A few technical questions about the Stream Deck

I am probably going to launch on buying a StreamDeck XL today. I was wondering if anyone familiar with the Stream Desks could answer a few questions (although I expect I will figure out the answers in due course once I have it to play with…)

  1. Does the Stream Desk require some kind of extension or engine running on the host Mac to function, eg the way Keyboard Maestro and ARQ both have their engine components running in the background to actually perform their actions? It seems to me that the Stream Deck must be talking to something on the Mac end to perform its actions, as I don’t see how, for example, a USB-connected device is able to launch apps on its own.

  2. The QuickStart guide states that the StreamDeck needs to be connected to a USB port on the computer, not to a hub. How strict is that requirement? Will it operate if need be on a powered hub? Given that modern Macs are port-challenged, any device needing a direct connection can be problematic. My M1 mini for example has the two TB4/USB4 ports and the two USB3 ports with several already in use.

  3. How, if at all, can one share the device between two Macs with the same functionality on both? What I mean is, is the “smarts” stored in internal memory on the StreamDeck so you can just plug it into the Mac of choice at any given time? Or is the “smarts” stored in a configuration file on the Mac, and the Deck just sends a code over USB to the Mac (presumably to the agent software I am hypothesizing is running in (1) above) which uses its config data to know what to do. Can the configuration data be easily placed in a shared location, a Dropbox or SynolgyDrive folder and hence available to the engine on two computers, much as is supported by Keyboard Maestro and Alfred, where I make a change on one computer and it is automatically seen and enabled on the other?

Thanks.

Yes. It lives in the menu bar.


Mine is usually connected directly to my iMac Pro, but just tried it on an unpowered hub and a CalDigit Twhatever, and it worked. Others agree:


The config file is saved on your Mac, so connecting to another computer would load the config saved on that machine. This article shows where the file lives, which you should be able to copy to another machine:

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My Stream Deck XL is running fine on a powered USB hub.

My Stream Deck XL runs fine on an unpowered hub

Thank you all!! Much appreciated.

I have tried running mine on the CalDigit hub but I experienced sluggishness from time to time. Maybe it’s just coincidence but the problem seems more uncommon plugged directly into the Mac. YMMV of course.

I have a script that will backup the preferences file and Application Support folder for the Stream Deck.

This could be used to copy the configuration from one Mac to another.

Note that there is no way to sync this information, so choose one to be the “Giver” and one to be the “Receiver”.

GitHub repo contains instructions. Feel free to ask questions if you have them.