Steam friend search not working – What to do

If you want to play with friends on Steam, you need to add them as a friend to your account.

This is usually extremely simple to do by entering their Steam ID into the search bar, however there may be odd occasions where you find the search function not working as it should.

If this happens to you then there’s a few different things that you can do to resolve the issue – let’s look at why people cannot find their friends in Steam.

Turn off your VPN

The most common reason people are not able to add other users on Steam is that their VPN is causing an issue.

VPN servers are useful, as they can redirect data to servers for filtered data, which helps when hiding sensitive info such as banking data, credit cards, or other financial details.

However, it can cause delays in network operations, and it might be causing an issue with your Steam client. So, check this before you check anything else.

Add friends on Steam with the Mobile App

Steam offers a functional desktop app, but like any app, sometimes you can run into issues when using it.

So if you are getting an error message on the Desktop app, switch over to using the Steam mobile app instead. You can then add friends to your friends list by simply adding their Steam profile name into the search field.

This is another east way to add a friend on Steam without having to do anything drastic.

Using the Desktop App or Website

In a similar fashion to the previous tip, this can work both ways. In fact, it might even be more likely that you have issues sending a friend request to new accounts on mobile.

Related: How to activate Steam full screen mode

Most Steam users play on the Desktop app, so simply adding their custom url name into your friends list should be enough to add friends on Steam.

Check your internet connection

A slow internet connection may prevent a user from accessing a friend’s Steam profile, meaning that you won’t be able to send friend requests.

You can check your home network to work out whether this is the issue – reset your router if you want to ensure that a weak connection isn’t the cause of the issue.

After you’ve done this, you can then rule out your internet connection being the cause of the issue.

Check Steam servers

You may need to determine whether the problem is on your own computer or the Steam server.

You can use third-party websites like DownDetector to see where the Steam servers are up or down.

It’s rate that Steam will be down, though they do go through Steam maintenance periods pretty often. So, this could stop you from adding another Steam account.

Stream Username Error

There’s a chance that you’re entering the Steam username in incorrectly, which is stopping you from adding the person.

The username that you add needs to be exactly right, otherwise you’ll be adding a different Steam account.

So, make sure you get your friend’s Steam account name if you want to ensure that you’re sending a friend request to the right person.

Use an alternative method

If you’ve tried all of the above and none of it has worked, you should probably just go ahead and use an alternative method for finding friends in Steam.

You can usually do this in one of two ways – the first way is to use their Facebook connection to add your friend on the platform.

See Also: Taking Screenshots in Steam

The other alternative is to simply send friend requests to your friend directly by getting an invite link from your account. This will invite the other players to be your friend.


Steam supports many features to allow users to have fun in games together, however unfortunately those options don’t always work as they should.

This includes the Friend search function, which can stop working from time to time. If you encounter this error, while searching for friends, there’s a few things you can do to resolve the problem.

Between restarting Steam or using one of the alternate methods, you should be able to use Steam search again.

The truth us that most issues when adding friends on Steam arise from two things – the limitation of the user’s account and the lack of correct usernames when searching the friend list.

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Edward brings years of experience in a variety of different fields including online marketing & No-code app development, and he's been investing in stocks and cryptocurrency since 2016. Outside of work you'll usually find him watching movies at the local cinema or playing games in the Apple Arcade.

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