Do you find your PlayStation 4 constantly running out of free space and filling up its hard drive? This is an extremely common issue faced by PS4 owners with large gaming libraries. Luckily, there are a range of options to effectively free up GBs of storage on your console once space starts running low.
In this comprehensive guide, you‘ll learn multiple expert-recommended tips, methods and best practices for reclaiming precious hard drive capacity on your PS4 system, such as:
- Deleting old game data, saves and install files you no longer need
- Completely uninstalling games you have finished playing
- Removing accumulated videos, screenshots and live stream captures
- Clearing out unneeded system data like trophies and avatars
- Rebuilding your PS4 database to optimize and reorganize storage
- Changing default capture gallery settings to limit auto-uploads
- Disabling automatic game updates to only download when required
- Upgrading your PS4 hard drive to a larger 1TB, 2TB or 4TB capacity
- Ongoing maintenance like regularly clearing caches and rebuilding database
Follow these steps tailored specifically for maximizing and managing your PS4‘s storage capacity.
The Plight of the Modern PS4 Owner
With game install sizes ballooning over the last decade, no PS4 owner is immune from eventually facing a hard drive space crunch, especially avid gamers. Let‘s examine some statistics on the storage challenges faced by the typical PS4 owner today:
As of 2022, the average PS4 game install size is 53GB – up from just 22GB in 2015. Popular genres like first-person shooters (FPS) often demand over 100GB.
Open world games require the most space, averaging around 80-100GB. For example, Red Dead Redemption 2 demands a staggering 150GB install!
Sony only bundles a 500GB hard drive with PS4 consoles, leaving minimal wiggle room after the system software and a handful of games.
An active gamer easily captures 5-10GB per week of game video clips, screenshots and live stream recordings.
It‘s no wonder that the limited built-in 500GB rapidly gets consumed. Let‘s examine typical PS4 storage capacity usage:
|Data Type||Typical Usage|
|Games||150GB (3 x 50GB games)|
As you can see, the storage goes quick. Next we‘ll go over the various options to take back control of your PS4‘s limited storage capacity…
Deleting Game Data and Saved Files
One of the most effective ways to free up significant storage space on your PS4 is by removing the installed data files associated with your games. This game data includes the main game file, any patches and updates, downloadable content (DLC), add-ons and the saved game files storing your overall progress.
Let‘s go over how you can locate and remove game data:
From your PS4 home screen, go to Settings > Storage.
Select System Storage then scroll down and choose Applications.
Go through the list of games installed and press Options on any titles you want to delete data for.
Choose Delete and then pick either Delete All to remove all data or select specific data packs.
Confirm your choice to permanently delete the data.
Following these steps will delete all the installed data and updates for the games you choose, along with any saved progress and preferences. Be very careful only removing data for games you no longer play or don‘t care about losing saves for.
The process works the same for both physical disc-based games and downloaded digital games. Removing old data you don‘t need anymore can quickly recover 10GB of space or more per title.
As an example, see the massive install file sizes for some of 2022‘s most popular games across different genres:
|Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2||FPS||100GB|
|God of War: Ragnarok||Adventure||90GB|
As you can see, just a couple of these games could easily consume over half of the PS4‘s 500GB alone. Be ruthless about removing data for titles you don‘t foresee playing again.
Completely Uninstalling Games
For games you are absolutely certain you‘ll never load up again, you can take the more drastic step of completely uninstalling them from your PS4 system to maximize hard drive space regained:
From your PS4 home screen, go to Library > Applications
Press the Options button on any game you want to uninstall.
Select Delete and confirm to completely remove the game.
Uninstalling a game will delete the entire game file along with all saved data, settings and trophy progress associated with that title. Only uninstall games you have positively finished playing for good and have no intention of ever returning to.
Reinstalling an uninstalled game will require re-downloading the full game file and starting again from scratch as if new. With game install sizes passing 100GB, redownloading just to replay a small portion certainly isn‘t ideal.
While uninstalling finished games can rapidly recover lots of GBs, it comes at the permanent cost of losing access to that game until reinstalled. This nuclear option is best reserved only for your most played-out titles.
Removing Captured Videos, Screens and Streams
Your PS4 is always recording your gameplay in the background, allowing you to retroactively capture cool moments with the Share button. However, these automatically saved videos, screenshots and live stream recordings silently consume storage space.
