PS5 storage: How to manage your console’s storage or expand it with an external hard drive

PlayStation 5
You can expand your PS5’s storage space easily.

  • The PS5 has 825GB of storage space, but you can only use 667.2GB of it – unless you use an external hard drive.
  • Your external hard drive can store both PS5 and PS4 games, and you can play PS4 games straight from the drive.
  • To work with a PS5, your external hard drive needs to have at least 250GB of storage space.
  • Visit Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

The PlayStation 5 comes with 825GB of storage space. However, you can only use 667.2GB of that space – the rest is taken up by mandatory system files. This means that if you play a lot of games, it won’t take you long to run out of storage.

Luckily, you aren’t stuck with the default 825GB. If you need more space on your PS5, you can connect an external hard drive and move all your games onto it. You can even play PS4 games straight from the drive, meaning that they never have to take up space on your PlayStation again.

Here’s how to set up an external drive on your PS5 and expand your storage space.

How to set up your PS5’s external storage

Before you start, note that using your hard drive for PS5 storage will erase everything already on the drive. If there’s anything you want to keep, move it somewhere else before connecting your hard drive to the PS5.

1. Turn on your PS5 and plug the hard drive into one of the USB ports on the back. The USB port on the front doesn’t support hard drives.

A PlayStation 5 with a USB external drive plugged in.
Plug your external hard drive into one of the rear USB ports.

2. Open your PS5’s Settings menu by clicking the gear icon in the top-right corner of the home page, and then select Storage.

A PS5 home screen, with the Settings icon in the corner highlighted.
Open your PS5’s settings.

3. Select USB Extended Storage, and then Format as USB Extended Storage.

A PS5's USB storage page, with the option to add an external hard drive highlighted.
Format your external hard drive to link it with the PS5.

Your PlayStation will format the drive and turn it into an extended storage space. Don’t unplug the drive or your PS5 until it’s done.

Once it’s formatted, your hard drive will be linked to the PS5. You can’t use it to store data from other devices until you unpair it from the PS5 (check out the How to delete games from your PS5’s external storage section below for more info).

How to move games to or from your PS5’s external storage

None of your games will move to the drive automatically, although any PS4 game you download from this point on will download onto the drive by default.

While the drive is connected, you can play any PS4 game on it without moving it back. If you want to play a PS5 game that’s stored on it, however, you’ll have to move the game back onto the console first.

To move your existing games, you’ve got two options.

Through the Game Library

1. Open your PS5’s Game Library. You can find it as the right-most option in the list of apps on your home page.

2. Scroll over any game you want to move and press the Options button on your controller.

3. In the menu that appears, select Move to USB Extended Storage.

A PS5's Game Library app, with the option to move a game onto the hard drive highlighted.
You can move any game onto the hard drive, as long as it has enough space.

4. A new menu will appear with a list of all your games, separated into two tabs: Move PS4 Content and Move PS5 Games. Go through these tabs and select all the games you want to move, and then select Move in the bottom-right corner.

A PS5 menu that lets you move games between the console and hard drive.
Select and move the games you want.

Through the Settings menu

1. Open the Settings menu and select Storage.

2. If you want to move games onto the hard drive, select Console. If you want to take games off the hard drive, select USB Extended Storage.

3. In either menu, click Games & Apps.

A PS5's storage page, with the "Games & Apps" option highlighted.
Select the “Games & Apps” option.

4. The same menu with all your games will appear. Go through them and select all the games you want to move, and then select Move in the bottom-right corner.

How to delete games from your PS5’s external storage

Once again, you’ve got two options.

If you want to delete a specific game

1. Open the Settings app, select Storage, and then USB Extended Storage.

2. Click Games & Apps to open a list of everything on your external hard drive.

3. At the top of the screen, select the Delete Content tab.

4. Select all of the games you want to delete, and then click Delete in the bottom-right corner.

If you want to delete everything on the external hard drive at once

1. Once again, open the Settings app, select Storage, and then USB Extended Storage.

2. Click the three dots (…) next to the Safely Remove from PS5 option.

3. Select Format as exFAT.

A PS5's USB storage page, with the option to format the hard drive highlighted.
Select the “Format” option to erase the hard drive.

