Using an External Hard Drive with Your PS4: A Guide

Using an External Hard Drive with Your PS4: A Complete Guide

Expanding the storage of your PlayStation 4 (PS4) through an external hard drive is a simple, yet efficient way to enhance your gaming experience. With a growing library of games, updates, and downloadable content, gamers often find the built-in storage capacity of their PS4 insufficient. This guide provides detailed insights on how to select, connect, and manage an external hard drive for your PS4, ensuring a smooth and improved gaming journey.

Choosing the Right External Hard Drive for PS4

Before diving into the connection process, it’s crucial to pick an external hard drive that meets both your needs and the PS4’s requirements. Here are the key factors to consider:

  • Storage Capacity: External hard drives typically range from 250GB to 8TB. Considering the size of modern games, a 1TB drive is a good starting point, but avid gamers may want to opt for larger capacities.
  • USB Interface: The PS4 supports USB 3.0 and above, ensuring fast data transfer speeds. Ensure your chosen drive is compatible with these standards.
  • Form Factor: External drives come in two main types – portable and desktop. Portable drives are compact and powered through their USB connection, whereas desktop drives might offer more storage but require an external power source.
  • Reliability and Brand Reputation: Choose a hard drive from a reputable brand known for durability and customer support to secure your game data.

How to Connect an External Hard Drive to Your PS4

Connecting an external hard drive to your PS4 is a straightforward process. Follow these steps:

  1. First, ensure your PS4’s firmware is updated to version 4.50 or later.
  2. Connect the external hard drive directly to one of the USB ports on your PS4. Avoid using USB hubs as they might not provide a stable connection.
  3. Power on your PS4. It should automatically detect the external hard drive and prompt a setup wizard.
  4. Follow the on-screen instructions to format the drive for use with the PS4. Note that this will erase all data currently on the drive.
  5. Once formatted, you can adjust application install locations under Storage Settings in the PS4 settings menu.

Managing Your External Hard Drive

With your external drive connected, managing your game installations and saves becomes crucial. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Game Installation: You can set your PS4 to automatically install new games on the external drive through the Storage settings. Alternatively, you can move existing games from the internal storage to the external drive to free up space.
  • Saves and Backups: Game saves will still default to the PS4’s internal storage. Utilize the PS4’s backup feature regularly to secure game saves to the external drive or cloud storage for PlayStation Plus members.
  • Performance: While playing games from an external hard drive, you might experience slightly longer loading times compared to the internal drive, though this varies based on the game and drive specifications.

Recommended External Hard Drives for PS4

Selection of a suitable external hard drive is pivotal for enhancing your PS4 gaming experience. Below are top recommendations which balance performance, reliability, and cost:

  • Seagate Portable 2TB External Hard Drive: A compact and reliable option offering ample storage for most gamers.
  • Western Digital 4TB Elements Portable External Hard Drive: Offers extensive storage capacity for gamers looking to store a large library of games.
  • Samsung T5 Portable SSD – 1TB: Premium option with fast SSD speeds, significantly reducing load times for a smoother gaming experience.


Can any external hard drive work with PS4?

Not all external hard drives are compatible with PS4. The drive must be USB 3.0 or later, formatted to exFAT, and have between 250GB and 8TB of storage.

Will using an external hard drive slow down my PS4?

Generally, using an external hard drive will not significantly slow down your PS4. However, some games might experience slightly longer loading times, depending on the drive’s speed.

Can I use the same external hard drive for PS4 and PC?

You can use the same external hard drive for both PS4 and PC, but not simultaneously. The drive needs to be reformatted each time you switch between the devices, which erases all stored data.

How do I transfer games from my PS4’s internal storage to an external hard drive?

Go to Settings > Storage, select ‘System Storage’, then ‘Applications’. Press the ‘Options’ button on your controller, select ‘Move to Extended Storage’, and choose the games you wish to transfer.

Can you play games directly from an external hard drive on PS4?

Yes, once a game is installed on an external hard drive, you can play it directly without needing to transfer it back to the internal storage.

Further Reading and Resources

To further enhance your understanding and to keep updated with the latest, consider visiting the following websites:


Integrating an external hard drive into your PS4 setup is a game-changer for enthusiasts seeking to expand their game library without the constant worry of running out of space. The process is user-friendly, from selecting the right hardware to connection and management. Whether you’re a casual gamer requiring minimal additional space or a hardcore gamer in need of extensive storage, there’s an external hard drive solution to meet every need.

For casual gamers, a 1TB portable drive like the Seagate Portable 2TB External Hard Drive strikes the perfect balance between capacity and portability. Hardcore gamers, with extensive libraries, might lean towards the Western Digital 4TB Elements, offering ample space for numerous game titles. For those prioritizing speed to enhance their gaming experience, investing in an SSD such as the Samsung T5 Portable SSD – 1TB provides fast load times alongside high storage capacity.

Exploring the possibilities provided by an external hard drive for PS4 opens up a new realm of gaming convenience and satisfaction. Remember to consider your personal gaming needs, budget, and preferences to select the best external hard drive for your PS4.

Your thoughts, corrections, questions, and experiences are invaluable to us. Feel free to share them in the comments below to help fellow gamers navigate the choice and use of external hard drives on PS4.