Mac OS X: Getting Rid of “Steam needs to be online to update, but was set to offline mode”

Screen Shot 2012-08-01 at 11.09.15 PM

If you’re looking for a fix for this problem for Windows 7, try clicking here.

If you’re looking for a Linux fix for this problem, click here!

Now with a video! Look at the bottom of this post!

I was going to take my laptop somewhere without internet access and so I thought I’d try sticking Steam into offline mode to see if I’d be able to access my games all right. I then spent about 30 minutes figuring out why the hell all Steam would do afterwards was spit out the error: “Steam needs to be online to update, but was set to offline mode”. How the heck am I supposed to set it to online mode if it won’t freaking open? After a lot of Googling, here’s what worked for me:

1. In Finder, go to Go > Go to Folder (or command-shift-G)

2. Type in the prompt that comes up:


What this does is make a hidden library folder visible. Adobe gave me this piece of the puzzle.

Alternatively, you can also type

~/Library/Application Support/Steam

This will allow you to skip step 3. I mention it because a few people have said that either the Application Support or Steam folder was still missing, so this is a way to bypass that problem and get directly into the steam folder.

3. Navigate to Users/*YourUserName*/Library/Application Support/Steam

4. Open up “registry.vdf” in TextEdit (or another similar program)

5. Search the file for “Offline” … it should be set to 1. Change it to 0! And then, of course, save the file.

Note that we are not changing the value for “OfflineAFS”, we’re changing “Offline” directly underneath it. This post on the steam forums is my source of information for this part.

6. Try starting up steam. It should hopefully work! It did for me!

Note: This was done in OS X 10.7 (Lion)… I’ve yet to test it on any other version of OS X.

Update [Dec. 25, 2012]: Apparently it also works on OS X 10.8.2. Thanks to Tamara in the comments for letting me know! :)

If you’d like to see a video watching me do these steps, take a look here:

I’m glad that this has helped a few people! Thanks for the comments! :D

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  • Rembrandt

    You are a legend mate – this worked for me perfectly! Wooo! I can play the games I paid for again now… Disappointing that Steam never responded to my initial query.

    • tetchro

      Awesome! I’m glad it helped! :)

  • Oslon

    steam is not in my Application Support folder ?? :(
    any help ?

    • tetchro

      Hi! Are you sure you’re in the right Application Support folder? There’s actually 2 of them on your hard drive. One is located in *HD*/Library/Application Support (there’s no steam folder in there) and the other is in *HD*/Users/*USERNAME*/Library/Application Support (which should house the steam folder).

    • Joshua Neve

      I have been searching the internet all morning… THANK YOU!

    • Parker

      I followed this but when I got to HD/Users/Username (I of course replaced with my username), there wasn’t a library folder in it.

    • tetchro

      You can try using the ~/Library/Application Support/Steam method (instead of just ~/Library)… this should bypass the problem hopefully.

  • NinjaSwirl

    Thank You SO MUCH!

  • jordan

    for some reason I cannot find my Library folder… any thought? (I’m running on OS X Lion)

    • tetchro

      You can try a different (and probably easier) method of getting to the registry.vdf file…
      In finder, go to Go > Go to Folder and type in “~/Library/Application Support/Steam” (without the quotes) and the finder window should automatically open to that directory. registry.vdf should be in there and you should be able to edit it. Hopefully that works! (I tried it on my Macbook running Lion and it worked for me)

    • jordan

      Awesome! Thanks so much!

    • tetchro

      :D Glad to help!

  • Steve

    Thank you so much, im so happy right now! :)

    • tetchro


  • WITH

    ty!! could u tell me where the installation of games……………..

    • tetchro

      Where the games install? To be honest I don’t have access to a mac right now, so you might be better off with Google for that one… sorry!! :(

  • Toby Tyddyv

    I dont have TextEdit for some reason. Please help

    • colbyj

      Any simple text editor can work.

  • Jessup

    Okay, I have registry.vdf but when i open it all that text isnt there. This is what is says











    “Language” “english”






    And then it ends there.

    Idk how to get all the text to go in the file. could someone copy and paste all the text for me or give a me a download for the file to see if that fixes it?

    • colbyj

      Just add a new line under the “Language” “english” line, and then copy+paste the following:
      “OfflineAFS” “0″

      “Offline” “0″

      Hopefully that does it.

    • RVCA1998

      THANKS MAN that fixed my problem!!!!!!!

    • Gageb

      Can you post a picture of how it should look?

    • secret :P

      For me it doesn’t work :(

    • Wishbone

      It didnt work :c

  • ugur

    you are great! thanks its worked!

  • Tamara

    Works for 10.8.2 too, thank you so much!

    • tetchro

      Awesome! Thanks for letting me know :D I updated the post.

  • Jeffrey Hurley

    It worked for me, except now it says: Steam needs to be online to update. Please confirm your network connection and try again.

  • dustypaws

    apparently the current version is delivered with this “switch” set to 1….so you’re doomed from the beginning. If I hadn’t found this post I’d not have been able to use it. So, thanks! :D

  • Hugh

    Thanks so much! It worked right away! Was really disappointed cause it wouldn’t open. Restarted my computer, with no luck. Thank you!

  • blizzer

    worked, hero

  • Darren

    thank you, very helpful. Cheers.

  • Lucian Iovu

    works in 10.7.5 (Lion) :D Thanks!

  • Robinson Esparza

    Excelente!!! muchas gracias funcionó para mi en Chile, Gracias, no sabes como Odio Steam y su maldito sistema pero por lo menos lograste que funcione. un abrazo

  • ghostf1sh

    this worked, and you’re incredible! i’ve been trying to get steam to work for months

  • cain

    wont open registry.vdf says i have no application to open it. any pointers?

    • tetchro

      Really? That’s a new one… do you actually have a program installed that should open it? Like textedit? If not, try doing a quick google search and downloading one. But if you DO have textedit or something installed… well… that’s just weird. I’m not what to recommend then, to be honest.

  • Minyo

    Worked for me 1000 thanks

  • robo

    Great! Thanks

  • Steph

    Thanks so much! Worked for me (Version 10.6.8).

  • Jake

    Mine was already set to 0, still didn’t work :/

  • Abdou Nasri

    you can give on windows 7

  • gracie

    That did it. Steam folder was hidden. OS X 10.9.4