Here‘s how to locate and mass delete these capture files:
Go to Settings > Storage and select System Storage.
Scroll down and choose Captures then select either Videos, Screenshots or Live Streams.
You can choose batches or all of these files to permanently Delete.
A typical PS4 owner can easily accumulate 5GB of captures per week. Bulk deleting old recordings you‘ll likely never watch again is a fast way to clear substantial space. You can always capture fresh recordings when needed.
Clearing Out Trophy Data
You might not realize it, but all the trophies you‘ve unlocked over your PS4 gaming career gradually accumulate and occupy storage capacity.
Here‘s how to remove these trophies files:
Go to Settings > Account Management > Trophies
Select Trophy Data then choose Delete Trophy Data and confirm.
This will delete any synced trophies from your PS4 hard drive without impacting your overall PSN trophy level or totals. If you care about restoring your local trophies later, make sure they are fully synced before deleting.
Rebuilding Your PS4 Database
Rebuilding your PS4 database helps optimize your hard drive usage by reorganizing all the data for faster access. It can also recover space lost to data corruption.
Here is how to safely rebuild your PS4‘s database:
Fully power down your PS4 then hold the power button until hearing two beeps.
Connect a controller with a USB cable and press the PS button.
Choose Rebuild Database from the menu and allow the process to fully complete.
Warning: Never interrupt the rebuild process or you risk serious data corruption or loss!
Rebuilding every few months helps defragment your database and ensures peak storage efficiency and performance.
Adjusting Capture Gallery Settings
By default, your PS4 automatically uploads all new screenshots and videos to your capture gallery. While convenient, this constant stream can silently eat away available space.
You can adjust these auto-upload options:
Go to Settings > Captures > Capture Settings
Disable auto-uploads for screenshots, videos and streams as needed.
Lower video clip resolution and length to save space.
Customizing your auto-upload settings gives you tighter control over your capture storage footprint.
Disabling Automatic Game Updates
Game patches and updates commonly exceed 15GB – often nearly the size of a full game! By default, your PS4 will automatically download and install these updates in the background.
You can disable auto-updates:
Go to Settings > System > Automatic Downloads
Uncheck the Application Update Files option.
With this disabled, your PS4 won‘t download new updates until you manually check for them. Only update games you plan on playing soon rather than wasting space.
Upgrading Your PS4 Hard Drive
If you still frequently face storage issues after trying the above steps, upgrading your PS4 hard drive is the ultimate solution for vastly increasing your base capacity.
Replace the standard 500GB hard drive with a 1TB, 2TB or even 4TB model for massively amplified storage. Larger drives are very inexpensive.
Stick with a compatible 2.5" form factor internal hard drive. Solid state drives (SSDs) also provide a nice speed boost for a premium price. Use our PS4 Hard Drive Upgrade Guide for step-by-step installation instructions.
Here are some recommended PS4-compatible hard drive upgrade options offering the best balance of value, capacity and performance:
|WD Blue 3D NAND||SSD||1TB||$110|
Doubling, tripling or even quintupling your stock hard drive capacity solves storage anxiety for good.
Ongoing PS4 Storage Maintenance
Once you‘ve cleared space and upgraded your storage, adopting some ongoing system maintenance habits prevents storage issues from returning:
Rebuild your PS4 database every few months to keep your hard drive optimized.
Routinely delete old captured screenshots, videos and streams you no longer need.
Manage your game library by removing data for inactive games and uninstalling games you are done playing.
Disable auto-updates and only download patches for titles you plan on playing soon.
Set your primary PS4 as the default download destination for purchases and games.
Change capture gallery settings to auto-upload only your best clips, not everything.
Regularly clear your PS4 and game caches which gradually build up and consume space.
Enjoy Your PS4‘s Newfound Storage Freedom
With these tips, you can successfully reclaim storage capacity on your PS4 system and keep enough free space for enjoying your gaming library. Purge your backlog of completed games, limit captures and downloads, then upgrade to a massively expanded hard drive.
Follow this guide‘s storage management best practices tailored for PS4 and you‘ll keep your hard drive clear and game library readily accessible. No more having to delete games just to try out new ones!
What other methods have worked for you in creating free space on your PS4? Share your tips and experiences below!