You Can Use a USB Drive to Save and Transfer Games on Your PlayStation 5



According to the best estimates, the PlayStation 5 offers 667GB of room for your games out of the box, after all the essential operating system files are accounted for. That’s quite a big chunk of storage—but then again, modern-day games take up quite a bit of room, often easily running up to dozens or even hundreds of gigabytes per title.

You can keep rotating the games you have installed on your PS5, but that involves a lot of re-downloading. To save some time and bandwidth, you can also plug an external drive into one of the USB-A or USB-C ports on the console, and store games there. You’ll still need to move them to internal storage when you want to play them, but it’s a whole lot faster than waiting for a download.

Older games made for the PS4 will run directly from external storage, because they’re less demanding in terms of system resources—so it’s a good way of transferring games from an older console, too.

Choosing an external drive for the PlayStation 5

Before we get to external drives, the PS5 also has an internal SSD slot that you can use to add extra storage: It’ll act much like the built-in storage, and you can run PS5 games from it, though you do have to make use of a screwdriver and open up the console. It’s quite an involved process, however; Sony has a thorough guide here.

External drives are a simpler option, and most models that are able to attach themselves via USB will do the job—either one powered with a separate power adapter, or one powered by the USB port on your console. Both SSD and more traditional HDD drives will work, though the former will be faster (and cost you more). More space is better, of course, but again, it’s more expensive. You can even use a USB flash drive if you want.

PS5 drive format

You may have to format the drive before using it. Credit: Lifehacker

Sony does specify some minimum requirements for drives: They must support SuperSpeed USB 5 Gbps or later, and they must have a capacity of at least 250GB and no more than 8TB. That doesn’t rule many external drives out, but it’s worth double-checking before buying one or using an older drive. Also note that you can’t attach a drive via a USB hub—it has to be plugged directly into the PS5.

You can use any of the USB ports on your PlayStation 5 to connect an external storage device, except for the USB-A port on the front. Sony recommends the USB-C port on the front of the console, but you can also use the USB-A ports around the back if you prefer—it’ll largely depend on how you’ve got your console positioned and set up.

Using an external drive on a Sony PlayStation 5

Plug your chosen external drive into one of the suitable ports on your PS5, and you’ll first have to format it to get it ready—this will wipe everything already on the drive. Open Settings via the cog icon at the top of the home screen, then choose Storage and USB Extended Storage, and then pick Format as USB Extended Storage.

When that’s done, you’ll see a message telling you that any PS4 games you download from now on will go on the external drive by default, and you can run them from there. If you prefer, you can move PS4 games back and forth between the internal and external storage (which is your only option with PS5 games): To change this, pick Installation Location from the Storage screen.

PS5 game management

Multiple games and apps can be moved at once. Credit: Lifehacker

You can now toggle between Console Storage and USB Extended Storage, and see which games and apps are installed on each one, as well as how much free space there is at each location . There’s also a Safely Remove from PS5 option under USB Extended Storage, which you should use to eject the drive without risking any data loss or corruption.

To move games or apps between the two locations, choose Games and Apps under either Console Storage or USB Extended Storage. Select any item, then Select Items to Move—you can select more games and apps, or just stick with the one you originally picked, and then use the Move option to send the selection to the other drive. By default, the games and apps you’ve not used for the longest are listed at the top, which gives you some idea of what you might want to move off the internal storage.

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