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How to add more storage to your PlayStation 4

Here's how to get a bigger hard drive in your PS4, plus a few tips we learned along the way.

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Storage space is at a premium with game consoles. Even if you're more inclined to pick up hard copies than download full games, patches, DLC and installs can fill up the standard hard drive on your PlayStation very quickly.

On the bright side, it's very easy to add more storage to your console. You can either replace your current hard drive with a new one or, since software update 4.50, simply connect an external one.

Add an external drive

The 4.50 software update, which becomes available on March 9, lets you add any USB 3.0 hard drive as external storage. A few things, though:

  • The hard drive can be up to 8TB in size
  • The hard drive must use USB 3.0
  • Only games and applications can be stored on the external drive -- game saves are stored on the internal drive

If you'd rather not fuss with an external drive, read on to find out how to replace the internal drive with a newer, bigger drive.

Add a new hard drive

If you want to score a little more space, here's how to put a new, bigger hard drive in your PS4. The whole process should take about 15 minutes

A quick note before you start: You probably have some data you don't want to lose. If you want to keep that data -- and eventually move it to the new hard drive -- Sony explains how you can back up to a USB drive.

What you need

Replace the hard drive

  1. Disconnect your PS4 from the power supply.
  2. Remove either the casing on the rear if you have a PS4 Pro or the top left chassis plate on a PS4 classic.
  3. Unscrew the hard drive bracket. It'll be kept in place with a screw engraved with the PS4 button symbols.
  4. Take out the housing bracket for the hard drive.
  5. Remove the four screws holding the drive in the bracket (but make sure to keep the rubber inserts).
  6. Replace the existing hard drive with the new one, screwing it in.

Download the software

  1. Download the operating software from the PlayStation support site on your computer.
  2. Connect the USB flash drive to the computer and format it to FAT32, which will erase all the data on the drive and allow it to be recognized by the console. This can be done on Windows by right-clicking the drive, selecting Format, choosing the "FAT32" option from the pull-down menu and clicking the Start button.
  3. Create a folder on the flash drive called PS4, and a folder within that called UPDATE, both in all caps.
  4. Upload the installer file to your flash drive, dropping it in the UPDATE folder.
  5. Plug the PlayStation back in and start it in safe mode by holding the power button for 8 seconds.
  6. Select "Initialize PS4 (Reinstall System Software)."
  7. Run through the prompts and enjoy your upgraded hard drive!

Some tips

  • There are some issues with formatting the flash drive with the operating system installer in Windows 8. We butted heads with that ourselves, and had to use a computer with a different operating system to prepare the flash drive.
  • Speaking of issues with the flash drive, make sure it fits in the recessed USB ports on the PS4. Don't be like us.
  • Make sure you grab the full operating system install and not just the upgrade to the latest version. Both files have the same name, but the full install will be much larger. It's a sneaky link farther down on this page that looks like this:

Make sure to download the right install file.

Luke Lancaster/CNET
    • If you use a compatible drive, you won't void your warranty.

    Add an external hard drive

    An easier method would be using an external hard drive to add more storage. You will need to be running software version 4.50 or later to utilize this feature. To check to see if you are on the latest version, head to Settings and click on System Software Update.

    ps4-hdd.jpg
    Sony

    There are a few things you need to know before you connect the external hard drive:

    • You must use an external drive with USB 3.0.
    • You can use an external drive that is up to 8TB in size.
    • You can download and install games and applications directly to your external storage, but your save files will continue to be stored locally on your PS4's internal storage.
    • All of the games and applications stored on the external drive will appear in the Content Launcher on the Home Screen.

    Editors' note, March 8, 2017: This story has been updated to include new information from the PS4 4.50 software update.

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