How to Use an External Hard Drive on PS4

You’ll be surprised at how fast your PS4 storage will run low of space even if you got the 2TB internal hard drive. All the games, add-ons, updates, and system data can easily eat up the PS4’s system storage in a matter of weeks. Its impact will gradually manifest in sluggish playing experience and errors when saving a game, among others.

PS4

Fortunately, Sony has released an update allowing you to use an external hard drive on the PS4. This means more storage space to install and/or download games, save game and system data, and download updates and add-ons!

What you need to know first

Before heading straight to the nearest electronics store in your area and buying the largest capacity external hard drive available, you need to know the requirements for adding an external hard drive to your PS4 first.

  • PS4 system software version 4.50 and above
  • External storage device should be USB 3.0 or later versions
  • Minimum capacity is 250 GB and the maximum is 8 TB
  • External storage device should be connected directly to the PS4 (USB hubs not supported)
  • Use only one external storage at a time

It’s also critical to know these other things to make the external hard drive work on your PS4

  • You can only install and/or run an application on either hard drives and not both, otherwise, you’ll get an error
  • You can store game content on an external device, such as applications, add-ons, and other related applications
  • You can’t store application saved game data, screenshots/video-clips, and themes to an external storage

Using an external hard drive on your PS4

External hard drive

First things first: plug the external hard drive to any of the 2 USB 3.0 ports of your PS4. The ports are found on the front of the console. As soon as that’s done, follow the following steps:

  1. On your PS4 GUI, browse to PS4 Settings then go to Devices then navigate down to the USB Storage Devices
  2. Press the X button on the controller to select USB Storage Devices
  3. You should see your external hard drive in the list or the result, press the X button again on the controller to select it
  4. Select the Format as Extended Storage button on the screen
  5. Select the Next button on the screen and then select Yes then wait for the formatting process to complete
  6. Select the OK button as soon as the formatting process has completed

This would add your external hard drive into the list of storage options in your PS4. You can see it as an extended storage device if you check it in Settings then Storage.

Next things you’ll want to do will either be changing the application installation location or moving applications to the extended storage or disconnecting the external hard drive from the PS4. To do any of these, follow the specific steps below.

Changing the Application Installation Location

The main reason for changing the Application Installation Location setting is because you can’t just install and/or download an application directly to the external hard drive. PS4 won’t give you an option where to install the application or download the add-ons. All of these will be installed or downloaded into the internal system storage.

Changing the Application Installation Location allows you to automatically install applications or download the add-ons directly into the external hard drive. But this will have to be done after you’ve successfully connected the external hard drive into the PS4. Follow these steps to configure your PS4 to use the extended storage as the default location for application installation and add-on downloads.

  1. Browse through your PS4 Settings and then go to Storage
  2. Press the Options button on the controller and select Extended Storage in the list
  3. Select Application Install Location on the screen and then select Extended Storage

You’ll now be able to use the external hard drive as the default location for installing applications and/or downloading add-ons. Take note though that any saved data, screenshot/video clips, or themes can’t be saved into the extended storage. Only the applications and add-ons can be saved directly to the extended storage. Consequently, the updates to the applications can only be downloaded to where the applications have been installed.

Moving applications to the external hard drive

As soon as you have successfully connected your external hard drive to the PS4, you may decide to move existing applications installed in the internal system storage to the external hard drive. That way you can clear more space for your internal system storage. To do this, follow the steps below.

  1. Navigate to the PS4 Settings page and then Select Storage
  2. Select the storage where the existing applications you want to move are installed (obviously this is the System Storage) then select Applications
  3. Press the Options button on the controller and then select Move to Extended Storage
  4. Select the applications listed on the screen that you want to move over to the external hard drive, or you can simply choose the Select all to move all applications in one click
  5. Select the Move button
  6. Select OK to confirm the move

Disconnecting the external hard drive from the PS4

In the event that you no longer want to use the external hard drive, or you want to use another, there’s a proper way to disconnect the external hard drive besides just unplugging it directly from the PS4. You got to remember: never disconnect the hard drive when you’re shutting down the PS4 or when it is in reset mode.

Here are two ways to properly disconnect the external hard drive from the PS4 without causing any kind of trouble:

Method 1:

  1. Navigate to the PS4 Settings and then go to Sound/Device
  2. Select Stop Using Extended Storage on the Quick Menu page
  3. Select Yes to confirm

Method 2:

  1. Navigate to the PS4 Settings and then go to Devices
  2. Select USB Storage Devices from the list
  3. Select Stop Using This Extended Storage
  4. Select Yes to confirm

Conclusion

There’s now a better way to enjoy all your PS4 games without worrying too much about storage space. The firmware that Sony released makes using an external hard drive more convenient. More space, more games, a lot more excitement. Just make sure to know the requirements and follow the correct procedures when using an external hard drive on a PS4.