How to Transfer PS4 and PS5 Games to an External Hard Drive

Learn how to transfer PS4 and PS5 games to an external drive with this step-by-step guide. The April PlayStation 5 firmware update has finally brought this transfer ability to the newest Sony console, but unfortunately PS5 games can only be moved to an external drive, not played from them.

How to Transfer PS4 and PS5 Games to an External Hard Drive cover

Months after the PlayStation 5 launch, we can finally transfer PS4 and PS5 games to an external hard drive. This quality-of-life feature was previously only available for PS4 titles, but the newest April firmware update has enabled this ability for current-gen offerings as well.

It’s important to note that you cannot play PS5 games from an external drive, you can only move them between the SSD and external drives. Transfering is far quicker than deleting and reinstalling, so this is a welcome addition. Nothing has changed with PS4 titles, which can still be moved and played from either drive.

While you’re waiting on your external drive to format, why not check out this PS5 and Xbox Series X UI comparison, and read-up on whether console scalping should be illegal.

1. Install the PS5 firmware update

If your PlayStation doesn’t automatically download the newest firmware update, then go to the home screen and select Settings > System > System Software > System Software Update and Settings.

How to check for an update

How to check for an update

Your console will check for an update, and when it loads click on ‘update’, and then ‘update using internet’. It shouldn’t take more than a few minutes to download. When it is installed, restart your PS5. A controller firmware update might appear at this point, make sure to connect your DualSense and update that as well.

2. Connect and format your external drive

A compatible USB drive is needed to take advantage of external storage. PlayStation lists the external hard drive requirements as:

  • SuperSpeed USB 5 Gbps or later
  • 250 GB minimum, 8 TB maximum capacity
  • You can’t connect the drive through a USB hub
  • Two or more USB extended storage drives can’t be connected at the same time. You can connect multiple USB drives to your console, but you can use only one at a time

How do you format an external drive on PS5? Simply slot the device into one of the USB ports found on the back of your console (these are the blue-coloured ones) and if you were previously using the hard drive on a PS4, you’re ready to go! An additional screen might appear, but this is just checking the drive is correctly formatted and shouldn’t take more than a minute.

If your drive does need formatting, go to Settings > Storage > USB Extended Storage > Format as USB Extended Storage.

Formatting an external drive on PS5

Formatting an external drive on PS5

If formatting more than one hard drive, you can switch between them by choosing ‘Select Another USB Drive’.

Any data already on an external drive will be wiped during the formatting process, so make sure to have backup data saved elsewhere if it’s important.

3. Start transfering games to your external drive

To transfer a game from your PS5 to an external hard drive, press the options button (right of the touchpad) on the game you want to move and choose ‘move to USB extended storage’.

Transferring a single game to external storage is easy

Transferring a single game to external storage is easy

To transfer more than one title at the same time go to Settings > Storage > Console Storage > Games and Apps. From here you can choose to delete or move multiple games at once. Tick all the games you want and then press ‘move’, which is found on the lower right corner of the screen. You can’t mass edit PS4 and PS5 games at the same time, but you can tab between the two menus and keep your selections marked.

You can tab between deleting content, and moving PS4 and PS5 games

You can tab between deleting content, and moving PS4 and PS5 games

Now your poor, storage-stressed PlayStation 5 can take a break. Until the next Call of Duty: Warzone patch, that is.

PS5 Update: External storage, Share Play and more!

(Video credit: CNET)


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