PS4 External Hard Drive Compatibility Guide

Adding a compatible external hard drive to PS4
After more than two years now since Sony released its wide-range support for USB storage devices featured by PS4 System Update 4.5, PS4 users are allowed to use an external hard drive, not for backup & Restore this time, but for expanding the main system storage that will enable them to install their games and apps directly to the external HDD and launching them from there, which was not available since the first support of USB storage devices that came with version 2.5 of PS4 System Software Update almost 3 years ago.

This extensive support for external hard drives has impressed the overwhelming majority of users (if not all), as it offers a much easier way to expand PS4 storage without the need to go through the hassles of replacing and upgrading the stock internal hard drive of PS4, which also requires a fresh new installation of PS4 Software from scratch, and re-installing/recovering all your games and apps on the new hard drive, which is not comfortable for many savvies, taking in consideration also that it needs at least 1 and half hours for completion.

But, before trying to use an external hard drive on PS4, you need to find a fully-compatible one that PS4 system accepts, otherwise you won’t be able to enjoy the features PS4 system supports in USB storage devices.

What’s PS4 External HDD Compatibility?

PS4 External hard drive compatibility is a set of specifications that an external hard drive must have in order to be deemed as PS4 Compatible, and accordingly be used a fully functioning extended storage device alongside with the main system storage device. There are also what we can call Compatibility Standards, which are a set of rules the external hard drive must abide by in order to work properly and flawlessly on PS4.

These specifications and standards vary depending on how you want to use an external HDD on PS4. Is it for Backup & Restore purpose? Or is it as a storage extension? Unfortunately you cannot use ONE external HDD for both purposes, you must sacrifice one for the other.

Backup Storage Compatibility

External storage devices connect to PS4 via the USB ports located on the rear side of PS4If you want to use your external hard drive on PS4 for backup and restore purpose, ensure that it meets the following specifications:

  • It’s configured with USB connection (No matter what generation it is).
  • Not larger than 8tb of storage capacity. Theoretically it can be any size less.
  • Singly-layer drives are supported only. Dual-layers may work, but only one layer will be working then.

That’s all for the specifications part. As for the standards, they are:

  • Must be formatted using either FAT32 or exFAT file system.
  • Shouldn’t be divided into multiple partitions. PS4 system only accept a single-partitioned drive
  • PS4 System Software update 2.5 and above must be installed.

Once your hard drive meets all these specifications and strictly conform to the above standards, then it should be fully qualified for the purpose it’s picked for.

Extended Storage Compatibility

The case with extended storage solution is a bit more complicated, as the support for this feature is more limited.

You have to ensure that your external hard drive meets the following specifications:

  • Supports USB 3.0 Connection. Older generations are obsolete and not supported.
  • Storage capacity must range from 250gb minimum to 8tb maximum. Any storage outside this range is not supported.
  • Singly-layer drives are supported only. Dual-layers may work, but only one layer will be working then.

As for the standards that the external HDD must conform to are:

  • Must connect directly to USB port, not via a USB hub or any other connection medium.
  • Cable connection is only accepted. Wireless connection is rejected.
  • Must be formatted and encrypted using PS4 format utility. This is done automatically once PS4 recognizes and approves the connected drive.

Now, if you see that your external hard drive fits into this purpose, then you can directly connect it to PS4 and follow the easy steps that will appear on the screen once PS4 system recognizes your drive.

Note that you may want to restart PS4 system while your external HDD is connected to it in order to get it recognized by the system, as sometimes this is required.

You can read more about using an external hard drive on PS4 for both purposes, and you’ll learn also the advantages and disadvantages of each of them.

Compatibility with PS4 Pro and PS4 Slim

The specifications and standards stated above are for all models of PS4, whether it’s the standard model, Slim or Pro. There’s no additional requirement to get an external hard drive working on any of these three models.

Maybe it’s good to say that if you’re using PS4 Pro model, then look forward to buying a large and fast external hard drive, as with the constant support Sony release for PS4 Pro, it is easy to predict that games designed for PS4 will be larger in size than others in order to support the premium features of PS4 Pro, such as 4k viewing mode. So, don’t look just for a compatible external hard drive with PS4 Pro, but also pick a solid drive for this purpose.

USB Flash Drive Compatibility

It’s worth to mention here that all USB sticks are subjected to the same rules of external hard drives. But usually, a USB flash drive (stick) is used for lightweight storage, such as storing game saves or small movie clips. Yes, it can be used as a full external storage solution the same as an external hard drive is used, but this will be costly for you, as you have to buy a large USB stick that costs you double or triple the price of an ordinary external hard drive of the same size.

