How to factory reset a PS4

How you can give your PS4 a fresh start with a factory reset

Sometimes, you just need to start from scratch, even with a game console. Whether you’re trying to fix an error you haven’t been able to solve with our solutions guide or you’re having trouble beta testing the latest Playstation software update, you’ll want to know how to return your PlayStation 4 to pristine condition. To do that, you need to factory reset your PS4, a process that reverts it back to its original, out-of-the-box state.

How to factory reset your PS4

Before we begin, you should know that a factory reset completely wipes the console’s hard drive and can even remove its system software. It’s a last resort when a software glitch stops your PlayStation 4 dead in its tracks, particularly when booting up or when you want to make sure the console no longer has your data on it.

You should back up any data you want to keep, such as images and video, to an external device or to the cloud. In order to back up data using the cloud, you’ll have to have a PlayStation Plus account.

There are two ways to reset your PS4 — From the console’s dashboard or in Safe Mode if the console is having boot-up issues. We’ll be going over both ways, the first being through your PlayStation 4 dashboard.

1. Sign in to your PS4 and head to the settings menu

how to factory reset a ps4 playstation 4 network

Start in the settings menu and find the option for “PlayStation Network/Account Management.” You’ll want to deactivate the machine as your primary PlayStation 4. That setting allows you to play downloaded games offline by identifying this particular PS4 as yours. Miss this step, and you’ll encounter a host of other problems when you sign on to your new console and try to play your games.

2. Deactivate your PlayStation

Go to “Activate as Your Primary PS4.” Your PS4 will probably already be activated. If that’s the case, the “Activate” option will be grayed out and “Deactivate” will be the only choice you can select. Select “Deactivate” and select “Yes” on the following screen.

3. Sign back in with your user account

This is different from your PS4 account.  Once signed in, head to the settings menu again.

4. Find the “Initialization” option in settings

how to factory reset a ps4 playstation 4 initialization

Here, you’ll find the two options you’re looking for: “Restore Default Settings” and “Initialize PS4.” The first option will clear your saved settings data and return the PS4 to its factory settings, but it won’t wipe your hard drive.

The second option is the big one that will clear your hard drive of data, including downloaded games, saved game data, and anything else you’ve added to the console since buying it. This will restore your PS4 to the pristine condition of how it came out of the box.

5. Choose “Full” on the “Initialize” screen

The big wipe is the one you’re looking for. Note that it’ll take a long time — probably a couple of hours or more.

how to factory reset a ps4 playstation 4 initialization full

Once you’ve initialized the wipe, the PS4 will give you a progress bar showing how long it’ll take, but expect it to take even longer as the console goes through multiple steps. When it is finished, you’ll be able to set up your PS4 the same way you did the first time you turned it on. If you’re looking to sell it, you’ll be handing it over completely fresh and with no data attached.

Perform a factory reset from Safe Mode

If you’re having trouble with system software or other errors that are preventing you from getting to the Settings menu and re-initializing your PS4, you can access the same options from the console’s Safe Mode.

1. Turn your PS4 fully off 

Don’t set it to “Rest Mode.” You want the power completely off on your console so you can boot into Safe Mode.

2. Hold down the power button until you hear two beeps

 You need to physically push the power button on the console, rather than starting it with a controller. Hold it for about eight seconds. It will beep once when you first touch the button, and then again before booting up into Safe Mode. It will be labeled, and you’ll recognize it by its black background.

3. Choose the reset option you need

 Like in the Settings menu, in Safe Mode you can choose “Restore Default Settings” to reset everything in the PS4 to its original software settings but keep your data. You can also choose “Initialize PS4,”.

This will wipe your hard drive and restore you to factory settings, but keep the system software — its operating system, in other words. The last option is “Initialize PS4 (Reinstall System Software),” which is an even fuller factory reset that will require you to reinstall the PS4’s operating system.

how to factory reset a ps4 playstation 4 safe mode

4. If you’re not having software problems, pick “Initialize PS4”

 That’ll restore your hard drive and software settings to the factory default but it’ll leave the operating system software intact. It’s the same as the option above (available in the Settings menu), and you’ll be able to choose between “Quick” and “Full” initializations. If that’s all you need, you’re done.

How to reinstall system software on PS4

This is an even bigger wipe than the previous full initialization, removing all software from the console. If you do that, you’ll need to reinstall system software from another device. If you’re having software problems with the operating system, you’ll need to pick “Initialize PS4 (Reinstall System Software),” but there’s another step to the process to do first.

