Do External Hard Drives Work With Your PS4?


Image result for external hard drive

Does your PS4 always run out of memory and you wonder if an external hard drive will work with your PS4? I understand just how large game files can be so I researched the internet trying to find the answer to this question.

The PS4 supports external hard drives with a USB 3.0 connection and up to 8TB of storage. External hard drives must be formatted to work with the PS4 and the PS4 can only recognize one drive at a time. External drives must be connected to the PS4 via the USB ports, not a USB hub.

So there you have it! You can connect an external drive to your PS4. Next, I will discuss the actual process of how you connect an external hard drive with your PS4, which ones are compatible and what happens if you unplug an external drive whilst it’s connected.

Which External Hard Drives Are Compatible With The PS4?

Now, not all external hard drives are compatible with the PS4 as you need to be careful although 3 of the best brands are Western Digitial(WD), Seagate & Toshiba.

The external hard drives I personally recommend are found at the end of this article but in general this one (Amazon Link) the WD 4TB Elements Portable External Hard Drive is considered one of the best and it looks like a mini PS4 so it will fit just right into your setup!

How To Connect An External Hardrive To Your PS4

  1. Connect your external hard drive directly into one of your PS4/PS4 Pro USB 3.0 Ports (TIP: he PS4 has two ports on the front, the Pro has two on the front and one on the rear
  2. Under settings navigate over to devices
  3. Under Devices go to USB Storage Devices
  4. On USB storage Devices select “format as Extended Storage”
  5. You’re done! The External hard drive will appear as extended storage under storage which is located in settings if you did it right.

If you prefer a more visual explanation check out this Youtube video from Seagate one of the best producers of PS4 external hard drives. Don’t worry if you don’t have a Seagate external drive as the process for connecting all fo them is exactly the same.

What Happens If You Discconect An External Hardrive From The PS4

Now be very careful not to disconnect the external hard drive when the console is on as serious data loss or corruption to your files could occur. Whenever you want to disconnect the hard drive do the following

  1. So To Settings
  2. Go-To Devices
  3. Go To USB Storage Devices
  4. Select “stop using this extended Storage”
  5. Your Hard drive should be disconnected!

If you prefer a video walkthrough on how you disconnect your PS4 external hard drive from your PS4, check out the video below

Why Buy An External Hard Drive For Your PS4?

You might ask yourself why buy an external hard drive in the first place? Well, 4-8 TB of memory is a LOT better than 500 GB/1GB of internal memory you get with your PS4.

If you’re anything like me you will find yourself constantly deleting games/game files to make space for new games due to how massive game files are. Red Dead Redemption 2 infamously needs 99GB of storage even with the disc! That’s 1/10/1/5 of all the internal memory of your PS4!

Having an external hard drive gives you so much better choice in the games & game files you choose to keep, 4TB of memory is enough for around 40 AAA games which is more than most people can play. So when you buy an HDD never choose between deleting one of your games to make way for a new Playstation Now game ever again!

I speak about it more in this post here but with digital gaming becoming more common, memory space is more and more important so I’d recommend buying a bigger HDD just to future proof yourself for PS5 games because they are going to be MASSIVE!

However, did you know that using an external drive gives you the fastest loading times for your PS4? You might have thought that the PS4 internal drive is the fastest but that’s not the case.

The popular tech review Youtube channel Digital Foundry compared loading times with the PS4 internal drive and a Seagate HDD and loading times using the HDD were significantly faster on every game they tested. You can get even faster times if you have an external SSD(solid-state drive) but you do need some technical experience.

Check out Digitial Foundries comparison video here

How To Play Media Files On Your PS4 Using an External Hard Drive

Did you know you can use your PS4 to stream high-quality HD movies & TV shows outside of Netflix using your SDD? It is a simple process to setup

  1. Download “PS4 Media Player” from the PlayStation Store
  2. Connect your external hard drive to your PS4 via a USB port
  3. Load up your downloaded “PS4 Media Player”
  4. Your External hard drive should appear in the list of playable media, so you can select all the movies/music/films that your hearts desire!

Remember that before formatting your external hard drive to your PS4 everything will be deleted once formatted so just remember this before you format your SDD to your PS4

Check out this video for a more video explanation. Although he is talking about a USB and not an HDD all the steps are the same

How To Back Up Your PS4 Using A HDD

Now you would back up your PS4s memory into an HDD to prevent all your games & save data from being forever lost, assuming something happened to your PS4.

Having a backup in an external hard drive gives you peace of mind knowing your data is safe.

  1. Make sure you’ve synced your Trophies. Go to  [Trophies], press the Options button, and choose the [Sync With PlayStation Network] option.
  2. Insert the USB storage device that you plan on using for the back up into one of the PS4’s USB ports.
  3. Go to  [Settings] > [System] > [Back Up and Restore].
  4. Confirm which data you’d like to back up. If you choose not to back up applications, you’ll need to download or reinstall them when/if you eventually restore with the back up you’re creating.
  5. On the next screen, you can customize the name of the backup. Once you’ve done that, highlight [Back Up] and press  (X button).
  6. A progress bar will show the current status of the backup. You can cancel this at any time.

To restore the HDD back to a PS4:

  1. Go to  [Settings] > [System] > [Back Up and Restore].
  2. Insert the USB storage device that contains the back up into one of the PS4’s USB ports.
  3. Choose the [Restore PS4] option.
  4. Select the back-up file that you’d like to restore.
  5. You’ll see a screen that tells you that the system will restart and initialize whether or not the backup process is completed. Choose [Yes] to continue.

Have a look at this detailed video explaining how to backup, upgrade and restore your hard drive in a step by step manner.

How To Fix PS4 External Hard Drive Not Recognised

Now, what if you bought an external hard drive and it’s not registering? You need to check the following points and see if they apply to you

  • Make sure your external hard drive is not damaged/defected. Confirm your HDD works by connecting it to your PC, if your PC recognises it without a problem then, of course, it works. If it doesn’t? You might have to replace it
  • Is Your HDD PS4 Compatible? If your external hard drive is not PS4 compatible of course you cannot use it. Check this list and see if your hard drive is on there
  • Your external HDD must connect into your PS4 via a PS4 USB port. Remember you cannot use a USB hub to connect your external HDD into your PS4 as it will not recognise the drivers.
  • Only One External HDD can be used at one time. Your PS4 can only recognise one external HDD at a time
  • The External HDD must use a wired connection. Your PS4 will not support any form of wireless HDD
  • Is your PS4 system software up to date? if it isn’t you must update it and see if it solves the issue or not.
  • Did you try another USB port? Perhaps one of your 3.0 PS4 ports is faulty? Just try a different one and see if this solves the problem?

Now, this website elaborates on all the points in a lot more detail. Check out the video below for multiple fixes to numerous external HDD issues

Recommended Products

WD 4TB Elements Portable External Hard Drive – USB 3.0 (Amazon Link Here)

Seagate Portable 2TB External Hard Drive(Amazon Link Here)

Toshiba Canvio Basics 2TB Portable External Hard Drive(Amazon Link Here)

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