How to Restart Steam (Even When It Freezes)

Key Takeaways

  • You can restart Steam by choosing Steam > Exit (on Windows) or Steam > Quit Steam (on Mac).
  • If Steam is unresponsive in Windows, open Task Manager and go to the Processes tab so you can end the Steam task. On a Mac, use the keyboard shortcut Option+Command+Esc and select Steam before clicking the “Force Quit” button.
  • Note that switching between offline and online modes in Steam does not require restarting the app.

By restarting Steam on your computer, you can fix minor issues with the app as well as bring certain app changes into effect. You can give your app a reboot even when it won’t respond to your actions. We’ll show you how to do that on your Windows 11, Windows 10, and Mac computer. Let’s get started.

Restart Steam From Within the App

One of the ways to restart Steam is by using an option located in the app itself. You choose the option, and the app closes, then you manually launch the app using your preferred way.

You should use this method if your app isn’t unresponsive and you’re mainly looking to bring your changes into effect in the app.

To use the method, first, ensure you’re inside the Steam app on your computer. In the app’s top-left corner, click Steam > Exit (Windows) or Steam > Quit Steam (Mac).

Choose Steam > Exit.

As soon as you choose that option, Steam will display a Shutting Down Steam window, and the app will then close.

Steam closing.

And that’s it. Your Steam app is now closed.

To relaunch the app, access your Windows or Mac desktop and double-click the Steam shortcut. Another way to launch the app on Windows is to open the “Start” menu, find “Steam”, and select it. On a Mac, press Command+Spacebar, type “Steam”, and select the app in the search results.

Relaunch Steam.

Your Steam app has now relaunched, giving you access to all your games. Enjoy!

Restart Steam When the App Is Unresponsive

If your Steam app is frozen and you can’t choose the option to quit the app, use your Windows or Mac machine’s force-quit utility to force Steam to close. This option closes the app no matter what situation it is in.

Here are the steps for how to do this on your Windows or Mac computer.

On Windows

On a Windows 11 or Windows 10 computer, use the built-in Task Manager utility to force close your Steam app. You can force basically any app installed on your computer to close with this tool.

To start the process, right-click your PC’s “Start” menu icon and choose “Task Manager.”


On the Task Manager window, access the “Processes” tab. In this tab, right-click “Steam” and choose “End Task.”


Without any prompts, Windows will close your selected app. To then relaunch the app, use the “Start” menu or double-click the Steam shortcut on your desktop.

On Mac

If you’re a macOS user, your machine also has the option to force quit apps. To use it, first, press Option+Command+Esc on your keyboard. This will let you see your open apps.

On the list, select Steam and choose Force Quit > Force Quit. Your app is now closed.

Select Steam in the list of applications and click

To reopen the app, press Command+Spacebar, type “Steam”, and choose the app in the search results.

Do You Have to Restart Steam to Switch Between Offline and Online Modes?

The Steam app offers both offline and online modes, allowing you to play your games whether you’re connected to the internet or not. Sometimes, you may want to switch between these modes, and you may want to know if the switching process requires starting Steam.

The answer to that question is no. You don’t have to quit and relaunch Steam to switch between offline and online modes. All you have to do is access the Steam > Go Offline/Online (Windows) or Account > Go Offline/Online (Mac) option to switch between the available modes.

Select Steam > Go Offline/Online.

Steam will bring your changes into effect without requiring you to restart the app. And that’s all.

Still Having Trouble? Clear Steam’s Download Cache

If your Steam games refuse to launch or you have trouble downloading new games, your Steam cache might be corrupted. A simple app reboot is unlikely to resolve that issue, and you’ll have to clear your bad cache to fix your issue.

Luckily, you can clear your Steam download cache from within the app and resolve your problem.

To do that, open Steam and choose Steam > Settings. In the left sidebar, select “Downloads.” On the right pane, next to “Clear Download Cache,” click “Clear Cache.”


In the open prompt, select “Confirm.” Note that you’ll have to log back in when your cache is cleared.


That’s it.

And that’s how you give your Steam app a restart and fix its issues, as well as apply your changed settings in the app. We hope you enjoy your gaming sessions with this app on your computer.

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