I have a very slow Internet connection at home and cannot download large files there. However, I have a Macbook and fast Internet at school. Is it possible to download a game to my Macbook, then transfer the files to my home PC? Are the files different for Macs and PCs?

I did see this post about general Steam file transfer from PC to PC, but it says nothing about Macs. I wasn't sure if the files are the same or not.

Edit: I just found this thread and it sounds like a direct download isn't possible, but maybe saving a few gigs of data by copying asset files would work.

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    I've transferred Steam files from one Mac to another. I would assume you can't transfer cross-platform, but I've never actually heard of someone trying it. Commented Jun 8, 2015 at 16:08
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    @UniKitty I know. That's why I made a comment, rather than an answer, and why I specifically mentioned cross-platform. Commented Jun 8, 2015 at 16:11
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    If you download the game, create a backup, and restore the backup on the other system, that should give you most of the data you need. Commented Jun 8, 2015 at 16:23
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    @ Ullallulloo Create a backup of the whole machine? I am trying to transfer from Mac to a PC, so I can't restore a Mac backup to the PC.
    – N-C
    Commented Jun 8, 2015 at 16:28
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    @N-C you can create a steam backup of the game can't you? (I haven't used steam in a while so i might be remembering something else)
    – Mint
    Commented Jun 8, 2015 at 23:17

5 Answers 5


I don't think you'll be able to copy everything and have it work right away, since like others have mentioned there are probably some files that are different.

However, the bulk of what you download are things like music, textures, and models, and those will most likely be the same between platforms.

What you could try doing is downloading the game onto your macbook, copying everything onto your PC, and then telling steam on the PC to verify your game files. This runs a check over all of the files you have, and repairs anything different or missing. In theory, this will let you keep all of the big asset files, while only needing to download a few small ones to make the version correct.

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    This is the correct answer. Assets are the same, only .dll/.so and other binary files like the executable are different.
    – user28015
    Commented Jun 8, 2015 at 17:08
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    I have not been in this exact situation, but I used to have a machine that dual booted Windows and Linux with both OSes sharing one SteamApps directory (to avoid downloading everything twice). It almost worked perfectly, but every time I switched OSes I would get a bunch of small game updates or I would need to verify certain games before launch - I'm guessing to switch out the OS-specific files.
    – Max
    Commented Jun 8, 2015 at 19:18
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    I don't use Mac, but I have heard they can emulate windows (they are just very bad at it). Would another solution be to run an emulation of Windows in the background, and run the Windows Steam through that? I would not recommend actually playing the games, but it might ensure that OP is at least downloading windows-relevant data. It might also get around any games not wanting to download because the installer has confirmed they will not run on a Mac.
    – user106385
    Commented Jun 9, 2015 at 1:03
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    @Max You should have kept the steamapps directories separate and just created symlinks for the things that you knew were the same
    – Pharap
    Commented Jun 9, 2015 at 4:50

You can use SteamCMD, Steams command-line client, to download game files, and you can also force it to download files for a different OS. You can find the app ID by looking it up in the Steam Database. That way you'll get all the executable files as well!

Edit: To be clear, I've used this method myself to download a Windows-only game on a Linux machine, and it came with all the .exe files for Windows.

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    What I've seen is that you can download the gamefiles for Mac on a different OS. But can you install SteamCMD on a Mac? If so, this answer could be valid.
    – Joetjah
    Commented Jun 9, 2015 at 9:02
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    Yes, you can
    – Erbureth
    Commented Jun 9, 2015 at 9:59
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    @Joetjah SteamCMD is just a command-line driven version of the Steam client, so it's no surprise that there's an OSX version.
    – Powerlord
    Commented Jun 9, 2015 at 15:51
  • Unfortunately, it seems that there's no 64-bit version of SteamCMD for Mac.
    – antimo
    Commented Mar 30, 2020 at 6:49

Unix and Windows are different platforms so there will be different files for PC and Mac. You can attempt to download PC installation files (if Steam allows it) and then copy them over to PC. Have a look at this thread at STEAM forum.


I've got exactly same problem. Solved it by installing windows on my macbook and using steam there. I downloaded games on windows partition and then copied it into home PC

Possible solutions:

a) Install Windows Steam on OS X via Wineskin (wine skin runs .exe like it would be an .app)

b) Install parallels. It runs virtual machine with windows inside os x (you use it like an app. It's fully functional windows system)

c) Install bootcamp with windows [apple fully supports this feature. It's easy. You've got Boot Camp Assistant installed on your os x by default]. After installing bootcamp you will have choice which system to load during computer booting.

Windows runs smoothly in bootcamp. You may even play games on high FPS.

However bootcamp needs it owns partition (windows requires about 15gb). If you only want to download games via steam I would go for parallels. There is free trial and you can probably get free windows cd-key on your university.


As you say in your edit, copying of the raw files will not work 100%. Assuming the assets are the same format across both platforms, that may well work, but otherwise it will not.

You will have more success running Windows Steam in a VM or Bootcamp, and transferring files from that (but obviously this is far more effort).

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