PS4 External Hard Drives – A Welcome Addition
Playstation 4 storage has always been limited by the size of the internal hard drive. This is has become increasingly frustrating for players, because modern games almost universally require big chunks of space. Some games pre-load huge amounts of data onto the hard disk, the Blu-ray disc alone is no longer enough for massive games with large open worlds to load quickly enough. Big games also have big save files, and gamers are frequently finding that the pre-installed hard disk drive inside the PS4 fills up far quicker than they would like. PS4 external hard drives have previously not been supported by Sony.
The standard Playstation 4 console has a 500GB hard drive. There is also a 1TB version, and the PS4 Pro is also 1TB. Six or seven games can easily take up 500GB of space, so storage management has become a big issue for Playstation gamers. Previously the only way to deal with this was to delete your saved games, which is obviously not ideal. The increase in storage demands of modern games, as well as the relatively low capacity of PS4 internal hard disks has led Sony to roll out update 4.50.
Update 4.50 allows PS4 owners to use USB external hard drives as an additional storage device. Applications can be installed directly onto an external hard drive, or existing applications can be moved from your PS4 system storage to your new PS4 external hard drives. In order to take advantage of this feature, you must use a USB 3.0 or later device, which has between 250GB and 8TB of storage capacity.
How to use PS4 External Hard Drives
In order to use your external hard drive with your PS4, you must first format the device for use as extended storage. Simply connect your external hard drive to your PS4 via the USB cable that came with your device. Select settings>devices>USB storage devices and select the connected USB external hard drive, then choose the option to format it for use as extended storage. Make sure that you do not have anything on you external drive that you want to keep before formatting it, as this process will wipe the disk clean. Formatting will also make your device work exclusively with your Playstation, meaning that you won’t be able to use it for another purpose, such as saving other files from you PC or Mac. This may mean that you need one external hard drive for your personal use and one solely for your PS4. Make sure to do some research and find the best external hard drive for your situation.
Once you have your external hard drive correctly formatted and up and running, you can begin to take advantage of the benefits it offers to your gaming experience. Save files and games can be transferred directly to your USB device, meaning that you can play entire PS4 games right off the external HDD. Entire game installation files are a huge drain on your PS4’s internal storage, so having an external hard drive available to take up some of the strain is most welcome. If you have some games that you aren’t currently playing, but that you want to keep installed in order to come back to them in a few months time, then move the install files onto your USB hard drive. This will free up valuable space on your PS4 and will also enable you to pick up where you left off once you want to play these games again further down the line.
Safely unplug your external hard drive from your PS4
After you have finished using your external hard drive, you must eject the device safely through the Playstation 4 menus before unplugging the drive. There are two ways of doing this, if you select settings>devices>USB storage devices then you can choose to ‘end external storage usage’, the device will then be safe to disconnect. Alternatively you can go through the quick menu, select ‘devices’ then ‘stop using extended storage’. It is important to remove the device safely. If you unplug the hard drive while it is saving, you could corrupt it.
PS4-ready external hard drives
The PS4 is compatible with any modern USB 3.0 external hard drive. Check out Amazon’s best selling list of devices or read some of our reviews to find the right external hard drive for you. An 8TB drive might be overkill for what you need, and are more than likely too expensive right now. A more sensible option would be to buy a 2TB HDD such as the Seagate Expansion 2TB. Try not to worry too much about compatibility, you should be fine. Look for USB 3.0 devices to ensure that you are getting a modern hard drive. Look for big brands. These include Samsung, WD or Seagate.
With update 4.50, Sony have allowed users to add up to an additional 8TB of external hard drive space, giving Playstation gamers much more flexibility and options with regards to how they want to manage their storage. It is a very welcome update and one that future-proofs the console for many gamers.