Steam to end support for macOS El Capitan and Sierra in September 2023
Steam has announced that it will end support for macOS El Capitan and Sierra in September 2023. This may come as a big blow for gamers who are stuck on older versions of the operating system.
Mac OS X 10.11 El Capitan was released in 2015, while macOS Sierra 10.12.1 was debuted in 2016.
Why is Steam ending support for macOS El Capitan and Sierra?
According to a statement that was published on Steam's Support portal, there are 2 reasons for ending support for macOS 10.11 and 10.12. Valve says that the embedded version of Google Chrome, that powers its game client, will not run on older versions of macOS. In case you weren't aware, the Steam client on desktops runs on a custom version of Google's Chromium browser.
Google Chrome 103 was the last version of the browser that supports macOS 10.11 and macOS 10.12. Chrome 104, which was released in August 2022, requires macOS 10.13 High Sierra or later. The other reason given by Valve for ending support for El Capitan and Sierra is that future versions of Steam will require feature and security updates that are available in macOS 10.13 and above. Valve cited pretty much the same reasons for ending support for Steam on Windows 7 and 8, the change is set to happen in January 2024. You can read more about it here.
Steam will stop working on macOS El Capitan and Sierra from September 1, 2023. In order to continue using the Steam client, and to play games tied to your account, you will need to update to a more recent version of macOS.
Steam's latest hardware survey does not even list the numbers for macOS 10.11 and 10.12.1, they may not have a lot of users. The chart mentions that 45.68% of Mac users were on macOS 13 Ventura. macOS 12 Monterey coming in second at 10.76%, followed by macOS Catalina 10.15.7 which had 5.45% of the total share. Now that may seem really odd, but there is a reason why these numbers were high compared to the legacy versions. macOS Catalina 10.15 was the first version of Apple's desktop operating system that ended support for 32-bit apps. This move effectively killed tons of apps and games, most of which were not updated to support newer versions of macOS. So that's probably why older versions of macOS don't have a lot of users on Steam.
The announcement from Valve notes that Apple ended technical support for the two operating systems in 2018, and 2019 respectively. Steam is recommending users to upgrade to a newer version of the OS as soon as possible to protect their systems from malware, and security exploits which hackers could use to steal the credentials of Steam accounts, etc. While that may sound like a canned response, it does make a fair point, user's security should be paramount. The problem is that upgrading to a new version of macOS is not exactly convenient for users who have old MacBooks, iMac, etc.
That said, if you do have an old Mac that is no longer updated by Apple, you may want to take a look at the OpenCore Legacy Patcher. The community-driven project allows older Mac machines to be updated to macOS Big Sur, Monterey and Ventura. Refer to the getting started guide for more information about how to install it on your system.
I think it is also worth noting that the Steam client for macOS is not a native Apple Silicon app, i.e. it runs on Rosetta 2. Maybe Valve should consider making a proper app that is optimized for the OS.
My reasons for never being an Apple fan. On my Windows computer I can upgrade to the next supported version.