option and then select Family.

3. Select the Authorize Library Sharing on this computer checkbox and click on OK.

4. Now, scroll down and select the desired accounts from the ELIGIBLE ACCOUNTS section.

5. Click on OK to save the changes.

How Long Does Family Sharing Last on Steam?

Family Sharing on Steam lasts for five minutes if the library owner is logged in. However, if the owner is offline, another authorized player will be kicked out every 6 hours.

Also Read: How Long Will Facebook Save My Drafts?

Does Family Sharing Expire on Steam?

No, family sharing does not expire on Steam. Once you have enabled Family Sharing on your Steam account and authorized other Steam accounts to access your shared games, they will have indefinite access to your shared library. However, Family Sharing can be disabled or revoked by the owner of the Steam library at any time. Additionally, some games may have their own restrictions on sharing, so it is always a good idea to check the game’s individual Steam page for any sharing limitations.

What is the Cooldown for Family Share Steam?

The cooldown period is of 90 days for family share on Steam. Steam account authorizes family library sharing on at most 5 accounts and 10 devices in a 90-day period. During this cooldown period, Steam does not allow you to add any other Steam accounts and devices to family sharing. You can only wait for the cooldown period or purchase the games on your account if you really want to play them.

Is the Steam Family Sharing User Cap a Life Time Limitation?

No, the Steam family sharing user does not cap for a lifetime limitation. However, this can change if Valve decides to modify its policy. Currently, each Steam account can only authorize family sharing for a limited number of other Steam accounts, but those authorizations can be revoked and re-assigned at any time.

For example, if you have already authorized 5 accounts to access your shared games and want to add a sixth account, you can simply de-authorize one of the existing accounts to make room for the new one. So, while there is a limit on the number of accounts authorized for Family Sharing at any given time, it is not a lifetime limitation and can be changed as the account holder needs.

Also Read: Can You Play Offline with Family Share on Steam?

How Does Family Sharing Work on Steam?

The upcoming steps will help you understand the Steam Family Sharing process.

Step I: Enable Family Sharing

1. Open the Steam app on your desktop.

Note: Make sure you are signed into your account.

2. Go to Steam > Settings > Family.

3. Mark the Authorize Library Sharing on this computer checkbox and then click on OK.

Click on the Authorize Library Sharing on this computer option.

Step II: Authorize Other Accounts

Once you have enabled family sharing, you can authorize other Steam accounts to access your game library. From the Family > ELIGIBLE ACCOUNTS section, select the desired accounts you want to authorize and click on OK to confirm.

Under the eligible accounts section click on the accounts you want to authorize, then click on the OK.

Also Read: What is Family Plan in YouTube Premium?

Step III: Access Shared Games

If you’re a family member with an authorized and added Steam account for Family Sharing, simply log in to your Steam account on your computer. You’ll be able to access games from the shared library, which you can borrow and play. However, please note that only one account can play at a time. If multiple accounts try to play simultaneously, you will be kicked out of the game.

What are the Cons of Family Sharing Steam?

Listed below are the cons while sharing with family on Steam:

  • Only one person can play a game at a time in a shared game library
  • Some games may have family-sharing limitations
  • The account holder can anytime revoke or limit access to the games they shared
  • Shared games cannot be played offline
  • At most, only five Steam accounts can access your game library from up to 10 different computers


By going through this guide, we hope you have learned how does family sharing work on Steam. With this feature, you can enjoy sharing games with your family members at no extra cost. Let us know in the comments section below if you have any suggestions or queries. Also, you can convey what you want to learn about next.

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