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Free Up Space on Your PS5 Without Deleting Games – An Ultimate Guide

We‘ve all been there. You just got your shiny new PS5 and are excited to experience next-gen gaming. You install a few blockbuster titles like Call of Duty and NBA 2K…and suddenly a notification pops up saying the drive is almost full!

Don‘t sweat it. While modern games are massive – some over 100GB! – with the right strategies you can easily free up space on your PS5 without having to delete anything. In this detailed guide, we‘ll cover pro tips to manage your storage and make room for more games.

Ready to stop worrying about running out of space? Let‘s dive in!

The PS5 Storage Crunch

First, what exactly causes the PS5 storage crunch? The short answer: huge game file sizes.

See, the PS5 comes equipped with an 825GB solid state drive (SSD). But you can only actually use about 667GB of that space. The rest is reserved for system files.

667GB may sound like a lot, but consider that NBA 2K23 alone requires over 130GB of storage space! Even indie titles average from 5 to 30GB.

For comparison, the PS4 came with a 500GB hard disk drive (HDD). Modern games are designed for SSDs, which have much faster data transfer speeds. However, SSD storage space doesn‘t come cheap.

Here‘s a quick breakdown of how storage gets used up on a typical PS5 console:

  • Games – 30-150GB each
  • Game saves – 1-10GB
  • Media capture – 2-10GB per hour of video
  • System data – Up to 100GB
  • Compatible PS4 games – 5-100GB

As you install more games, they quickly eat up your available gigabytes. But there are plenty of tricks to maximize your PS5‘s storage capacity without having to delete anything. Let‘s go through them.

Check Your PS5‘s Storage Usage

The first step is to check your current PS5 storage breakdown so you know exactly what‘s taking up space.

To view storage info:

  1. From your PS5 home screen, go to Settings > Storage.
  2. Select Console Storage to see a visual graph of usage by category:
  • Games and Apps – The amount of space PS5 and PS4 games are occupying. Usually the largest slice of the pie!

  • Media Gallery – Space used by gameplay videos and screenshots you‘ve captured.

  • Saved Data – All your game saves and settings files.

  • Other – System data like caches and temp files.

This breakdown is super helpful for identifying what you can delete or move to open up more gigabytes on your console.

Now let‘s go through your options to free up space on PS5 without having to delete anything permanently.

Move PS5 Games to External USB Storage

One of the easiest ways to open up PS5 internal SSD storage is to transfer some games over to an external USB drive.

Here‘s how to move PS5 games to external storage:

  1. Connect an external USB 3.0+ hard drive or SSD to your console with at least 250GB of space.

  2. Go to Settings > Storage > USB Extended Storage > Move Games and Apps.

  3. Select the PS5 games you want to move. Choose Move to transfer them.

The games will still appear on your PS5 home screen for easy access. When you want to play one, just select it and let it transfer back to your internal SSD.

USB hard drives are much cheaper than SSDs, but come with slower transfer speeds. For the best experience, I recommend using an external SSD, which can load games 2-3 times faster than a HDD.

Here are some top-rated USB SSDs compatible with PS5:

  • Samsung T5 Portable SSD (Up to 2TB)
  • WD Black P50 SSD (Up to 2TB)
  • Seagate FireCuda Gaming SSD (Up to 2TB)

For max external storage, look for drives up to 8TB in size. A 2TB external SSD can store 50+ PS5 games as a point of reference.

The only catch with external USB storage is you can‘t directly play PS5 games from the drive – you need to transfer them temporarily back to the internal SSD. But still an excellent option to archive less played games!

Pro Tip: You can plug your external drive into a friend‘s PS5 and play your games there without redownloading. Game sharing made easy!

Transfer Your PS4 Games to External Storage

The PS5 is backward compatible with most PS4 games – a nice perk! However, you don‘t want these last-gen titles taking up your precious internal SSD space.

The solution? Move your PS4 games over to external USB storage:

  1. Connect your external HDD or SSD to your PS5 and format it if prompted.

  2. Go to your game library and select the PS4 game you want to move.

  3. Press the Options button and select Move to USB Extended Storage.

Once transferred, the PS4 game will now be stored on your external drive but still show up in your library. To play it, you‘ll need to wait a few seconds for it to copy back over to the internal SSD.

This is by far the easiest way to free up 50GB+ per game – space better used for graphically intense PS5 titles.

Remove Unused Game Saves

You can also clear out old game saves you don‘t need anymore. While not every save takes up a ton of space, deleting ones for games you‘re done with adds up.

