Symbolic Link (Moving Steam Content)

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Creating a Symbolic Link to Move Mac Steam Game Content to a Location outside of your Application Support>Steam Folder.



  • 27Oct13- Reorganized this guide a bit, added blurb on finding the invisible Library folder, made invisible by Apple since MacOS7.
  • 7March13- Valve confirms that Mac Steam does not support creating additional Steam Libraries from within the Mac Steam app.
  • 25Feb13- Added Feb 13 update info.
  • 09Feb13- Added Sept 12, 2012 update info.
  • 08June2011- Tested the Source Finagler application below. It worked well!- Huntn
  • 22July- Added link for moving a Windows Steam Installation.
  • 29June- Removed language that inferred that Mac Steam will run on PPC Macs. It won't, so the fact that the Steam Finagler is an intel only app is a mute point.
  • 29June- Created a new sub-section for those who previously used this guide to create a link.
  • 28June- Added new link to Source Fingaler, an app which will create a symbolic link for you without resorting to the Terminal.
  • 28June- Removed References to Steam Content Helper app. This application no longer works properly with Mac Steam for relocating Steam Game Content. Unless you know of another program designed to create a symbolic link, you'll have to use the Terminal. If the author of Steam Content Helper updates the application, I'll add the link back into this guide.- Hunt'n
  • 27June- Added link section and Steam download link.
  • 26June2010 Alert. This guide has been updated to reflect a fundamental change in the physical organization of Steam on your Mac. Via the update, the "Steam Content" folder was renamed, the "SteamApps" folder and moved to the Library>ApplicationSupport>Steam folder. Unfortunately I can't change the name of this guide to Fix Mac SteamApps. But readers will figure it out. :) Warning! If you have previously moved your Steam Content using this guide and decide to rename your "Steam Content" folder to "SteamApps" you will break the symbolic link you previously created. Either leave it alone or start from scratch and create a new symbolic link using the Terminal as per this guide.

Misc Links

For Those of You Who Used This Guide to Create A Symbolic Link Prior to 26Jun10

...back in the beginning of June2010, when Steam game content was located in the Steam Content folder and kept in the Documents folder, your Steam setup should still work. As of 26Jun2010 if you previously used the symbolic link instructions to move Steam content out of your Documents folder, you will now see that the Steam Content link is no longer in your Documents folder. It has been moved to the Library>Application Support>Steam folder and it has automatically been renamed SteamApps. At least that is what happened in my case. In addition it points to the "Steam Content folder" you previously moved to another location and most importantly, your Mac Steam application should still be working!

Warning! If you rename your "Steam Content" folder to "SteamApps" you will break the symbolic link you previously created. Either leave it alone or start from scratch and create a new symbolic link using the Terminal as per this guide.

Instructions for Creating a Symbolic Link to Relocate Steam Game Content

  • The Problem: As of 26June2010, Mac Steam automatically installs games into your Library>Application Support> Steam folder in a folder called "SteamApps" and you don't have enough internal drive space to install games there.
  • The Solution: The current work around is to put these games on an external drive or another partition by moving the SteamApps folder, and create a symbolic unix link in the Steam folder that points to the new location. When Steam launches, it looks for the SteamApps folder in the Steam folder, but there it is directed to the SteamApps folder in the new location.
  • MacOS Note: Don't get confused if you are new to the Mac. The "Steam Application" is different than the Steam Folder that sits in the Application Support folder. The Steam Application (that launches Steam) is a MacOS Package. It is an application folder that is made to look like an application icon. If you click it, it acts like an application and will launch Steam. If you right-click it, a menu will open with a choice to show contents. Unlike Windows, the MacOS is very forgiving for dragging applications and content around. As you move things around, do not place the Steam application inside the Steam folder. Although I have not verified, I think this would be asking for trouble.
  • My instructions are for specifically creating a SteamApps folder on an external drive, but you could do the same thing on another partition. Please note that Valve has indicated it will fix this problem in the near future. When exactly? I don't know. -Hunt'n.
  • You may have experience creating an "alias" within OSX, and may have used an alias to to point at another file in a similar manner to this. However for this situation, an OSX alias will not work. Instead you must create a symbolic link using a helper program (listed below) or the Terminal.
  • Caution Some serious sh*t can happen in the Terminal if you really mess it up, but on the other hand entering Terminal commands is not that hard. How is that for waffling? :)

Instruction Updates

  • Oct 2013 Update: Having Trouble Finding Your Mac's Library Folder? "Library" used to be located in the User's folder but as of MacOS7 and newer, it is now invisible. You can either unhide it or find it by typing "Library" in the Help window and that should make it temporarily appear as a selection in the "Go" menu.
  • Mar 2013 Update Valve confirmed that the Mac version of Steam does not allow for creating a new Steam Library on another partion/hard drive from within the Steam application. The instructions for creating a symbolic link in this guide still applies for Mac Steam.
  • Feb 2013 Update: As a reminder, this discussion focused on Mac Steam. Steam is now supposed to allow you to establish a new Steam App folder on any drive you desire, except in practice it does not work (for me). If you want to see, launch Steam, select Prefences>Download+Cloud tab (Preferences found under Steam menu, top of Finder window, not within Steam App Window.) An establish "Steam Library Folder" menu choice is located in a box that makes reference to "adding new steam folders on multiple drives" but if clicked on, it appears not to allow navigation to another drive. I've submitted a ticket to Valve and am awaiting a reply.- Huntn.
  • Sept 2012 Update: The Steam Beta allows you to choose Steam Install Locations. See this PC centric RockPaperShotgun link. It speaks of adding "-dev" description to the Steam.exe application. Note, we don't have .exe applications on the Mac. And I don't know how this applies to moving Steam game content after the initial Steam install on your Mac. I assume that what you can do in Windows Steam will be about the same as Mac Steam, but I know where assumptions have gotten me in the past. As I become aware of more info, I'll post it. As far as I know, the instructions in this guide still apply. -Huntn 020913.

