How to use an external hard drive on PS4

PS4 finally allows the use of external hard drive on itAfter almost two years on the first release of PS4, Sony finally enabled its world’s most popular game console to accept the addition of an external USB storage to it, whether it’s a USB flash memory stick or an external hard disk drive (HDD).

Since this new feature is relatively new to PS4 users, many of them would like to learn how to properly use an external hard drive (hdd) on PS4. For this class of users we make this plain and short guide.

The purposes of using an external hard drive on PS4

Until Sony decides to release a new firmware update to enable more aspects of external hard drive use on PS4, an external hard drive currently can be used on PS4 for two purposes only:

  1. Backup and Restore PS4 internally-stored data. This is the main purpose Sony wants its users to use an external hard drive for. The PS4 stored data you are allowed to deal with include everything on your PS4 internal storage device (i.e. featured by a mechanical hard drive [Click here if you would like to upgrade your PS4 internal hard drive]).
  2. Play media files (movies and audios) externally. It seems Sony didn’t intend to enable this feature on external hard drives when it released its firmware update, but it unexpectedly it happened.

We would like to add a third point in our purpose list that stands for “playing games externally”, but this is not available yet. We can only wait for Sony’s “mercy”.

Ok, that’s cool. How can you use an external hard drive to achieve these purposes then? This is what you’re going to learn in the next section.

How to use an external hard drive on PS4

Before thinking about adding an external hard drive to your PS4 console, you must intuitively have a compatible external hard drive for PS4 first.

Once you got that, you need also to format the external hard drive to enable PS4 to recognize and make use of it.

The third inevitable step you must fulfill is to make sure you have downloaded and installed the latest firmware update for PS4. Because if you have an older version than 2.5 you’ll not be able to use any USB external storage devices on PS4.

Once these three issues have been resolved, now you are ready to use your external hard drive on PS4.

For backup purposes:

  1. Make sure your external hard drive is ready and connected to PS4 USB port
  2. Follow this path on PS4: Settings -> System -> Backup and Restore ->Back Up PS4
  3. There’s only one option and that is whether or not Applications will be part of the back-up. Otherwise it’s just Captures, Saved Data, and Settings. So make your choice and click “Next” then “Back Up

If you find it is still unclear, you can watch the video below which explains this process thoroughly and plainly:

For Playing External Media Files:

Using PS4 media player to play movies on external hard driveThis is also a simple process, all what you have to do is the following:

  1. Download “PS4 Media Player” from the PlayStation Store (there will be an icon on your PS4’s home screen so you don’t have to search through the Store catalog), and let it install.
  2. Connect your external hard drive to PS4 via USB port
  3. Load up the newly-installed PS4 Media Player.
  4. Now your external hard drive will appear in the list of playable media, and you can select what you want to watch.

See the image below:

Using an external hard drive on PS4 to play movies

That’s everything you need to know. Hope this guide was easy to follow and clear to understand.

Use the PS4 External HDD By Setting it Up

You’ll see a number of warnings that formatting your device will remove any previously installed data. So before you hit ‘OK’, make sure that there’s nothing stored on the device that you don’t want to lose.

In order to use an external hard drive it needs to be a USB 3.0 hard drive. It should come with a storage capacity between 250GB and 8TB. If you’ve purchased a hard drive any time recently this should be fine. But if you’re hoping to make use of something old, you’ll want to double-check before you go further. That’s because the PS4 won’t work. It’s also important to note that once you’ve formatted your external HDD to this specific PS4 format.

You can only use it for PS4 games and apps. That means you won’t be able to store screenshots and video clips, saved data, Themes or any other types of media, documents, pictures on it, without re-formatting to its original state. Any of these hard drive options rounded up by our Deals team will work. Once you have that hard drive, you need to do a few things to get it working on your PS4.

Once formatting is complete, you’ll see a message confirming that it’s been successful. Also, a small green light will appear next to the device’s name, letting you know it’s activated as the main storage location.

What you must know foremost

The biggest buzz and the best news is PS4’s new support for external hard drives. Thais gives you the freedom to massively increase your storage of games and apps. So clear your schedule and make some free time. In fact, you’re gonna have a lot more games at hand to conquer.

Of course we know it’s easy to upgrade the hard drive inside your PS4 to boost capacity and speed, but many of us want still more storage space on the console, and PlayStation has our backs.

The PS4 will only recognize one external storage drive at a time. If a drive that has been previously formatted for external storage on the console is connected, it will not format a second drive. Additionally, it will not recognize a previously formatted second drive. Also, the external drive cannot be connected to the console through a USB hub. Therefore, it must be directly connected to one of the USB ports on the PS4 or PS4 Pro.

With this PS4 version 4.50 update, now you can store content to an external hard drive. This is possible by plugging in a USB 3.0 HDD into your PS4. Bingo, you can quintuple the original space on your console with a Seagate Game Drive for PS4 with 2TB. Another option is to use another of our portable models for easy travel to friends’ houses with up to 5TB of space. Or even septendecuple your space with up to an 8TB desktop external drive — wow.

Steps to Setup the PS4 External HDD

It’s very easy to setup an external hdd for PS4. You just need to be a little careful and everything will go as desired.

So, the steps are as you can see below:

  1. Go to the Settings menu from your PS4 home screen.
  2. Scroll down to the Devices menu.
  3. Choose ‘USB Storage Devices’.
  4. Select your external HDD, then choose “Format as extended storage”.

That’s all. Just very simple way to setup an external hard drive to work with PS4 flawlessly.


This article contains everything you need in order to get an external HDD working fine with PS4. If you download and store all your games and add-ons on your PS4 system storage, you’ll find it out of space very soon. Sony has allowed adding external hard drive to your PS4 now, so that you can have a lot more storage to install and save your applications! Want to know how to use external hard drive on PS4?