How to Install and Use Moonlight on the Steam Deck

In this tutorial, we will show you how to use Moonlight on your Steam Deck.

Steam Deck Install Moonlight

Moonlight is an open-source implementation of the NVIDIA Gamestream protocol. This protocol lets you stream games from any PC to any device running the Moonlight client.

One of these devices that Moonlight supports happens to be the Steam Deck. One advantage of Moonlight over Steam’s remote play functionality is that it can support HDR and sometimes offer improved latency.

Thanks to Sunshine, you don’t need to own an NVIDIA GPU to use Gamestream to stream games to your Steam Deck. Sunshine is an open-source implementation of the game streaming protocol that can run on any GPU.

By the end of this tutorial, you will have Moonlight running on your Deck and be able to stream games from any device running the Sunshine server.

Before proceeding with this guide, you must have installed and set up Sunshine on the device you want to stream games from. It is a fairly simple software to get working but you will need to manually add the games you want to stream using it.

Setting up Moonlight on the Steam Deck

Over these steps, we will show you how to set up the Moonlight streaming client on your Steam Deck.

The only real thing you need for all of this to work is to have a remote device where you have set up the Sunshine server.

Changing to Desktop Mode

1. To install Moonlight on your Steam Deck, you must change to desktop mode. The reason for this is that Moonlight itself is not available through Steam.

To get to desktop mode, bring up the STEAM menu by pressing the STEAM button or tapping “STEAM menu” in the bottom-left corner of your screen.

Open Steam Menu

2. Now that the STEAM menu is open, select the “Power” option to bring up the power menu.

Open the Power Options Menu

3. Within the power menu, you will want to select the “Switch to Desktop” option.

Change to the Steam Deck Desktop Mode

Installing Moonlight to the Steam Deck

4. As we are now in desktop mode you must open the Discover application. This application makes installing Moonlight to your Steam Deck a very simple process.

You can open this application by clicking the little shopping bag icon in the taskbar.

Open the Discover Application

5. Now that the Discover application is open, use the search box in the top-left corner to search for “moonlight“.

You can bring up the keyboard while in Steam Deck’s desktop mode by pressing the STEAM and X buttons at the same time.

Search for Moonlight on your Steam Deck

6. You should now see Moonlight listed as an option.

Install Moonlight to your Steam Deck by clicking the “Install” button.

Install the Moonlight Client to the Steam Deck

Adding Moonlight as a Non-Steam Game

7. With Moonlight installed on your Steam Deck, you will want to add it to your Steam library. Adding the client as a non-steam game will allow you to access it in the Decks gaming mode.

To do this, you will need to open the Steam desktop client. The desktop client can be opened by double clicking the “Steam” icon on the desktop.

Open the Steam Desktop client

8. With Steam open, click the “Add a Game” button (1.) in the bottom-left corner of the client.

Next, click the “Add a Non-Steam Game...” option.

Open add a non-steam-game dialog box

9. With the “Add a Non-Steam Game” screen open, scroll down till you find “Moonlight” (1.) and tick the checkbox next to it.

Once Moonlight is selected, click the “Add Selected Programs” button (2.) to add the client to your Steam Deck library.

Find and add Moonlight to the Steam Library

Launching Moonlight in Steam Deck’s Desktop Mode

10. You will now want to try out Moonlight on your Steam Deck and pair it with the computer you plan on streaming games from.

Before proceeding, ensure that you have Sunshine installed on your PC.

11. Next, with the Steam client open, use the search box to look for “moonlight” (1.) in your Steam Library.

Once found, click the “Moonlight” option (2.) to bring up its Steam library entry.

Find Moonlight in Steam library

12. You can launch the Moonlight client on your Steam Deck while in desktop mode by clicking the “PLAY” button.

Launch Moonlight on the Steam Deck Desktop Mode

Configuring Moonlight to Pair with Your PC

13. You should now have Moonlight running on your Steam Deck. When the client runs, it will try to identify any available servers it can stream games (1.).

If your Sunshine server doesn’t appear, you may need to manually add it by clicking the little screen icon (2.) in the top-right corner of the client.

Once you have a Sunshine client you want to stream from, click it to continue.

Select and add Sunshine server to Moonlight

14. Once you have selected a computer for Moonlight to stream games from, you will be asked to enter a PIN code.

This PIN code is used to pair your Steam Deck to the Sunshine server. Without this you won’t be able to stream games.

Pairing PIN

15. In Sunshine’s web interface, you will want to open up the “PIN Pairing” screen.

On this screen, type in the PIN that the Moonlight client generated on your Steam Deck (1.).

Once entered, you only need to click the “Send” button to confirm the pairing (2.).

Enter Moonlight PIN in the Sunshine Web Interface

16. Back on your Steam Deck, you will now see that the lock icon has disappeared from the PC that you paired.

Connect to Sunshine Server

17. We haven’t configured Sunshine much on our PC, so all we can see currently are the two default options and the “Vampire Survivors” game that we configured.

List of games to launch

Returning to Gaming Mode

18. Now that you know Moonlight works on your Steam Deck, you will want to return to gaming mode.

Returning to gaming mode is as simple as double-clicking the “Return to Gaming Mode” icon on the desktop.

Return to gaming mode

Testing out Moonlight on the Steam Deck

19. Back in gaming mode, you must change to your Steam Deck library by selecting “Library” in the STEAM menu.

Open the Steam Deck library

20. Next, change to the “NON-STEAM” library (1.).

Once in this part of your Steam Deck library, select the “Moonlight” entry (2.).

Find Moonlight in the Steam Deck Gaming Mode Library

21. Now, to launch Moonlight on your Steam Deck, all you need to do is click the “Play” button.

Launch Moonlight on the Steam Deck

22. You can now select the PC you want to stream from and choose the game you wish to stream using Moonlight to your Steam Deck.

Moonlight even lets you stream your entire desktop.

Select a game to stream to the Steam Deck

23. Below, you can see how we use Moonlight to stream Vampire Survivor to our Steam Deck.

If you find your controls aren’t working, then ensure you are using the installed version of Sunshine on your PC and have restarted your device.

Moonlight streaming Vampire Survivors to the Steam Deck


Hopefully, you will have Moonlight running on your Steam Deck with it successfully paired with a Sunshine streaming server.

Moonlight lets you use NVIDIA’s Gamestream protocol to stream games to your devices. While NVIDIA has abandoned official support for this, an open-source implementation called Sunshine works perfectly.

Please feel free to comment below if you have any issues with getting Moonlight to stream to your device.

If you found this tutorial helpful, be sure to check out our many other Steam Deck tutorials.

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