Can You Use Any External Hard Drive For PS4?

The PS4 comes with a 500GB internal hard drive, and the PS4 Pro has a 1TB hard drive, but even the Pro’s storage can quickly run out as games get better graphics and download new patches. If you want an extra 8TB of storage, you can now connect an external hard drive to your PlayStation 4. 

You can use almost any external hard drive as long as it has a USB 3.0 connection. However, the external hard drive can’t connect to the console through a USB hub and needs to directly connect to one of the USB ports on the PS4. 

Keep reading to learn how to set up an external hard drive for your PS4 and format the hard drive correctly, so you don’t lose your games.

Which external hard drive is best for PS4

The PlayStation website recommends that you use an external hard drive that SuperSpeed USB 5Gbps or later, and a minimum of 250GB or a maximum of 8TB of storage. You will also want to make sure your PS4 has system software version 4.50 or later to get the best performance through the extended storage device. 

Best Hard Drive and Solid State Drive for PS4

While you can use any external hard drive with a USB connection, the best hard drive is the WD My Passport 4TB hard drive, which comes with massive storage and incredible transfer speeds. However, if you want excellent performance and more storage, you will want the P50 Game Drive, which is made specifically for gaming and offers impressive speeds to transfer files and load games. 

What isn’t compatible with PS4?

Some features will make an external hard drive incompatible with the PS4;

  • Partitioned drive will not work on PS4 because the PS4 system can’t handle partitions. Ensure that your drive has only one volume.
  • Wireless external hard drives because the PS4 system can’t recognize them. Your hard drive needs to have a wired connection. 
  • No NAS drives since PS4 does not support Network Attached Storage hard drives.
  • Dual-layer external hard drives can connect to PS4, but the PS4 system can only recognize the first layer and ignore the second so that you will lose half of the storage capacity. 
  • No hub connection, so if you’re trying to use a hard drive with the USB hub built-in or an additional hub to connect with your PS4, it is unlikely to work. 

It would help if you also kept in mind that the PS4 system will completely format and encrypt your external hard drive once you start the formatting process. You can’t use the hard drive for PC or MAC use, nor will you be able to recover any files that were previously on the hard drive after it is formatted. 

How to connect an external drive to a PS4

The standard PS4 has two USB ports on the front of the console, whereas the Pro has a third extra port on the back. Use the USB 3.0 on the external hard drive and plug it into one of the ports. You will get a message on the screen saying that the USB device is not formatted to work with the console.

Formatting your external hard drive for a PS4

Go into your PS4’s settings and find “Devices.” You should see a section called “USB Storage Devices” that you can click on then press “Format as Extended Storage.” How long it takes to formate may depend on the size of your external hard drive, but it should only take a couple of minutes. 

Setting the default storage

Now that your external hard drive is formatted correctly, it will be the default destination for any games your purchase or download. It’s faster to keep your external hard drive as the default storage instead of the internal storage. However, you can change this in the settings if you prefer to use internal storage instead. 

Moving games from internal to external storage

Go to “Storage” under settings and press the options button. There should be an option to move to extended storage. The move can take quite a bit of time, so you might want to test by moving a small game before you try to move everything off your internal drive. 

What is on the external hard drive?

You can download and install applications and add-ons to your external hard drive and add-ons where the related application is on the internal storage. Any updates will download to the same location as the corresponding applications. You can’t store any screenshots or video clips on the extended storage. 

How to properly disconnect the external drive

If you don’t disconnect your external drive properly, you could experience data loss or corruption. To disconnect, go to Settings, then Devices and click on USB Storage Device. There should be an option called “Stop Using This Extended Storage,” that you can press, and it will disconnect the external hard drive.

If you don’t shut down the system correctly, you might get a message saying that the hard drive needs repairing. It should only take a few minutes for the drive to repair itself, and you shouldn’t experience any data loss, but it’s best to try and shut it down properly. 

Problems with WiFi or Bluetooth 

Some people have issues connecting to WiFi and/or Bluetooth when connecting their external hard drive to their PS4. The PlayStation website recommends that you try placing your extended storage device farther away from the PS4, and it should clear up any issues. 

Applications on extended and system storage

If you have a game saved to both the external hard drive and the internal storage, you will get an error message asking you to delete one of the saved files. You won’t be able to use the hard drive until you have removed one of the files, so there is only one location for the application.

What isn’t on extended storage

Any themes and saved data will only save to the internal storage. You can only save screenshots and video clips to the internal system storage as well. If you think you will want to save many of these, then it’s probably best to keep your games and other applications saved to the external hard drive, so you have room. 

Can you use more than one external hard drive at a time?

No, you can only use one external hard drive simultaneously, even though there are multiple USB ports. Even if both hard drives are formatted correctly, the PS4 can only have one active extended storage device at one time and not multiple simultaneously. 

Final Thoughts

Storage can fill up quickly when it comes to video games, but an external hard drive is a great way to expand how much storage your PS4 has and made it easier to decide what games you no longer want to keep in your library. 

Any external hard drive will do as long as it can connect to one of the USB ports, and once it’s formatted, you won’t have to worry as much about storage or slower loader load times. If nothing else, games run noticeably faster when you have an external hard drive as part of your PS4 setup. 

Steven Carr

Steven is a certified IT professional and gaming enthusiast. He has been working in the tech industry for over 10 years, and specializes in all things Tech-related. When he's not geeking out over the latest hardware or software release, he can be found testing out the latest video game.

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