How to Connect an External HDD to a PS4

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Game manufacturers from around the world are still developing amazing titles for the PlayStation 4, and this console is sure to provide you with countless hours of entertainment. Sony is also constantly releasing amazing apps almost every week, and there may come a point when your PS4’s hard drive is pushed to its limit. If you have recently started to get warnings that your PlayStation’s internal HDD is almost full, then it might be time to invest in an external hard drive.

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Steps to Connect an External HDD to a PS4

Storage space (or lack of it) can become an issue if you like collecting digital PS4 titles. However, you can easily surmount this obstacle by getting a high-quality PS4 external hard drive. This way, your entire collection will be available for play at all times. Before you invest in a new hard drive, you might want to spend a little bit of time researching how those devices work. While this project should be relatively easy to carry out, you could end up losing your save states or having to redownload your favorite games if you aren’t careful.

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Choosing the Right Size

When it comes to storing games and apps on an external HDD, you must consider the quality of the device as well as its storage capabilities. Without the proper hard drive, you could run into a wide variety of problems ranging from ongoing lag during your games to choppy video playback.

choppy video playback
choppy video playback

The smallest external hard drive that you can attach to a PS4 is 250 GB, but you will probably want to get a hard drive that is at least 1 TB. Some of the largest games are now well over 100 GB, and a smaller hard drive is going to fill up before you know it.

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If you want to make sure that you won’t have to purchase a new external hard drive in the near future, then you should probably upgrade to a 2 TB or 4TB unit. You won’t be able to fit every app and game in the PS4 catalog on one of those HDDs, but you should be able to store most of your library. Some gamers also have multiple hard drives for their PS4 consoles, but it is important to note that you can’t use multiple hard drives at the same time.

Formatting the Drive

The first step in this process is formatting the drive so that it is compatible with your PlayStation 4. If an older hard drive is going to be used, then you will need to copy over all of the data to a different location. Once the hard drive is empty, you can plug it into the Playstation 4 with a high-quality USB cable.

Using an older USB cable that you had sitting in a drawer might seem like a good way to save some money, but an outdated cable could be very inefficient. Luckily, most HDDs come with factory cables that will provide ample power and excellent transfer speeds.

Formatting the Drive
Formatting the Drive

After the HDD is plugged in, you must go to Settings > Devices > USB Storage Devices > Format as Extended Storage. The PS4 will then automatically detect the HDD and attempt to change its format to exFAT.

Formatting the HDD can be done on your computer or another device as well, but it is usually a good idea to have the PlayStation do the formatting so that there aren’t any errors. After a few moments, the formatting should be complete and you will be able to use your new hard drive.

Should I Stick to Internal Storage?

Before you transfer some of your games and apps over to the external hard drive, you might begin to wonder if the internal drive is actually going to be faster than an external HDD.

While it probably seems logical that the internal memory will be faster than any external drive that you can find, that isn’t always true. Sony didn’t necessarily use high-end hardware to build their PS4s, and that is one of the reasons why so many gamers run into ongoing errors.

Stick to Internal Storage
Stick to Internal Storage

An external HDD from a reputable company could be much faster than the HDD that the PS4 came with. In fact, some experts now suggest that gamers transfer all of their competitive online games over to external hard drives in order to reduce load times and lag.

Transferring Your Games and Apps

If your internal HDD is extremely full, then you should probably transfer at least some of that data over to your new HDD right away. This process is fairly simple, but it could take quite some time depending on how much data needs to be copied. To transfer your games, you must go to Settings > Storage > System Storage > Applications.

From there, you can highlight any game or app that you would like to move to the extended storage. Before you transfer any games, you might want to test a smaller application to get a better idea of how quick the process is going to be. For a huge game library, the transfer could take well over an hour.

Enjoying Your New HDD

There are many different reasons why you should consider investing in a high-quality HDD for your PS4. In addition to freeing up quite a bit of space on the console itself, you could also greatly improve your load times. Games like PUBG and Red Dead Redemption 2 have notoriously long load times, and adding an HDD to your PS4 could help with those issues.

Transferring your games to an HDD will also allow you to play those titles on different consoles. If you ever decide that you want to upgrade your PS4 or simply play some of your games at a friend’s house, then you can disconnect the hard drive and take it with you. With your new HDD, your game library is going to be easier to access, easier to transfer, and much more secure.

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