Can You Play PS5 Games On External Hard Drive?
The PS5 community waited so long until Sony eventually released its April Update for PS5 system software. That update came with the support of using an external hard drive on PS5, but unfortunately, as of the time of writing this article (i.e. 18th of Jan. 2022), it’s still not possible to play PS5 games from an external hard drive, although it’s possible to play PS4 games from an external hard drive on your PS5.
Why is that? and what is the use then of an external hard drive with PS5? And will Sony eventually allow PS5 games to play from an external hard drive or it’s not possible at all in the future?
Why Can’t You Play PS5 Games On External HDD
So, you have learned by now that it’s not possible to play PS5 games on an external hard drive, yet you can still play PS4 games instead. But why is that?
“Because PS5 games are designed to take advantage of the console’s ultra-high-speed SSD, PS5 titles can’t be played from USB extended storage,” Sony stated in its official April Update blog post.
If you have PS5 games stored on an external hard drive, you’ll need to copy them back over to the console’s main SSD before you can play them. Still, Sony does say that the local data copy should be faster than reinstalling it from the internet or copying games from a disc.
Additionally, it’s not that you can’t play PS5 games on an external hard drive, but also you can’t update them as long as they are stored externally. This is another annoying limitation that frustrates PS5 fans.
Moreover, Sony also has announced that “PS5 titles also cannot be directly downloaded to USB extended storage.“, which means you need first to download your PS5 games on the PS5 internal storage, then move/copy them to the external HDD. On the other hand, it’s possible to directly download PS4 games to the external hard drive.
Finally, unlike using external hard drives on PS4, you can’t store game saves and trophies of PS5 games on an external hard drive.
But, why you can play PS4 games on an external HDD whereas it’s not possible with PS5 games?
The answer is quite simple because PS4 games were coded to accommodate the slow speed of the PS4 internal hard drive, whereas the PS5 games were coded to make use of the high speed of the PS5 internal SSD. Accordingly, PS4 games have no problem at all running from an external hard drive, as they were designed for that level of performance.
How Can You Use an External HDD On PS5?
So, if you can’t play PS5 games on an external hard drive, then what’s the use of a PS5 external HDD in the first place?
Well, there are a few benefits of using an external hard drive on PS5, that are:
- It allows you to install and play PS4 games on it without having to internally install them.
- You can move and store PS5 games and free up more space on the PS5 internal storage.
- The ability to back up your PS5 system, media files, screen captures, and more.
For more details on using an external hard drive on PS5, please visit these articles below:
- How To Use PS5 Games On External Hard Drive
- Using PS4 External Hard Drive On PS5
- How To Connect an External Hard Drive to PS5
- Fixing PS5 External Hard Drive Issues
Will Sony Allow Playing PS5 Games Externally In the Future?
Allowing games to run from an external hard drive is a great feature that pleased many PS4 users once released and many PS5 users are asking for this feature to be supported on PS5.
For that reason, we have a strong conviction that Sony will eventually allow PS5 users to play PS5 games on an external storage device, but on condition that this storage device should be a high-speed external SSD that offers a minimum 500MB/s transfer speed. And since PS5 games require a speedy storage device to run on, an external SSD can achieve that requirement perfectly.
On the other hand, we think that external hard drives will never be allowed to run PS5 games due to the performance issue explained earlier. For that reason, we strongly recommend getting an external SSD for your PS5 instead of an external HDD, unless you want to use that external storage for backup purposes or playing Ps4 games and prefer to upgrade the internal storage of PS5. That is also a good idea.
You can’t play PS5 games on/from an external hard drive, but you can do good things with a PS5 external HDD. It helps you free up space on the PS5 internal storage and play PS4 games on it. If you wish to get an external storage device for your PS5, we strongly recommend getting an external SSD, as there are rumors that Sony will allow PS5 users to play PS5 games on external SSDs only not external HDDs. But if you don’t care about playing PS5 games externally, just expand the PS5 internal storage with an M.2 SSD chip.