Steam for iPhone and iPad: Everything you need to know!

May 28, 2018: Apple SVP Phil Schiller replies to concerned customers

In the wake of Apple rejecting Steam Link, a number of angry customers emailed Apple's senior vice president of worldwide marketing, Phil Schiller, who also oversees the App Store teams. He replied en masse to these messages, and his email was shared via Reddit:

Thank you for your email and being a customer of Apple products and the App Store. We care deeply about bringing great games to all of our users on the App Store. We would love for Valve's games and services to be on iOS and AppleTV.Unfortunately, the review team found that Valve's Steam iOS app, as currently submitted, violates a number of guidelines around user-generated content, in-app purchases, content codes, etc. We've discussed these issues with Valve and will continue to work with them to help bring the Steam experience to iOS and AppleTV in a way that complies with the store's guidelines.We put great effort into creating an App Store that provides the very best experience for everyone. We have clear guidelines that all developers must follow in order to ensure the App Store is a safe place for all users and a fair opportunity for all developers.Sincerely, Phil

Could this mean that Steam Link might still come to the Apple TV in the future? It's possible, though Valve would need to reengineer some of its in-app purchase features and user-generated content features.

May 24, 2018: Valve issues statement

It looks like Steam Link won't be coming to iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV anytime soon. According to a press statement released today by Valve, Apple has rejected the remote gaming app due to "business conflicts." It's not unusual for Apple to reject apps that too closely align with its own apps, but at this time, Apple doesn't have anything like Steam Link available, especially specifically for playing games on Steam.

It's possible Apple considers the Steam Link app to be too similar to its own mirroring feature, which allows you to cast content from your iPhone or iPad to Apple TV. However, Steam Link is not entirely unlike any standard remote app like Duet Display, which allows you to create a second screen to display content from your Mac to your iPhone or iPad.

Whatever the details of the business conflict, Apple appears to be taking a hard stance on this. Valve has already appealed the initial revocation, which happened after the app was approved, and the appeal was also rejected.

Below is Valve's original statement (via: MacRumors):

On Monday, May 7th, Apple approved the Steam Link app for release. On Weds, May 9th, Valve released news of the app. The following morning, Apple revoked its approval citing business conflicts with app guidelines that had allegedly not been realized by the original review team.Valve appealed, explaining the Steam Link app simply functions as a LAN-based remote desktop similar to numerous remote desktop applications already available on the App Store. Ultimately, that appeal was denied leaving the Steam Link app for iOS blocked from release. The team here spent many hours on this project and the approval process, so we're clearly disappointed. But we hope Apple will reconsider in the future.

If you're a gamer, chances are you have a Steam account. Steam is not only an amazing source for PC and Mac games, but they also offer movies and other digital products to millions and millions of users.

Valve (the company that owns Steam) is currently trying to bring two new apps to the iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV to help extend the reach and accessibility of their services. The Steam Link app and the Steam Video app are set to launch later this year if details can be worked out with Apple.

In short, it's an app that will allow you to play your Steam games on your mobile devices; however, it's not quite as simple as it sounds.

"The Steam Link app allows gamers to experience their Steam library of games on their Android (phone, tablet, TV) and iOS-based (iPhone, iPad, Apple TV) devices while connected via 5Ghz network or wired Ethernet to a host system (Mac or PC), with Android access initially offered in beta."

It's important to remember this isn't really mobile gaming, as you'll need a super strong internet connection on the same network as your host device (PC or Mac) or an Ethernet connection. Of course, this does give you the ability to play your entire Steam library as long as you have the necessary connection.

Valve also went on to say that both the Steam controller and MFi controllers would be supported by the Steam Link app.

What is Steam Video?

The Steam Video app is a much simpler service.

"Later this summer, the Steam Video app is targeted for release, allowing users to enjoy the thousands of movies and shows available on Steam directly via their Android and iOS devices over Wi-Fi or LTE. In direct response to customer feedback, it will offer the ability to enjoy content in offline and streaming modes."

In short, you'll be able to watch your content on your iPhone or iPad whenever you want as long as you have an internet connection. Plus, it appears you'll be able to download content onto your device for viewing offline, which is definitely a welcome addition.

What do you think?

Let us know in the comments below!

Luke Filipowicz
Staff Writer

Luke Filipowicz has been a writer at iMore, covering Apple for nearly a decade now. He writes a lot about Apple Watch and iPad but covers the iPhone and Mac as well. He often describes himself as an "Apple user on a budget" and firmly believes that great technology can be affordable if you know where to look. Luke also heads up the iMore Show — a weekly podcast focusing on Apple news, rumors, and products but likes to have some fun along the way. 

Luke knows he spends more time on Twitter than he probably should, so feel free to follow him or give him a shout on social media @LukeFilipowicz.