Currently, the Mac version of Steam installs your library of games within the Documents folder. The reason Valve originally chose to install within the Documents folder is due to the fact that when you uninstall from the Mac OS you simply drag to the trash. Installing the games in the Documents folder meant for easy access when cleansing your Steam library. Unfortunately, this caused quite an uproar in the Apple community.
The problem is that many Mac users have automated backup for the Documents folder, and this causes gigabytes of game files to start backing up as well. Additionally, it is a Documents folder, not the Applications folder or other form of dedicated location. If you know a Mac power user, you can only imagine the nightmare they endure when someone tinkers with their settings and routine usage.
Fret not, however, for Valve listens to the feedback and are planning an update to fix the widely vocalized complaint which will relocate the root folder to “Library/Application Support/Steam.” Read Valve’s official statement below.
“So we thought we’d take a moment to tell you why we decided on the Documents folder in the first place, and what we plan to do about it.
Our original inclination was to put game content under “~/Library/Application Support/Steam”, along with the other support files Steam uses. The problem is that uninstalling an application is meant to be as simple as dragging it from the Applications folder into the Trash. However, uninstalling Steam this way will leave all of your game content on the drive, which could easily be quite a few gigabytes of wasted space. Our solution was to put the content in a very visible and often used location so users could easily find and delete the game data if they didn’t want it anymore. That’s right, we chose the Documents folder specifically because it was visible and often used — the very reasons users don’t want it there.
We’ve taken your emails and forum posts to heart, and we’ve come up with a different solution for users who uninstall Steam. We are working adding a feature to Steam to detect when you drag it to the Trash, and ask you if you want to delete your game content files as well. This will allow us to put your game content in an non-intrusive location. In an ideal world we would let you choose where the game content files are located, and in the long term that is a goal of ours, but due to architectural issues with our engine this is not as trivial as it may sound.
As soon as the feature to help users uninstall Steam completely when they drag it to the Trash is complete, we will be moving the game content folder into “~/Library/Application Support/Steam.”
Steam launched for Mac just two weeks ago with Portal and Torchlight. The platform will be launching Mac supported titles every Wednesday, with Half Life 2 being this week’s notable release. Check out our first impressions on the Mac version of the platform here.