The Steam Deck’s ability to dock and play on a TV or monitor is brilliant, but it coms with some quirks. You can’t always enjoy game music out loud, and if you don’t have a USB wireless headset like the Cloud Alpha to plug in when docked, you’ll likely be using the Steam Deck’s 3.5mm audio jack. You'll sometimes find, however, that the Steam Deck will default to HDMI audio when you dock it, cutting off your headphones. Thankfully, there’s an easy fix. Here’s how to use the 3.5mm audio jack (or other headphones!) while docked on Steam Deck.
Steam Deck: How to use the 3.5mm audio jack while docked
Steam Deck should prioritize headsets when pluggd in via USB or the 3.5mm audio jack when docked, but if yours automatically swaps to TV or monitor speakers when docked, the solution is thankfully simple.
Press Escape or the Steam button to open the menu on the left side of the screen.
Choose Settings, then swap to the Audio tab.
Under Output device, swap to Speakers or your named device to output audio through your headphones. To output through your TV or monitor speakers, you’ll want to select External Device.
If you’re using a microphone or headset with a mic included, you can make sure that the Steam Deck is using the correct device on this menu too. If you haven’t already, we recommend learning how to set up Discord on Steam Deck so you can easily chat to friends while playing multiplayer games.
You can also easily adjust the volume of audio for both your speakers and recorded microphone – handy when the Steam Deck may be across the room from you.
That’s all there is to how to use 3.5mm audio on Steam Deck while playing in Docked mode, but there are loads of other useful tricks for the Steam Deck worth knowing. Check out our guides on how to take and transfer screenshots, as well as how to get to and exit Steam Deck’s Desktop mode.