How Can You Use an External Hard Drive on a PS4?


If you have a PS4 or PS4 Pro but still want many games or movies on your system, an external hard drive can be perfect for storing data.

You could easily run out of space on your console, and using an external hard drive lets you expand your storage while still playing all the games and watching all the movies you want.

We know that the PS4 has two built-in storage options – the 500GB internal drive and the 1TB HDD included with the console’s most expensive Pro versions.

Your data is not simply stored in these drives – instead, Sony uses its own proprietary technology to allow users to add their own “genuine” external hard drive to make additional space for more stuff. Let’s break down what that means.

External hard drives with USB 3.0 connections should work with most external hard drives. A hard drive connected via an external USB port can’t connect to the PS4 via a USB hub and must be connected directly to a USB port.

Find out how to format an external hard drive properly to avoid losing your games by reading how to set up an external hard drive for your PS4.

What is the best external hard drive for PS4?

According to the PlayStation website, you should use an external hard drive with a minimum capacity of 250GB or a maximum capacity of 8TB.

To get the best performance from the extended storage device, your PS4 will need system software version 4.50 or later.

What are the best hard drives and solid-state drives for PS4?

WD My Passport 4TB hard drive is one of the best external hard drives with a USB connection while providing excellent performance and massive storage.

You will, however, need to opt for the P50 Game Drive, which is a dedicated gaming drive that has fast loading speeds and excellent performance.

What is not compatible with the PS4?

An external hard drive may not be compatible with the PS4 because of some features;

  • PS4 can’t handle partitioned drives so partitioned drives won’t work. Make sure that your drive is only partitioned into one volume.
  • The PS4 is not able to recognize wireless external hard drives. Hard drives must be connected via a wire.
  • It does not support Network Attached Storage (NAS) drives since PS4 does not support hard drives attached to a network.
  • The PS4 system can connect dual-layer external hard drives. However, you will only use the first layer, thereby losing half of their capacity.
  • It does not support hub connections, so if you try connecting your PS4 to a hard drive that has a hub built-in or an additional hub, you are unlikely to be successful.

The PS4 system will automatically format and encrypt the drive when formatting your external hard drive.

After a hard drive has been formatted, you will not use it on a PC or a MAC. You also won’t recover files you had on it previously.

How do I connect an external drive to my PS4?

Standard PS4s have two USB ports on the front, but Pros have a third on the back of the console.

Connect the external hard drive to one of the ports using USB 3.0. An error message will appear on your screen asking you to format the USB device before working with the console.

How to format your external hard drive for a PS4?

Find the “Devices” section on your PS4 under “Settings.” Click on “USB Storage Devices” then click “Format as Extended Storage.”

If your external hard drive is small, formatting should only take a few minutes, but it may take longer if it is large.

Default storage setting

You can now place any game you purchase or download on your external hard drive since it’s been formatted correctly.

Instead of keeping the internal storage as the default, keep your external hard drive. If you prefer to use internal storage instead, you can change this setting.

How to move games from internal to external storage?

Click the options button under “Storage” in the settings menu. An extended storage option should be available.

Since moving off your internal drive takes a while, you might want to test your move by moving a few games first.

What data is on the external hard drive?

Applications and add-ons can be downloaded and installed on the external hard drive, but the application related to the add-on will remain within the internal storage.

The corresponding applications will also download the updates. On the extended storage, screenshots and videos can’t be stored.

How to disconnect the external drive safely?

Take care not to lose or corrupt data by not disconnecting your external drive properly. You can disconnect by clicking on USB Storage Device under Settings, then Devices.

The external hard drive will be disconnected when clicking the “Stop Using This Extended Storage” option.

Occasionally, you might see a message that says that there is a problem with the hard drive if you don’t shut down the system correctly.

You shouldn’t experience any data loss as the drive will automatically repair itself within a few minutes. In any case, be sure you shut down the drive properly.

Issues with WiFi or Bluetooth

When connecting an external hard drive to a PlayStation 4, some people experience connectivity problems with WiFi and Bluetooth.

If any issues arise, you might want to try moving the extended storage device to a farther distance from the PS4, according to the PlayStation website.

System and extended storage applications

You will get an error message asking you to delete one of the saved files if a game is saved to both the external hard drive and the internal storage.

There is only one place for an application on the hard drive because you won’t use it until removing one of the files.

What is not on extended storage?

You will only be able to save themes and data to your internal storage. The internal system storage is the only place to save screenshots and video clips.

Keeping your games and other applications on an external hard drive is probably the best course of action if you plan on saving many of them.

Can more than one external hard drive be used simultaneously?

Even though there are multiple USB ports, you cannot use more than one external hard drive at a time.

It is impossible to have more than one extended storage device active simultaneously on the PS4 regardless of how formatted both hard drives are.

Bottom Line

An external hard drive is a good choice if you need more space for your PS4 game data. Keep in mind, though, that not all external hard drives are created equal. You need to choose the right drive to work properly with the PS4.

As long as the external drive can be connected to a USB port, it will work, and once it is formatted, you will not have to worry about storing too much data or loading programs slowly.

Having an external hard drive in your PS4 setup doesn’t change games’ performance, but it can make them run faster.


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