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How to upgrade your PS5 memory

The PlayStation 5 is here, and it seems to have captivated its audience thanks to its tremendous horsepower, fun games, and fast solid-state drive (SSD). Despite its positive reception, the PS5 does have some flaws — particularly in its small hard drive space of only 825GB. This might seem like plenty, but when you consider certain games clock in at over 100G and that you only really have around 660GB of free space after the operating system installation, your hard drive space can quickly run out.

Luckily, you can upgrade your PS5’s memory, though it doesn’t work exactly how you might expect. At this time, you can’t upgrade your PS5’s internal memory like you could with PS4, but you can utilize an external drive — though it does have a caveat. The bottom line is that you can only install PS4 games onto an external drive, which directly frees up space on the system’s internal drive for PS5 games. Here’s how to upgrade your PS5’s memory.

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How external memory works with PS5

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Since PS5 games are designed with the system’s ultra-fast SSD in mind, you can’t use an external (or internal) drive to store next-gen games. Sony will likely allow external drives to be used with PS5 games in the future, once SSDs become more ubiquitous and affordable. For now, you’ll want to use an external drive to store your PS4 games, which will free up precious space on your PS5’s internal SSD. While this seems like a major oversight, it’s actually super useful, as PS4 games can still take up a lot of room.

Since the PS5 is backward compatible with most PS4 games, you’ll likely be using your new system to catch up on some last-gen favorites. That’s where an external drive comes in handy. You need to buy one that’s compatible and format it to work with the PS5. Once you plug in the drive to your PS5 via a USB, head to the Settings > Storage > Extended Storage, and you’ll find the option to format it as exFAT. After you do, it’ll be compatible with your new system.

From here, you can enable the drive to be the primary storage location for PS4 games. To enable it, simply click the slider to the right of Always Install PS4 Games to Extended Storage. If you have PS4 games on your internal drive, you can move them to the external drive. To do so, move up to Console Storage > Games and Apps > Items You Can Move. This list will feature every app or game that can be moved to your external drive, so check whichever ones you’d like to transfer, and select Move in the bottom-right. You’ll get a notice that says, “The selected games and apps will be moved to extended storage,” so mark OK, and you’ll be set. If you have a lot of PS4 games, it will take a while, so step back for a bit while it processes.

Also, do note that your external drive must be plugged into your PS5 to utilize any apps or games that are installed on it.

PS5 external memory requirements

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Now that you know how to utilize an external drive, you should be aware of which ones are compatible. Here are the requirements for the PS5’s extended memory, according to Sony directly:

  • SuperSpeed USB 5Gbps or later.
  • 250GB minimum, 8TB maximum capacity.
  • Not all devices are guaranteed to work with the PS5 console.
  • An extended storage drive cannot be used through a USB hub.
  • Two or more extended storage drives cannot be connected at the same time.

Make sure you pay attention to the SuperSpeed USB 5Gbps requirement when searching for an external drive to utilize with your PS5, as anything slower than that will not function.

Recommended drives

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While there is a slew of external hard drives that will work on your PS5, these are the ones we recommend the most:

WD 2TB Elements Portable External Hard Drive, USB 3.0

Seagate Backup Plus Ultra Slim 2TB Portable External Hard Drive, USB 3.0

Seagate Expansion Portable 4TB External Hard Drive Desktop HDD, USB 3.0

WD 8TB My Book Desktop External Hard Drive, USB 3.0

SanDisk 1TB Extreme Portable External SSD – Up to 550MB/s – USB-C, USB 3.1

Keep in mind that there are a number of options you have when it comes to searching for external memory for PS5. As long as the drive matches the requirements, you’ll be good to go. The number of PS4 games you have and plan to play, in conjunction with budget, will determine which external drive is good for you. We opted to get the 2TB, which is plenty for a hefty amount of PS4 games, but your situation might differ.

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Joseph Yaden
Joseph Yaden is a freelance journalist who covers Nintendo, shooters, and horror games. He mostly covers game guides for…
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