Guide | Connecting a hard drive to your PlayStation 4: this is how it works

Whichever model you have, the PlayStation 4's internal storage memory isn't quite up to par for games that keep getting bigger. In this article we explain how to connect and use an external hard drive in combination with a PS4 (Pro).

It has been possible for a while to connect external hard drives to a PlayStation 4 , the regular model, the Slim model and the Pro version. These consoles come with 500GB or 1TB of storage space. That is a lot more than we encountered in consoles of the previous generation, it’s often not enough to store many games on it. You may be able to install dozens of smaller titles on it, but now we come across games of around 80GB more often than we would like. Not only does it take a long time for that content to be downloaded, it’s also the case that the content must be able to be installed. Add to that the fact that you usually spend more than 100 GB on all sorts of things before you set up the console, and you quickly come to the conclusion that you need an external drive to keep your collection complete. You can also install another, bigger internal HDD or SSD drive in the PS4 for more space, but we will not discuss that option here. We are looking purely at connecting external hard drives.

Before we can start, it is useful to know a number of things. You can use any hard disk with a USB 3.0 connection in combination with the PlayStation 4. It also doesn’t matter which USB connection you use. The hard drive must have at least 250 GB of storage space. Furthermore, the PS4 supports up to 8 TB of space. Keep in mind that the PlayStation 4 already takes up some space for preparing the disk, so you have already lost some space , this varies per disk. Also, the PS4 can only recognize one external drive at a time. You should also remember that the PS4 will format the drive before use.

That means that you cannot use that disc for other things or transfer files from PC to PS4 with it. You can only use it in combination with the PS4. In addition, the hard drive must be connected directly to the USB port of the PlayStation 4. You cannot connect it via a USB hub, because then it will not work. One last point: it doesn’t matter whether the hard drive has its own power cable or not. Mine, for example, gets its power from the console.

Selected hard drive? Good, then we can start. You connect the drive to one of the USB ports on the console. The regular PS4 has two on the front, while the Pro has one on the front and two on the back. When you mount the drive, you will immediately receive a message from your PlayStation 4 that the drive is not recognized. Don’t panic, that’s normal. Because we still have to format it. That is simpler than you think, because in principle it goes without saying. Below a short step-by-step plan:

  • On the home screen, go to Settings
  • Then go to Devices and press USB storage devices.
  • In the next screen, indicate that you want to format the attached drive.

And that’s it. It takes about a minute to get everything ready, but it works immediately after that. Now you can find the external drive under the Storage heading in Settings. The drive is also automatically set as the place where new games and apps are installed. You don’t have to look far for a reason to keep it that way: games on an external hard drive are loaded faster due to the better connection between both devices than the connection between the game console and the internal hard drive.

If you prefer to set the internal hard drive as the default storage location, select the internal drive with the Options button on your controller and then press the cross on your controller. The same applies if you want to set the external disk as the default location: press Options on the disk and press the cross again. By the way, do not disconnect the hard drive when the PlayStation 4 is on, as this may cause data loss.