Choose and Install the Right PS5 External HDD

You can expand the PS5’s storage capability using an external USB storage device as long as that storage device is compatible with the PS5 system.

Many PS5 users got very perplexed after Sony announced the requirements for upgrading the PS5 internal storage with an M.2 Solid State Drive (SSD). It’s because that many M.2 SSDs in the market meet the specifications Sony disclosed that entitle these drives to be a relevant PS5 internal storage expansion, but in the real world, only a few drives actually fit for this purpose and they are very costly.

how to choose the right external hard drive for PS5

Moreover, some users may need to add a heat sink that dissipates the excessive heat generated by the new internal SSD expansion in order to improve and maintain its performance—an additional step that feels more in line with professional PC building space and undercuts the plug-and-play simplicity of home game consoles.

Alternative method: Use an External HDD

Fortunately, there’s another alternative way to expand your PS5 storage capability instead of adding a secondary internal SSD, which is by using an external storage device instead, whether it’s an HDD or SSD.

To be honest, using an external hard drive is not the same as increasing the internal storage capacity of your PS5 console, but moving some of your games to an external hard drive will free up space on your PS5’s main SSD.

PS5 External Storage Disadvantage

The only major disadvantage of using an external storage device on your PS5 is that PS5 games cannot be played from an external storage device, but they can be stored there for easy reinstallation (Read more on how to use PS5 games on external storage). You can read more on the pros and cons of using a PS5 external hard drive if you want more elaboration on this topic.

On the other hand, you can flawlessly play the vast majority of PS4 games via an external drive, giving it a feasible option if your main goal is to expand your game library. Also, if you have a PS4 external hard drive on which many of your PS4 games are installed, you just need to connect it to the PS5 and it will work wonderfully (read more on using a PS4 external hard drive on PS5).

PS5 external storage requirements

In order for your external hard drive to work on PS5, it must conform to some specific standards, otherwise, the PS5 system will reject it, thus you’ll not be able to use it on PS5.

We have already published an in-depth article on how to format and use the PS5 external hard drive that you can read if you want more details, as this section only provides you with a brief on this subject.

So, the requirements for using an external hard drive on PS5 are basically two:

  • Support for USB 3.x connectivity
  • Storage capacity is between 250 GB and 8 TB.

Your External HDD Might Not Work On PS5 Though

Even if your hard drive fits those requirements, Sony has said that some drives will just not operate with PS5. If you plan on purchasing a PS5-compatible drive, do your research and shop especially for PS5-compatible external drives.

Backup PS5 data

You don’t have to worry if your external hard drive doesn’t meet any of the two specifications above, as you can still use it on your PS5 as external backup storage, which is essential to have if you’re a serious gamer. Any USB external storage device large enough to hold the data you want to back up can be used for this purpose. You can’t play games from a backup drive though, but you can save data locally, which will come in handy if your PS5 ever experiences a hardware failure or memory corruption, and potentially free up space on the internal SSD.

External Hard Drive vs External SSD for PS5

External storage devices that work on PS5 as extended storage are mostly either an external hard drive or an external SSD. You can use a USB flash drive for this purpose, but it’s not common and many USB flash drives are rejected by the PS5 system.

If you want a storage device for backup purposes, we strongly recommend an external hard drive. Otherwise, if you want it to play your games and share huge files with friends, we recommend an external SSD. You can read an in-depth comparison between an external HDD and an external SSD to expand your knowledge on this matter.

Using an External Storage Device on PS5

using PS5 external HDD properly

So, now that you’ve got a PS5-compatible external storage device (whether it’s an HDD or SSD), it’s time to prepare it for usage as an additional storage device. To do so, you’ll need to connect, format, and set up your PS5’s external storage device appropriately.

Connect the external storage to PS5

The first step is straightforward: connect the external storage device to a USB connection on the rear of your PS5. The drive must be connected directly to the PS5; using a USB hub will not work. Similarly, only one external storage device can be used at a time. Although several can be linked, only one will be used as an additional storage place.

Your PS5 system might not detect the external hard drive or your external hard drive might keep disconnecting from the PS5 though. If anything wrong happens, you have to resolve it before moving on using this drive on your PS5.

Read more on how to connect an external hard drive to PS5.

Format the External HDD

The next thing you have to do is to format the external hard drive you’ve just connected to PS5. On your PS5, go to Settings > Storage > USB Extended Storage, and select “Format as USB Extended Storage.”.

Move Games to PS5 External HDD

You can now install and move games to the hard drive. Remember that PS4 games can be played from external storage, but not PS5 games.

In order to move PS4 games to your PS5 external hard drive:

  1. Highlight your desired game that you want to move to the external hard drive from your PS5’s library screen.
  2. On your DualSense controller, Press the “options” button, then select “Move to USB Extended Storage.” from the resulted screen.

let PS4 games downloaded automatically to PS5 external hard drive

The PS5 system has an option that allows PS4 games to be automatically downloaded to the external drive. This is possible by going to Settings > Storage > Extended Storage and toggling “Install PS4 Games to USB Extended Storage.

As for moving PS5 games to the external hard drive, follow the steps below:

  1. Highlight the desired game you want to move to the external hard drive from your PS5’s library screen.
  2. Press the “options” button on your DualSense controller, then select “Copy.”
  3. Follow any on-screen prompts that appear to you.


Expanding the PS5 storage capability can be done either internally or externally. Adding an external storage device to your PS5 is the easiest and quickest way to get more storage than adding a secondary internal SSD.

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