You have two choices:

  1. Choice Number One: is to download's Source Finagler, download link: SourceFinagler app and follow the directions. The idea is that you are 1)moving your Steam Apps folder to a new location and then 2) using this app to create a symbolic link that goes into your Steam folder. I tested this application in June 2011 and it worked well. This is by far the easiest and quickest method. Check out this Aug2012 YouTube Video that references this MacRumors Guide showing how to use Source Finagler. - Hunt'n.
  2. Choice Number Two: Is to use the Mac's Terminal Application to create a symbolic link, telling Mac Steam where to find the new location of the SteamApps folder. See the next section.

Using the Terminal

The SteamApps folder is where Steam stores game content. These steps creates a new unix symbolic link in your Steam folder (where the Steam Application sits) that points to the SteamApps folder location some place other than the default location (Default Location: Library>Application Support>Steam>Steam App folder). In my case, I want my Steam game content to be on my external drive.

Proceed at your own risk!!!

  1. To start out, install Mac Steam. This link will immediately download Mac Steam: If the link expires go to and locate the "Install Steam Now" link on the right side of the page. The default install location is to place Steam in your Applications folder. However, you can put it anywhere you want. When using my MacBookPro, I placed Mac Steam on my external drive. So I downloaded Mac Steam, opened the .dmg file and installed it there by simply dragging the Steam application from the .dmg file to the desired location.
  2. Launch Steam. Establish a Steam account if you have not done so all ready. By default it is going to automatically install the SteamApps folder in your Library>Application Support>Steam Folder. Shut down Steam.
  3. Locate the "SteamApps" folder in your Steam folder and drag this to the new desired location, where it will be copied. The assumption is that you are moving this folder to a different drive/partition. Therefore the folder will be copied and the original folder will remain in the Steam folder. But we don't want the original SteamApps folder sitting in the Steam folder, so move the original SteamApps folder from your Steam folder to the trash. Hold off on emptying the trash until you know you have a working copy of Mac Steam with the content in the new location.
  4. Open the Terminal application, located in your Utility folder. (In your Mac Finder along the top look for the "Go" pulldown menu> Utilities>Terminal). When you launch the Terminal a window opens that has a command line that starts with something like:
    • MyMac:~ jharris$ (where jharris is the user).
  5. Type in this command ln -s (with a space between "ln" and "-s", followed by a space. Don't forget the space after the "-s"! If this space is not there, the command will not work. Note the command "ln" consists of the small letters LN, not IN). Your Terminal command line should look something like this:
    • MyMac:~ jharris$ ln -s
  6. Open the window that shows the new location of your SteamApps folder (the one you just moved). Left click on this folder and drag it to the Terminal Window then release it. This will copy a path to your Steam Content folder. (In my case "/Volumes/WDMac2/" is a partition on my external drive. The folder name is SteamApps. Your command line should look something like this now:
    • MyMac:~ jharris$ ln -s /Volumes/WDMac2/SteamApps
  7. Open your Steam folder. (In the Finder along the top look for the "Go" pulldown menu> Home>Library>Application Support folder). The "Steam" folder is in your Application Support folder. Click on the Steam folder, drag it to the Terminal Window, and release it. The path to your Steam folder will automatically pop in with a space between it and the previous part. After you've finished this step, you may notice a back slash (\) between Application and Support. This is normal. In the Terminal for the folder named "Application Support" it indicates there is a space between the two words. Your Terminal command window should now look something like this:
    • MyMac:~ jharris$ ln -s /Volumes/WDMac2/Steam\ Content /Users/jharris/Library/Application\ Support/Steam
  8. On the Terminal command line you are now going to type in the name of the link that will be placed into the Steam folder (by using this Terminal command). Right after the word "Steam" type in this syntax with no space: /SteamApps. Your terminal command line should now look something like this:
    • MyMac:~ jharris$ ln -s /Volumes/WDMac2/Steam\ Content /Users/jharris/Library/Application\ Support/Steam/SteamApps
  9. Select the Terminal Window, and now hit the "Return" key to enter the command. A new command line will appear that looks like:
    • MyMac:~ jharris$

Quit the Terminal. If you have formatted this command correctly, a new alias of your SteamApps folder should show up in your Steam folder. Verify. Now launch Steam and see if it worked.

The easiest was to tell is when you start to download a new game, you'll get a message telling you how many MBs of space are available. This can be checked against the partition you want to install to and compare it to the available space on your internal hard drive. If MBs available match your external drive or partition, then the procedure worked and within Mac Steam you can start downloading games to your external hard drive/partition!! :D:D