To manage game saves on your PS5:

  1. Go to Settings > Saved Data and Game/App Settings > Saved Data (PS5).
  2. Select the save you want to delete and choose Delete.

Don‘t stress about losing game progress – your saves are backed up to PlayStation Network cloud storage automatically. You can easily redownload them later if needed.

To manage cloud saves, head to Settings > Saved Data and Game/App Settings > Game/App Settings > Cloud Storage. Delete saves here or download them to your console.

With cloud backup, there‘s no reason to hoard tons of obsolete game saves taking up drive space. Time to do a purge!

Delete Screenshots and Videos

Over time, your PS5‘s Media Gallery can really bloat with screenshots and gameplay video captures. These eat up storage surprisingly fast.

To manage your media gallery:

  1. Go to your PS5‘s main settings.
  2. Select Captures and Broadcasts > Media Gallery.
  3. Select unused screenshots and videos to delete.

You can also change your Capture Settings to automatically delete old captures after a set number of days. I have mine set to delete clips older than 1 week for example.

If you want to save your best gaming highlights, consider backing up captures to an external USB drive occasionally, then deleting from the PS5 internal storage.

Uninstall Unused Apps

Here‘s a quick fix – check your PS5‘s home screen for any apps or games you‘ve downloaded but don‘t really use. Then simply delete them!

To uninstall apps and games:

  1. Highlight the app and press the Options button on your controller.
  2. Select Delete from the menu prompt.

This will completely remove the app and recover all the storage space it was using in a snap. Don‘t forget – you can always redownload these apps later from the PlayStation Store if you change your mind.

I was surprised how many gigs I reclaimed just removing streaming apps I had downloaded once upon a time but never actually used. Every little bit counts!

Rebuild Your PS5 Database

Over time, your PS5 may accumulate cached files, temp data, and corrupt sectors that show up as "Other" storage usage. Rebuilding the database clears out this junk and recovers space.

To rebuild your PS5‘s database:

  1. Fully power down your console – don‘t just rest mode.

  2. Press and hold the power button for 7-8 seconds until the second beep on startup. This will launch into Safe Mode.

  3. Connect your controller with a USB cable and hit the PS button.

  4. Select Rebuild Database from the menu. Let the scan run – this can take a few hours.

  5. Your PS5 will restart normally once finished.

Rebuilding the database defrags your storage after extended use. I recommend doing this every 6 months or so to clear cached data. It‘s a quick fix for the "Other" hogging your GBs!

Upgrade Your PS5‘s Internal SSD

For the ultimate storage solution, consider upgrading your PS5‘s internal solid state drive (SSD).

This involves opening your console and installing an M.2 NVMe SSD directly on the motherboard. It sounds intimidating, but it‘s a straightforward upgrade if you‘re comfortable working with PC components.

The key considerations for a PS5-compatible M.2 SSD upgrade:

  • It must have PCIe Gen4x4 interface and at least 5,500MB/s sequential read speed.

  • Good brands include Samsung, WD Black, Seagate FireCuda, and Corsair. Look for models with a heatsink.

  • Go for drives between 250GB to 4TB in capacity. 1-2TB offers the best value.

  • Check online tutorials for full installation instructions. Be very careful handling internal components!

Once installed, you‘ll need to format and rebuild the storage to use the new space. But it‘s so worth it – you can have 2TB or more of blazing fast internal storage for your PS5 games!

Here are some top-rated M.2 SSDs compatible with PS5:

Samsung 980 Pro1TB$139.99
WD Black SN8502TB$249.99
Seagate FireCuda 5304TB$699.99

While pricier, upgrading to an M.2 SSD is a smart long-term investment if you plan to build a huge digital game library.

Final Tips for Managing PS5 Storage

With the right strategy, you can keep your PS5 game collection installed and ready to play without sacrificing precious SSD real estate.

Here are my top tips for optimizing PS5 storage:

  • Always close games fully when done playing – they use RAM caching.

  • Move PS4 games to external USB storage to save internal space.

  • Upload saves to the cloud and delete local copies you don‘t need.

  • Trim video clip length and delete old captures regularly.

  • Remove unused media apps.

  • Rebuild the database every few months to clear cached data.

  • Consider upgrading the internal M.2 SSD down the road.

  • Use external SSD storage for less played games you still want on hand.

Let me know if you have any other great storage management tips for PS5! I hope this guide helps you reclaim plenty of room for more games on your console. Now get out there and start playing!



Michael Reddy is a tech enthusiast, entertainment buff, and avid traveler who loves exploring Linux and sharing unique insights with readers.