My Mac Steam installation on 10.7 has started giving this "failed to load" dialog whenever I try to launch Steam.

I have tried deleting the Application Support folder which allowed Steam to launch but then I had to redownload the games again, and I have a feeling that it is handling the symptom, not the cause.

What is the reason (what does Steam check for, so I can look) and how do I fix it?

  • 3
    Interesting, it seems to be trying to load a shared object but thinks one is already loaded. +1ing this, i'd love to see the answer.
    – Robb
    Aug 6, 2011 at 15:46
  • This time a reboot allowed it to start. It did not the last time. Aug 6, 2011 at 17:18
  • @Robb, how did you determine that this was happening? Aug 6, 2011 at 17:19
  • 1
    OH, I'm not certain, simply a guess.
    – Robb
    Aug 6, 2011 at 18:33

2 Answers 2


This is caused by a component of Steam not stopping correctly, and then when you try and reopen Steam it complains.

Open a terminal window and run the following command (type it in and press enter):

    ps -A | grep Steam

This will give you a list of running programs that have the word 'Steam' in them - usually 2 or 3. When I had your error and ran the above command this is what I saw:

    712 ??       700:23.42 /Applications/Steam.app/Contents/MacOS/osx32/steam -psn_0_40970
    64849 ttys002    0:00.00 grep Steam

One of the items will be called 'grep Steam' - ignore that one. Each item in the list will have a number - this is the first piece of text on each line. The number we are interested in here is 712.

Run the following command to close the lingering Steam component:

    kill 712

Where you replace 712 with whatever number you found. If there was more than 1 number, run kill again with the other numbers too.

You should now be able to close the terminal, and run Steam just like normal. :-)

  • 1
    Unfortunately, this didn't work :( I killed three processes, ran the ps command again to make sure they were gone (they were), opened steam and got the same error.
    – Delameko
    Jul 22, 2012 at 6:31
  • This does not work for me.
    – Nelson
    Apr 25, 2013 at 0:24

Found something that sounds promising in a thread posted to steam official forum:

Please exit Steam and go to the folder Users/[username]/Library/Application Support/Steam

Delete all of the files in this folder.

Then, you will need to launch Steam.app from your Dock or Applications folder.

With Steam running, re-test the original issue.

Note: This process will not affect your currently installed games.

  • Thats what I did that required re-download :( Aug 7, 2011 at 13:29
  • So you still get the same error even after doing this? Aug 7, 2011 at 13:47
  • It took care of the problem, but required me to redownload the games. After a few days the problem came back and prompted me to open the question. Aug 7, 2011 at 13:52
  • I see.. sorry for that. Do you happen to have multiple user accounts on your Mac machine? E.g. one for you and one for other family member(s)? Aug 7, 2011 at 13:55
  • 1
    I'm not familiar with Mac, but there is chance that Steam is running for each account hence giving you such error. Aug 7, 2011 at 14:15

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