Using an External USB Hard Drive on PS4 with Firmware 4.5

One of the features that PlayStation owners have asking about for years is the ability to expand their console storage with an external USB drive. Now, with the upcoming System Software 4.5, that feature has finally become a reality.

It’s been stated that the external drive can be up to 8TB, so we ordered the cheapest drive that we could find, the cheapest that “felt comfortable” for this use that is. At $209, the Dollar per Gigabyte is quite affordable and it’s externally powered as well which keeps from drawing power from your PS4.

Here are the 4 and 8 Terabyte versions of the drive that we recommend, and for this test we obviously had to take it to the limit, so we’re testing the 8TB drive.

Recommended 8TB Drive

Recommended 4TB Drive

The tests were performed on a PlayStation 4 Pro with a 2TB drive installed internally. The toughest part of this whole process was actually finding which menu had the option to set the drive up for use. Once I found it, the entire process took all of five minutes.

– In the PS4 Settings menu, go to “Devices” and then to “USB Storage Devices”

– You’ll see the new drive listed, so select it. On the next screen, click on “Format as Extended Storage”

– Select “Next”

– Select “Format” *For the 8TB drive, formatting took less than five minutes*

– Click “OK”

– Tada!

Here’s what I’ve learned so far about what you can and can’t do with this additional storage:

  • The new external drive becomes the default location for application data for any game that you install from disc or the PSN
  • No application data can be transferred from the internal to external drive, so if you already have something installed on the internal drive, you must delete it then reinstall
  • *UPDATE* You CAN move applications and games to the external drive, it’s just kinda hidden! Go to Settings > Storage > System Storage > Applications > then hit Options and select ‘Move to Extended Storage’. It even allows you to move multiple items at a time, which is a welcome feature. The moves can take a little while depending on the size, so maybe do this before you go to bed some night (Thanks to Thomas Harrison-Lord for the tip!)
  • There’s a menu option allowing you to switch the default application data location back to the internal drive
  • Screenshots and Videos from Share can’t be saved on external storage, they will only go to the internal drive
  • The drive can’t be used for anything else once it’s setup, unless you reformat it obviously
  • The drive can be moved to another PS4 tied to the same account without needing to reformat it (info below)
  • The drive cannot be used under someone else’s account (screenshot below)
  • “Can the drive be used on another PS4 that’s tied to my account?”
    I have to admit, this is a huge surprise, and I’m impressed that Sony has added this function but this comes with a couple of caveats.

    – First, when you want to move the external drive to another PS4, make sure that you remove it correctly. Hold the PS Button, and go to the Devices selection at the top of the Quick Menu. Choose “Stop Using Extended Storage” so that it properly “ejects” the device.

    Your PS4 doesn’t need to be rebooted or anything like that, but be aware that the icons for everything will remain even without the drive attached. An icon for an app/game on the external drive will include a small “!” indicating that it’s not currently available.

    ** If you don’t remove the drive correctly, here’s what you’ll see if you connect it to another PS4 **

    – Second, a game or application that’s stored on the external drive can’t also be stored on the internal drive of the PS4 that you’re connecting to. If it is and you try to activate the drive to use on another PS4, this alert will appear. You won’t be able to use this drive on that PS4 until you delete the game/app from either the internal or external drive.

    To use the drive on another PS4, simply connect it to the USB before you power the system on. Once it’s booted up go to the PS4 Settings menu, go to “Devices” and then to “USB Storage Devices”. Select the new drive and select “Use This Extended Storage”

    If everything is successful, you’ll see a Green light appear next to the drive

    – One last caveat is that any folders that you set up don’t transfer from one console to the other. You’ll need to set folders up on each PS4 separately, but they do remain on each console with each subsequent use of the external drive.

    In my opinion, Sony really did a fantastic job on this feature. For those that have a lot installed internally already, it really depends on how often you plan to travel with the external drive. If it’ll happen frequently, I’d suggest deleting everything from the internal drive of each PS4 and loading everything to the external drive instead.

    Since you can’t transfer from the internal to the external drive, it’ll take a bit of time to do this. But really, that’s a small price to pay if this feature is important to you. This should make a lot of “power users” very happy though.

    Written by Glenn Percival

    Glenn Percival

    Just a guy that loves games, movies, Golf, Football, and Baseball.

    Editor-in-Chief, Video Producer, and whipping-boy

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