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Tips and Tricks on getting the most out of your PlayStation 4

Whether you were one of the lucky few to get your hands on a PlayStation 4, or if you are just considering one in the future, there are a few things you may not know about Sony’s new system. That’s where this list comes in.

We have a few tips and tricks to help you get the most out of your system. And since the system will continue to grow and evolve as new features are added via updates, we’ll continue to add to this list, so check back often. Plus, if you have a tip we missed, let us know in the comments below.

Color coded

Dualshock-4-front-angledOne of the most distinctive features of the DualShock 4 controller is the light bar on top. There are a few reasons for it being there, including recreating Move functionality, as well as offering developers the chance to use it in gameplay – Killzone: Shadow Falls uses different colors to indicate health, for example. When you have four controllers on one system though, they each have their own color identification. Player one will always be blue, player two is red, three is green, and four is pink.

Create your own game soundtracks

Killzone Shadow fallIf you are a member of the Music Unlimited service (you get a free month with your PS4), you can play the audio while running other apps, including games. Choose your song, album, or create a new playlist, then let it run as you switch over to a game. Once the game is running, hit the options and turn down the game’s music. Holding the PS button brings up a menu with the Music Unlimited song currently playing, as well as a volume option. Find a balance between the music service volume and the in-game sound effects, and you can create your own soundtracks.

DualShock speaker volume

There is now a small speaker in the DualShock controller, which can be surprisingly loud for its size. If you want to lower the volume, head into Settings, choose Devices, select Controllers, and the volume bar will be the first option.

More friends than ever

PS4 social networkingThe number of friends you can have on your friends list has significantly increased. On the PS3, it was capped at 100, while on the PS4 it is 2,000. If you are a PSN member already through either Vita or PS3, all your friends will transfer to your PS4 friends list.

Power up controllers

One gripe players regularly had about the PS3 was that to power the DualShock 3 controller, the system had to be powered on. That isn’t the case with the PS4, but you will need to leave your system in Standby mode. Also, if you have two controllers and need to switch one out, simply hit the PS button and choose your profile to make the new controller the primary one.

Send screenshots with messages

When sending someone a message on the PS4, PS3, or PS Vita, you now have the option of sending one of the screenshots you took during gameplay. To take a screenshot simply hold down the share button until the chime rings and an icon appears in the upper right corner of the screen. When you are sending a message, enter the text, then hit “done,” but before you send it, select the box to the left. The option to send a screenshot is there.

Switching apps

Sony PlayStation 4 screenshot 4The PS4 allows you to run two apps at once. There are a few apps you can’t run at the same time – you can’t run two games simultaneously, for example – but there are many that will run at the same time without a problem. To switch between them, you can simply hit the PS button while in the app to take you to the home menu. That takes an extra, unnecessary step though. Instead simply double tap the PS button to bypass the home menu and jump right between apps.

USB update

Many of the PS4’s best and most useful functions revolve around the online capacities, but the system still has a lot to offer even offline. That said, you will need to jump online at least once with the system in order to unlock some of the most basic features like DVD and Blu-Ray playback. For some, that may not be an option though, especially people shipping a system overseas (anyone in the military, for example). Thankfully, there is a simple workaround.

Head over the Sony’s website and download update 1.50 onto a computer (or ask a friend if you are totally offline – the patch is easy to find and download). Once you’ve done that, find a USB flash drive with 500MB or more of free space. Here’s the important part: on the USB, create a folder titled “PS4,” then inside that folder, create another new folder and title it “UPDATE.” Add the Sony patch – it is 300MB – into the update folder, then insert the flash drive into one of the PS4’s USB ports, making sure the system is off. It’s worth noting that the USB ports are slightly recessed, so you may need to choose a thumb stick that isn’t oddly shaped. Hold the power button for seven seconds to launch the system’s safe mode, then choose system update. That should do it. This method should work for any future patches as well.

Use your smartphone or tablet as a keyboard

The PlayStation app for Android and iOS has a few cool features that are worth exploring, but the best is the ability to use your phone to input text. After downloading the app, follow the instructions and connect your mobile device to your PS4. Once that they are synced, you can send messages, check out the latest news, and keep an eye on our friends. The PS Vita can do the same thing, but the connection process is slightly different (you just hit the “PS Link” icon on the Vita).

(Got any tips of your own?  Post them in the comments below)