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Low on space? Here’s how to expand your game console’s storage

New game consoles come with increasingly powerful processors, faster RAM, and plenty of creative features, but there is one area where most of them are still lacking — storage space. Regardless of whether you buy an Xbox One, PlayStation 4, or Nintendo Switch, there’s a good chance you will eventually consider expanding your game console’s hard drive in some way to hold more games, and if you’re doing a little spring cleaning, now is the perfect time to take care of it. While your options vary depending on your console, all of these options are remarkably easy, and we’ll show you exactly what to do.

Swap internal storage for PlayStation 4

Instead of plugging in an external drive on your PlayStation 4, you can also completely swap the internal drive for a replacement solid-state drive (SSD.) You have to take the plastic cover off your system and remove some screws in order to replace it, but the process is still relatively painless and doesn’t void your warranty.

Use an external drive for PlayStation 4

The PlayStation 4 also supports external storage devices, giving you access to additional space on top of what is included in your built-in hard drive. To choose the best external storage device for your system, check out our guide. Once you have your external drive ready, plug it into one of your PlayStation 4’s USB ports, then power the console on and go to “settings,” then “devices,” and “USB storage devices.” Here, you select the drive and format it to your PlayStation 4. Once this is done, it will be the default drive used by your console for storing games.

Use an external drive for Xbox One

Using an external storage device on the Xbox One is just as easy as on the PlayStation 4. Many of the same USB 3.0 drives compatible with the PlayStation 4 will also work with the Xbox One — though you need to format the drive for one system and thus can’t use the same drive for both. Once you have plugged the drive into your console’s USB port, it should automatically detect it and walk you through the steps to format it. If it doesn’t, check out our troubleshooting tips.

Once you have named your device and have it formatted, you are free to move games from your internal hard drive to your external drive, instead. This is also a great option if you’re upgrading to a new console, as you can save all of your data on an external drive and transfer it back later on.

Get an microSD card for your Nintendo Switch

You can’t use an external storage device on the Nintendo Switch, but you can upgrade its storage capacity by adding a microSD card. As long as the card you pick is “Class 10,” it will work just fine. On the back of your Switch, lift up the attached kickstand and slide your microSD card into place. Turn your Switch on, go to the system settings, select “system,” then “initialize,” and finally “format microSD card.” Once you have done this, it will be ready to use.

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Gabe Gurwin
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Gabe Gurwin has been playing games since 1997, beginning with the N64 and the Super Nintendo. He began his journalism career…
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