1. Download the official PS4 firmware

Head to your PC and download the latest system software from the PlayStation website. You’ll also need an external hard drive with a USB connection or a USB flash drive to transfer the update to your PS4. Grab an external hard drive or USB flash drive with about 1.1GB Mb of free space.

3. Create a new folder on your USB device and name it “PS4”

Inside that folder, create a folder and name it “UPDATE” in all caps. Save the firmware file into the “UPDATE” folder and you should be good to go. Make sure the file is named “PS4UPDATE.PUP” when you save it.

4. Boot up your PS4 in Safe Mode

Do it as described above by fully powering down your PS4 and then holding the power button until it beeps twice and boots to Safe Mode.

5. Choose “Initialize PS4 (Reinstall System Software)” on your PS4

Just follow the prompts. The console will wipe all data including system software, and then require you to plug in the USB device you saved the update to in order to reinstall the system software. When that’s done, your PS4 will be returned to factory settings.

Gaming

Dataminers discover SNES games, more emulators for Nintendo Switch Online

Nintendo Switch Online may soon launch SNES games and more emulators, according to data miners. The list of hidden SNES titles include Breath of Fire 2 and Star Fox 2, while the other emulators may be the Nintendo 64 and Nintendo GameCube.
Computing

Yes, Android apps can run on your PC, and it's easier than you think

Wish you knew how to run Android apps in Windows? It's easier than you might think and there are a number of different ways to do it. In this guide, we break down the steps so you can follow along with ease.
Computing

Is your PC slow? Here's how to restore Windows 10 to factory settings

Computers rarely work as well after they accumulate files and misconfigure settings. Thankfully, with this guide, you'll be able to restore your PC to its original state by learning how to factory reset Windows.
Mobile

Is your smartphone frozen? Here's how to reset your iPhone

You can do a lot with an iPhone, but if you ever run into an issue with it, the first thing you should do is restart it. In this guide, we tell you how to reset your iPhone, and explain how it differs from a factory reset.
Computing

Protecting your PDF with a password isn't difficult. Just follow these steps

If you need to learn how to password protect a PDF, you have come to the right place. This guide will walk you through the process of protecting your documents step-by-step, whether you're running a MacOS or Windows machine.
Gaming

‘RollerCoaster Tycoon 2’ ride takes 12 years to complete

A RollerCoaster Tycoon 2 player has constructed a coaster in the game that will take more than 12 years to complete from beginning to end, and is actually a tiny ride taking up a small portion of the landscape.
Product Review

'New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe' is 2D platforming wizardry

New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe is the latest Wii U game to come back from the dead on Switch. And wow, it’s much better than we remembered.
Gaming

‘Battlefield V’ adds Squad Conquest mode in ‘Lightning Strikes’ update

Electronic Arts and DICE have detailed what is included in the Battlefield V update Lightning Strikes. The update includes access to the mode Squad Conquest through the end of January.
Gaming

Here's everything you need to know to trade in 'Pokémon Go'

After literally years of waiting, Pokémon Go finally gives trainers the option to trade Pokémon with others. It's not easy, though, and the cost is quite high if you try trading with strangers.
Gaming

You're never too broke to enjoy the best free-to-play games

Believe it or not, free-to-play games have evolved into engaging, enjoyable experiences. Here are a few of our favorites that you can play right now, including Warframe and the perennially-popular League of Legends.
Gaming

‘Rocket League’ is the latest game to get full cross-platform play

Psyonix has announced that Rocket League now supports full cross-platform play across PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC, joining Fortnite as the only games to do so.
Gaming

Here's what you need to know about 'World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth'

World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth is the latest expansion for the now 14-year-old MMORPG. It goes back to the roots of the Alliance vs. Horde conflict. Here's what you need to know.
Virtual Reality

Think virtual reality is just for games? These awesome apps will change your mind

Virtual reality isn't all about gaming. Swim with turtles, paint in 3D, and immerse yourself in some unique experiences the platform has to offer with our curated list of the best VR apps.
Gaming

Latest ‘Fortnite’ update channels Halo with a scoped revolver

The latest update for Fortnite, update 7.20, is now available, and it brings a new Scoped Revolver weapon to the game alongside the returning Glider item and a limited-time Snipers-only mode.