This will erase everything on the drive, and return it to factory default settings. This means that if you want to use it with your PS5 again, you’ll have to set it up from scratch.

This is also the method you’ll use if you want to totally unpair the external hard drive from your PS5 and use it with another device.

Portable 2TB External Hard Drive (small)How to update your PS5 controller to keep it working properlyHow to format a hard drive for use on a PC or Mac computerHow to upgrade your PS4 games to play on a PS5 with better graphics and frame ratesHow to destroy a hard drive after removing it from your computer, so that its contents can never be recovered

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What is an external hard drive? One of the best ways to protect your important files, explained

WD 2TB My Passport Ultra for Mac Silver Portable External Hard Drive
External hard drives are a great way to protect your data.

  • An external hard drive is a piece of equipment that can be connected to your computer to increase its storage space.
  • Unlike the hard drive that’s installed in your computer, an external hard drive is portable and can also be used to store files from multiple devices.
  • External hard drives are easy to use, convenient, and an incredibly safe way to backup your most important files.
  • Visit Business Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

Storage space on a computer is valuable, but it’s not infinite. The hard drive that’s inside your computer can only fit so much data before it fills up.

As a solution, many users have turned to cloud storage services like Google Drive and Dropbox. But if you’re looking for a more concrete way to manage your files, you might want to invest in an external hard drive.

External hard drives are a great way to free up storage space and safely backup your files. Here’s what you should know about them.

External hard drives, explained

An external hard drive is a device, usually around the size of a book, that you can store any file or app on. If you’ve ever used a USB flash drive, external hard drives are essentially the same thing, but bigger and with more storage space.

The difference between an external hard drive and the hard drive in your computer is that an external drive is portable – you can disconnect it at any time and move it around, without losing the data inside.

Seagate portable hard drive
You can move an external hard drive without having to take the computer.

External hard drives connect to your computer with a USB cord, and you can copy files to them like you would any other folder. Like flash drives, you can plug your external hard drive into any computer, and transfer your files freely.

External hard drives can be used as supplemental storage – in other words, as an addition to the storage already on your computer. For example, if you have a large amount of high-definition photos and videos that are slowing your computer down, you can store them on your external hard drive instead.

External hard drives are also great for moving files between computers, regardless of their operating system. If you have an album on your PC that you want to share with your friend who has a Mac, you can save it on your external hard drive, plug the drive into your friend’s computer, and then transfer it to them within a matter of minutes.¬†

Most external hard drives can hold at least one terabyte (1 TB) of data – this equals 1000 gigabytes (GB), or 1,000,000 megabytes (MB). To put it into perspective, the most expensive iPhone on the market right now only holds 512 GB – just about half a terabyte. And the average photo taken by a smartphone is around 2 MB.

An external hard drive can hold documents, various forms of media, software, and applications. Essentially, if you have a file on your computer, it can be copied to an external hard drive.

PC computer external hard drive HDD
External hard drives come in various colors and sizes.

Many external hard drives also come with their own apps to help you better manage your data.

External hard drives vs cloud storage

As noted, many users have started using cloud storage services like Google Drive, Dropbox, iCloud, and others. The advantage that cloud storage has is convenience – you can access your files from any computer without special hardware.

But the advantage that external hard drives have is that you’ll always have access to your data, even if you lose internet access, and even if you can’t remember your account password.

Any cloud storage website is at risk of cyber attacks and wonky servers. An external hard drive sitting on your desk, however, isn’t.

In addition, with an external hard drive you don’t have to pay the recurring account fees that you might have to pay for using a cloud service. Most popular external hard drives range in price from $30 to $100, but you only have to pay once.

solid state drive SSD laptop
Hard drives are portable, but somewhat fragile.

External hard drives do come with their own risks, though. If the external hard drive is damaged, it can wipe out your files. And leaving a physical hard drive around means that anyone can pick up and take your data.

But if you’re looking for a way to store big files for a long time, an external hard drive might be your best bet.

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