You can find PS4-compatible flash drives in our guide here.

PS4 Compatible External HDD

If you’re looking for a fully compatible external hard drive with PS4, then the following drives are the ones that will end your pursuit.

These drives meets all the specifications needed to work properly on PS4, whether it is for backup storage or extended storage. Both solutions fit here.

You can view the sales page of these drives on our PS4 External HDD Guide.

SeagateBackup Plus4TB
Western Digital (WD)My Passport4TB
SeagateBackup Plus Slim2TB
Western Digital (WD)My Passport2TB
ToshibaCanvio Connect II2TB
SeagateBackup Plus Slim1TB
Western Digital (WD)My Passport1TB
ToshibaCanvio Connect II1TB

Once you get one of these PS4-compatible external hard drive, you can use it right away. Just connect the drive to PS4 directly via the USB port, and restart your PS4. Let PS4 system recognize it, then enjoy the new storage attached to your game console.


PS4 external hard drive compatibility matters a lotThe solid support that Sony presented for external hard drives on its flagship game console indicates how heavy the pressure users made on Sony to go for this bold step after years of resistance, claiming that allowing external hard drives to host games and apps promote piracy. But eventually Sony had to yield to the reality to save its declining popularity in favor of its competitors that allowed external storage add-on.

Although we prioritize upgrading the internal hard drive of PS4 before going for the external storage solution, we’re still big fans of external hard drives to be used with PS4.

It’s just that simple—Find a PS4-compatible external hard drive and link it to your game console, and that’s it all. Enjoy more storage space and don’t fear of running out of space any sooner.

If you need to find more solutions on upgrading PS4 storage, try to visit this article.

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14 Responses

  1. Jose R Carrillo says:

    Thanks! Is the Seagate xpansion Portable Drive compatible with the PS4?

  2. Daniel Burgess says:

    at the moment my external storage is on a normal ps4 console with the version 6.00 beta system software
    if I was to get a PS4 pro by the end of next week which is now on version 5.54 of the system software

    will my external storage work on the one with 5.54 or will I have to format the external drive ?

    • PS4 Storage says:

      Most probably yes. Although I never tried it before, I see nothing can prevent it from working properly.

  3. Erika says:

    Hi I just bought the seagate 1tb expansion, and can’t get it working, my ps4 just says the USB storage device is not connected!!! Any help would be much appreciated thanks in advance ☺️

  4. Erika says:

    Thank you only thing I haven’t tried is on pc or laptop as I don’t have any of these but my friend is going to test it for me later on his pc,i read somewhere on Internet that the seagate 1tb is not compatible with ps4 but the 2tb is? Not sure how true this is😕😕

    • PS4 Storage says:

      You’re welcome Erika. No, that’s not true. But what happened is that one guy tried a defective 1TB Seagate expansion and it didn’t work. But when he tried 2tb it worked! So he deduced that 1tb was not compatible unlike the 2tb.

      What can really judge in this situation is your PC. If your external hard drive works properly, then you have to check your USB connection with PS4 (probably the USB card is malfunctioning). This is possible by connecting a USB flash drive to it and see whether it’s recognized or not. If not, then only a technician can fix it by replacing that failed hardware.

  5. Erika says:

    Thank you so much for your help I appreciate it 🙂🙂

  6. Armando says:

    Such a beautifully detailed website! Absolutely loving the walkthrough, Thanks a bunch!!!

    I’m considering getting the “WD My Passport 4TB Portable Hard Drive”; my question is that I want to prioritise backing up (system image) my laptop to the hard drive before it breaks and restore it all to another laptop, although after this will I be able to use this hard drive solely for PS4 (500gb) usage and play games?

    • PS4 Storage says:

      I appreciate your nice compliment Armando, thanks for that.

      If you are going to use this external hard drive as an extended storage, you must bear in mind that all your files will be erased and it will be owned by PS4, as PS4 system will format it with a special file format that only PS4 system can read.

      Additionally, if you’re a serious gamer who plays a lot, I don’t recommend going for portable hard drives. You better go for desktop external hard drives as they are more reliable for gaming. I recommend WD 4TB Elements Desktop Hard Drive.

  7. Sawyer says:

    I bought a Seagate 1tb slim just to start out today. It wont let me format to extended storage so I cant save apps on it…I’m trying to move some of my games over. Is that not possible?

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