How To Use PS5 Games On External Hard Drive

In April, Sony released an update for the PlayStation 5 which added several interesting new features to the fifth-generation console, including the ability to store — but unfortunately, not play — PS5 games on an external hard drive.

Because the PS5 only has 825GB of storage (with just 667GB of usable capacity after formatting with the operating system and other important files), even a few big next-gen games might quickly deplete your SSD. Sony has attempted to address the problem by enabling gamers to save backward-compatible PS4 games on external storage devices, but it hasn’t done so for PS5 games until now. Why? there is a valid reason for that.

Using PS5 games on external HDD

Why Can’t You Play PS5 Games On External Hard Drive?

Unfortunately, unlike PS4 games, Sony has not yet enabled PS5 games to be played from an external device. “Because PS5 games are designed to take advantage of the console’s extremely high-speed SSD,” the company notes, you’ll need to copy them back to the console’s primary SSD before playing them. Nonetheless, Sony claims that copying data locally is faster than reinstalling it via the internet or copying games from a disc.

But will Sony eventually allow users to play PS5 games on an external storage device? Well, technically this is possible only in one case: if the user who wants to play PS5 games on external storage owns a high-speed external SSD, not anything else. That way, if you get a high-speed external SSD for your PS5, theoretically, PS5 games’ performance will get the sufficient load speed they require to run properly and won’t be negatively impacted by the slow performance of the storage device on which they are installed.

For that reason, we strongly recommend that you get an external SSD for your PS5 instead of an HDD unless you want your external storage mainly for backup purposes. If you’re not sure about getting an external HDD or external SSD for your PS5, please read this comprehensive guide on comparing external hard drives to external SSDs.

Move PS5 Games to External Hard Drive

how to transfer PS4 games to PS5 external HDD
You have known already by now that the PS5 system allows you to store PS5 games on an external hard drive in order to free up space on the internal SSD.

Not only can you move PS5 games to external storage for quick installation, but you can still play your PS4 games from attached storage.

If you have already updated your PS5 to the latest firmware version, the PS5 system allows you now to transfer PS5 and PS4 games to an external disk in order to free up part of the PS5’s limited internal storage space. You’ll miss out on the super-fast SDD loading, but if you want to play more than a few games at once, you’ll probably welcome the extra capacity.

The first step to make in order to move PS5 games to an external hard drive is to format your PS5 eternal hard drive. This in-depth guide explains how to format, set up, and use a PS5 external hard drive.

Note that the games that you can move to an external hard drive include anything you want to re-download from your PS4 library on PS5, as well as the PS Plus Collection games that you can get for free from launch if you’re a PlayStation Plus user. You may now store all of your games getting a free PS5 upgrade.

Also, remember that while you can now store PS5 games on an external hard drive, you can only play them once you’ve moved them back onto the internal SSD of your PS5. On the other side, PS4 games can be played directly from an external storage device, freeing up even more space on your PS5. Transferring games from one platform to another is unquestionably faster than redownloading them.

Steps To Move PS5 Games Externally

The process of moving PS5 games to an external hard drive is very easy with a few steps only. Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Make sure your PS5 external hard drive is properly connected to your console. If your PS5 external hard drive keeps disconnecting or not working at all, you have to resolve this issue before moving on. (Learn more about PS5 external hard drive issues and how to fix them)
  2. Now go to the following path: Settings > Storage > Console Storage > Games and Apps and you’ll get the following screen:

    Moving PS5 games to an external hard drive

  3. To select all games in the list, hit the “Select All,” element or manually tick the things you want to transfer. Select the “Move” box in the bottom-right corner of the screen after you’re finished.
  4. To avoid having to always monitor your installs, you better check the tickbox that says “Always Install PS4 Games to Extended Storage” in: Settings > Storage > Extended Storage
  5. The transfer process speed will depend on two factors: the size of the games you’re moving and the speed of the external drive you want to move your games to. Make sure not to unplug the external drive or turn off your PS5 during the process, or else undesired things may occur, especially if you’re using an external hard drive.
  6. Once the transfer process is complete successfully, you’ll see the playable PS4 games you moved to the external hard drive will have a small icon showing a cylinder and a USB icon.

Using PS4 External Hard Drive On PS5

If you’re already a PS4 owner and have an external hard drive for your PS4 that you want to use also on PS5, you may not be aware that you can really do that in one simple step: just connect your PS4 external HDD to PS5 and that’s all, it will work flawlessly.

In some cases your PS4 game might not work from an external hard drive and you get Error code (ce-100095-5). In this case, just install that particular PS4 game on the internal SSD of PS5 and play it from there.

To learn more on how to use PS4 external hard drive on PS5, please read this in-depth guide.


In a nutshell, the PS5 system doesn’t allow to play PS5 games from an external hard drive but it does allow PS4 games. We strongly recommend getting an external SSD for your PS5 instead of an external HDD because if Sony is going to allow playing PS5 games from an external storage device, it will be defnately and external SSD not HDD.

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